If you are tired of living in a cramped apartment, chances are you are looking to buy or rent a lovely home. When comparing costs which strategy would work for you? Do have the credit or financial means to buy a house? Is there enough down payment money available? It is essential to look at all of the aspects before making such a significant decision.
Buying A House
When buying a house, you need to sit down and look over your finances. In understanding the costs, you not only need to know how much house you can afford but also how much can you pay for the upkeep. Homeowners spend between 1% and 4% of the value of their home on maintenance and repairs. All this means is that you can borrow up to the equity of your home to either remodel or just make improvements as needed. The question is, are you committed to that? If so, then home ownership is right for you. As long as you can afford all the necessary expenses that come with the territory, such as property taxes, insurance, school dues, and homeowner association dues, you will be fine. Just know that owning a home is a huge responsibility and can be overwhelming. Not all repairs are covered by insurance or are difficult to claim (for example, flooding or construction damage), and sometimes you need to make renovations to keep your home value up (such as keeping your roof in good shape). These are extra costs that you have to take into account. You are in control and responsible for all expenses concerning your purchase. Alternatively, you can also see if buying smaller properties could be beneficial, such as a condo.
Renting A Home
Renting a home is not a wrong solution if you just want to get the feel of what it is like to have more privacy than what an apartment offers. You still will not have to pay for any maintenance or repairs because there is a landlord. The only thing you might be responsible for if it is not included in the rent is paying to keep the grass cut. Living in a rented house will give you an idea of whether or not you are ready for homeownership. If you can’t afford any repairs or maintenance, you may not be prepared to pursue owning a home of your own just yet. You can gauge this by asking your landlord how much repairs might have cost them, and then compare to see if you could have fixed the issues by yourself on top of a mortgage.
To buy or to rent is a critical decision. Make sure you have an understanding of how much money you are putting into it. Buying or renting a home can be a wise choice if you take time to investigate what will work for you. It is always good to know what you’re getting into.
Buying a condo in the city can be a great option for many people. It can allow you to live in a convenient place, and it can let you enjoy many of the benefits of home ownership without all of the responsibility that goes along with maintaining a single-family home. One thing that you might be concerned about, however, is how much you are going to have to spend in order to purchase a condo. It’s true that condos in the city can be very expensive, but if you follow these tips, you can help ensure that you buy a nice condo that comes with an affordable price tag.
Go a Little Smaller
Even though you might dream of having a nice, spacious condo, you might want to think about going a little bit smaller, particularly if you don’t have a large family. This can help you score a more affordable condo, and it can help you save money on utilities in the future.
Read the Contract Carefully
Another thing that you should keep in mind when buying a condo is that it is important to read the contract carefully. Make sure that you are aware of any fees that you will have to pay and what you will and will not be responsible for as a condo owner. This can help you ensure that you know about all of the costs that you are getting yourself into.
Look Outside of the Usual Areas
When you think about buying a condo in the city, you might think about buying one in one of the most bustling areas. However, condos in these areas are often more desirable and therefore more expensive. If you are willing to take a look at condos that might be in slightly less popular areas, you may be able to enjoy many of the benefits of convenient city living without having to spend as much money. This can actually be a great way to buy a condo for less. Just make sure that you calculate any transportation costs and other expenses that might go along with moving into a condo that is a bit further away to ensure that you are actually getting a good deal.
Understand Loan Options
Unfortunately, getting a loan for a condo might be a little tricky. Condo financing is a little different than home financing. When a bank is considering your loan for a condo, they will take additional factors into account, such as the percentage of owner-occupied units, the number of rented and vacant units, the finances of the Condominium’s Homeowner Association, if other units in the property are under foreclosure, and so forth. If you hope to get an FHA or VA loan, you should look online for a list of approved condos in your area to make sure that you limit your search to condos that the bank will approve of. Also, if you plan on applying for a VA loan to finance your condo purchase, then the Department of Veterans Affairs must have approved the entire complex for the loan to apply.
As you can see, there are a few things that you can do if you would like to purchase a condo in the city without having to spend a ton of money. With a little bit of patience and research, you might find that finding the condo of your dreams — while sticking within your budget — is easier than you thought it would be.
How to Get a Great Deal on Buying a Condo in the City June 22nd, 2018MyTruck Buddy
You love your apartment, but how safe is it? You can only control so much about your neighborhood, and you may not always be able to decide who has access to your building or who your neighbors are. Luckily, there are several tech gadgets that will keep you and your home protected, whether you’re inside, out and about, or traveling far away.
Smart Door Locks
Tech-enabled door locks provide an extra layer of security for your apartment. Some of them even look like traditional door knobs, so outsiders won’t know what type of software is hidden inside it. These locks are much harder to break into because traditional lock-picking is useless. Depending on the type of lock, you can give digital keys with time expirations on them or use temporary codes in case someone is going to quickly drop by. You can also lock your doors if you forget to. Some of these locks can even sense when you’re coming home and automatically unlock the door as you approach.
CO2 and Smoke Detectors
Odds are that you have traditional CO2 and smoke detectors in your apartment already, but smart detectors take safety to the next level. You can connect the device to your home Internet, and it will alert you if CO2 or smoke is detected, regardless of where you are. You can also quickly turn the alarm off in case it detects something you have under control, like burning food. Not only will this protect you when you are home, but it also lets you respond quickly to an emergency if you aren’t home.
Combined with smart door locks, video doorbells can help you control access and safeguard your apartment. Video doorbells can monitor your front door whether you’re at home or away. Depending on how fancy your doorbell is, it might even let you speak to whoever is at the door, regardless of where you are. The camera can help you monitor activity in the hallway, and make sure that you know who is at your door before answering for any unexpected visitors. Many of these video doorbells don’t require a lot of modifications to install, which means you won’t have to tear apart your door just to feel safer.
Technology continues to make amazing advances that help you improve your life and safeguard the people and things you love. Knowing you have access to your home when you’re away can help you feel more secure than you would normally.
Safe and Sound: Smart Technology to Keep Your Apartment Secure June 16th, 2018MyTruck Buddy
There’s a common misconception that moving with a baby is impossible. It is harder to do, but it isn’t impossible if you plan right. Here are some of the things that you should consider doing before moving into your new house with your newborn.
Before moving, one of the first challenges is house shopping. Coordinating walkthroughs, finding a loan with a good rate, and performing inspections can take weeks of meetings and phone calls. You might be tempted to find a sitter while you tour potential homes, but it can be a good idea to take your child with you. This will help you picture your family living in the house and, in some cases, get a sense for whether your baby will feel comfortable in their new environment.
Consistency is key
Babies like to have consistency. They thrive off of routine. Moving will disrupt their routine if you don’t do it right. Pack a little bit each day around their schedule so that you don’t have to stay up all night before your move. Keep their routine as consistent as possible through the moving experience. Use childcare if you’re helping with the move yourself and so that you can get your new house set up.
Do the nursery first
Start with the nursery. Make this room look as similar to the old nursery as possible. You don’t want your baby to get thrown off by their new surroundings. Another thing to take into account is to make your bedroom look as familiar as possible. This will provide a restful place for you and your baby to get back into your old routine. You may even want to set up the whole house before you bring your baby into it.
Look into co-sleeping options
Consider co-sleeping until everyone is used to their new environment. This will give your baby a little bit of piece of mind amidst all of the other changes that have been occurring. Babies often don’t do well with complete changes in their environment, so allowing them to sleep with you will help them to sleep better, and when your baby sleeps better, everyone sleeps better.
Childproof your new home
Your next task after your new home is set up is to start the childproofing process. Get down on the level of your baby so that you can see what they see. This will help you to identify any hazards that exist in your new home. Everything is new to everyone, and this can lead to problems. Purchase the appropriate supplies so that you can get it taken care of as quickly as possible.
There are lots of things that you need to take into account before you move. Changes can throw off everyone’s schedule. Take these steps to mitigate the amount of change you experience.
Newborn In A New House: What To Consider Before Moving In June 12th, 2018MyTruck Buddy
Moving is full of pitfalls. If you want to avoid them, you need a game-plan. That’s why it’s so important to know the common moving problems below and the easy ways to sidestep them.
Have you ever heard of the planning fallacy? Basically, Wikipedia describes the planning fallacy as “a phenomenon in which predictions about how much time will be needed to complete a future task display an optimism bias and underestimate the time needed.” In other words, we usually plan less time than we need for tasks because we’re too optimistic about how fast we’ll be able to complete it. This is one of the biggest pitfalls of moving: running out of time to pack because we didn’t plan enough time to pack in the first place. Tasks take longer than you expect and you run up against hard deadlines like a move-out date or the beginning of construction. How do you deal with such a problem? It’s simple—you give yourself a time cushion. Add a few extra days to your estimated packing and moving time to give yourself a bit of wiggle room.
We’ve seen it time and time again – people look at their “small” apartments and think, “I got this. I’ll do it the night before.” But then…life happens. That’s why we always remind people that good preparation always leads to a fast, efficient, safe, and cost-effective move.
It’s amazing how much stuff you can accumulate when you stay in one place. Unfortunately, your new place might not have enough room for everything you need—but you may not have time to sort through everything you own before you’re due in the new place. The solution here is a self-storage unit. Put what won’t fit in your home into a storage unit and take your time figuring out what should stay and what should go. Remember to consider the kind of storage unit you need based on the content; Andy Jaramillo from STOR-N-LOCK Highlands Ranch explains, “If you plan to store items that are susceptible to fluctuating temperatures, such as family heirlooms, electronics, wood or leather furniture or important paper documents, you will want to search for storage units with climate control.”
The Lost Cause
There are certain things you will need on hand as soon as you move into a new house. Unfortunately, in the process of packing up the truck or van, they might get shuffled around and lost among all the other boxes. The best way to deal with this problem is to organize your belongings. Label each box clearly with the contents and where you intend to put it in your new house. As much as you can, pack boxes and belongings together based on where they will go in your new house. Keep the essentials together, and pack them last so that you can get to them as soon as you need them. Real Simple additionally recommends “Numbering each box and keeping an inventory list in a small notebook is a good way to keep track of what you’ve packed―and to make sure you still have everything when you unpack.”
The Rainy Day
The weather can be your biggest moving enemy. Not only can it slow down the process of loading up a truck, but it can also make it nearly impossible to move some delicate items. What do you do on moving day in case of rain or wind or ice or snow? Unfortunately, you can’t change the weather…but you can check the weather forecast a week early and schedule your moving day earlier or later to avoid the worst of the storm. Try to set your move-out day a little bit ahead of schedule in order to allow yourself this freedom.
The No-Show Helpers
Depending on friends is a good way to get cheap labor when you move. Unfortunately, friends might no-show you or might have schedule conflicts that prevent them from lending a helping hand, leaving you stranded on moving day with dozens of boxes, no help, and no truck. Fortunately, My Truck Buddy can help with that. We have over 20,000 successful moves under our belt, and we’d love to ensure that your move is successful, too. Our first First Principle is “Show up on time.” It probably seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised – this seems like a difficult concept to grasp for a lot of moving companies.
These moving tips can help take a little bit of the sting out of moving. They solve common problems and, more importantly, they give you something to rely on during a difficult process. If you want to get the most out of your move, make sure to prepare ahead of time—it’s the ultimate way to avoid major moving problems.
5 Pitfalls of Moving to Avoid so You Can Move Like a Pro April 20th, 2018MyTruck Buddy
Whether you’ve outgrown your old single-man apartment, are getting married, or have secured your first VA loan on a new house, packing up your old bachelor pad can seem like the last thing you want to focus on. Packing up and relocating to a new home is a tedious process. It requires you to plan and organize in order to make it an efficient move. As you work to transport all your personal belongings in your bachelor pad, you’ll need to use the right materials and stay organized. If you want to know how to pack up your things right the first time, here are a few essential steps to take.
Color Code Each Room
Make it a point to color code each room of the home with corresponding labels to ensure everything is easier to unpack. For example, use the color red for the living room or green for the bathroom. Use masking tape and pens to label each box. You’ll have an easier time knowing which room each box should be placed in, which can make it easier to find what you need when you’re unloading.
Hire Professional Movers
Rent a moving van and hire a few service professionals to assist you with transporting everything to your new property. This way you can work at a faster pace. Having an extra set or hands can cut the time in half for how long it takes to load each moving box into the rental truck.
Purge the Home
Avoid packing items you no longer use to reduce how much you have to transport and save more on your moving supplies. Purge your bachelor pad and discard anything that hasn’t been used in the last year. For returning veterans, much of your military gear can be returned or reused at local bases. You’ll also want to toss any furniture items or decor that won’t allow your new house to feel like a home. Sell larger items that have more value to obtain funds to put towards your move.
Create a Timeline
According to ahomefordesign.com, creating a timeline on when each step needs to be completed will allow you to start packing early and avoid waiting until the last minute. You can hire the movers six weeks in advance and purchase the moving supplies at the same time. In the week leading up to the move, you can begin packing items that are used daily. You’ll also want to start eating as much of the food in your fridge or pantry as possible to prevent it from spoiling.
Packing up a bachelor pad doesn’t have to be time-consuming or exhaustive. With the right steps taken, you can feel at ease and enjoy a smooth transition.
From books and video games to pots, pans, and linens, you may own many items that can be packed into boxes with minimum concern about their condition during a move. You may also own many other fragile items that require special care and handling. This could include family heirlooms, crystal glassware, fine china and sensitive electronics. Damage to these items may result in significant financial loss or even the loss of irreplaceable items. By following a few important packing tips, you can protect your fragile items as much as possible.
Choose the Right Packing Materials
The packing materials that you purchase can play a huge role in the overall protection of your items. For fragile items, if you still have the original packaging, this may be your best bet for protection. You can also cushion items with bubble wrap and towels. Place heavier items on the bottom, so they don’t accidentally crush smaller, lighter items. If you have sensitive electronics, you may want to consider getting specific protective cases. These come with molded foam that will fit your electronics perfectly. You also won’t have to worry about any impacts causing problems.
Avoid Making Boxes Too Heavy
Even when you take steps to carefully wrap and pack your fragile items, damage may still occur. For example, if boxes are too heavy, there is a possibility that they may be dropped. As you pack boxes and cases, periodically lift the container to gauge the weight. If you notice that the containers are getting too heavy, move on to a new box or case. Boxes that contain items like books can easily get too heavy to lift if you aren’t paying attention, so keep these items in smaller boxes.
Label Your Boxes Appropriately
Your boxes and protective cases that contain fragile items must be handled carefully. However, your movers will not know which of your containers have fragile items. All boxes and protective cases that have fragile items should be appropriately labeled or marked. Ensure that the label is very easy to read. It may be a smart idea to label the top and four sides of the box so that nobody overlooks the importance of handling a box with care. This will also help you find your items when you are unpacking after your move.
The stress associated with damaged precious items can be intense. When fragile items are damaged, you may lose family heirlooms or face financial loss related to damage to very expensive items. You understandably want all of your belongings to make it to your new home in quality condition, and following these helpful tips can make it easier for you to accomplish your goals.
How Can I Protect Fragile Items When Moving? April 3rd, 2018MyTruck Buddy
Finding an apartment in D.C. can be daunting. It is the fifth most expensive rental market in the country, and new developments are popping up every day. These five tips are a great place to get started. After all, finding an apartment should be exciting, especially in a city like D.C. that is well worth the price!
Keep the Metro System in Mind
On most occasions, proximity to a Metro station will the key factor in pricing and availability of apartments. For anyone searching who is new to the city, be sure to familiarize yourself with the Metro map and figure out which lines you need to be walking distance to. If you’re not relying on the Metro for commuting or regular use, that will open up a huge number of options.
Find a Few Friends
D.C. is a city with a lot of young professionals and transplants. The effect on apartment hunting is that there are a lot of single, young renters who also tend to move relatively often. If you are comfortable having roommates, sometimes even random ones, that is usually a good bet. Try asking around too; friends may be able to connect you to locals who need to fill a room and who have already vetted a neighborhood.
Be Ready to Sign a Lease
Because of the competitive market, solid housing can go away quickly. Don’t risk losing a place because you don’t have all of your ducks in a row. Once you find an apartment that works for you, be ready to lock it up quickly. Having a good credit score at the ready can make a landlord more likely to accept your application quickly.
Keep Safety In Mind
D.C., like many major cities across the county, has seen a boom in development in the last ten years. One result is that historically dangerous neighborhoods are becoming havens for new rentals. Most of these areas have in fact become safer, but be sure to do your research. A good tip is to walk the neighborhood at night before signing the lease to make sure you feel comfortable.
Search for New Developments
New apartment buildings are going up like crazy throughout D.C. It’s common for these new developments to have lease-up specials that help developers fill up quickly. You have a chance of getting lucky and finding a lease at below market value if you reach out to these properties before they open, or immediately after. Don’t be shy about asking for discounts either.
The housing market in D.C. is plentiful with great rental option, and with these tips you should be well on your way to finding the right fit for you!
Moving to a new home may be exciting but moving to a new city for a new job is even more exciting but daunting. There is a lot to do, but the tasks facing you may make relocating easier than you think. Here are tips to help you relocate with ease.
Like a lot of other things, moving can be high-tech now. You still have to load your things up and transport them, but there are various apps to make your job easier. You can order moving materials from your phone, plan your route, and help you set a schedule. You can also use various apps to explore your new city, so you don’t go in blind. You can also plan out your furniture placement or get your new utilities set up quickly.
Packing can be long and drawn out, and unpacking is often worse. If you are stressed and short on time, you may find yourself throwing everything into a box, without trying to organize anything. This is a bad way to pack, and it makes it really easy to lose things while moving. Start by cleaning everything up and putting things where they belong, then pack room by room. Don’t be afraid to use laundry baskets, clean trash cans, and your suitcases as packing boxes. This will save space and help you stay organized. You can also put hanging clothes in a trash bag and transport them that way.
Love it or Leave it
Now is the perfect time to go through your belongings and decide what to keep and what to donate, throw away, or sell. If time permits, you can sell your belongings by holding a garage sale. For items not sold, you may donate belongings that you no longer use or wear that are in good condition. Be sure to obtain a receipt to use on your taxes under the charitable contributions sections on your taxes. When deciding what to keep and what to ditch, consider when you last used it. If you have forgotten that you had it or you haven’t used it for more than a year, you probably don’t need it.
Find Temporary Housing
If you are relocating for a job, you probably won’t have time to find a new place to live before you need to start your job. You may even be moving while the rest of your family packs up and sells your old home. During this time, it may seem like the simplest solution is to stay in a hotel, but that adds up quickly and can be an uncomfortable long-term situation. Instead, look for corporate housing alternatives. Most major cities have short-term corporate apartments that you can rent for a comparable price, but with more space and amenities. This will give you space to comfortably live while house hunting and adjusting to a new job.
Make New Friends
The best thing you can do to make this easier is to make new friends. Make sure you get involved in the office social life so you can get to know your new coworkers. You should also get to know your neighbors. These two groups of people will probably comprise most of your social interactions, so being friendly is really important.
The transition will always be a nerve-wracking event, but you can make your life much easier by being prepared and following these tips. Don’t forget to enjoy yourself on this new adventure.
5 Steps to Make Relocating for a Job Easier March 13th, 2018MyTruck Buddy
I’ve been using Elfa shelves for years now. My wife got me hooked on it (so to speak).
I’m the type of person who, I like to tell myself, is just too busy to put things away. I have ideas, you see, and I have to follow them to their conclusions right now or everything is just going to fall apart. Or so it goes. The wife is not thrilled with this mindset.
Enter Elfa. There’s a nearly infinite number of ways to organize your spaces, and it looks incredible. So, when you get home with your pile of stuff, you can have a place for it. My closet is, well, it’s still a disaster, but not for good planning and use of space. (That’s definitely not MY closet pictured below…)
One of my favorite things about Elfa shelving is the desk. I wish I had a picture from back in the day, but for awhile I was using an Elfa stand-up desk. It didn’t have to be a stand-up desk, but it was super easy to adjust the height.
One of the best things about it is the relative ease of putting it together, and the minimal amount of damage you have to do to the walls. You just tack one strip of metal up top and hang X number of tracks off of that. From there you configure whatever you want – shelves, racks, bike racks, desks, etc. I think they even have filing cabinet options. It’s best to attach directly into the studs behind the walls, but I’ve had an enormous amount of weight hanging from “metal strips” (can’t remember what they’re called) attached just into the plaster.
Anyway, they’re awesome. That is all.
(Click the pic below to check out some of the ways Elfa might be the perfect solution for maximizing your small space).
Elfa shelving is life January 23rd, 2018Christopher