August 4, 2014

Four Tips for Choosing a Realtor

Real estate agent stepping forward


If you have to sell and/or buy a home when moving to a new city, you will most likely work with a real estate agent. But with the abundance of professionals in the real estate business, how do you choose a real estate agent to help you buy or sell one of the biggest investments you have ever made? There are a lot of factors to consider, but we have chosen some of our favorite tips to find a realtor for you.  

  1. Find an agent first: Many times, people will find the house they like and stick with the realtor that is listed, even if they know nothing about them. It's a good idea to find someone you trust before you start looking at homes.
  2. Referrals:  It can be overwhelming when choosing from a sea of real estate agents that all seem perfectly suited to do the job, but choosing blindly from the phone book could lead to problems. Instead, speak to family and friends that have had good experiences with their realtor. Be sure to do an online search for reviews.
  3. Choose a real estate agent with the right experience: Some realtors specialize in certain types of properties. Be sure the one you choose has experience with the type of home or commercial space you are selling. If you are buying a home in a new city, choose an agent with deep knowledge of different areas of town you are interested in.
  4. Choose a realtor that can work on your time: Not all real estate agents have the same schedule. If you only have time to show your home or view potential homes on certain days, confirm that their schedule coincides with yours.



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May 7, 2014

Three Advantages of Renters Insurance

man considering renters insurance

Should you get renters insurance? If you are renting a home or apartment, you may be trying to decide if you actually need to get a renters insurance quote or if it would just be an unnecessary bill. Today we will talk about some of the advantages of having renters insurance. We would love to hear your thoughts about it! Stop by our Facebook page and share your experience with renters insurance.

3 Advantages of Renters Insurance

  1. Protect your personal property: If something like a fire, theft or other disaster were to occur, your personal property (electronics, furniture, clothing) would be protected under your renters insurance. If a major disaster actually destroys your home or leaves it uninhabitable, your renters insurance should allow you temporary living expenses until you can attain permanent housing. Not all policies are created equal, so be sure to speak with an agent to determine how to properly inventory your property and to make sure you are clear on what will be covered in your renters insurance costs.
  2. Protect against lawsuits: Most renters insurance policies protect you from personal lawsuits if someone is accidentally injured in your home or if someone's property is damaged in your home.
  3. Peace of mind: Renters insurance will give you and your family peace of mind because you know that if something were to happen, you will not be on your own.

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January 27, 2014

Keeping Your Zen While You Move

When you give blood or vote, they usually give you a sticker to put on your shirt to proclaim to the world what you just did. "I Voted!" or "I Just Gave Blood!" There should also be stickers that say "I'm Moving Today," so that people can tell at a glance how much stress you're under, and either stay out of your way or randomly give you hugs and cookies, maybe even the occasional spontaneous backrub.

Because moving is stressful. The only things more stressful are divorce or a death in the family. So what can you do to make it less stressful? Well, until you start getting random backrubs from complete strangers on the street (which shouldn't be awkward for anyone), you should try to eliminate every tiny scrap of uncertainty you can from the entire moving process. And that means planning.

The more thought you put into the front-end of your move, the less stressful the move itself will be. Checklists are your friends. Use them for everything you can think of -- cleaning, packing, garage sales, change-of-address forms, moving day meals, utility notifications... You may end up needing a checklist to keep track of all your checklists, but at least you'll be prepared.

Knowing what your move will cost can also save you a lot of stress. You can find a host of moving cost calculators online to ballpark the figure, but moving cost calculators will never tell you the whole story. You can either radically overbudget your moving costs so that you have room to absorb any unexpected costs, or you can have a professional mover come in and assess your belongings with a trained eye.

Finally, consolidate as many tasks as you can, to get more done at once. While you're packing, separate out the things you don't want and then hold a yard sale. While the grownups are clearing closets and stuffing boxes, have the kids do the cleaning. And most moving container services also let their units double as portable storage units, so your items to be stored can be whisked (whisked, I say!) away to the storage facility without you having to shuffle the boxes around.

We don't get stressed about things we know are coming, things we expect -- it's the little things we don't expect, or didn't think of, that tip us over the edge. Even if something is difficult or time-consuming, as long as we know it's coming, we're much more emotionally prepared to deal with it. Things like checklists, moving cost calculators, and portable moving containers can go a long way towards keeping you as Zen as possible during a very un-Zen-like time of your life.

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