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Until relatively recently, there were basically two options when it came to moving: hire professional movers or do it yourself. Today it might strike you that it seems there are more moving options than there are people moving. Many are a variation on moving yourself and some are like a light version of professional movers, such as companies that move you with storage containers. Let’s talk about the options you have so you can see what might be best for you.
Freight and storage container moving vs. professional mover
Somewhere around the turn of the 21st Century, a freight hauling company decided to get into the moving industry. For them, it made a lot of sense. Rather than letting freight containers go half empty, they made the smart business decision of filling their empty space with household goods. A few years later, companies some companies scaled down the containers for dedicated long and short-term storage options that can be moved locally or long-distance. When compared to full service household movers, there are advantages and disadvantages:
What are the advantages to storage and freight container moving?
The cost of freight container moving can be cheaper than full service movers, but that’s not always the case.
You pay for the amount of space you use based on the number of miles the shipment travels.
Several days to load
With both freight and storage container moving, you will have a few days to load and unload your container.
Since they won’t have to stop at several homes along the way, delivery can be quicker than with a full service mover.
What are the disadvantages to storage and freight container moving?
No control over container mates
With freight containers, you will likely share space (with a plywood wall between you) with a freight shipment. Most are fine, but occasionally, your household goods might share space with undesirables. I know of one such situation where a person’s shipment, including their mattress and sofa, shared a car with a load of garlic. As you can imagine, the smell was overwhelming.
This would not be an issue with storage container moving.
Pricing assumes you’re loading and unloading container
Freight container companies are not moving companies. They will not be able to load and unload the container for you, although they can usually contract that work out. We receive several calls a day from container hauling customers asking for our help.
Very basic valuation coverage
Basic “insurance” coverage is just $.10 per pound per article. Full service moving companies are required to carry six times that amount. You can purchase full coverage insurance with both types of companies.
Gig “movers” vs. professional movers
It’s 2021 and we are in a gig economy. It’s no surprise that the moving industry isn’t immune. We love gig movers, but they aren’t full service movers.
What are the advantages to gig movers compared to professional movers?
Great for small moves
If you need to move a sofa across town or if you have a really tiny apartment, a gig mover might work for you, but please note that most don’t have large moving trucks. They have pickup trucks and vans.
Gig movers tend to have short minimums, which means if your “move” takes an hour, you’ll likely only pay for an hour.
Can help load and unload from a containerized move
If you moved locally or long-distance with a container company, a gig mover can help you load and unload.
What are the disadvantages to gig movers?
Not full service movers
Gig movers are rarely expert packers and movers.
Gig movers have very small trucks and vans. If you have anything larger than a one bedroom, they probably aren’t the best option for you.
You might be surprised that in many cases, Fairprice Movers can match or even beat the prices of containerized or gig movers. Give us a call for a free quote.
Featured image via PxFuel
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This last year or so has been crazy for the real estate market, and in turn, the moving industry. At Fairprice Moving, we’ve moved people throughout California and Pennsylvania, but we also moved hundreds of people out of our home states. It seems we weren’t alone. In 2020, a near record number of people moved, and a lot of them to the same destinations.
A moving destination can be popular for a number of reasons. Perhaps people are moving closer to family, or a job. Maybe the cost of living is more manageable, or perhaps the climate suits more people (although it’s hard to imagine a climate better than the Bay Area’s). One thing we’ve noticed, though, is that real estate prices seem to be climbing everywhere, including in the places that are considered more affordable.
We’ve decided to put together a list of the least and most expensive homes in the top 10 moving destinations. You’ll probably notice that each moving destination is in a sunny, warm part of the country, with one possible exception: Denver, Colorado. Please note that these are current listings and the ultimate sales price could be very different.
Las Vegas, NV
Depending upon whom you speak to, Las Vegas is either the land of glitz and glam or it’s something a little, shall we say, less. The real estate offerings in Vegas seem to back that up. On one end of the spectrum, we have a very affordable property that needs some work, but we also have some that put
At around 837 square feet, this two bedroom/one bath at $149,900 is a bargain, even if it does need some work.
At more than $27 million, this 57,000 square foot home puts most Bay Area properties to shame. Complete with horse stables, an air conditioned car museum that’s able to hold more than 100 cars, tennis courts and a zoo, one has to wonder if this house was owned by Vegas royalty such as Wayne Newton or Ziegfried and Roy. Don’t forget to bring your private jet. The compound has its own hangar and terminal.
Phoenix has long been a popular destination for those looking to escape California. Fortunately, you can find homes in all price ranges.
A person doesn’t have to be rich to move to Phoenix. This three bedroom/two bath is modest but at just $100,000 for 1,580 square feet, you can turn the home into your dream home and it will still be cheaper than most Bay Area properties.
Modest in price compared to Las Vegas, this gorgeous five bedroom/seven bath home is a relative bargain at less than $10 million. With incredible views, a dedicated home gym and a negative edge pool, this new subdivision looks like it has wealthy Californians in mind.
Denver is the only city on the top 10 list that’s not part of the sun belt. That said, Denver gets over 300 days of sun per year, so even though it gets its share of snow and cold, you can almost bet it will be gone in a few days.
Denver hardly has a bad part of town, so if you buy this 875 square foot two bedroom one bath, you can’t go too far wrong. The sellers are asking just $219,000 for a house that admittedly needs a lot of work, but if you’re handy, you can easily double your money.
This $7 million 11 bedroom/6.5 bath 12,500 square foot home is full of history. It was once owned by a Denver socialite. If $7 million seems a bit out of your price range, you can rent out parts of the home or even turn it into an event center.
It might need a little work to bring it up to your standards, but a four bedroom/two bath home for just $240,000 is a bargain in most cities.
Perched on a hill with breathtaking lake views, this six bedroom/8.5 bath home on nearly 14 acres almost seems like a bargain at $12,999,000.
When I think of Atlanta, I think of long lazy summer days languishing in the shade. Atlanta is also a cultural and economic hub, winter or summer. More affordable than the Bay Area, it’s no wonder people are moving there in droves.
As a foreclosure, this three bedroom/two bath home comes with some risk, but at $65,279, you can’t go too far wrong, especially if you’re handy. The 1,600 square foot home is made of brick and it sits on a generous .4 acre lot.
Coming from the Bay Area, it might surprise you that the current most expensive house for sale in Atlanta is priced at “just” $10 million. With six bedrooms and 8.5 baths on a two acre lot, this home has a wellness area, plenty of outdoor living and a true chef’s kitchen.
The largest city in Texas, as you might imagine, is full of variety. Houston has about anything a person might want, except perhaps for moderate summer temperatures.
This two bedroom/two bath 720 square foot home is perfect for a flipper or someone who’s handy.
Listed at $1.00 below $30 million, this enormous 26,400 square foot eight bedroom/8.5 bath home on a 2.33 acre lot looks like something that might belong to a Saudi prince or the Vatican.
Close to Disney World and located in Central Florida, Orlando is one of the hottest moving destinations.
This two bedroom/two bath home has a lot of privacy, it’s move in ready, and best of all, they’re only asking $72,900.
For just $12,950,000, you can invest in 2010’s Orlando Parade of Homes winner. With nine bedrooms/9.5 baths, this 11,565 home near Disney World will make you popular with all your friends, and likely with people you don’t even know. Fortunately, as the home sits on 13 acres, you might never have to see your guests…or neighbors.
Once known for cowboys, oil and cattle, Dallas still offers those, but it’s also a home to banking and tech. It’s becoming a go-to destination for people in all fields.
If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, you can purchase a two bedroom/one bath home in Dallas for less than $100,000. Built in 1955, this home needs some sweat equity before it will offer you some real equity.
This $12,900,000 lavish nine bedroom/12.5 bath estate offers a gourmet kitchen, a wine room, a home theater, a game room and a billiard room. Its 30 foot ceilings offer a true grand entrance.
San Antonio, TX
San Antonio is one of Texas’ biggest tourist destinations. With its world-famous Riverwalk and world class dining and shopping, it’s no wonder people are moving to San Antonio in droves.
If you are willing to put the work in, you can buy this two bedroom/one bath home for just $35,000. It will take time before it’s ready to move into, but it’s not like you’ll go house poor from the mortgage in the meantime.
At $7.5 million, this three bedroom/6.5 bath estate seems like a bargain. It sits on over 12 acres and its infinity pool directly overlooks downtown San Antonio and the Texas hills.
Located in Central Florida and close to Disney World, Tampa is growing in popularity. Still, there are bargains to be found.
If you have $100k in cash and are ready to take on a project, this two bedroom/one bath possible hoarder house is nothing but opportunity.
Not all homes in Tampa are inexpensive. This Medeterranian villa has eight bedrooms and 9.5 baths and sprawls over its acre lot. With a gym, a chef’s kitchen and pretty much everything else you’d expect to find at this price range, you can be the envy of Tampa Bay.
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In California and much of the nation, it seems that wildfires are almost a given each year, especially toward the end of a hot summer, and this summer is definitely hot. Even if you live in an area that’s not particularly prone to fires, they can cause bad outdoor and indoor air quality for 100s of miles.
Of course fires aren’t the only indoor air pollutants around. Carpet, upholstery, and dust can carry any number of allergens and sometimes even pathogens. While we can’t do much about outdoor air quality, other than encourage you to wear an N95 mask, there are ways to take control of your indoor air quality.
The can’t be beat air purifying tactic
We aren’t going to try to tell you that plants will scrub all the pollutants out of your home’s air. The best way to do that is with an air purifier for each room or open area of your home. Still, you can help your air purifiers out with some added greenery. Plus, plants make for inexpensive decor, unless you go too exotic.
Best air purifying plants
Personally, I don’t have a lot of luck with flowering plants, ore really any plants. For those with more of a green thumb than me (probably every reader of this blog), there are some air purifying plants that are both a breath of fresh air and colorful.
If your home needs a pop of color, a Barberton daisy is bright and beautiful, but it also helps clear many toxins from the air. The Barberton needs lots of light and consistently moist, but not wet, soil.
If you have a good bright bathroom, an English Ivy is a beautiful addition and a great air purifying plant. English Ivys are both beautiful and will help you keep the bathroom clean. They help fight both mold and fecal matter.
If you’re like me, and can go way too many days before remembering to water your plants, a snake plant is one of the top air purifying plants. Sometimes called the Mother-In-Law’s Tongue, the hearty snake plant releases its oxygen at night. It also helps remove pollutants such as formaldehyde and benzene. The versatile Mother-In-Law’s Tongue can thrive in a variety of conditions, just be sure not to over water it.
Kimberly Queen Fern
If you’re good about remembering to water your plants, the Kimberly Queen Fern is similar to its cousin the Boston Fern, but can survive with a bit less water. Still, the Kimberly Queen fern does need regular misting and damp soil. It can help remove formaldehyde and alcohols from the air.
Great for low light and known for removing formaldehyde from the air, the bamboo palm is a delicate looking yet somewhat hearty plant. Don’t let it dry out and you should be fine.
Best pet friendly plant
A spider plant is of the best plants for purifying a room is also one of the easiest to grow. Unlike most air purifying plants, the Spider Plants are pet friendly, meaning if you have a dog or cat that nibbles on greenery, there’s no risk of poison. Spider Plants aren’t exactly immortal, but it’s tough to kill. In fact, spider plants keep reproducing with little baby “spiders,” that you can either plant elsewhere or give to friends. For a boho vibe, hang a Spider Plant from a ceiling hook with a macrame hanger.
Another hearty plant, the Chinese Evergreen will help fight indoor air pollution. Best of all, the Chinese Evergreen, as the name implies, is tough to kill. They come in several varieties. They can survive almost any light condition and because they’re slow growing, the Chinese Evergreen will never get sloppy and out of control.
The Weeping Fig, or as more commonly known, the ficus plant, is great for clearing the air of formaldehyde, xylene and toluene. With a trunk that wraps around itself, the Weeping Fig looks almost like a work of art. In fact, they are often used as bonsai trees. They’re sometimes used in While it can thrive under several light conditions, they are fast growers and need to be regularly repotted.
Put a Peace Lily near an attached garage to help remove carbon monoxide. Peace Lilies are rather finicky. They need indirect light and regular watering. The best thing, though, is that they tell you when the growing conditions aren’t right. If they’re getting too much light, they yellow. If the soil is dry, they droop.
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It’s not clickbait to say that the top one will surprise you.
The real estate market is going bananas (the technical word, we’re guessing) right now. States across the country are seeing bidding wars in both urban locations and rural. Nationwide, housing prices have risen more than 35 percent over the last year. San Mateo County has the honor, or perhaps dubious distinction, of being the first market to break a median home price of $2 million.
You aren’t alone if you’re feeling left out of the real estate market, and not just in California. People everywhere are feeling as though they’ll never be able to afford a home of their own, especially as the nation is seeing a rising cost of living. Each year, Wallethub releases a list of the best states to live in. They use criteria such as education rate, quality of hospitals, income growth, quality of life, safety, and yes, housing prices. Believe it or not, some are almost affordable.
Some of the rankings are confusing. Some states (like Utah) score very close to the top on the main metrics, but score #7. You can read the methodology here.
Pennsylvania, the second home state for Fairprice Movers, is number 10 of the best states to live, according to the survey. Pennsylvania rates a total score of 59.21. The Keystone State ranks near the middle in most metrics (#30 in affordability, #42 for its economy) but a higher ranking in health and education (#25) pushes it to the top 10.
Pennsylvania’s cost of living
Pennsylvania’s median household income is just shy of $62,000 and its median home cost is only about $174,000.
When a lot of us think of Iowa, we think of corn fields and flatlands. While that might be true, it’s the ninth best state to live in, according to the survey. It ranks #20 in affordability, which might be surprising. Its economy and cost of living, at #13 and its education and health rankings, at #11 help give Iowa an overall ranking of 59.49.
Iowa’s cost of living
Iowa’s household income is around $60,000 and homes are very affordable with a median home price of about $158,000.
New Hampshire isn’t the only New England state to make our top 10 list of best places to move to. The total score for New Hampshire is a very respectful 59.59. New Hampshire ranks low in affordability (#40) but the New Hampshire economy and cost of living rank #4 and education and health rank #6. If you want to experience New England life without spending an arm and a leg, New Hampshire might be the answer.
New Hampshire’s cost of living
The median household in New Hampshire earns about $75,000 and the median home cost is about $274,000.
If you love the Rocky Mountains, but you don’t want to pay Colorado’s high housing prices and high cost of living, Utah might be the answer. Utah’s total score is 59.84 and it places toward the top in nearly every metric. It ranks #6 in affordability, #3 in its economy and #8 in education and health.
Utah’s cost of living
Utah’s median income is about $76,000 and its median home price is about $425,000, which is still considerably higher than the US median, at about $295,000. Utah’s other quality of life metrics are what elevates it to the top 10.
The Dairy State is another of three midwestern states to rank in the top 10. With a healthy score of 60.94, Wisconsin ranks #32 in affordability, #20 in its economy and #10 in education and health.
Wisconsin’s cost of living
Wisconsin’s median income is about $64,000 and its median home price is about $226,000.
The Land of 10,000 Lakes is the top ranking midwestern state with a total score of 60.79. It ranks very respectably at #9 for affordability, #16 for its economy and cost of living, and #4 for education and health.
Minnesota’s cost of living
The median household income in Minnesota is about $71,000. Its median home price is around $235,000.
Washington and Oregon are nearly as expensive as California, so a lot of people are moving to their neighbor state of Idaho. The Gem State rates as the 4th best place to live on the list of best states to live in. Idaho’s total score is 61.16. It ranks #15 for affordability, #5 for its economy and #29 for education and health.
Idaho’s cost of living
Idaho’s median household income is about $66,000 and its median home price is about $389,000.
The third of the best states to live in surprised us a little. New York, The Empire State has a total score of 61.63, which is surprising given how it ranked with the main metrics for the best states. New York ranks #47 in affordability, #33 for the economy and #18 for education and health. While the cost of living in the city is high, you can find very affordable real estate if you head upstate. Way upstate.
New York’s cost of living
The median household income is about $72,000 and its median home price is about $657,000.
Rounding out our New England states is Massachusetts, with a total score of 62.70. Ranked at #45 for its cost of living, it’s one of the least affordable states to live on the list. Its economy fares better at #12 in the country. It’s probably not surprising that the state that’s home to Harvard ranks #1 in health and education.
Massachusetts’s cost of living
Massachusetts’s median income is about $81,000 and its median home price is about $508,000.
Some of us had to look twice at the list. New Jersey is the top rated state, with a score of 63.01. Despite New Jersey’s reputation, its nickname of The Garden State is earned. New Jersey is close to the bottom for affordability — ranked #49. Its economy and cost of living rank #32 and it ranks #5 for education and health.
New Jersey’s cost of living
The median income in New Jersey is around $83,000 and the median home price in New Jersey is about $500,000.
If you plan to move to any of the best states, or any of the US Continental States, Fairprice Movers can move you there at a very reasonable price.
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When you live in the city, there is a good chance you don’t interact much with your neighbors. If you lived in an apartment, pretty much the best anyone can ask for is that your neighbors don’t have loud parties lasting well into the night.
But during the COVID migration to the suburbs, people are learning that there’s a lot more to being a good neighbor than reining in the noise from your late night parties.
If you bought your new home, there’s a good chance your neighbors will be with you for a long time. Now might be the time to study up on how to be a good neighbor, or better yet, a great neighbor.
Ask your neighbors for advice
Rather than search Google or Yelp for a services you might need, ask your neighbors. Your next-door neighbor might have the perfect landscaping person or handy person. The family down the block might know of a great babysitter and pediatrician. The neighbor with the three dogs has a reliable and popular dog walker and local veterinarian. Your neighbor with beautiful hair can refer you to her hairstylist.
There’s nothing better to get to know your neighbor than complimenting them as you ask for referrals.
Become a good neighbor by building a good fence
Good fences make for good neighborsThere’s an old idiom that says good fences makes for good neighbors, or something like that. We agree, but not because we dislike our neighbors.
A fence keeps dogs from entering a good neighbor’s yard. It keeps weeds local on one side. It also eliminates any doubt as to who is responsible for the slice of land abutting the fence. In other words, good fences stop problems with neighbors before they get a chance to start.
Become a good neighbor by learning local ordinances and abiding by them
Be respectful by honoring your neighborhood homeowner’s associationPerhaps your new community has a homeowner’s association, or perhaps not. If you do have a homeowner’s association, it’s in your best interest as a good neighbor to learn the ordinances.
Keeping your lawn too overgrown or your house the wrong color might not seem like a big deal, but it can cost you money and devalue your new neighbors’ homes; the opposite of a good neighbor.
If you don’t have a homeowner’s association, your community will still have ordinances. Most cities forbid loud noise after a certain hour. They may also have parking restrictions and perhaps even laws forbidding certain plants.
Become a good neighbor by keeping your home up
Realtors often tell people that they should find the worst house in the best neighborhood. We can almost guarantee that whoever owned that worst house didn’t make too many friends out of the neighbors.
Once you move into your new home, the upkeep is all yours and it’s the perfect time to show your new neighbors that unlike the previous owner, you are a good neighbor.
If you want to be a good neighbor, maintain your yard, paint your home if needed, keep your windows clean, etc. Bring on the curb appeal the previous owner didn’t bother with…you’ll see your equity increase too.
What do you want to bet that you’ll make new friends as your new neighbors come out to check out what you’re doing.
Be a good neighbor by being a good pet owner
A good neighbor is a good pet owner. Let your dog stay inside most of the day and all night, so they won’t bark 24/7 and annoy the entire neighborhood with the noise.
Clean up after your dog or cat, especially if they defecate in a neighbor’s yard. Let your friendly dog meet your neighbors. A hand sniff can go a long way toward establishing a harmonious community and neighborhood.
Be a good neighbor by hosting a neighborhood party
In days past, it was common for good neighbors to welcome new arrivals to the neighborhood with a gift of food. While you might have neighbors like that in your community, there’s a good chance that you might have to make the effort to meet your new neighbors.
Host a good neighbor party. It doesn’t need to be expensive.
Go analog for just one day or night. Pass some flyers on your community or neighborhood. Maybe do a pot luck barbecue or cocktail hour for a neighborhood housewarming party.
Invite your neighbors for coffee
Maybe a party isn’t your thing. Instead, invite your neighbors, one by one, to a neighborhood coffee shop for some friendly gossip.
Be a good neighbor by keeping it down during parties
You might not invite your neighbors to all your parties and even if you do, be respectful. No loud noise after 10:00. In fact, it’s best that any outdoor party go inside before then.
Be a respectful good neighbor by keeping the noise down
Even then, keep the noise down. Don’t let your guests block driveways or take spaces from your new neighbors. You also don’t want drunk party guests annoying your neighbors and your community.
Be a good neighbor by obeying trash ordinances
Some communities have their own trash collection services and others have third party community trash collection. Regardless, there are laws and limits on what you can do. Be respectful and take your trash out to the curb the night before pickup. Bring it in as soon after pickup as possible.
Be respectful of your neighbors on bulk pickup days
If you have a bulk pickup, try not to clutter the sidewalks so your neighbors won’t trip. Take the bulk items out to the trash area as close to the pickup day as possible.
Your neighborhood or community might require that your trash cans are behind your fence on non-trash days. When you collect them, take them to your back yard if possible.
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If you live in a rental, there’s a very good chance your lease required at least one month’s, if not two months’ rent as a security deposit before your landlord allowed you to move in. With Bay Area property rents climbing as high as $3,500 a month, getting that security deposit back could help renters move into a new place.
If you search the internet, you’ll read all kinds of stories of horrible landlords who use every possible excuse to withhold security deposits from renters, but California is fairly tenant-friendly, and if you adhere to a few rules, read your lease, write everything down and take pictures, you should be able to get all of most of your security deposit back on your rental property.
Protecting your security deposit before moving in
Read your lease
Before moving in, read over your lease. Search for everything that might be relevant to your life. Does your landlord allow a roommate at the property? If you rent a room in a house, are you allowed overnight visitors and what are the other rules? Can you paint the walls or hang pictures? If you are renting a house, are you required to maintain the yard? Are you allowed to have pets? Are there pet deposits?
Inspect the apartment
Do a full walk through with photos
Do a full walk through of the apartment with the landlord before you move in. Document all damages and things like dirty walls, floors and appliances. Be sure to take photos.
Preferably, you should have your landlord sign off on the noted damages. At the very least, you should date stamp everything and send copies to your landlord. Be sure to put them in a safe file in your apartment or on your computer. You’ll need it when you move out.
Here is an inventory check list. Make sure you get everything in writing if you want your landlords to pay you your money back before you move to your new address.
Protecting your security deposit after moving in
Follow the lease agreement rules to get your money back or it will cost you
It will be a lot less stressful after you move out if you follow the terms in your lease. Keep your apartment relatively clean. Fix damages as soon as they occur and be sure to give your landlord 30 days notice before you move.
Don’t be afraid to ask your landlord for help if you want to protect your deposit
Your landlord is responsible for keeping all appliances, etc. in working order. If you have a problem, call your landlord right away, otherwise you may have to pay the repair bills or your landlords can take it out of your deposit when you move.
Here’s an example
I once knew someone whose toilet started running and wouldn’t stop. The tenant let it go so long that the landlord noticed a through the roof water bill. Needless to say, because the tenant didn’t call the landlords, the cost of the water bills were taken out of the tenant’s security deposit and they didn’t get a refund at all, despite the fact that their apartment was spotless and they had given 30 days advanced notice before the move. That single mistake of not calling the landlord to make the repair cost the tenant thousands of dollars.
Get your security deposit back from your landlord after moving out
Give your landlord proper notice to get your refund
In order to get your security deposit refund, your lease will likely require proper notice of at least 30 days before moving out. It’s a good idea to send a letter. Generally, the 30 days notice period starts on the day you pay your rent. Once you’ve given your 30 days notification before you move, your landlord may show your apartment, but your landlord must give at least 24 hours notice.
Give your landlord your last month’s rent
Unless your lease specified that you can use your security deposit as your last 30 days’ rent, you still must give your landlord the last month’s rent before you move. If you don’t, your landlord can sue you through mediation, small claims court or regular court. Be sure you don’t have any unpaid rent before expecting your money back from your deposit.
Do all repairs and cleaning, as specified on your lease agreement, to get your security deposit back
Before you give your landlord the keys, make sure your apartment is at least as clean as when you moved in if you expect your security deposit back. Clean all the appliances. Fill holes and repaint the walls if you painted without your landlord’s approval. Wipe down scuff marks. Replace anything you’ve damaged.
Once you’re done, take photos. Here is a list of what’s considered normal wear and tear, which your landlord cannot deduct from your security deposit refund.
Schedule a final inspection
Ask your landlord about scheduling a final inspection of your apartment once you’ve moved out and it’s time to return the keys.
Provide your forwarding address
Be sure to give your landlord your forwarding address so they know where to return your deposit.
Know your rights; what are the landlords’ responsibilities?
In California, your landlord has 21 days to return the security deposit from your apartment or rental in full after you return the keys.
If your landlord does not return the security deposit within 21 days, they must return all but deductions from the security deposit and provide, in writing:
- The reason why they’re keeping all or part of the security deposit
- An itemized list of deductions from your security deposit
- Receipts of all repairs. If repairs cannot be made within 21 days, the landlord can provide a good faith estimate of repairs, which should be completed within 14 days after the initial 21 days. At which point, the landlord must send the tenant copies of the receipts. The landlord cannot deduct normal wear and tear from your security deposit.
How to handle security deposit disputes
If your landlord doesn’t return your security deposit within 21 days and doesn’t provide a reason for it, the first thing you should do is write a letter to the landlord explaining why you feel you deserve your security deposit back. Send it via certified mail.
What to do if your landlord still refuses to return your security deposit
If you’re still having trouble getting your security deposit back after moving and after you’ve written a demand letter to your landlord, it may be time to sue.
Can tenants demand payment in court after moving?
Tenants can sue for up to twice the amount of the overdue security deposit reimbursement plus interest. You can sue in small claims court if you are suing for up to $10,000, including interest. The advantage to small claims court is that neither party can use a lawyer, which puts both parties on equal legal footing.
If you intend to sue for double the security deposit amount plus interest, and it’s more than $10,000 total, you might be up against an expensive legal team. Hiring a lawyer might not be worth the money for you.
The other law option to get your landlord to return the security deposit
If you and your landlord don’t want to go to court to get your deposit back, you’ve followed the laws, and you’ve already sent the demand letter to your landlord, you can try getting your security deposit back after moving through mediation. Both you and your landlord will make your cases in front of a neutral party. Both parties will then be held to the findings of the mediator.
What to do if your landlord refuses to return your deposit?
If you’ve tried everything to get your deposit back after your move, you’ve followed the laws and you don’t want to go to court, here is a list of other legal options and tips you could have. While it may seem like your landlord has all the advantages over tenants, like the money needed to fight, if you have followed the letter of the law before moving, the law is on your side.
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I grew up in Colorado, which at the time was all about rugged independence. The idea of hiring professional movers was almost unheard of, especially for local moves. Then I moved to New York, a city whose unofficial motto seemed to be “why do it yourself when you can pay someone to do it?”
Now that I’ve been in the Bay Area for several years, I’ve settled on a middle ground. In our household, we cook (most days). We clean (most days). But there is no way we would ever consider moving ourselves, even if I made my living in another industry. Why?
Why is hiring professional movers good for your health?
Americans move a lot compared to the rest of the world, but if you’ve stayed put for even a couple of years, you might have forgotten how painful it was. You likely used muscles you forgot you even had and it may have taken you days to recover. During my last DIY move, I tore the meniscus in my knee. I never recovered. If you do decide to move yourself, you might want to have your chiropractor or massage therapist on speed dial. Or, you can hire a professional moving company and relax.
Why is hiring professional movers good for your social life?
The only thing worse than moving yourself is having to help friends and family move. There isn’t enough beer and pizza in the world to make moving day fun. Friendships are about a lot of things, but unpaid labor shouldn’t be one of them. Hire professional movers. They won’t resent you at the end of the day. If you really want your friends and family to help, let them help throw a housewarming party.
Why is hiring professional movers good for your bank account?
The number one objection to hiring a professional moving company is the cost, or at least the perceived cost. Often, that’s a myth. Your time is money. Professional movers can complete a move in a single day. If you want the moving company to pack for you, they can usually complete the packing in a single day as well.
With DIY moves, there tends to be a lot of unexpected expenses. You have to pay extra for basic equipment like dollies and ramps. And have you seen the gas mileage on rental moving trucks? You have to pay for all of that. If you are moving long-distance, you will likely have to hire help to unload your truck at your destination.
For long-distance moves, professional movers are almost always cheaper. The only time I’d suggest moving yourself across country is if you need your items to arrive with you.
Why is hiring a professional moving company the safe way to go?
Hiring a professional moving company is the safe way to go because it eliminates a lot of the unknowns. If, for example, you haven’t finished packing by moving day, professional movers can swoop right in and get it done for you.
While you aren’t responsible for maintenance on your rental moving truck, if it breaks down, you are responsible for transferring everything from the disabled truck to the replacement. Imagine if that happens in the middle of no where. There’s no telling how long you’ll have to wait on the side of the road. For peace of mind, hire professional movers.
Not all professional movers are the same
Of course we know that not all professional movers are the same. To put it bluntly, not all moving companies care about their long-term reputation or their customers’ peace of mind. At Fairprice Movers, we’re in it for the long-haul. We have hundreds of five-star reviews and the vast majority of customers come back to us the next time they’re ready to hire a professional mover.
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If you are moving anywhere within the state of California, you might be hearing about a strange charge that will show up on your moving bill. The charge is called double drive time. If you’re confused about moving double drive time (and most people are), let us clarify.
Why double drive time?
The metropolitan areas in California are very large. The Bay Area alone is more than 10,000 square miles. Add to that the fact that Bay Area traffic is notoriously awful. If moving customers paid for all the time their moving company is on the road, let’s just say it can add hours.
That’s why the State of California Public Utilities Commission mandated double drive time. Any move within the state not charge for the time getting to you and getting back. Instead movers must charge double drive time.
What is the Double Drive Time Law?
Double drive time is the time it takes for getting to the point of origin to the point of destination, and then back. In other words, if you move one block away, you will be charged for that one block ride, twice. On the other hand, if you are moving from San Jose to Oakland, you’ll pay for that drive twice.
Is double drive time cheaper?
In most cases, double drive time is cheaper, and in all cases, it protects the customer. You have no way of knowing what time a truck leaves the garage or what time it returns there after your move. In fact, in many cases, your movers may be coming from another move or going to another move afterwards. With double drive time, you know exactly how long it took to get from your point of origin (your original moving address) to the point of destination (the address you’re moving to). Move time (packing, loading and unloading time), any materials used, and double drive time shall be the total of your move charges.
That’s not all. Double drive time frees you up to hire your favorite mover, no matter where they are. If you live in San Diego, for example, you can hire a mover from Los Angeles and you won’t have to pay for all the drive time it takes to get to you, if the Los Angeles mover services your area.
Do all moves charge double drive time?
All moves within the State of California charge double drive time. The double drive time law does not apply to moves outside the state of California.
If you have questions about double drive time, you can call us. Our moving consultants know all about it.
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One of the most misunderstood aspects of any move is moving insurance. Does a moving company offer full value protection or should you buy third party insurance? Here is everything you need to know about moving insurance.
Does a moving company offer free moving insurance?
Logically, you might think that a moving company insures every item they move. That’s sort of right. All licensed moving companies (which should be all moving companies) have to offer basic coverage, released value protection, or valuation coverage (just three different names for the same thing), for free. So far so good, right? Well, maybe, until you realize that valuation coverage covers your move for just 60 cents per pound per item. In other words, if a 20 pound Picasso were to jump off the truck, you’d receive $12.00.
Okay, maybe that’s not the best example. Anyone who has a Picasso would want to make sure it was covered with full value protection, right? Also, at Fairprice Movers, we would pack a Picasso so well that it could jump off the truck and into the middle of 880 without a scratch (please don’t try this at home). You probably get the idea, though. 60 cents per pound per item isn’t much, even if you don’t have any Picassos in your home.
Why doesn’t a moving company offer free moving insurance?
A moving company is a bit like the Post Office. When you ship something through the Post Office, they offer a little insurance for free, but not much. For most shipments, if you want to receive the full value should something happen to the package, you have to pay extra.
The primary reason the Post Office and moving companies don’t offer full value protection for free is that there’s no way to know what’s inside a box or the condition of what’s in that box. More to the point, though, neither are insurance companies, and as you probably know, insurance companies have to adhere to strict regulations.
Should you buy full value protection moving insurance?
In most cases, we recommend that customers purchase third party insurance. You can purchase through a company called Baker International. Their premiums start at about a penny on the dollar, depending on the deductible.
Will my homeowners or renters insurance cover my move?
Most of the time homeowners or renters insurance does not cover moves. It’s best to call your insurance company first. You may be able to purchase a rider on your policy that will cover the move.
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It’s that time of year again. It’s time to file your income tax return for 2020. If you moved during the year and were expecting to write off a portion of your move from your taxable income, you might be disappointed, but there are exceptions.
Previous moving income tax laws
If you’ve moved in the past, you may have have received a significant deduction on your IRS tax return, but since 2018, things have been a little different. It used to be that if you moved for a job, and if your new job was at least 50 miles further from your old home than your old job, there was a good chance you could have deducted most if not all of the moving expenses.
That changed in 2018 when the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act replaced several line item tax deductions with a larger standard deduction.
Current federal income tax laws for moving
If you itemize your taxes, you might be in for a rude awakening when it comes to writing off your moving expenses. For the majority of Americans, there is no more moving tax deduction.
What is the one exception to moving income tax filing laws?
There is one exception to the new moving tax laws. If you are in the military and you pay for your move, you can still deduct the costs if:
- You are on active duty
- Are subject to a permanent change of station
- You are moving from your home to your first post, from one post to another or from your final post home
What isn’t tax deductible for military personnel?
Even military personnel have limits when it comes to IRS federal income tax deductions. If you took a scenic road trip during your move, you will only be able to deduct the mileage for the most direct route. You also cannot deduct from your income tax bill:
- Security deposits
- Costs involved in buying or selling your home
- Registering your automobile
- Getting a new driver’s license
- Storage costs once you arrive at your new home, unless it’s an international move
- Expenses involved in returning to your old home, regardless of the reason
Can you deduct moving from your state income tax bill?
If you are filing your taxes in California, you might be able to deduct your move from your income tax bill. Most of the same pre-2018 laws apply. Your new home has to be at least 50 miles closer to your new job than your old one does.
How to save money on your move
At Fairprice Moving, there’s not a whole lot we can do about your federal income tax bill, but we can definitely help save you money.
Talk to us about cost-saving tips such as packing your own items. If you have a lot of books, and are moving long-distance, you can mail them book rate instead of having them shipped.
There are several items you could consider moving yourself, such as electronics, pictures and mirrors and lamps. Otherwise they would need to be packed.
Of course, we recognize that time is also money. We can save you a boatload of time if you let us do the packing for you. We can even unpack. While there is an extra charge for packing, we can usually pack you up within a day.
What are future moving tax deductions?
While we can’t predict the future, but the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will expire in tax year 2026. It’s possible that the moving tax deductions will return then, but if they do, it will likely mean that the standard deduction will decrease.