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What To Do If Your New House Has A Bunch Of Hidden Problems

in Advice, Real Estate by Ninja Movers Leave a comment

With our housing boom, home buyers don’t have a lot of clout in today’s market. Unfortunately, to purchase a home, many buyers have to forgo protections like home inspections before purchase.

That doesn’t mean that if you don’t have an inspection, you have no rights. In most cases, it is the seller’s obligation to disclose major problems like with foundations, roofs, mold and pests. If a seller neglected to tell you about a major problem, you might be able to sue, but you might not.

Home sellers are required to give truthful information about home defects they know or should have known about. Most states, including California, do require home sellers to complete several disclosure forms describing their homes’ general condition. Home sellers can never deliberately withhold from potential buyers knowledge about their homes’ condition that could later pose problems, such as lead paint or termites. However, homes in states such as California are also presumed to be sold “as-is.”

Source: SF Gate

Even if your home purchase was an exception to the disclosure low (such as a foreclosure, a family transfer, a judgement, etc.), you can ask the seller to fix the problems, although you could risk them saying no and you could risk them rejecting your offer.

The best tactic might be to hire an inspector anyway. Factor anything the inspector finds into the offer, even with the competitive market. If you can’t afford to fix a home’s major problems, it’s not the home for you anyway.

Another tactic is to wait on what you can. If the roof still has a couple of years on it, or if the plumbing only clogs occasionally, you can gamble that the real estate market will continue to rise and that you can take out a home equity loan to fix the problems. If, however, the safety and integrity of your home is at stake (such as with foundation or electrical issues), it may be best to move on.

If you’re already living in the home, though, you are probably stuck because in California, homes are sold as-is. If you sell, you will have to disclose the problems to future buyers though. Some repairs might be delayed by hiring a handyman. For example, a foundation issue might just need a French drain. A roof might just need patches, as might some pipes. Even electrical issues could have bandaid fixes, but be careful.

How You Can Help The Pets Displaced Because Of Hurricane Harvey

in News by Ninja Movers Leave a comment

As Hurricane Harvey was about to make landfall, my husband expressed mild dismay at the people who refused to evacuate. His stance softened when I mentioned the impossibility of evacuating nearly 2.5 million people. It softened even more when I mentioned that many of the shelters wouldn’t take pets. We would never abandon our pets, we smugly proclaimed.

170828-Z-ZZ999-010AEven that, though, is just a fraction of the picture. I would imagine that most people are like us. They would never abandon their pets out of choice, but when you are at work, or shopping, when the hurricane hits, pets might be left alone and there’s no way to reach them, a fact that leaves millions of pets with no homes, no food and no love.

You can help, though. According to the director of the SPCA in Cincinnati, Harold Dates, giving money is by far the best way to help.

“The best way to offer assistance is to go to the Houston SPCA website, or the Humane Society of the United States or the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). Those groups are the coordinating agencies for relief to go there.”

However, he cautions you not to donate cat or dog food, as there’s no way to get it to Houston right now.

“Trying to do dog food or trying to do other things, it just gets spoiled in the process,” Dates said. “Pet food companies typically donate cases of food, and send them down in special tractor trailer trucks.”

Source: WCPO

While ultimate goal is to reunite lost pets with their owners, for many, that will be impossible. As many as 100,000 pets were left homeless during Hurricane Katrina. Things have improved somewhat since Katrina. Many shelters do allow pets. Texas law requires that evacuation plans must include pets and service animals. But many, many pets will be sent to shelters across the nation and short of adopting or volunteering at a shelter, the best thing you can do is give money.

Featured image via Defense.gov.

Six Things You Should Never, Ever Have A Moving Company Move

in Advice, Posts, Preparing for a move by Ninja Movers Leave a comment

When you hire a moving company, you have a right to expect a lot. A good moving company is expert at moving everything from basic furniture to priceless antiques; from framed posters to masterpieces. There are some things, though, that you should never have your movers take with them.

Image via <a href=

Pixabay,” width=”960″ height=”725″ class=”size-large wp-image-10223″ /> Image via Pixabay,

Valuable Papers

Experts always recommend that in case of fire or natural disaster, always take your valuable, irreplaceable papers with them, if at all possible. The same holds true when you move. While your movers can be trusted, papers like deeds, car titles, birth certificates and social security cards are far too valuable to trust with anyone. More importantly, moving insurance doesn’t cover the loss of valuable documents.

Image via <a href=

Pixnio” width=”960″ height=”636″ class=”size-large wp-image-10221″ /> Image via Pixnio

Expensive Jewelry

As with valuable papers, moving insurance does not cover valuable jewelry. If something is important enough for you to lock up, move it yourself.

Imagine via Pixabay,

Imagine via Pixabay.

Guns

While technically movers can move unloaded guns, loaded guns are out of the question. It’s simply best to move firearms yourself.

Image via Pixabay.

Image via Pixabay.

Plants

Moving trucks are a horrible environment for plants. They are hot and dry and they get absolutely no light. While plants might survive a short trip, they can be surprisingly expensive to move. Moving trucks are meant for stacking and you can’t stack plants. It’s also difficult to prop up plants without packing the pots in boxes.

Image via Wikimedia.

Image via Wikimedia.

Pets

For most people, it goes without saying that they should make other arrangements to transport pets, but you’d be surprised at how many customers ask that movers take their non-furry friends like fish, snakes and lizards. Moving trucks don’t have a lot of air and they can get very hot. Move all pets, including the non-furry kinds, yourself.

Image via Wikimedia.

Image via Wikimedia.

Flammables, Explosives and Corrosives

Leave your cleaning fluids, paint and your propane tanks behind, recycle them or move them in your car.

Featured image via Pixabay.

How To Decorate A Dorm Room; Send Your College Student Off In Style

in Decorating by Ninja Movers Leave a comment

My freshman dorm room was hardly something I bragged about. I slept on a shabby mattress, did my homework on a shabby desk and my idea of decorating included throwing up a couple of posters and having a decent bed set. As I recall, one of those posters had to be rather large to cover the huge stain on the wall above my bed.

3820949508_6e553d7776_bI could have been embarrassed by this dorm room, but I wasn’t, simply because they were almost all as bad as mine. Just don’t ask me about my really strange first roommate.

I have no idea what that dorm room looks like today, but I’m sure it’s safe to say the stain on the wall is gone (at least I hope it is) and I’m sure they changed out the mattress. One thing I do know for sure is that the pressure to have a nice dorm room is greater than ever.

With rapidly rising tuition costs, there isn’t always much room in the budget for fancy decor. Fortunately, you don’t need to spend a lot to make your student’s room both comfy and inviting.

Decorate to your student’s personality

Let your child’s personality flourish in their first place away from home, but to avoid conflict, take the roommate shopping so they can both agree on decisions. Use removable picture hangers to hang artwork. Buy some plants and knick-knacks, and of course, buy bedding that matches your child’s personality. A rug will make getting ready for those brutal 8:00 am classes in the winter just a little less brutal.

Some schools will let you loft beds. This can create a lot of room for a desk and even a futon.

Create entertainment space

Even if your child was a wallflower in high school, don’t assume they’ll be the same in college. It’s amazing how living in close proximity with people your own age can sometimes turn even the shyest people into near extroverts.

To create entertainment space, turn the bed into a day bed with lots of comfy pillows. The bed has to be up against the wall for this to work. If the dorm allows, purchase a small refrigerator and a small microwave for snacks. If your child drinks coffee, rather than having them blow their spending money at Starbucks, buy them a coffee maker or even an inexpensive espresso/cappuccino maker. Buy some decent external speakers for their computer, and viola, entertaining space.

You can also add seating with some multifunctional pieces like storage ottomans.

Create a comfortable study space

This is probably even more important than creating the entertainment space. Most dorm rooms come with desks, which is great. Rather than adding personality with clutter, let your student pick out a desk set that matches their personality. Don’t forget to add a plant, and if there’s room, perhaps a gold fish in a bowl. That’s one way to combat dreariness. Another is to move the desk near the window.

Avoid the roommate

If your child’s first roommate is anything like mine, you’ll want to create some private space. This can be done with a bookcase or even an old fashioned room divider.

Bring reminders from home

Being thrown into the lions’ den of college can be a bit of a culture shock for someone who’s never been on their own. Send your child with a couple of things from their bedroom at home and perhaps with some family pictures. Arrange the pictures as a collage on one wall. It will be both chic and comforting.

All The Best Ways To Keep In Touch With Your Old Friends; Some May Surprise You

in Advice, Long-Distance moving by Ninja Movers Leave a comment

In the age of social media, being able to keep in touch with old friends is easier than ever, but is it the best way?

Four_girls_friends_001

A few days ago, I was chatting with a friend (I’ll call her Amy) who’s a relatively new transplant to the area. Amy mentioned that she began friending most of her old friends and neighbors from 2,000 miles away. Surprisingly, she said, it depressed her because their posts only seemed to indicate how little her absence has changed their lives, while she feels like she is starting all over again.

I told Amy that people only tend to post happy moments on Facebook, so no matter how much they were missing her, it may not be evident on their Facebook profiles. So I began asking myself, what is a better way to keep in touch with old friends you may have left behind?

Social Media

Facebook is actually tailor made to keep in touch with old friends, but if you want to even try to mimic the feeling of being with your friends, it’s better to create a group rather than just follow their feeds. In the group, you can exchange memories and private jokes. You can get personal in a way that you never could on a public profile. Other social media platforms may allow you to have a group discussion, but I still prefer Facebook groups, for no other reason than that they are easier to follow.

Texting

Creating a text thread is less personal than a phone call, but it’s far easier to gather groups of friends. Drop them texts in real time as interesting things happen in your life.

Skype, Facetime, etc.

Once again, thank technology for letting you see your friends, instead of just hearing their voices or reading their digital messages.

Letters

If you can’t remember the last time you wrote or received a letter, you’re not alone, but it’s a great way to spend time collecting your thoughts and it’s a great way to tell a friend that not only are you thinking about them, you’re willing to spend the time proving it.

Journaling

This one wasn’t my idea:

If you’re anything like me, you were obsessed with The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants in your middle school years. You know how the traveling journal works. If you’re not familiar with the story, it’s about four best friends who find a pair of jeans that fit all of them. To keep in touch, they wrote in a journal about their adventures while wearing the pants, then mailed the journal and the pants to each other. This is perhaps the most creative way to keep in touch long distance. Since it’s pretty unlikely that you’ll find one pair of pants that fits you and your friends, though, sticking to the traveling journal will work. Set an amount of time for each person in the group to keep the journal. When your time is up, mail it to the next person. You can write entries about your life in the journal, doodle, and write comments on other people’s entries!

Source: MissMillMag

Go On Vacation

A group vacation beats normal day-to-day interactions any day.

Visit

Of course.

How are you keeping in touch with your old friends?

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons.

Hilarious Moving Fails No Decent Mover Would Ever Make (VIDEO)

in Local moving, Long-Distance moving, Preparing for a move, Uncategorized by Ninja Movers Leave a comment

For most customers, moving nightmares might consist of being overcharged, having some items broken and *gasp* even having their furniture held hostage. Those are nightmares, but sometimes, the worst moves start with the best intentions.

The internet, the world’s repository for everything embarrassing, has compiled several hilarious (for those not experiencing them) moving fails. Most are do-it-yourselfers, trying to save a few bucks, but some are actual moving companies, and trust me, we’re embarrassed for all of them.

Of course, I’d be negligent in posting this hilarious video without offering a few words of advice. Number one, please never, ever try hoisting a piece of furniture out of (or into) a window without help from professionals who have the right equipment.

Even experienced movers are reluctant to hoist a piece of furniture through a window, without someone specifically trained in the science. Most movers can hoist furniture up one or maybe two floors, but it takes special ropes and equipment and it takes being very, very careful.

You’ll find very few in the moving industry who are against the idea of people moving themselves. Sometimes, it’s the least expensive and most practical way to get from point A to point B. Sometimes, though, people get in over their heads. If an item can’t make it through a door, rather than forcing it, take the door and frame off, with the proper tools, of course.

As for the people in this video who appeared to be pros, shame on them. Remember, a logo and a t-shirt doesn’t necessarily mean professionalism. Always be sure to check social media (Yelp, Facebook, Google) and review sites like Angie’s List before hiring a mover. You should also check licensing information.

Remember, if you’re moving yourself and you find yourself in a jam, there’s no shame in taking for help. You don’t want to be caught as one of these moving fails.

How To Decorate Your New Home On A Shoestring Budget

in Decorating, Posts, Your New Home by Ninja Movers Leave a comment

Once you’ve shelled out for the down payment or security deposit on your new home and once you’ve paid for the movers, you might find you wallet feeling very light. A new home is no fun though, unless you can put your own personal touch on it. So how does one go about decorating a new home when they’re broke?

If you’re feeling particularly strapped after your move, it’s probably not the best time to tackle a major renovation, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make your surroundings comfortable and completely you.

1. Paint — You probably already know that a fresh coat of paint can give a whole new feel to a room, for not a lot of money if you paint recruit your family. Neutrals, like light grays and creamy whites are appropriate for almost any room. For a pop of color, add an accent wall to complement your furniture and art work.

2. Throw Pillows — You might not have the budget to buy a new sofa, but new throw pillows can give a whole new look to an old sofa. Play with patterns and colors you’ve never thought of. If possible, bring one of the sofa cushions with you, just to be sure the new pillows don’t clash. Throw pillows are also a very low commitment option for people who are resistant to change or have color phobia.

pexels-photo-133919

3. Plants — Nothing brightens and freshens a house like a little greenery. A few plants can make your home seem warmer in the winter, cooler in the summer and even cleaner. In fact, plants do a wonderful job of cleaning the air. Stores like Trader Joe’s and Home Depot have budget friendly plants, but you might find that friends and neighbors might have cuttings. All you would have to buy is soil and containers.

nature-flowers-white-plants

4. Area Rugs — Area rugs can be very expensive, but through sites like eSaleRugs (no, they are not paying me), you can buy new and gently used rugs for a fraction of the price. Area rugs can be a great way to add color, add warmth to wood or tile or cover flaws on your floor.

Featured image via Julian Fong/Flickr.

Featured image via Julian Fong/Flickr.

5. Thrift stores — Thrift stores can be full of treasures for your new home. You can find art (sometimes original), furniture, kitchen items, knick-knacks, area rugs, lighting and sometimes even brand new, never opened bed and bath linens. No one will ever know you cheaped out.

San Jose Named Most Unaffordable City; What That Actually Means

in Bay Area Real Estate by Ninja Movers Leave a comment

It might surprise you somewhat, or it might not, that the most unaffordable city in the United States is right in our backyard, literally. The most unaffordable city is San Jose.

So what does your money buy you in San Jose?

Well, let’s start with the least expensive single family home. The good news is that there are some homes that are listed for sale at less than $500,000. That, of course, doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll sell for under half a mil, but it’s a starting point.

The least expensive single family home is listed at just $349,000. It has four bedrooms and two baths and is described as a “contractor’s special,” which means it needs a lot of work.

Screen Shot 2017-07-19 at 5.55.14 PM

For something a bit more move in ready, there’s this four bedroom, one bath, which is listed at just $459,999.

Screen Shot 2017-07-19 at 6.04.22 PM

This one bedroom, one bath condo is listed at just under $300,000. It’s small, but a bargain at today’s prices.

The most expensive single family home is a modern, light-filled six bedroom, 10 bath property on what is described as one of the Bay Area’s most prestigious streets. According to Realtor.com:

Located on one of the most prestigious streets in the Bay Area, Dry Creek Estate is simply a work of Modern Art. The to be built new construction will stand in at 6 Beds, 10 Baths, 6,600+ SQFT, and fit for modern royalty. The gracious floor plan includes 2 Masters on the 3300+ SQFT 1st Floor & 2 Masters on the 3300+ SQFT 2nd Floor. 6,000+ SQFT underground garage is an automobile aficionado treasure chest. The sun soaked 3,000+ SQFT Rooftop Deck features a Hot Tub & Views. The bells & whistles continues to impress including a Lap Pool, Wine Cellar, Rec Room, Pro Gym, Home Theater, Chefs Kitchen, & so much more. The Glass Elevator takes you from your Ferrari to your Roof Deck. Its the Hollywood Hills in Silicon Valley. Architect Maurice Camargo expands dreams & expectations into breathtaking spaces. This 21st Century luxury marvel is a visionary masterpiece designed for the modern Silicon Valley homeowner.

Screen Shot 2017-07-19 at 6.12.06 PM

While the media likes to portray the Bay Area, and now specifically San Jose as out of reach for most Americans, there are still some bargains to be found — if you’re willing to do some work.

Featured image via David Sawyer/Flickr.

When NOT To Move With A Moving Company – Even When You May Want To

in Advice, Local moving, Posts by Ninja Movers Leave a comment

It might sound weird to talk about not moving with a moving company — on a moving company’s blog — but for some people, moving with a moving company may not be the best choice.

When not to hire a moving company.

For the vast majority of people, hiring a moving company saves time, money (your time is worth money) and backs, but for a handful of people, moving yourself is the answer.

If you’re young and your best piece of furniture is an IKEA hand-me-down (not that there’s anything wrong with IKEA), it may not be worth paying professionals to move it.

If you just have a few boxes to ship, don’t hire a mover. Ship them through the Post Office, especially if those boxes contain books. The books may take a few weeks to arrive, but since many movers charge by weight for long-distance moves, you will save a lot of money if you have a lot of books. If there are books you need right away, take them with you.

If you have a single piece of furniture or two, call movers, but know that with most, it will not be cost effective. Some may have a few cubic feet of space that needs to be filled, and coincidentally, may be going to your area. They might be able to make you a good deal, but for most, it would be cost prohibitive to move just a couple of pieces of furniture, unless, of course, they are valuable and need special protection. If so, by all means, call a mover.

If you are clearing a home from a hoarder, don’t call a moving company until the home is cleared. Movers must have a safe place to work and when movers are contracted to pack, they pack everything they see. Sure, you could pay movers to help sort, but there are companies that specialize in hoarding situations. Any moving company would be happy to help once everything is at least somewhat organized.

Why Does It Take So Long For You To Deliver My Goods To Another State?

in Long-Distance moving, Moving Costs by Ninja Movers Leave a comment

Perhaps the biggest complaint movers get (other than about dishonest scam artists ripping people off) is that it can take weeks and sometimes more than a month for goods to be delivered across country.

It makes sense. You could drive across country in a matter of days. Moving trucks aren’t exploring the sights. They aren’t stopping at cool restaurants and they don’t have time to admire the world’s largest ball of yarn.

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So why does it take so long for your goods to be delivered? Well, it’s a bit complicated.

I’m sure you’ve driven behind a semi-truck on the highway, only to be frustrated at having to go so slow. While most can go a lot faster (and many do), it’s unsafe and driving too fast can cause rollovers and worse. Isn’t it better that your furniture arrive safely than not at all?

Drivers are restricted by the numbers of hours they can drive. It’s a confusing formula (drivers can drive 11 hours in a 14 hour period following 10 hours of being off duty), but let’s just say they are legally only allowed to drive about 11 hours a day.

Semi-trucks are more susceptible to weather. While most are equipped with chains in case of icy roads, under many circumstances, it’s simply dangerous for a semi-truck to be on the road. A large snowstorm could delay them by hours or days.

Road conditions and speed are just a tiny portion of it, though. The main reason your truck may take days or weeks is that your shipment will likely not be the only one on it. A semi-truck will hold the equivalent of about three two-bedroom homes. More if the homes are smaller and less if they are bigger. Let’s say you are moving to Florida. There might also be a shipment that’s being dropped off in Arizona and another in Texas. They might pick up a load or two in the Carolinas.

There is a way to ensure that your shipment will get there sooner, and it’s to pay more — often a lot more. Most movers will offer you the option of an exclusive shipment, but that means regardless of the size of your shipment, you will have to pay as if it takes up the entire truck.

Featured image via Wikimedia.

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