Friday, October 29, 2010

Where to Buy a Home for Less Than $800/month

For homeowners, the troubled market has been a nightmare. But for those looking to buy a house, it has created some amazing opportunities. In the week ending September 2, thirty-year fixed mortgage rates fell to an average of 4.32%, the lowest level in nearly 40 years. Patrick Newport, a U.S. economist for IHS Global Insight stated, "right now, housing is about as affordable as it has been since at least the 1970s."

So, where in the U.S. can you buy a house for less than $800 a month? Well, U.S. News examined housing costs on a monthly payment basis. They started with the National Association of Realtors' median home-price data for 159 metropolitan statistical areas as of the second quarter of 2010. After subtracting a 20% down payment from a market's median price, they plugged the remaining figure into a mortgage calculator using a 4.32% interest rate on a 30-year fixed loan. And this is what they came up with........

`Austin, Texas- The median home price in the Austin area stood at nearly $197,000 in the second quarter of this year, a slight increase from a year earlier. After a 20% down payment- totaling $39,400- monthly payments for mortgage principal and interest on a median-priced home in Austin come to $782.

`Sarasota, Florida- The median home price in the Sarasota area was $185,000 in the second quarter of this year. After a down payment of 20%- totaling $37,000- monthly payments for mortgage principal and interest on a median-priced Sarasota area home come to $734.

`Albuquerque, N.M.- The median home price in Albuquerque was $178,000 in the second quarter, down about 2% from a year earlier. After a down payment of 20%- totaling $35,600- monthly payments for mortgage principal and interest on a median-priced home is roughly $706.

`Minneapolis- St.Paul- The median home price was $176,000 in the second quarter of 2010, a decline of roughly 4% from the same period on 2009. After a down payment of 20%- totaling $35,200- monthly payments are $698.

`Columbus, Ohio- The median home price was nearly $150,000 in the second quarter of this year, a 10% increase from the same period a year earlier. After a 20% down payment- totaling $30,000- monthly payments come to $595.

`Phoenix, Arizona- The median home price was nearly $145,000 in the second quarter of this year. After a down payment of 20%- totaling $29,000- monthly payments total about $575.

`Columbia, S.C.- The median home price was $142,000 in the second quarter of this year, up about 3% from the same period in 2009. Buyers who make a 20% down payment- totaling $28,400- will have monthly payments of about $564.

`Boise, Idaho- The median home price was $140,000 in the second quarter of this year, a decline of roughly 13% from a year earlier. After a 20% down payment- totaling $28,000- monthly payments come to about $556.

`Pittsburgh, P.A.- The median home price was $127,000 in the second quarter of this year, a modest increase from the same period in 2009. Buyers who make a 20% down payment- totaling $25,400- will have a monthly payment of about $504.

`Atlanta, Georgia- The median home price was nearly $123,000 in the second quarter of this year, up slightly from the same period a year earlier. After a 20% down payment- totaling $24,600- monthly payments come to $488.

So, after looking at all of these amazing places with affordable housing, why wouldn't you consider buying? Visit MSN Real Estate to view the entire article and Consumers Relocation to learn more about relocation to your new home!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The World's Best Places to Live 2010

When you are traveling, do you ever think to yourself "I should move here!" or "this would be an amazing place to live!". Well Bloomberg Businessweek has done all of the dirty work for you and compiled a list of the best places to live all around the world. To decide on their list, they considered 39 different factors that range from political stability and crime rates to housing, health care and education. Of course, lifestyle issues such as cuisine, nightlife, culture and recreation are included, as is the natural environment. These are balanced by factors of perhaps greater interest to expatriates, such as safety and public service. All told, the cities that rise to the top offer the world's highest quality of life across a wide spectrum of measures.

1: Vienna

2: Zurich

3: Geneva

4: TIE!! Vancouver, BC and Aukland, New Zealand

6. Dusseldorf, Germany

7. TIE!! Frankfurt, Germany and Munich

9. Bern, Switzerland

10. Sydney

Despite its current economic travails, Europe still dominates the list's higher reaches, with 7 of the top 10 cities. The highest ranked U.S. city is Honoululu at No.31, followed by San Fransisco at No.32. For the second consecutive year, Baghdad was chosen as the world's worst place to live. So when you are looking to move to one of these amazing cities, contact CRS at 800-839-6683 or visit to let us arrange your move!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Existing-Home Sales Jump 10 Percent

According to MSNBC, existing-home sales jumped 10% in September, creating the largest monthly gain in 10 years! The monthly gain was bigger than expected, indicating the housing market is stabilizing at weaker levels and continues to struggle.

The National Association of Realtors said sales increased 10 perfect from August, rising for a second straight month, to an annual rate of 4.53 million units. August's sales pace was revised slightly down to a 4.12 million unit pace.

Michelle Meyer, senior U.S. economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in New York states that she hasn't changed her outlook for the housing market and expects home prices to fall another 5 to 8 percent. She also doesn't expect the housing market to bottom until the third quarter of next year.

To read the full article, visit

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Does Your New Home Need Some Help?

Buying a home that needs repairs can be a daunting task, but if these repairs are done right, than it can be totally worth it. DONE RIGHT are the key words! The last thing you want to do is take on a task too big for your own good and potentially do more harm than good. So, while CRS is coordinating your move into your new home, start your research on finding professionals in the area to start the problems you can't tackle. Here are some tips for finding the right fix-it professional.

According to Amy Roberts of Good Housekeeping, the number one rule in hiring any service professional: Get references. Word of mouth from friends and neighbors is the best way to find a good worker who'll deliver great results on your home repairs. You can also search user reviews on websites like ServiceMagic, or Angieslist. Ask anyone you hire about minimum charges and what might cause the price to go up.

Here are a few questions from Amy Roberts that you should ask prospective repair professionals-


*Do you specialize in repair work or remodeling?

*Do you charge for travel time?

*Will you have necessary parts handy?


*Do you need a permit to do the work? permits are usually needed only on larger jobs

*Will you buy the fixtures or parts for me? it's generally preferable because the electrician would then be responsible for the product warranty and any broken or missing pieces.


*Must I leave the house while work is done? are there risks to people or pets?

*How soon will the critters be gone?

*Are return visits covered in the cost?


*What is included in the service?

*Can you get a discount on paint?


*Should I repair or replace?

*Will you be roofing over existing shingles?

*Is there a warranty or guarantee?

All of these questions are important to ask your hired professional to make sure that you are receiving the service that you expect and ensure you are getting the most out of your money! If you would like to read the full article titled Got Repairs? Get the right help, visit MSN Real estate.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What to do After the Movers Leave

An organized plan helps you unpack and get settled into a new home.

And you thought that the packing and loading was a handful, unpacking can be just as stressful if you are not prepared. It is important when moving to develop a plan for unpacking to make it fun and exciting rather than overwhelming and stressful. Marilyn Lewis of MSN Real Estate wrote a terrific article on how to create a plan for unpacking your new home.

Establish a beachhead:

* After you have paid the movers and looked around, take stock. You should have already done inventory during the unloading phase.

*If you discover damage while unpacking, obtain a claim form from your moving company (or call CRS and we can walk you through the process)

*Make sure to give a detailed description when filing a claim.

*Photograph any breakage from several angles.

*Send the claim via certified mail

*Hold on to the damaged boxes or item until your claim is resolved

*If a dispute arises with the moving company, contact CRS. We can assist you in resolving the claim

About those boxes:

*Unpacking will consume several days- at least. While you are unpacking, your new life is beginning. New neighbors may show up to say hello, family members are beginning new jobs, new schools and you're getting to know your new community.

*If you have packed well, the pressure's off because you have what you need close at hand. The trick in unpacking is to have prepared a box of essentials for each room and open these boxes first so you can function out of them while assembling the rest of the house.

*Try to stay focused. Get one room to completion before starting the next.

Make lists:

Keep two lists as you work: one for tools and supplies needed to finish setting up the house, the other for repairs and jobs to do.


Take your time. your home doesn't need to be perfect right away. Make it good enough to get going, then adjust as needed.

Get rid of boxes:

As you empty boxes, break them down and store or recycle them. Ask if your moving company recycles boxes. Offer them through a free classified ad online or in your local newspaper. Call other moving companies to locate a recycling program.


Designate a place to put things you want out of the house with separate piles for stuff to store, sell, donate or discard.

Customize your space:

Set up your home with an eye to your family's needs. Many homes, for example, have a formal dining room, but few families eat formal meals these days. you may prefer to use the space for an office, a playroom or homework area.

Accept help:

When new neighbors come by to say hello and offer help, take them up on it, both to bond and because every bit of help gets you closer to completion. Don't be afraid to ask for aid holding a ladder, carrying out boxes, organizing the kitchen or driving a load to the dump.

Get established:

*Find restaurants and shops

*Join a neighborhood organization

*Meet the doctors

*Beat the rush- If you move in the summer, get a jump on the schools' mass registration in August by calling or dropping in to deliver your children's records and fill out paper work in advance

*Break the ice- Don't wait for others to make the first move. Throw a bbq, brunch or party for neighbors or have people over to watch the football game.

Before long, this new place will seem like home, but the memories of your first days and weeks and how your settled in will remain vivid.
To view the full article, visit What to do after the movers leave

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

10 Reasons You Should Buy a Home Now!

When is the best time to buy a house? It is a question that many people ask themselves from time to time. Are the housing prices right? Are the mortgage rates low enough? Well MSN has reported that NOW is the best time to buy a house, and here are 10 reasons why!

1. You can get a good deal- It is a buyers market and if you play hardball, you can pick up a house at a bargain price. Since the tax credits on purchases have expired, we have seen a decrease in the number of buyers.

2. Mortgages are cheap- You can get a 30 year home loan for about 4.3% right now, and these are the lowest rates on record. If inflation picks up, you will not see these mortgage rates again. And if we see deflation and the rates drop further, you can always refinance.

3. You'll save on taxes- You can deduct mortgage interest from your income taxes. You can also deduct your real-estate taxes and a tax break on capital gains- if any- when you sell your home.

4. It'll be yours!- When you own, you can make your home however you would like it! You can paint the walls, re-do the kitchen, upgrade the bathrooms, whatever you want! You also feel better knowing you own the home you live in. Any upgrade you do will only increase the value of your home when re-selling.

5. You'll get a better home- In many parts of the country, it is hard to find a good rental. Landlords don't necessarily keep the house/condo modern and clean if they are renting. When owning, you tend to take better care of your home.

6. It offers some inflation protection- Although housing can't totally protect you from inflation, studies show that over the long term, housing has tended to beat inflation by a couple of inflation points a year. That's valuable inflation insurance, especially if you are young, raising a family and thinking about the next 30 to 40 years.

7. It's risk capital- Your home isn't the stock market and it should not be viewed as a way to get rich, but if the economy does surprise us all and start booming, sooner or later real-estate prices will go up again, too.

8. It's forced savings- If you can rent an apartment for $2,000 a month instead of buying for $2,400 a month, renting might make sense. But will you save that $400 for the future? Most people won't. You have to do the math, but the part of your mortgage payment that goes to principal repayment isn't a cost. You are just paying yourself by building equity. As a forced monthly savings, its a good discipline.

9. There's a lot to choose from- There are a ton of homes on the market right now, the National Association of Realtors puts the number of available homes at around 4 million. That is below last years peak but well above the typical levels. More homes continue to come onto the market as the banks slowly unload their inventory of unsold properties. This means great choice as well as great prices.

10. Sooner or later the market will clear- Eventually, demand and supply will meet. The U.S. population is forecast to grow by over 100 million people over the next 40 years. That means maybe 40 million new households looking for homes. Meanwhile, this housing glut will work itself out. Many of the homes will be bought, but many more will simply be destroyed.

So, if you are considering purchasing a house, look over these reasons why now is the time to buy. And when you do buy, call CRS to help you move!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

People One Year Ago or More Living in Different States

In the recently released Census Bureau American Community Survey, one of the interesting studies was for people who lived in different states one or more years ago. This study shows the states where people are more likely moving into still, and those that are not seeing new people move in. Overall, 2.3 % of the population in the US lived in another state one year or more ago.

Alaska and Wyoming take the top of the list with 5.9% and 5.8% of the population respectively having lived in a different state one year or more ago. The next states with 3.7 to 4.7% of the population having lived in a different state are all in that same part of the country as Wyoming. They were Idaho, the Dakotas, Nevada, Colorado, and Kansas.

The bottom of the list for movement in were surprisingly states like California at 1.3%, New York at 1.4%, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

The lime colored states were 2.7-3.5% living in another state 1 or more years ago.

Still trying to find out what states all the people moved from! In our business that would be the key.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

State house sale listing statistics

The National Association of Realtors website publishes stats on homes for sale including the average listing price, and time of the market. I went through the map which tags each states stats, and by clicking on the state it provides a snap shot of that state. What I found in a random clicking, was that California had the lowest average days on the market of 155 days! That really surprised me. Vermont, which has not felt the housing bust as much, was higher at 175 days. Rhode Island, was the lowest I could find at 143 days. New York was 157- but there are states where the average days on the market are way over 200 days; like Florida at 229, Colorado at 215. But it looks like most states are in between 150 and 190 days.

Not sure where these stats were last year.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

America's Strongest Housing Markets in 2014

I was sent this great article on the projected turn of the housing market and since that has been a popular topic recently, I only found it fit to post on todays Blog! America's Strongest Housing Markets in 2014 was found on Bloomberg Businessweek and it discusses where in the country the housing market will rebound the most.

According to the Fiserv Case-Shiller indexes, home prices in the U.S. have declined 29.5% over the past four years. David Stiff, the chief economist at Fiserv estimates that early next year, the median home price will be down roughly 32.9% from the 2006 peak. He also states that in early 2014, prices will have climbed about 7.2% from 2010 levels.

And the winners are.................

There were 384 locations surveyed and it was determined that the Bremerton-Silverdale area in Washington State had the highest four-year growth forcast with prices expected to increase 44.7% from 2010 to 2014.

Bend, Oregon is in second place with prices expected to jump 33.6% by 2014 and Detroit, Michigan with 33.1%.

Markets with the weakest projections include.....

Miami, Florida, Naples, Florida, Atlantic City, New Jersey
Prices are expected to continue to fall over the next four years in these 3 locations.

To find out where your city stands visit the Bloomberg Businessweek.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What if our new home has bedbugs?

With all the publicity about this problem, so far we have not had a customer with a bedbug problem; that we know about. Of course since we are moving them out of a home, we probably wouldn't know unless their old home had bedbugs. Makes me itch just thinking about this topic.

The bed cover

I did some research on bedbugs, wondering how we might counsel a customer with who may encounter this problem. And I found some pretty interesting information. One study, published by Cornell University can be found at the following link-

Another person, moved into a home that was infested with these bugs. The bottom line is that they sealed all their beds in simple covers that they purchased at Walmart that had been used to protect from dust mites. They developed a blog site listed below which could be very useful.

We certainly hope that none of our customers or anyone reading this blog for that matter encounter this problem, but the information contained here will be a good start in understanding the problem and how to deal with it.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fall Foliage in Vermont!

It's that time of year! The colors in Vermont are at their peak and everyone is getting excited for winter. Check out this photo!

Monday, October 4, 2010

NAR reports increase in Pending Home Sales

"The Pending Home Sales Index,* a forward-looking indicator, rose 4.3 percent to 82.3 based on contracts signed in August from a downwardly revised 78.9 in July, but is 20.1 percent below August 2009 when it was 103.0. The data reflects contracts and not closings, which normally occur with a lag time of one or two months."

This is the second good report for housing in the last 2 weeks! Although we are still lagging way behind 2009, it looks like maybe we are going in the right direction.