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How Movers Calculate Your Estimate

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No two moves are the same, and so only rarely are two moving estimates the same. While a little research goes a long way when it comes to finding the best deal, you can’t always expect the moving company to charge you the same as they charged your neighbor, or vice versa. Several factors affect how movers calculate estimates, and it goes way beyond simple “number of rooms” guesswork.

Distance How far are you moving? Most movers charge by the mile, especially for long distance moves, although some offer a flat rate for moves within their area or between major cities.

Weight Movers estimate weight based on a combination of experience and looking over your possessions (hence the importance of an onsite, in-person visit). Be aware that some movers will aim low in an attempt to secure your business, only to charge more once the truck is loaded and the actual weight measured. Obtain a binding estimate if possible and the mover will be stuck with their original quote, even if they guessed too low. Generally speaking the highest weight estimate you receive is the most accurate.

Time How long will the move take? Movers may charge by the hour or by the day, with amounts varying further based on how much manpower will be needed to complete the job.

Access Can a full-size moving truck reach your new residence? In cases of limited access situations (narrow streets, low hanging trees, no parking, etc.), movers may charge for additional services such as shuttling possessions from the truck to the house.

Other All circumstances are unique and various charges may appear on your estimate that reflect your individual situation, such as storage of belongings, special handling of precious items, moving on a holiday, etc. Just make sure all charges are listed clearly so you know what you are and are not paying for, and question anything vague or unspecified like “miscellaneous.”

Published By : Rigel Celeste

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6 tips for buying a fixer-upper

Several years ago, when the housing market was mired in the worst recession since the Great Depression, buyers shied away from houses that needed work. The buyers who weren’t put off from buying completely were interested only in turnkey homes that were in move-in condition.
It was too risky for most buyers to buy a house that needed work. But, now that the housing market appears to be recovering, buying a home to fix up seems more reasonable, but is not without risk.

There are basically two types of “fixer” buyers. One is the flipper who buys a home, spruces it up quickly and sells it at a profit. The goal is not to hold the property as an investment, but to find a buyer as soon as possible after the redo is complete.

Flippers should avoid buying homes that have major problems to remedy, which will eat into profits. A way to maximize profit and minimize carrying costs during the rehab period is to buy at a low price with all cash. Buy in areas where employment and transportation are good so that you will have a pool of buyers for your product when it’s ready to sell.

Select the neighborhood carefully. Is it conveniently located? Are homes selling quickly? What is the average “days on market” from list date to sale date? This information is critical to knowing how fast you can turn the property over to a new buyer.

For the last couple of years, institutional investors bought hundreds of devalued properties at a time, many of them foreclosures. First-time buyers who needed to qualify for a mortgage in order to buy were muscled out. A sole-practitioner flipper should look for buying opportunities in smaller neighborhoods in good locations, near jobs and transportation.

The other type of fixer buyers are those who buy for their own use. They do not intend to flip the property, but want to increase the value of the property over time while providing a roof over their heads. This type of buyer may be able to pay more for a property than the flipper, but the price paid and the amount spent on improvements should always be well researched before making a purchase.

HOUSE HUNTING TIP: Don’t pay a Cadillac price for a home that needs a lot of work if you want to make a profit on a fixer-upper. Find out the sale price of recently sold homes in the neighborhood that were similar to the one you’re considering, but in much better condition. Be sure to overestimate how much the renovations will cost. There will always be unanticipated costs, so there’s no point in skimping on your estimate to make the numbers work.

Keep a close eye on the costs of your renovations while you’re working on the project. There’s always the temptation to improve more than you had intended once you see how good the improvements you have made look. Even though you’re improving the house for yourself, remember that you will be selling someday and you want to make a profit on the time and money you invested.

It’s a great time to buy at prices that were not possible at the peak of the market. Just make sure you know values for the neighborhood and don’t overpay for a property that needs work. Fixer buyers who paid high prices at the peak of the last market cycle not only didn’t make a profit, but some lost the homes in foreclosure.

The housing market picked up in 2012 and will hopefully continue to move in a positive direction. However, the home sale market is continually changing and varies from one location to the next.

THE CLOSING: A well-informed, level-headed approach is the best bet.

Dian Hymer, a real estate broker with more than 30 years’ experience, is a nationally syndicated real estate columnist and author of “House Hunting: The Take-Along Workbook for Home Buyers” and “Starting Out, The Complete Home Buyer’s Guide.”