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Moving is maddening. It’s a super-dooper heavy scoop of effort on top of daily work and home life. But getting an effective system in place for coordinating all the steps involved can help you maintain sanity.

The first step toward good organization is to determine what you can afford to spend on the move. Will it be a DIY project from beginning to end or will you be able to hire professional help?

Tips to Help You Get Rolling

Here are eight basic organizational tips to help you avoid potholes on the road from one abode to another. There is no such thing as perfection, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t attempt the smoothest move possible.

Analyze Your Budget

Analyze your budget to see what options are doable. If you think you can afford a moving company, interview a few to learn the range and price of their services. Ask whether they will transport large appliances or if you need to hire a specialty moving service. Here is detailed information about matters to consider when hiring movers.

If you need to rely on help from friends and family, consider whether to budget for a rental truck. It may be necessary if (1) you have lots of furniture and large appliances; (2) it’s a long-distance move; and (3) you want to maintain goodwill by avoiding multiple moving trips between the old and new residences.

Create a Notebook

You need a notebook separate of your daytimer for jotting down to-do lists and recording moving plans, including your budget, checkoff list of items to move, and timeline. A binder may be the best choice, because you’ll need pocket pages for documents -- such as mover or rental agreements -- and receipts.

 

 

Set a Timeline

Develop a timeline setting dates for accomplishing tasks. Divide it by weeks into early, middle, and late parts of the process. For example, early work would include making moving arrangements, cleaning closets, purging unnecessary possessions, and obtaining packing supplies. Don’t forget to set dates for sending out notifications of your address change to organizations that need it (such as utilities, credit card companies, and schools) as well as family and friends.

 

 

Accumulate Moving Supplies

Although it may be necessary to purchase specialty containers such as wardrobe boxes, standard sizes of sturdy boxes often are free through Craigslist and neighborhood social media websites such as Nextdoor. You’ll also need bubble wrap, packing tape, markers, and filler materials like newsprint or packing peanuts. Eliminate headaches by accumulating these supplies the week before you plan to pack.

 

 

 

Inventory What to Move

Obtain measurements of your new home’s rooms. Then, measure your furniture to see what will fit in which rooms. Can you squeeze your large, heavy oak desk through the doorway of the upstairs room in which you are visualizing it? Does it fit anywhere? Measurements will help you make decisions about what goes with you and what to give away. By setting an inventory of what to move, you can fine tune your moving costs.

 

 

Sort, Purge, and Pack

Moves are great for culling your herd of possessions. As you prepare to pack by sorting the contents of bureaus, closets, shelves, garage, garden shed, and wherever, consider what you can live without. Do you really need your childhood VCR tapes? Are five red sweaters one too many? Why in the world do you have two vacuum cleaners, three blenders, four hammers, and 50 mugs? Now is the time to let go and give away some of the abundance.

Open up your moving notebook and make a list of thrift shops and other organizations to which you can make donations. Does your library earn money by selling used books? Hallelujah! Add them to your delivery list.

As you pack boxes for the move, label them according to where they should be placed (bathroom, bedrooms, kitchen) in your new place.

Use or Give Away Food

Once you have a moving date, start using up the contents of your refrigerator and freezer. If your freezer is full and transporting cold goods to your new home isn’t possible, develop a list of people and organizations with whom to share the excess. Your neighbors might even use some of it to prepare a going-away party for you.

Be sure to add a date to your timeline for defrosting the freezer.

 

 

Pack Immediate needs and Valuables

Set aside suitcases for packing items you’ll transport in your car. These should contain immediate necessities such as changes of clothing, toiletries, and medicines as well as valuables including important papers (birth and wedding certificates, deeds, rental agreements, financial documents), and jewelry. Use your notebook to plan a list of these items.

 

 

Stress Reduction

Finally, don’t just take care of your move; take care of yourself. Add dates to your timeline for stress-reduction activities, including get-togethers with neighbors you will miss, meals at favorite restaurants, and walks in the park. You’ll never regret taking time to say goodbye.

 

 

 

 

 

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It is a well-known fact that one can take out an insurance policy for almost anything—weddings, body parts, alien abduction, comedy routines, so on and so forth. Insuring a property is more conventional, but many consumers are perturbed by the additional cost, which adds to the already considerable financial pressure of purchasing a home.

 

There are a few types of insurance generally associated with homeownership, the first being mortgage insurance. “MI” serves to protect lenders in cases where there’s an increased likelihood of the borrower defaulting. Borrowers that put down 20%, then, are essentially required to pay for the risk they pose to their lender. Until a borrower’s loan-to-value ratio drops below the 80% mark, they will continue to pay for that risk. Conventional loans with a loan-to-value ratio over 80% require the borrower to hold private mortgage insurance, which can be arranged by the lender, while those who take out FHA loans will also sort out their mortgage insurance through the FHA.

 

Mortgage protection insurance is slightly different, as it provides coverage in circumstances where borrowers aren’t able to make mortgage payments due to illness or loss of a job. However, such policies don’t insure against falling home prices or other mishaps that may decrease the value of the property. Their purpose is to serve the lender, not the borrower.

 

Often confused with MI or mortgage protection insurance, homeowners insurance protects the interests of the borrower. This is the policy that covers falling trees, fires, buffalo stampedes, et cetera and has no immediate connection with the financing process. Technically, homeowners insurance isn’t strictly necessary for those properties outright. Most people don’t, however, and lenders, considering that they often own a good portion of the property thanks to that substantial loan, require borrowers to take out homeowners policies.

 

 

 

 

Sometimes borrowers ask, “Why don’t your rates match the ones I see online?” It is easy to quote rates out there, but every borrower should remember that their loan is different, and that often the advertised, or publicized, rates are slightly higher due to a number of factors.

 

First, the rates in Freddie Mac’s survey (which come out every week) include average discount points paid for the mortgage. But not everyone is willing to pay points: a point is 1% of the mortgage amount, charged as prepaid interest. Many borrowers do not want to pay points, and loan officers agree because unless you’re going to live in your home for a very long time, paying points often doesn’t make sense.

 

The second reason that your rate might be different than a rate you hear on the radio or see online is that your characteristics mean price adjustments. For example, a credit score on the low side will prevent you from getting the lowest rates. Low levels of home equity will also mean a pricier mortgage rate. Focusing on LTV, for example, at least a 20% equity cushion (80% LTV) in your home for a refinance, or down payment for a purchase, will help obtain a better rate for a borrower. And if a borrower wants a jumbo mortgage, you will want 25% or 30% down for the best rates.

 

Property type also influences rates: in the current environment, liens on condos usually carry a slightly higher rate unless you want to put more money down. And if your mortgage is for a vacation home or investment property, you can also expect to pay a higher rate. And lastly, some lenders have so many loans in process that they will intentionally make their rates slightly higher in order to slow down new business. Your loan officer can help answer questions on the best rate and price combination.

 

 

 

If you want to start an argument, announce to a crowd that the economy is recovering: half will agree with you, half won’t. Certainly the recent downturn has impacted many, leading to short sales, foreclosures, and bankruptcies. And plenty of people are asking about buying a property that was involved in a bankruptcy. To answer that, the key issue is what type of bankruptcy was filed, and how long will it take to close?

 

Bankruptcy

Since most such sales come with no representations, warranties or indemnifications, attorneys representing buyers should make due diligence their number one priority. Section 363 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code allows parties involved in a Chapter 11 or Chapter 7 (most common for consumers) proceeding to dispose of real property in order to help pay off their debts through a highly structured process aimed at getting the most out of each asset while retaining the least liability.

 

Hidden Issues

As such, properties are sold "free and clear" from all liens and encumbrances, but it's not uncommon to later discover hidden issues, experts say, and the buying process itself can present various other hurdles. The buyer should conduct exhaustive due diligence. The trustee or debtor-in-possession rarely has access to all of the materials a buyer would typically need to see before making a decision to purchase property; sometimes a debtor has destroyed the documentation prior to the bankruptcy, or not kept it in good enough shape.

 

A buyer should take advantage of the property being “Free and Clear”. Although the transfer of the property comes with no representations or warranties, it also comes with no liens or encumbrances. A buyer should enlist a knowledgeable lender and real estate professional, and be prepared to move quickly in what could be a competitive bidding environment.

 

Trustee

The main goal under any filing in bankruptcy is to give one, who is burdened with debt, a fresh start. A debtor files a petition with the court, along with a schedule of assets and creditors; a trustee is appointed to administer the sale of nonexempt property. The primary role of the trustee is to pay the secured and sometimes unsecured creditors, from the proceeds of the sale of property, and this may take up to 45-60 days to wind its way through courts – but could very well be worth it to the buyer!


In most countries 30-yr fixed rate loans are in the minority. Here in the United States, however, the majority of residential mortgages are fixed rate loans with an amortization spread over 30 years – but some argue that might be changing.

 

Customized mortgages aren’t new. Industry experts say they are seeing more and more borrowers opt for fixed-rate loans with terms other than the standard 30 or 15 years, especially when it comes to refinancing. Last year, nearly 17% of all refinanced mortgages were with “other length” fixed-rate loans, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association, which noted that in August, September and October, the share was 20 percent. Most of those “other length” loans were in 20-year mortgages, though loans are also available for 10, 25 and 40 years, and even for “oddball” terms like 23 or 12 years.

 

Most borrowers have noticed that the shorter terms are especially valuable to people refinancing after paying down their 30-year mortgage for five or seven years. If they take a 20-year mortgage, they can reduce their interest rate — and the term — and possibly even get a monthly payment the same or slightly lower than before. The 20-year mortgage is becoming so prevalent, banks are starting to sell them off to investors or in the secondary mortgage market. Many customers seeking to refinance ask for odd loan terms to avoid increasing the length of their repayment schedule. Be sure to ask your loan officer for suggestions.

 

Proponents of 30-yr mortgages counter, however, with the thinking that the Fed is buying primarily 30-yr mortgages, and that they are the benchmark. Both claims are true. But eventually rates will rise (not in the foreseeable future) and intermediate ARM loans, such as 3-yr or 5-yr products, will come back into vogue.

 

 

 

 

 

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