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Five Ways To Save Some Serious Money On Your Move

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

Moving is expensive. We know this and the last thing we want to do is send you into debt for your move. That’s really not a good way to get repeat business. So, here are some tips that are guaranteed to save money.

1. Save Money by Packing Everything

Packing everything in your home can save you as much as 25 percent on the cost of your move. Talk to your moving estimator about packing materials and ask for tips. They can show you how to pack fragile items. Keep in mind that if it’s not furniture, it needs to be in a box. You need to pack pictures (or move them yourself), electronics and lamps.

2. Save Money by Cleaning

Movers don’t care if there’s a little dust, but you want to be sure that there is plenty of space to move, especially near the doors. Clear all debris and empty the trash, or the movers might move it.

3. Save Money by Labeling Everything

If you are doing your own packing, odds are, the movers won’t label your boxes. One of the best ways to keep things moving smoothly is to very clearly label each item with by room. Color coordination is even better. You can even map out your new home to show the movers where all the furniture goes.

4. Save Money by Moving Some Things Yourself

Moving a box or 10 isn’t going to make a whole lot of difference on the bottom line, but if you can move loose items like pictures, lamps and electronics, you can save a good bit of change.

5. Save Money by Reserving a Parking Space

If parking is a challenge in your neighborhood, contact the city and ask about reserving space. Plan on a truck that’s about 26 foot in length. Most cities will charge you, but in the long-run, convenient parking will save you a lot of time on your move.

If you live in a condo or apartment building that has a loading dock, ask your building management about reserving time. Note that most moves start in the morning, so you should reserve your current home for the morning and your new address later in the day. Your moving estimator can give you a better estimate of time.

Featured image CC2.0 401(k) 2012 via Flickr

How To Keep Burglars Away From Your Empty House While You’re Trying To Sell

in Uncategorized by Ninja Movers Leave a comment

Last year, headlines were all about the fact that a home that belonged to rapper 50 Cent was burglarized. Fortunately, Fiddy wasn’t home at the time. As a matter of fact, the 21 bedroom, 25 bath mansion was vacant because it was on the market. The burglars didn’t make it much past the front door because of security alarms.

Most of us, of course, don’t live on lavish estates. Fiddy wasn’t alone though. Most burglaries are crimes of opportunity. Vacant houses are about as close to risk free as it gets for burglars. While they won’t find fancy electronics, they are known to take appliances, staging furniture and even the copper pipes.

Robbing for sale homes is nothing new. Burglars have been targeting homes with For Sale signs for decades. Today, though, many savvy Realtors and home owners are leaving the tell-tale sign out and listing the homes virtually instead.

Unfortunately, that makes the home that much more difficult to sell and the bad guys have the internet too. In one case in Oregon, robbers found their targets on free real estate apps. The watched the houses day and night and then returned during the day as cleaning crews. They even fooled the neighbors, who were thankful people were taking care of the vacant property.

How to Secure a Vacant Home

Whether you are away for a short trip or are selling your home, the best way to prevent burglaries is to make your home look occupied. Put lights on a timer and turn the porch light (motion detector is best) and a visible inside light on at night. Stop all mail and newspaper deliveries.

Plant thorny bushes near the lower windows, so burglars don’t have a place to hide. Buy security film for the lower windows and install a heavy security door.

No one wants to pay for electricity or alarm systems for a house they don’t even live in, but a security system makes your home a much more difficult target. Some alarm companies have temporary solutions.

Keep your neighbors and the police in the loop. Let them know that the home will be empty and that if you are sending any contractors over, you will let them know.

While all of this might seem like you’re throwing good money after bad, there’s nothing that gives buyers second thoughts than a home that’s been burglarized.

Featured image via Pixabay

8 Things to Consider When Moving to A New City

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

You’ve got a new job, or maybe you are dating someone and your relationship has progressed to the next level and you find yourself moving to a new city. Your emotions are a mixed bag of nervousness, excitement, and apprehension, but you are ready to make the big move.

There are many things to consider when moving to a new city. We want you to be prepared and ready to take on this big change in your life and know all the possible costs so that you will find it a joyful experience and not one that you are dreading.

Job Selection

If you are moving to a new city for a significant other, this is something that may impact your decision. If your career requires that you teach people how to ski but where you plan to move stays warm throughout the year with no snow, you may have to re-evaluate your career path.
Before you take the big jump, check out some online job listings and see if any of them would be a good fit for you. You may also want to get a local phone number to remove any questions about where you live.

If you are already relocating for the sake of a job, be sure that you are making the correct move and that there is room for progression in your chosen career. Your significant other may want to stay back for a while until you have had a chance to get through the probationary period and your job is more secure and appears to be long-term.

The Cost of Living

The cost of living varies quite considerably from one city to another, let alone one state to another. Will you be paying double the rent? Will food or utility costs be increased? Or perhaps your rent will be significantly cheaper, but maybe your salary will reflect that, how will you handle making less money?

The way to be successful with this sort of change is to make sure that you budget your money well. Not just in relation to the money you will need once you get there, but also to cover moving costs, even possibly long-distance movers, sending over your belongings and having to do without until everything arrives (for example, no pots and pans means lots of take-out food.)

Do I Know Anyone?

You may or may not be moving with a companion, but even if you are, if they are the only other person you know, this will be a challenge. Leaving family and friends and then moving to a new city where you will have to make friends again takes time, and not everyone finds that easy to do.

Add in costs of traveling back and forth to see family and friends, and you may find this quite stressful. Try to build new connections quickly by going out for a drink with coworkers after work or by joining a group activity that will include meeting people with similar interests to yours.

If you are planning on making the big move by yourself, finding an apartment to rent that comes with a roommate may also be a great way to make some friends and meet some new people. This will also be a great way to save the cost of having to cover a place all by yourself.

How Will I Get Around?

Moving from a city that is known for its great public transit system to a new city where everyone drives may come as a surprise. It will also directly affect your commute to work as well as how you get around the city; you may not even currently own a car.

Taking a taxi everywhere or having to buy or even lease a car would be another added expense, plus, another change to the routine you have done for a long time. Do a test run to see if this is something you could handle on a daily basis and be sure to do your research before calling any committing to the move.

What Will I Take with Me?

You may already have a 12-piece dish set, two couches, and the comfiest bed in the whole world, but that doesn’t mean you will be able to take it all with you when you move to a new city. You will have to make some sacrifices and some tough decisions; a detailed list will help with this.

Think of this move like the beginning of a new relationship, when you first start dating someone you may leave a few of your favorite things over at their place; your move to a new city will be the same. Take the most important stuff, and if the move becomes more serious, that is more permanent, you can consider having someone send your comfy bed.

Selecting a Storage Unit

And while we are on the subject of leaving some personal possessions behind, you will need to set yourself up with a storage unit to hold onto the things that you cannot take just yet. Be realistic with the size, if you have a lot of large pieces of furniture you will need a larger unit, if however, it is mainly boxes of knickknacks and smaller items, a smaller unit will be in order. Your mover can help you decide what size storage unit you need and most can even store your items.

Learn About the City

Moving to a new city and not being prepared with what to expect is the fastest way to hate it the moment you get there. Do some research into the city and find out what it has to offer. If you really like museums, visit the city’s museums. If you love microbreweries see if there are any in the area and perhaps select your new apartment to be close to some popular ones.

By putting in the time to get to know a city before you make the big move you will find yourself feeling excited to experience all that it has to offer. And be sure to find a similar place to your current city that will make it feel more like home.

If, for example, you like to go for a walk in the woods, see if you can find a nearby park or wooded area in your new city to help ease the transition. Don’t be too quick to compare your old city with the new one either, learn to appreciate the differences.

Embrace Your Homesickness with Some Comfort from Home

Maybe there is a bakery just around the corner from your current home that always makes the most delicious scones or a café that makes the best coffee in all of the city. Get a friend or loved one to make a care package with the missed items and get them to send it to you.

Moving to a new city can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be. By being prepared and therefore helping to eliminate any unexpected negative surprises, you will find that you will experience a smoother transition to your new place of residence.

If you have made the decision to move but haven’t found a place to rent yet, then be sure to check out some great listings here.

Author’s Bio

Danielle thrives on researching and writing on all aspects of life. Further to writing for Zumper blog and personal finance, she is an advocate of self-improvement and living a life that is both financially responsible and knowledgeable. When she is not on her computer, she can be found spending time with her husband and two sons.

Featured image via PublicDomainPictures.net.

How To Recruit Friends To Help With Your Move Without Destroying Friendships

in Preparing for a move by Ninja Movers Leave a comment

When you think of asking friends to help you move, you probably think of college days, when all it took was a pickup truck, a few pizzas and a few cases of beers. Times have changed. Your furniture is now worth more money and your friends have bad backs and not much time on their hands.

recruit friends

If you’re over the age of 30, don’t ask your friends to help you load and unload trucks. That’s a good way to lose friends, but if you do play your cards right, they can help.

Ask for food

One of the last things you want to think about when you’re packing and moving is cooking. That’s where your friends could come in. If they offer help, ask them to cook a little extra for you and bring it over. In exchange, feed them with takeout one night.

Ask for help packing

Besides the fact that extra hands are always a big help, a neutral eye can help you cut down on your moving costs. A friend can help you purge by taking the emotions out of packing. Do you really want to pack those two sizes too small pants? A good friend might tell you that while you might one day fit into them again, they are long out of style.

Ask for help cleaning

This one might be a little tricky. No one (well, almost no one) likes to clean. Friends can be a good discerning eye, though. If you have lived with spots and stains for a while, you may have gone blind to them. Ask your friends to inspect your work. Odds are, they’ll pitch in, but even if they don’t, they’ll keep you company.

Regardless of what your friends do to help, thank them with a nice dinner (not just pizza) and perhaps some flowers. Be sure to reciprocate once it’s their turn to move.

Best Foods For A Cross Country Move Road Trip

in Long-Distance moving by Ninja Movers Leave a comment

The words “road trip” evoke images of tootling down the highway (yes, that’s the name for freeways once you leave California), listening to music, singing songs and binging on junk food while we’re carrying your furniture on your long-distance move.

Image via Pixabay

All of that is great until someone gets rumbly-tumblies in their tummies, and all the calories with nary a gym in sight. There is a way to road trip it with all the snacks you and, and still stay relatively healthy.

Here’s What you Should Pack for a Road Trip

1. Fruit

Bring a good selection of road-friendly fruit. Cherries are good, as are oranges, bananas and apples.

2. Veggies

Cut up some veggies. Cucumbers, celery, carrots, peppers, broccoli and cauliflower all travel very well. If it’s tough to get your kids to eat veggies when there are more tempting options, make a deal. They eat three pieces of veggies, and then whatever they want.

3. Snack bars

The days of tooth-breaking, chalky snack bars are a thing of the past. Today’s snack bars come in varieties as tempting (and not much more nutritious) as candy bars and as healthy as fruit and nuts. When looking for snack bars, check the sugar content. It’s best to stay below 10 grams per serving. Less is even better. Look for the fewest ingredients possible. Snack bars don’t need much more than fruits and nuts.

4. Hummus

Hummus is a healthier dip that can be paired with vegetables, pretzels or with healthy chips.

5. Chips, pretzels, popcorn

Chips are as American as football and road trips. They’re also notoriously unhealthy. They don’t have to be. Look for chips that contain no trans fats, which can stay in your body forever. Baked is better than fried. If you must have potato chips, the real deep-fried kind, look for brands like Boulder Canyon, that uses healthy oils like olive oil and coconut oil.

Air popped popcorn and bagel chips can also make excellent alternatives.

6. Jerky

Jerkys have changed so much over the years. In the past, jerkys were jaw breaking blocks of salt (at least I thought so), but today, you can find gourmet versions. You can find jerky made out of turkey or buffalo, if you want to cut the fat.

What To Watch Out For When Moving Your Refrigerator

in Preparing for a move by Ninja Movers Leave a comment

When most people think about moving, they think about packing loose goods and moving furniture. They don’t typically give a lot of thought to moving their appliances because, well, people don’t typically give a lot of thought to appliances anyway. That’s changing, especially when it comes to moving your refrigerator.

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Kevin Parker, 100th Civil Engineer Squadron commander, uses a hand cart to remove a personal refrigerator from his office Oct. 24, 2014, on RAF Mildenhall, England. Parker saw an opportunity to save energy by removing his refrigerator from his office and using the communal one in the kitchen area. (U.S. Air Force photo by Gina Randall/Released)

Today’s appliances are more expensive and more intricate than ever. From stainless steel to nickel, from six burner stoves to refrigerators that tell you when you’re out of milk, appliances do more than ever before and more and more people want to take them to their new homes.

Here’s what to watch out for when moving your refrigerator

Moving appliances can be a bit tricky. If you have a gas range and a gas dryer, you’ll want to have a plumber disconnect them before you do anything.

Empty it

This piece of advice sounds obvious, but you’d be amazed at how many people don’t empty their refrigerators before the move. Even the tiniest plastic bottle of mustard rattling around on the inside can cause serious damage. You also want to remove any magnets from the outside.

Secure it

Remove all the shelves and drawers and wrap them in packing blankets. Be sure to label everything.

Unplug it

That’s self explanatory.

Unplug the water line and drain it

If your refrigerator has an ice maker or a water dispenser, there is a thin copper pipe at the back. Unscrew it and drain the contents into a bucket. You may need to remove the door to get to the ice maker, but that will also need to be drained.

Defrost the freezer

If you have the type of freezer that collects frost, defrost it before the move.

Secure the doors

Wrap blankets around the entire refrigerator and then tape around the blanket. Taping around the blanket will save you the nightmare of having to remove tape from the refrigerator itself.

If your refrigerator is big or your doorway are narrow, you may need to remove the doors.

Grab a friend and a dolly

Refrigerator moving is a job for at least two. Secure it to the dolly and roll it to the truck. Make sure you have a ramp because lifting it will be very difficult.

Let the refrigerator sit for a few days after the move

Refrigerators take a few days for all of the fluids to settle down and for the temperature to adjust. It could take up to three days.

Featured image via Milden Hall Air Force Base.

What To Do With Everything You Don’t Want To Move

in Preparing for a move by Ninja Movers Leave a comment

In an ideal world, moving is a time to purge, of a fresh start, sans all the baggage (and junk) of years past. Reality often looks very different. In far too many cases, we move everything. We can’t begin to tell you the number of things we’ve moved that end up in eternal storage, or even in dumpsters.

Old TVs out for hard-rubbish collection by Alpha is licensed under CC 2.0 Generic

It doesn’t have to be that way. Depending on whether you want to put in the work or pay for some help, you can streamline your life and move at the same time.

Organize

I know, I know, organization takes a lot of work, and isn’t that what we’re trying to avoid? The truth is, someone has to do the work. It can be you, or as we’ll get into later, it can be some professionals.

While you’re packing, sort everything you own into four piles: pack it and move it, trash, in good enough condition to donate and items you aren’t sure about.

Just because you don’t want it doesn’t mean that someone else won’t, but for goodness sake, don’t donate junk. If your clothing is stained or torn, and has interesting patterns, it might make excellent quilting material. Post on Nextdoor that you have potential quilting material. Local schools or senior centers might also be interested. Thin fabric or not very interesting? It’s probably trash.

If your unwanted items are still in good condition, but just not to your taste anymore or they don’t fit, then donate to a local thrift store. Many will pick up larger items. In the chance your items are in great shape, you might be able to sell them. Craigslist is no longer the only alternative for selling items. Even Facebook has pages for selling local items.

If you aren’t sure, Lifehacker recommends getting rid of about half of that pile. You haven’t used it in years? Donate. If you have, try to visualize it in your new home. If you can’t, donate it. A friend might be able to help. A good friend wouldn’t hesitate to tell you to get rid of the tattered college sweatshirt from 1994.

Get some help

If the job is too big or if you simply don’t have time, professionals can help. Professional organizers cost between $30 and $80 per hour and they can bang out a room in hours. Many will even pack for you.

For help getting rid of large items, there are plenty of haul-a-way services, but be careful. Many are not licensed and they might either sell your goods (and you’ll pay them for the privilege) or they’ll end up dumping your things somewhere they shouldn’t be dumped. Angie’s List has some great tips on choosing the right junk company.

Now, if you don’t get around to a purge, that’s okay. You have options there too. Because moving into a new home is full of unknowns, sometimes it’s easiest to purge as you unpack. You’d get a better idea of how your items will fit in your new home, and even what types of clothing you’d wear in your new surroundings. Finally, if things don’t fit yet you aren’t quite ready to get rid of them, there’s always storage and your moving company will be happy to help you with that and movers’ storage will often cost you less than self-storage.

Please DO Tip And Feed The Movers, If You Feel Like It. Here’s How

in Moving Costs, Preparing for a move by Ninja Movers Leave a comment

One of the most common questions we face, and often one of the most difficult to answer, is whether to and how much to tip and feed the movers. The simplistic answer is that yes, you should tip and feed the movers, but only if you feel like it.

When and how much should you tip the movers?

If you aren’t happy with the movers, then by all means, don’t tip them. If the movers ask you for a tip, complain to their manager. But if you are happy, there are a number of ways you can do it.

One of the simplest and most direct ways of tipping is by the hour. If you are moving locally, odds are you’re paying by the hour anyway. Adding another $5.00 per mover per hour is pretty simple.

If you are moving out of state, though, you won’t have an immediate tally of the hours and common sense might suggest that you should wait to tip until your items are delivered. It’s not quite that clear-cut, though.

It’s rare that the same crew is at both the pick-up and delivery. In the majority of cases, your goods are transferred from a local truck to a semi-truck and then a crew experienced in long-distance moving will transport it.

The toughest part of the job is at the pick-up, so it’s not a bad idea to tip with that in mind. They are the people who wrap your furniture, they do any packing, and that’s all before loading and unloading the truck.

If you aren’t comfortable tracking the hours, you can tip as a percentage of the move (10 percent, perhaps). Just be sure to divide it equitably among the pick-up crew and the delivery crew. 60/40 is a good divide.

What should you feed the movers

While you are under absolutely no obligation to feed the movers, having food for them to eat can make the move go a lot quicker. Pizza and sandwiches are always favorites. Don’t serve food that’s too rich or your movers will be ready to take a nap. As for hydration, sports drinks are the unofficial official drink of movers. Stock up. They will drink more than you think.

Featured image via Steven Depolo/Flickr.

Is It Possible To Negotiate With A Bay Area Landlord?

in Bay Area Real Estate by Ninja Movers Leave a comment

If you read or watch the news, you know that in the Bay Area, it’s a seller’s market for real estate and for rentals, it’s a landlord’s market. While this is true, there are steps you can take to negotiate with landlords to make finding a home a little less painful.

The average Bay Area rental is about twice as expensive as the nationwide average. While we do tend to earn better than average, our average salaries aren’t that much better.

We’d be lying if we didn’t admit that landlords hold most of the power in this market, but there are still ways to get somewhat better deals.

Do your research

It will take a little homework, but before you show up for the viewing, know what comparable rentals are going for. Bigger Pockets has some great tips, and best of all, you probably won’t have to leave your couch.

Don’t put it off till the last minute

If you wait till everyone is ready to sign the dotted line, you risk angering your potential new landlord and you take away all your negotiating power. Take a tour of the home, let the landlord see how amazing you are. Arm yourself with some reference letters from previous landlords and bring a copy of your credit report. You can even run an FBI background check on yourself. All of this will show the landlord that you are responsible and a good tenant, and trust me when I say that that’s often more important than a couple hundred dollars a month.

Hire some help

In New York, it’s common if not expected to hire a rental agent, who normally charges about one month’s rent. While most in the Bay Area tend to go it alone, if you plan on staying for a long time, it might be worth it to recruit some help.

There are pros and cons to hiring a renter’s agent. Yes, there’s the cost, but they also tend not to scan sites like Craigslist and Facebook for private rentals. They do, however, know the going rates and they know when something is fishy in the lease.

Go through an individual

It’s usually easier to negotiate with the property owner directly instead of with a rental agency. Even if a property owner doesn’t give on rent, they might be willing to set up a payment plan for the security deposit or they might be able to waive a no-pets policy once they meet your charming fur baby.

h/t: Distilled Dollar

Featured image via Turkeychik/Flickr

How To Move During Bad Weather

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

As I’m writing this, Mother Nature is flooding us. I haven’t even walked the dogs. The idea of moving in such weather is unimaginable. Many, though, don’t have a choice and bad weather moving even has some upsides.

Featured image via MaxPixel.

No one wants to move during bad weather. Moving companies, understandably, have high cancellation rates during rain or snow. Winter, which is both the middle of the school year and the time when the weather is the worst, is the slowest season for moving. If you ask, you can often get a discount during the winter, especially if it’s mid-month, mid-week and on a bad weather day.

Unless the weather is extreme, such as a blizzard, movers work and they do their jobs well.

Now is the perfect time to ask for a discount

You can help

Before the movers arrive, shovel your driveway and sidewalk. If the weather is freezing, salt surfaces. Make sure you have lots of towels on hand. Cheap rugs can help protect your floors. If there’s any way at all that the truck can be parked in a covered area, clear the way.

Protect the items you’re packing by protecting items with plastic. Hang clothing inside trash bags inside wardrobe boxes. Fully line boxes with plastic bags. Protect your electronics inside plastic.

The movers will do their part

Talk to your mover and make sure they bring plenty of bad weather supplies, including floor covers, shoe covers and plenty of shrink wrap. Make sure they use them.

In your new home

Before anyone steps foot in your new home, make sure the floors are covered, feet are covered and any ice is removed from the pathways. If any of the boxes are water damaged, you’ll want to unpack them immediately to prevent mold and mildew. In fact, on inclement weather days, it’s always a good idea to unpack quickly because you never know when moisture might sneak in.

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