We Worked Hard to Earn a Chance at Luxury Living

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My wife and I built our business from the ground up. It was several years before we decided we could enjoy our earnings. We had no debt and our retirement was already vested. We decided to contact a Cherry Creek real estate company to look for a luxury home. We thought about building new, but there are a lot of really nice homes that are practically new. We wanted a two-story home with a grand front entrance. We both like a fancy staircase to the second floor and big windows to let in a lot of light. Real hardwood floors are mandatory. I really like to see the big expanse of shiny wood flooring. I have never been a fan of carpeting with my allergies and former asthma problems.

Granite and marble are also things we like in the kitchen and bathrooms. Speaking of bathrooms, it is a must to have a very large master bath with a separate area for the toilet. Continue reading We Worked Hard to Earn a Chance at Luxury Living

12 Effective Ways to Cut Your Moving Costs

Cut your moving costs by dismantling and reassembling your own furnitureThere are many ways to minimize the total cost of relocating, provided you know how to alter certain aspects of planning and executing your relocation. This Buzzle article will tell you some effective ways to cut your moving costs.
DIY Moving Tip
If you plan to do your own packing and moving, use newspaper instead of bubble wrap to pack your stuff. This can help you save some bucks.
If your lease has expired or you are moving to a new home, you might have thought about hiring professional moving services. This is a good option, but availing these services can sometimes turn out to be expensive. The best option would be carry out the entire task of relocation as a DIY project. That would definitely be cheaper, but more time-consuming and tiring. Hence, hiring a moving service provider or company is a smarter albeit pricier option. However, employing certain ways to pack and hire can cut down on your moving costs significantly. If you intend to hire a moving company or service, it is imperative that you hire a reliable one.

It is highly recommended that you check AMSA’s list of certified ‘ProMovers’. You can also check reviews of the service provider on various websites, and visit their social media pages to gain more knowledge. Apart from this, you can compare price quotes of various companies or professionals to get a fair idea about costs and services. After having done the hard part, here is the easy part in the form of a few guidelines that will tell you how to cut costs when moving.

De-clutter
There are many things which we hoard in our houses when we could do away with them any day. For example, if your son has out grown his crib, you might as well sell it or donate it. There is no point in packing and moving things that will hardly be of any use to you.

Compare the Options
Don’t just hire the first moving company you see on the internet. Compare costs and benefits of various moving companies. As an extension to what I mentioned above about finding the right moving professional, you can even consider recommendations from friends and family about moving companies. The point to emphasize here, is to choose a reliable company or professional who will help you move your stuff at an affordable price.

Dismantle and Reassemble on Your Own
Many times furniture items like shelves, beds, sofa, etc., need to be dismantled before moving. Also, if you have heavier gym equipment, you will have to disassemble it. Instead of asking your moving company to do it, disassemble and re-assemble it yourself and save money.

Pack on Your Own
You can further curtail packing expenses by undertaking the entire packing and moving task as a DIY. Unless the stuff is fragile, like an LCD screen or a crystal lampshade which requires special packing, pack on your own. This will help save a significant amount on packing costs. Keep all the things packed, ready, labeled and coded for the moving day. You can avail help of companies like PODS and 1-800-PACKRAT which will send a storage unit at your doorstep for loading all your stuff.

Move During the Off-season
Most people plan to move during summer (mid-June through mid-September) after their children begin their summer break. However, summer is peak season and the moving rates are sky-high. Plan your move during the winter when the rates are low. Also, try to move during the middle of the month as the beginning and end of the month have higher rates.

Rent Reusable Boxes
Instead of spending a large amount on environmentally hazardous cardboard boxes, rent reusable ones. You will be surprised to know how much are able to save by using these boxes.

Moving Discounts and Coupons
Keep an eye on advertisements in the local newspapers, direct mail, magazines, etc., for discount coupons and offers. Many moving companies offer such discounts, especially during the off-season.

Rent/Share a Truck
If you don’t have a lot of stuff to move, you can share the moving truck with another person. This way, you will also collectively bear the cost of the truck. However, beware that there can be a mix-up of boxes, and this can lead to further expenses, not to mention the hassle of returning and picking up stuff. If you plan to carry out all the moving on your own, then you can rent a truck, and ask for help from friends and family to load and unload your stuff. However, it is essential that you know about the mileage and fuel charges before you rent a truck to avoid last-minute surprises.

Get Insurance
You must insist on getting a moving insurance. Remember that your goods can get lost, stolen, or damaged during the journey. Hence, if you are covered, you can avail compensation for lost or damaged property. Check if your items are covered under the homeowner’s or renter’s policy.

Inform Any Change
Any last-minute change to move certain goods should be immediately informed to the moving company. If you dropped the old bicycles from your list of moving, let your moving company know about it. Make a list of all the items to be moved so that an accurate estimate can be made. This will reduce the cost. Confirm with the relocation company about the total cost of moving and packaging, overhauling up the stairs, lifting heavy stuff, etc. The last thing you would want is to be charged for stuff that you were unaware about.

Pack Light for Long-distance Moves
If you are planning to move to a long-distance location, the moving company will weigh all your items to determine the moving cost. This is exactly why you should get rid of the heavy treadmill which you no longer use.

Avail Tax Deductions
If you have decided to relocate for a new job, you can deduct expenses incurred during moving, like storage, transportation, and packing, from your annual tax returns. If you want to know more, visit the IRS website.

As mentioned above, moving or relocating can be expensive, whether it is within the state or across the country. But you can surely cut down on your expenses by a little planning, preparation, and information. What’s more, the money that you save on moving costs can be used to decorate your new home.

Pros and Cons of Buying an Old House

Pros and cons of buying an old houseOne must be aware of the factors to look for when buying an old house, as it may result in a loss-making proposition. Here are few pros and cons of buying an old house.
Old homes leave buyers super-impressed with their charm, allure, and character. Also, the exclusivity attached to older homes is one feature which attracts many prospective buyers. However, there are certain pros and cons of buying an old house. As the community in which the old house is located is already established, there may not be any new zoning changes. Also, with old houses, you have the benefit of becoming a part of a close-knit and well-established neighborhood, which a new community may lack.

However, you may incur considerable expenses for repairs and refurbishment. Also, there may be certain health and safety concerns which may need your immediate attention. One may also find that there is little or no scope for renovation in an old house. Here are few advantages and disadvantages of buying an old house.

Pros

Architectural Details
Remember that old houses often have intricate woodwork which was crafted or carved out by carpenters manually, as no modern-day carpentry tools were available. Hence, the architectural details in such homes is often unique and irreplaceable. No two homes will be similar in their look and style, unlike new-age homes. If you are someone who thoroughly enjoys aesthetics and architecture, then old houses are definitely meant for you.

Cost-effective
Old houses are relatively cost-effective. This is because you can get more square footage area for a limited price than you would get in the same amount for a new home. It is often observed that old homes are bigger than the new ones, and one may end up getting a better bargain. You may also get a larger yard than a new home.

Return on Investment
Old homes have always enjoyed a good demand in the realty market. As the area is more and the construction sturdy, many people actually prefer to invest in an old home. It also leads to excellent growth of capital. You will be surprised to see how the price of an old home appreciates with time. Even if you put the house on the market, after a few years, you will still be able to get an excellent return on investment because of the rarity quotient.

Central Location
Nowadays, new houses may be located far away from schools, hospitals or supermarkets. Hence, you have to drive through bumper-to-bumper traffic to reach your house in the downtown. However, many old houses are centrally located, and are within walking distance from these vital places. Hence, buying an old house is a wise decision if you have school-going children or aged people in your family, who may require sudden medical attention.

Rich History
If you have bought a Georgian or Victorian home, it will have its own history to tell. The ambiance will simply leave your guests awestruck. Who knows, you may have an interesting story to share about the house. Not only this, but a rich heritage will also help you to gain better prices when you decide to sell the house.

Large Yards
Old houses often have bigger yards. You can utilize this additional space for having a gazebo or swimming pool. Needless to say, if you intend to undertake some creative landscaping, you will have ample space to experiment. Also, if you have pets, they can have enough space to move around.

Cons

Cost of Repairs and Refurbishments
In all probability, if the house is not maintained properly by the old owner, it will mean you will have to shell out more money for repairs and refurbishment. Especially, if your house is situated in a coastal an area, it can lead to rusting of pipes and plumbing. You may also have to check the roof for leakages. Apart from this, peeling color, non-working appliances and systems, etc., will add to the expenses.

Modification Limitations
In a new house, one can decorate the interiors as per his/her taste. However, you do not have this artistic liberty when it comes to an old house as the cabinet, windows, carpets, landscaping, etc., are all present already. If you are to make any drastic changes or undertake renovation, you will have to bear the additional cost.

Health and Safety Concerns
If you are buying an old home, you can be in for some really unpleasant surprises. There is no way to tell if the house is infested with rodents and pests. Also, one cannot determine for sure if the house is lead-/asbestos-/mercury-free. Also, it may not have a fire or burglar alarm, and you will have to install it separately. Also, it may so happen that the electrical wiring and insulation may have aged and is no longer functional. All these situations may pose health and safety hazards.

Root-cause of the Problem
In all probability, the earlier tenants may have planted trees to create a landscape. Roots of older trees often grow farther below the soil, and hamper the plumbing and foundation of the house. You may never be able to detect such problems by looking at a house, it is only when you actually start living there that such issues surface. It will not only mean a hole in the foundation of your old house but also your pocket.

Storage Issues
With the growing consumerism and increase in earnings, we have become serial hoarders or pack-rats. We tend to hang on to clothes that don’t fit us anymore, the gym equipment that we no longer use, travel bags are left gathering dust, etc. All this requires a huge storage space which is not found in old houses. Many times, these houses have sloping roofs, which cause storage problems in the attic, and you may have to get new customized storage options. And if you own three cars, it is pointless to buy an old house which offers a single garage.

Too Small, Too Soon
Even though old houses were built for large families, they do not cater to the need of a modern-day family. You may find that your 60s home is too small even for a family of 4, especially after the kids grow up. With the growing need for a separate living room, study, bedrooms, guest-rooms, kitchen, etc., an old house may seem like it is too cramped up and lacks space.

Undertake an house inspection before buying it so that you get an idea about the required repairs. Unlike a new home, there won’t be a builder’s guarantee. However, you can then ask the owner to either get the maintenance done or pay you for the expenditure. Old houses have steadfastly faced the test of time without giving in to changes in weather or climatic conditions. Now that you know about the pros and cons of buying an old house, hope you will make the right decision.