• Spring House Hunting Tips

    by Patrick Redmond | Mar 06, 2015

    Friday-Favorites-Spring-Moving-TipsThere’s nothing better than looking for a new house as the earth wakes up from winter and greenery pokes its head out all around you. A neighborhood that looks mediocre under the snow can transform into the community of dreams in full bloom, and there’s something about this revitalizing time of year that makes the prospect of packing everything up and hiring a moving company seem less daunting.

    However, before you head out to house hunt this spring, here are five good tips to make sure you find the perfect new home for the season.

    > Don’t Let the Rain Drive You Out: If it’s a less than ideal day outside, with the rain or wind or melting snow of March all around you, don’t be deterred from your plan or wait for better weather. Oftentimes, the best way to see a house is when there’s a chance for roofing leaks, soggy front steps, or a mud pit in the backyard to make themselves known.

    > Walk through the Neighborhood: Nothing tells you more about a community than a walk through the streets or local parks. Spring is a great time to get outside anyway, so make the most of your house hunt by exploring the local terrain on foot.

    > Examine Heating (and Cooling) Elements: Although the milder temperatures might have you breaking out the sandals and sunglasses, be sure and check the house for all types of potential weather. Turn on the heat, try the air conditioner, and open all the windows to check for cross breezes. You want a home that will be comfortable all year round.

    > Bring Your Whole Family: Kids tend to look at different aspects of a home than the adults. While you might be concerned with how hard it will be to keep the white carpet clean or if the kitchen has enough space for entertaining, your children could be falling in love with the tree fort out back or the park just around the corner.

    > See the Potential: While late spring can be a beautiful season full of color, early spring can still look a little drab. Instead of seeing those withered limbs and packed earth as drawbacks, imagine what everything will look like in a few months…or what could happen with a little TLC and a visit to the local nursery.

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  • Moving to Florida: Real Estate and Neighborhoods

    by Patrick Redmond | Mar 05, 2015

    Map of FloridaFlorida has long been considered the best destination for retirement. Warm, tropical weather lets you enjoy the great outdoors all year long. The vibrant communities and beachfront views lend themselves to a high quality of life. And because so many people consider it the place to spend their golden years, the hospitals are top-notch.

    Of course, that’s not all Florida has to offer. This state, which experiences one of the fastest rates of annual growth, is known just as much for its family lifestyle as its booming nightlife. Depending on where you move, you might find everything from affordable neighborhoods with plenty of kids running around to upscale condos with streets that never sleep.

    The Florida Real Estate Market

    Because Florida is such a popular destination, home prices here tend to be a little steeper than the national average. City living (Miami, Orlando, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, and Jacksonville) usually comes with higher real estate costs, while life in the smaller towns and outlying areas tends to be a little friendlier on the wallet. And of course, anytime you want to live directly on the water or overlooking it, you can expect to pay more for the privilege. Apartments and condos can soar well into the million dollar mark, especially if you’re looking for gated access and all the perks, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find more affordable housing here.

    Where to Live in Florida

    Looking to get more for your dollar? Hoping to capture a certain kind of atmosphere in the place you call home? Then check out these up-and-coming Florida homes.

    For a Smaller Beach City: Fort Meyers, which is located on the less popular side of the state (opposite the big destinations like Miami, West Palm Beach, and Fort Lauderdale) is a tourist town, but not to the extent of its neighbors to the east. With just 65,000 residents and more real estate options, you can enjoy a quieter way of life that still puts you in touch with all the activities.

    When Safety and Quiet Living Matter: Parkland, Florida was voted the safest city in the state—and with a population under 25,000 that’s made up primarily of families, it’s easy to see why. Although living here is a bit more expensive than many other locations, the great public school system and quiet setting make it well worth the investment.

    For a Great Retirement: Whenever you talk about retirement in Florida, The Villages is likely to enter the conversation sooner or later. This entire community (located almost in the exact center, northwest of Orlando) is designed to be a place for active retirees to enjoy the weather, local lakes, and quality homes.

    For Quality Big-City Living: If you don’t want to miss out on the big cities in Florida, but you want a setting that’s still safe and accessible, you probably want to stick to Fort Lauderdale. Efficient roadways, a fairly stable job market, and safe communities make it more appealing than many of the larger metropolitan areas, and it still has the benefit of all the activity of a main city center.

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  • Green Moving: How to Spring Forward

    by Ryan Cox | Mar 03, 2015
    When it comes to a process as involved as moving, is going “green” a practice within the realm of possibility? From lugging goods cross-country and producing packing materials to the disposal of junk along the way, moving, at a glance, can sound like the poster child for non-green industrial practices.

    However, you’d be surprised! The large scale shift to “green” moving has been an explosive trend in recent years, with most major companies making an increasing effort to shift to everything from paperless billing to decreased vehicular emissions. Below, you can find a list of ways you can spring for a green move, in addition to a general selection of tips in making the process as clean and smooth for you (and your mover) as possible.

    How Green is Your Mover?

    A great deal of your move’s manpower is going to require costly energy emissions, particularly when it comes to their choice of vehicular fleet and packing supply. Are they big on cardboard boxes? You might notice that movers with greater green reputability sport a majority of packing crates comprised of plastic or similar material instead.

    Additionally, how committed are their fleets to green practices? Trucks that utilize bio-diesel or similar clean-burning fuel systems are increasingly popular, and convey the notion that your mover is fully committed to long-term sustainability.

    De-clutter In Advance

    Before your move, it can be a great idea for a variety of reasons to get rid of unneeded clutter, throughout your house and beyond. Anything you plan on getting rid of eventually certainly won’t need to come along for the ride when moving—not only will you be wasting valuable space within your moving fleet, but this will waste additional unneeded resources as well.

    If your plan of action is to move unvisited storage boxes from one garage to another, take the time to sort through the backlog and assess what truly deserves to stick around for the long haul. Your movers (and your environment) will thank you.

    Pack Wisely

    Many people don’t know just how many free or recycled moving resources are actually available to them. Free cardboard boxes from department stores, etc. are extremely commonplace, and are a practical way to recycle resources that would otherwise go to waste.

    Along the same lines, take advantage of old newspapers, packing peanuts or anything from over the years that has ended up laying around and can be utilized for a more effective move. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to carry out your entire process without having to buy new materials along the way.

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  • How To Tackle Roof Damage

    by Patrick Redmond | Mar 02, 2015
    RoofYour new dream home can quickly become a nightmare if you suddenly find your roof collapsing in around you. Roof inspections are one of those things that should always go on your home inspection checklist, long before you sign the papers or hire a moving company to help you relocate. Not only they are one of the most costly types of home improvements (a new roof usually comes in at around 3 percent of your total house price), but it also has a way of impeding your day-to-day life, which means you might end up spending a few nights at a hotel while the roofers do their work.

    But don’t fret! If it turns out your inspector missed some major roof damage, or if you recently experienced a storm that wreaked havoc overhead, there are steps you can take to minimize the impact.

    > Make a New Roof Part of the Deal: If you become aware of faulty roof issues before you buy the house, make a new roof part of your contract. You can either negotiate to have the seller fix the roof before you move in, or you can have them build in a discount (usually around that 3 percent mark) to cover the cost you’ll have to pay out-of-pocket to have it repaired.

    > Contact Your Insurance Company: Your homeowner’s insurance won’t cover a roof that was already damaged when you bought the house, but they may cover storm damage (especially of the hail or wind variety). While it’s never ideal to start making claims as soon as the insurance policy is taken out, this could save you money in the long run.

    > Discover the Extent of the Damage: Most roofing companies will provide a free or discounted quote without requiring you to sign up for repairs right away. Get a few estimates from local companies and discover what kind of price tag you’ll be looking at overall. You can also hire a specialty roof inspector who will create the most detailed overview of your needs.

    > DIY Repairs: When damage is minor (a few shingles blown off in a windstorm), you may be able to head up to the roof and repair them yourself. For more intensive damage, though, or if parts of the roof are unsound, it’s better to leave it to the professionals. (You can also do smaller parts of the repairs yourself to lower costs, including things like cleaning up the debris afterward or prepping the roof by removing old roofing).

    > Consider Additional Changes: If a roof’s damage goes deeper than the surface, you may want to look at other home repairs (like changing a bathroom/kitchen vent, updating a chimney, installing new attic insulation, etc). Oftentimes, these types of repairs require the roof to be opened up in places anyway, so you might as well take advantage of the current state of affairs.

    Above all else, don’t panic. A damaged roof can be an inconvenience (and an expensive one), but once it’s done, you rarely have to worry about it again for as long as you plan to live in your new home.

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  • Green Cleaning

    by Ryan Cox | Mar 02, 2015

    Of all the factors that come to mind when you think of “going green,” taking on your spring cleaning may not be one of them. However, you may be surprised to know that there are a substantial number of ways to “greenify” your home cleaning process, cutting down on the use of everything from hazardous chemical materials to giving existing chores a more “natural” spin.

    Below, you can review just a few of the proven ways to clean your home or business while avoiding adverse long term effects, unhealthy solutions, and more. Keep your home clean in more ways than one!

     Avoid Toxins

    When choosing your cleaning products, be sure to keep an eye on those that may include toxic or non-biodegradable chemicals. Many heavy duty chemical cleaners are more appropriate when used in industrial settings or the like, and when used inside your home and lead to toxic buildup, long-term damage to hardwood or linoleum, damage air quality, etc.

    Natural home solutions can include common household materials like baking soda, vinegar, and even small amounts of bleach when disinfecting surfaces in a pinch (though be careful to avoid its use near dyed fabrics, carpets and the like). In addition, many home cleaning brands offer green or healthy-focused products that will provide an effective cleaning without the potential for environmental harm.

    Air It Out

    An underrated factor in keeping a home fresh can be the overall air quality that persists throughout. Is your home’s air stale and potentially harboring allergens, bacteria, or worse? Based on how often you ventilate your home with a steady supply of outside air, this may be much more likely of a problem than you realize.

    Make it a point to open as many windows as possible whenever time and weather permits—flushing out poor-quality air and having it be cycled with a fresher equivalent benefits everything from your respiratory system to your central heating and cooling –home air filters will accumulate dust and toxins much faster when cycling the same stale air over time.

    Form Good Habits

    Do you bother recycling? Cutting up soda can rings? Using ceiling fans in lieu of extra AC? While there are a countless number of little ways to lead a greener life (that may seem completely inconsequential), you should keep in mind that these little things add up to a lot when combined into a steady effort, and add up a lot more when made into long-term home living habits.

    Taking baby steps here and there to improve your home’s overall standing in terms of non-toxicity, freshness and cleanliness will steadily improve the quality of life for not only you, your family or roommates, but of the world as a whole. Don’t underestimate yourself! Making the extra bit of effort is always worth it.
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