Tuesday, March 30, 2010

When you move, improve the security of your new home cheaply!

Here are some interesting ideas that can improve the security of your new home.

Improving your home security can make you feel safer. Unfortunately, a home security alarm can cost hundreds of dollars to install, plus an additional monthly monitoring fee. Fortunately, there are plenty of inexpensive ways to beef up your home security without spending a fortune.
Difficulty: Moderately Easy


Things You'll Need:
Hedge trimmers
Motion lights
Dog bowl
Work boots
Programmable lights

Step 1
Trim hedges. Bushes, hedges, shrubberies and trees near windows and doors provide perfect cover for burglars. Trim back hedges so no one can hide in them.

Step 2
Install deadbolts. Deadbolt locks are one of the best crime deterrents, since they make your doors stronger and more difficult to penetrate.

Step 3
Install motion lights. Motion lights on the outside of your home will make burglars nervous. Since these lights illuminate the yard or front door when someone steps into it, most criminals will avoid homes with this type of lighting.
Step 4
Fake a "dog." Keep a large leash, dog collar or dog bowl on the front porch, even if you don't have a canine companion. Most burglars won't enter a home that has a large, faithful dog.
Step 5
Fake a "man." If you're a woman living alone, create the illusion that a man is also in the home. Keep a pair of large men's work boots and gloves on the front porch so burglars think a burly lumberjack is in residence.
Step 6
Install programmable lights. Programmable lights in the interior of your home will turn off and on at pre-designated times. This makes it look like someone is inside your home even if you've gone out for the evening.
Step 7
Use the locks. Your new deadbolts are useless unless they're locked. The most important step you can take is remembering to securely lock your doors and windows at all times.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Consumers Relocation Move eNews

We are putting together our newsletter for April, and would like to be sure everyone who wants it, gets it. If you are not currently on our list you can either go to our web site at www.consumersrelocation.com to subscribe or e mail avelte@sover.net

Thank you

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Our recent blog of top reasons for moving brought some interesting up to date information

The Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings published a 28 page study in December called "The Great American Migration Slowdown". The statistics and conclusions were from a very up to date study including trends in 2008 and 2009 on the movement of people locally, instate and interstate. In the report they cited that in 2008 the overall US migration rate was the lowest since WWII.; especially for long distance moves which went from a high of 2.6% of the population to about 1.5% of the population annually this past year. They also reported shifts in outgoing vs incoming activity in a number of states; particularly a large reduction of outgoing activity out of California, and a switch from incoming to outgoing in Florida.

"The recent migration slowdown was the by product of an unprecedented run up in both housing values and housing related debt, rendering Americans flat-footed."

The conclusion suggests that migration may approach historic levels at some point, but the patterns maybe quite different than we saw in the 1990's and early parts of this decade.

The full report can be seen at www.brookings.edu

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Checking in on the Housing Market

Today, March 23, 2010 is a day to be focusing on the housing market. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) have just posted reports on existing-home sales and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner will testify before the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee about potential changes to the way U.S. homes are financed. According to NAR, "Existing-homes, which are finalized transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, slipped 0.6 percent nationally to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.02 million units in February from 5.05 million in January, but are 7.0 percent higher than 4.69 million-unit pace in February 2009." The fall of existing-home sales could be caused from the variable winter that hit the nation. Some people were unable to go out looking at houses and some postponed their closings due to the heavy snowfall. To read more about existing-home sales, go to the National Association of Realtors.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Top reasons families move

Interesting statistics from American Moving and Storage Association on the reasons families move. These statistics were gathered in 2007. Wonder how these have switched around or changed in 2010??

Reasons for move (US Census Geographic Mobility for 2007)
Larger/better home - 30.50%
Establish own home - 16.90%
Closer to work/school - 13.40%
New job/transfer - 12.80%
Family related - 10.60%
Lower maintenance - 7.00%
Renter to owner - 6.60%
Financial/employment - 6.20%
Loss of spouse - 3.00%

Consumers Relocation Services' business pretty much has followed these groupings in the past.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

National Association of Realtors launches new consumer site

Houselogic.com covers many topics related to maintaining and enhancing the value of a homeowners property, to ways to enhance the community. Many straight forward ideas that can be put to use by any homeowner or consumer. Consumers Relocation encourages everyone to visit this interesting and useful site.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Deducting Moving Expenses from your Federal Taxes

Did you know that in many cases, your moving expenses are deductable from your federal income taxes? If you moved due to a change in your job or business location, or because you started a new job or business, you may be able to deduct your "reasonable" moving expenses.
To qualify, you must satisfy two tests. First, under the "distance test", your new job must be at least 50 miles farther from your old home than your old job location was from your old home. If you had no previous workplace, your new job must be at least 50 miles from your old home. The second test is the "time test." If you are an employee, you must work full-time for at least 39 weeks during the first 12 months right after you arrive in the general area of your new job. If you are self-employed, you must work full-time for at least 39 weeks during the first 12 months, and for a total of at least 78 weeks during the first 24 months, after you arrive in the general area of your new work location. There are exceptions to the time test in case of death, disability and involuntary separation, among other things.If you are a member of the armed forces and your move was due to a permanent change of station, you do not have to satisfy the distance or time tests.
"Reasonable expenses," according to the IRS, include the cost of packing and transporting your goods and effects, the cost of storage and insurance on these items and the cost of connecting and disconnecting utilities while moving household goods and personal effects. As for traveling to the new home, reasonable expenses are the cost of lodging and transportation from the old house to the new house.
Meals are not deductible as an expense. Also pre-move house-hunting expenses and entering into or breaking a lease are not deductible. The standard mileage rate for moving expenses for 2010 is 16.5 cents a mile, plus parking fees and tolls.
Moving expenses are figured on Form 3903 (PDF) and deducted as an adjustment to income on Form 1040 (PDF). You cannot deduct any moving expenses that were reimbursed by your employer. For more information, visit this link at the IRS.
For information about the $8,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers in the economic stimulus plan signed into law by President Obama, visit www.federalhousingtaxcredit.com.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Important information on the home purchase tax credit

NAR is urging all to help them educate potential buyers on this important tax credit to improve home sales in the coming month. This information is provided by NAR

How to Get the Extended Home Buyer Tax Credit

You’ve decided to purchase a home and take advantage of the Extended Home Buyer Tax Credit. Here's what you have to do to get your benefit:
Close on your home purchase between November 7, 2009 and April 30, 2010, or have a binding written contract by April 30, 2010 and close by July 1, 2010.
Decide whether to:
apply the credit to your 2009 tax return, filed on or before April 15, 2010;
file an amended 2009 return; or,
apply the credit on your 2010 return, filed on or before April 15, 2011.
Attach documentation of purchase to your return.
Documentation of Purchase
Details concerning the precise documents required to confirm your purchase have not yet been released. When this information becomes available, we will include instructions and links to the appropriate forms.
When to Apply the Credit
Buyers purchasing homes on or before December 31, 2009 may claim the credit on their 2009 tax returns.
Buyers purchasing in 2010 will have the option to:
Claim the credit on their 2009 return, even if the purchase is completed after December 31, 2009;
File an amended return for 2009 if their purchase is completed after April 15, 2010; or,
Claim the credit on their 2010 tax returns.
If you, or your client, purchased a home between January 1, 2009 and November 6, 2009, please see: How to Get the 2009 First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit.
Applying the Credit to Your 2009 Taxes
You will need to do three things to claim the credit on your 2009 tax return:
Fill out Form 5405 to determine the amount of your available credit;
Apply the credit when you file your 2009 tax return or file an amended return;
Attach documentation of purchase to your return or amended return.

Friday, March 12, 2010

A New Wave of Foreclosures

As we have seen the housing market start to stabilize and prices are starting to creep back up, it is now evident that borrowers are still having a hard time making their mortgage payments. There are close to 7 million homes that are being threatened with foreclosure but this process could take up to 3 years. With the potential of 5 to 7 million homes going into foreclosure in the next 3 years, it could drive the prices of homes down again. To read more on this topic visit New Wave of Foreclosures Threatens Market.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

National Association of Realtors reports on Pending Home Sales

NAR reported that Pending Home Sales index for contracts signed in January, fell 7.6 percent to 90.4 from an upwardly revised 97.8 in December, but remains 12.3 percent higher than January 2009. They said the extremely bad weather in that month played a major role in the decline. The weather is also expected to impart February's numbers with a surge in activity expected in April.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Moving Tips

Today's Helpful Topic: Damage Claims and Missing Items

Damage Claims:

Interstate movers allow nine months from the time of delivery to submit a claim for damage to your household goods. Locals move claims must be submitted within 30 days. Your shipment is considered delivered if it is unloaded into a residence, public/self storage unit, or into permanent storage. To file a claim you must request a claim form from the movers. All claims must be made in writing, include sufficient information to identify the item, and must include the inventory number and estimated amount for the repair or estimated replacement amount. If you do not have the original receipt supply the manufacturer of the item should be acceptable.

If you have done everything outlined in our Moving Facts Booklet, with regards to notations of damages, and missing items and declaring high value items with the mover, there should be no problems with having your claim settled quickly and fairly. If you have difficulty however, or haven't heard from the mover within 30 days of submitting your claim, please contact your CRS Consultant. They will assist you in whatever they can.

Important- The success of any claim is dependent on the notations made on the inventory sheet at the time of loading and delivery. you only have one opportunity to file a claim, therefore, it is imperative that you inspect all of your household goods prior to filing. Also, the movers will NOT settle a claim if your shipment has been moved from the location of original delivery.

Missing Items:
It is your responsibility to make sure all of your items arrive with the shipment at the time of delivery. If there are items missing, you must inform the driver and notate the missing articles on the inventory sheet. if you do not notice an item is missing until after delivery is completed, it is important that you notify the mover as soon as possible. The mover will place a trace to attempt to locate the item ( some movers will require you to file a damage claim in order to start a trace). If the item is not found, you may put in a claim for recovery. However, if the loss was not notated on the inventory at delivery, it is highly unlikely that the mover will accept liability,

Important- Because of the limit of mover liability on self packed boxes and high value items that are not declared prior to loading, it is unlikely that the movers will settle a claim for loss of these items.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010