Continuing to examine and hold a lively discussion of the Northern Virginia Real Estate market.
Please post your local house search updates, MLS finds, on-topic ideas, and links here.
I know no one else is obessed with one particular zip code in Burke, but 22015 had a very interesting month. Median and average price ticked up MoM. For one and only one reason, 10 sales in the 500-599k bracket. The move-up market thawed briefly in June. Otherwise news was pretty dire, 62 new listings and 59 sales, but 30 fewer active listings, clearly some sellers have given up. 5 cash sales, which beats the previous 4 months combined. But still VA+FHA outnumbered conventional. And in this past two weeks, I've seen more and more of the high-watermark buyers in any given neighborhood put their properties on the market, half as shorts half as "real sales" with or without realistic prices. Keene Mill Woods is now rapidly approaching the $180k mark, with 3 recent closed sales at $190k or less. Almost every closed listing I get is under asking, if not well under asking, despite the fact that out of 59 sales 37 were for listings less than 30 days old.Much much out there to give a buyer pause, and make things feel, anyway, that there's another leg down to go, and the softness is starting now. This is going to be an incredibly difficult call whether to buy something inexpensive now that is adequate for our needs, or hold out another year, building up more funds, and hoping that the places that might suit all of our needs come down into our price range... If we do put in a bid now, do I really want to be the buyer who sets the real sale comp that puts 25% of my neighbors well under-water (assuming 20% downpayments)? (even if some of the reasons that I want to put in a low bid are because of work that I feel needs doing on this place)
Cara-I would not worry about being the real sale that puts them underwater. I am sure they already know they are underwater. You can also remind them that if you win you were the highest bidder, so they would have been more underwater...
This is more a case where there is no bidder. So the alternative to us may be no sale, which would stave off the inevitable for a while. But yes, realistically they should already know they are underwater. And if buyers are so scarce that it takes this one that long to sell, they should be happy for a sale at all. And, if they do want a short-sale to get approved by the bank, this is a great way to make that happen, because I'll bet price is the problem with the three that are out there. Buyers see no reason to pay the list price and banks won't accept any lower.But in any case, yes, we do have to make the best decision for ourselves in the end. And only bid if we are sure we want to live there, and only bid what we're willing to pay.
Cara-One more option is have them pay the entire closing costs. In the county records they only keep track of the price of the house. So if you have them pay 10K for closing you made your real price 10K lower but in the county records people are not as far underwater.
NY Times on tighter rules on lendingJodi Hilton for The New York Times"BOSTON — Inna Komarovskaya was ready to do her part to revive the economy: She found a “really cute” condo to buy. Dr. Inna Komarovskaya’s good credit and healthy down payment failed to help her get a mortgage for a condo in Boston. Despite a good credit score, a six-figure income and an ample down payment, Dr. Komarovskaya, a recent dental school graduate, could not get a loan. Her mortgage broker told her she ran afoul of new rules requiring two years of sufficient tax returns from some home buyers, instead of only one....Dr. Komarovskaya, the rejected dentist, tries to be philosophical about missing out on that two-bedroom condo she wanted in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston. She understands that after years of mortgage abuse and fraud, the rules had to be tightened.But what might be an inevitable process in the larger economy is a burden on her personal finances. “Renting is a waste of money,” she said. Having no choice, she has dropped plans to buy and signed a new apartment lease."Sorry to cut and paste only the irrelevant sob story. Boohoo. I'm one year out of school and can't immediately buy a condo, despite the fact that I don't understand the concept of renting versus owning.Outside of this typical MSM BS, the article does have some details on which new requirements there might be with GSE lending.
Whah boo hoo, I'm going to throw money away on rent rather than interest. You're right, the MSM ｉｓ ｆｕｌｌ ｏｆ ＦＡＩＬ。
Welcome back, Cara. I agree with Housebuyer re: her advice and I agree with you about boohooing that impatient dentist. My guess is she probably had some hefty student loans or setting-up-shop loans as well, which made her a bit less attractive to the lender.
Ace,I'm pretty sure housebuyer is a he.It's hard to keep track of these things.But yes, we definitely should keep a seller subsidy for closing costs in mind. Heck this seller is offering $1000 to the buyer's agent for bringing in the sale, in addition to the normal 3% (Because we're working with frankly that $1000 would be refunded to us, but anyway).
OK, thanks, Cara, I thought housebuyer mentioned a husband last week but either (a) I misread it or have housebuyer confused with someone else (highly likely) or (b) I failed to consider that a man could have a husband also.Also, in particular I agree with the advice that it is not your responsibility that the market is where it is for these neighbors. Anyone who would somehow blame you for his/her house's value is childish and in denial about what causes what.
Cara-Thanks I am a he. Although obviously my name is pretty ambiguous so it doesn't bother me if people make that mistake. By the way it is a little frustrating looking at 400+K houses near Tysons. They are only down 10-15% and most of the sellers are trying to get within 5% of peak prices... Hopefully the winter can cool off some of these close in areas.
Occasionally I'll look at housing in the area in which I grew up to bring some reality to my search.Like this house for 375kThat's not a starter house for me, that's the kind of house I'd grow old in.Then I look at what I can get for $375k around D.C. and resolve not to buy in the near future. I had high hopes for Vienna but we've been here a month and have had our car stereo faceplate stolen out of our driveway and this morning my wife walked by a car a few houses down with its window broken out for a GPS. Maybe the other side of Maple is better.
Sorry for my error, housebuyer!
Jeff B,Ooo, pretty. Yeah, too much "perspective" like that and you'll never buy. Smaller versions of things like that are coming down out of the $500k range in long commute areas, like the tree in the middle of it house that Ace found.
JeffB-I am sorry to hear about your car. I am surprised to hear you are having crime areas around there. In different parts of NoVa including Vienna my entire life and have never had any issues with crime. I am actually a little surprised how expensive the home you showed us was. You can find quite a few houses that are basically the same size and cost in areas like Burke or Centreville. You don't even need to go to the way out suburbs. Seeing that your job is probably far higher here than a comparable job in PA the house you showed doesn't really impress me. I am much more impressed when you see some of the midwest states where you see houses like that going for 200K.Sorry again about the car.
Jeff B, where in Vienna are you? I'm off of Nutley, a couple blocks from 66.
housebuyer,Really? I've missed them? Jeff B's house was 2,744 sq ft on 1.9 acres for $375k with really nice architecture to boot. There's places like that, for that in the Burke general area? Sweet? Any examples?This guy would be the closest I've seen and it was listed at $100k more and has 900 less sq feet on a tiny corner lot.http://franklymls.com/FX7041310But it's altogether possible I'm missing a lot of good inventory from lack of proximity to the VRE. Because if I can reasonably buy something like Jeff pointed out just by waiting one year, there's no way I should buy now.
Cara-Sorry on my original entry I meant to make a comment about not being able to get the land. I agree you can not get a huge lot here for that sort of money. I think you can get the house for close to ithttp://www.redfin.com/VA/Fairfax/13169-Morning-Spring-Ln-22033/home/9503881http://www.redfin.com/VA/Springfield/7001-Barnack-Dr-22152/home/9773690No pictures but it is 80K less so you could make it look nice http://franklymls.com/FX7105665Maybe these are not quite as nice, but they are in the same ballpark and seeing that the average family in FX is making probably 50-100% more than if they lived in a small town in PA I am not impressed. As I said places like Houston are impressive where there are high paying jobs and cheap housing, but I am not sure the place Jeff showed was that crazy.
kevin,We're probably pretty close to you, we're near Meadow Lane Park a few blocks North of Nutley before you get to Maple. Here's roughly where the car was broken into this morning. We've also had one of those young scam artists selling magazines door-to-door since we've moved in. The neighbors are really nice, for the most part, but there's also some general seediness around.
Cara and Housebuyer, Re: possibility of another leg down. Anecdotal evidence- Friends in McLean, oldish rambler had a contract for asking price in 600 range signed a month ago. Now appraisal came in 100K lower (which would be 50K lower than their 2004 purchase price). This type of activity has the potential to kill deals and drive prices lower. That will generate new comps. Wash, rinse, repeat. I don't have any strong advice one way or the other at this point, but I do find that story to be a bearish indicator.
Honestly I was a little surprised that the place I posted was $375k. It seems a little high for that area to me. If I were to pay $375k for a house though I wouldn't mind paying it for the one I posted. That's not true for most of the places around here, at least for me.It's not the middle of nowhere though - it's the region of PA where many people that work in Philly, Wilmington, etc. live. Dupont country. It's 5-6 miles from the University of Delaware. So the job prospects are pretty decent.Also, to bring some personal insight into the mix, it's 2 acres in a very nice neighborhood that essentially backs to a huge nature preserve. Housebuyer, the houses you posted were nicer than I was expecting in this area. I haven't looked in those areas so I wasn't aware that there were some decent houses for that price.
Whoa, that is right down the street from me. I think when I get home tonight I'll clean the goodies out of my car. Where are those over-zealous Vienna police? Can't they put down the radar guns for half a second?Thanks for the heads-up, and I'm sorry to hear about your car.
housebuyerI think you're right that Houston is more impressive, though my friends from Houston are now telling me all kinds of scary stories about crime... but you never know.Those are decent finds, and I could probably find ones with more land south of Huntington station or near Mount Vernon. I kinda doubt there's anywhere with houses for $375k that are the total package, great commute, great schools, nice interesting house with inviting details and a goodly amount of space. Some places a bit further out than I'm willing to go are close, but again that loses on one count. I know life's all about choices and compromises, and it's wrong of me to blithely assume that that random house in PA is the total package, but under that assumption, I'd say we're no where near there yet. I intentionally don't bring up comps from Chattanooga Tennessee, because the schools aren't even close. They believe firmly in putting as little funding as possible towards public education as far as I can tell.Tabitha's place in PWC is the closest thing to a total package, and it's only that for her family because they chose that commute for her husband. (and it was around 500k, I believe)
Reposting from last night...A link to the presentation to the Fairfax County BOS during their retreat. Financial FY2011 ForecastWe heard that the presentation predicted residential losses through FY2013. Slide 19 is eye popping. Of the 13 new commercial real estate buildings, seven are 100% speculative. The county is more bearish on CRE predicting losses through FY2014.Slide 16 also is eye popping. In FY2002, the county collected an average property tax of $2,887. It peaked FY2007 at $4,827. If they do not raise the tax the average is projected to be $4,298. If it is raised to $1.15 (instead of the current $1.04) then they get $4,753.Not to sound heartless -- I certainly feel for all county employees and county programs -- but . . . why can't the county get by with average revenues in the $3000s? If it got by in 2002 with $2,887 one wonders why it needs to be in the $4000s.
housebuyer: JeffB's house had nearly 2 acres of land.for more perspective, her is what $500k buys you in New Albany, OH (a rich suburb of Columbus):http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/6873-New-Albany-Links-Dr_New-Albany_OH_43054_1091065016#Detail
wow, that was eye-opening, thanks tbw.Foreclosures were down though since last fall, that's good right? Just because we expect them to rise with job losses, Alt-A's, option-arms, and severely underwater borrowers from 2004/2005 is not the point...
Jeff-I guess I should have looked at where in PA it was. I just didn't recognize the name so assumed it was the middle of nowhere. I agree that 375 is better than you can here, so if you can get good jobs it could be nice. I did some consulting for a bank in Wilmington and you are right there are a lot of high paying jobs there(DuPont, Astrazenica, JPM, BofA, ING...)
Nova-Yeah I forgot mention that Jeff's place had a lot of land. I agree you can not get that sort of land unless you move pretty far out or have a couple million for a nice place in McLean
Did anyone know there was a mobile homes park right outside of Fairfax City????? http://www.redfin.com/VA/Fairfax/4201-Odie-Ct-22030/home/17180215
tiredbubblewatcher said..."Not to sound heartless -- I certainly feel for all county employees and county programs -- but . . . why can't the county get by with average revenues in the $3000s? If it got by in 2002 with $2,887 one wonders why it needs to be in the $4000s."A counterargument might be that "the population is much higher than back then", which of course is silly since that should increase their revenues accordingly.Bottom line is that they have been reaming homeowners the past few years, swimming in pools of homeowner taxes, and overinflating their budgets. Kind of like govt in general.
housebuyer said... "Did anyone know there was a mobile homes park right outside of Fairfax City?????"The condo I owned was right across the street (29) from them.
Jeff B -- sorry to hear about the crime. I would still say Vienna is a pretty safe place. Crime MapYou might find this interesting. What's amazing is how low crime wide swaths of land are in Fairfax County. You'll see that some areas are practically crime free.Also many of the crimes reported are within families are low income people attacking/robbing other low income people. Or robbing a store. While obviously bad, those are less relevant for how much crime you would face.
kevin,A counterargument might be that "the population is much higher than back then", which of course is silly since that should increase their revenues accordingly.Yeah I was willing to let it go to the 3000s because of population growth and I didn't view the constrained budgets of the 1990s as ideal. I think Westfield HS opened about 5-7 years later than it should have because of the dead housing market and subsequent school budget cuts.I just wonder where all that extra money went? Not many schools were built in the past 10 years, I can only think of one additional library, pupils per teacher is way up from the 80s and 90s. They raised teacher salaries but not some huge amount (but maybe raising initial salaries to $40k really adds up). Maybe the police and fire department are living large?
Since we're reposting from the last thread, I'll move reply to here:TBW: the tax thing shows exactly why Jerry Conelly should not be in office. I remember a few years ago when he waited to release the budget deficit information until right after the elections.And you're exactly right: the average property tax should be in the low 3s.
TBW-That is a pretty interesting map. By the way I find it silly that theft, robbery, and burglary are all different icons. They all sound like the same thing to me...
novawatcher,Couldn't agree more. Conelly sucks and needs to go.
kevin,I'd bet you're safe if you're in the apartments/townhouses closer to the metro. My unsubstantiated guess is that people are just walking up and down the dark streets of SFHs looking for items inside of cars. My wife's car was unlocked when they took her faceplate but if you look at the crime reports for Vienna you'll see a number of broken window car thefts. Here's a little more detailed crime map from the Post, that SpotCrime one seemed oddly lacking.Post map for ViennaYou also might be interested in the Vienna Crime Reports. Arlington will mail these to you every week but you have to check Vienna's website manually.Vienna Crime Reports by weekNeither of those makes Vienna looks like Southeast, the crimes aren't that numerous nor are they serious. I just don't like the feeling that someone is prowling the streets in the middle of the night looking for things to steal. It makes me concerned about the stuff in our shed, on the porch, etc.
Jeff- Do you know what time frame the links you showed are using. TBWs link was only for 2 months if you changed it to a longer time frame the map was less lacking.I agree it sucks not being able to trust that people will not take stuff from your shed. Although I would assume it is probably safe. The things that you said were stolen sound like teenagers taking stuff they want. You probably do not have much in your shed that teens want...
Jeff B said..."I'd bet you're safe if you're in the apartments/townhouses closer to the metro.”I'm in a SFH on Tapawingo=(
Jeff B,Yeah I remembered the Post had that map but I couldn't find it before. I do not like to look at the maps much because they just make you worry. I also start to wonder whatever happened to Herndon...But the amazing thing is when you look at the numbers the crime rate (and even number of crimes like homicide) has gone down even as the population soared and there has been more socioeconomic diversity in the county.
Interesting conversation at lunch,a foriegn postdoc (i.e. some one who will not be buying in DC in the foreseeable future because of transience)asked if we were still looking for houses. And I said well, we might put a bid in on one. And he was like, wow, how do you decide to buy somewhere, not live there for a year but buy, that must be difficult. And I said, well, if you are in a position to buy, you figure out what you can afford, find out what that buys you and decide. (He's 25 and not even thinking along the lines of buying). And then he was like, but you've been looking for 2 years. And of course, of course, some one else piped up. Who said, it only took me 2 months. To which I replied of course, most people moving to an area can do it in a weekend if need be. Which of course made the post doc pipe up that prices have been dropping while I've been looking. Which got the typical home-owner response, "not in good areas, find a good area and the prices have only gone down 5-10%." And I sucked in my breathe, "true, not yet, but since I can't pay $400k those good areas are not relevant to me. And if you're looking out in the suburbs where there's lots of land and lots of options, prices have come down quite a bit." And he gave me this look of why would you want to buy anywhere that prices had dropped? And I was trying to be as diplomatic as possible, just saying, I'm cheap and crazy and picky, and I've got time on my side, because every year I wait is more money I have for the downpayment, so why settle for less than I want?But his basic philosophy was you decide what you want to pay, then you see what's available, and move your price point up $50k, and then you find the place you actually want and go up $50k more. This is the mind of a normal bubble buyer (or owner in this case) not necessarily greedy, but wanting cachet nonetheless, and willing to pay for it. Just in case anyone on this blog lacks for sufficient examples of friends and colleagues who aren't on these blogs.
kevin,Tapawingo's probably fine, it's heavily used. The roads perpendicular to it are the ones where it'd be easy to break a car window. A lot of trees, widely spaced houses, etc.But yeah I'm not generally a worrier, all that has changed for me is that I make sure the doors are locked at night now. There are few serious crimes in Vienna as far as I can tell - mostly minor thefts and a ton of DUIs. I never would have looked into Vienna crime if we hadn't been hit by it in our first week. I'm sure our concerns will fade with time.
Cara,The irrationality and banality of that person's justifications has just given me an aneurysm. "why would you want to buy anywhere that prices had dropped?" FACEPALMJeffB,The traffic is really annoying. If my situation weren't such a great deal, I would rather have rented on one of those side-streets.
kevin,Sorry!!! It was not my intention to cause physical harm! :)Yeah, I was just looking for anyway to wiggle myself out of that conversation. Because he knows that I make more than he does. And that I have better job security. So, my contention that I can't afford his house, is just not going to fly.There was obviously a strong underlying belief that if you buy in the good areas, you can't go wrong. Prices only go up. If prices go down, it must be a shitty area. Or a shitty house. And while he's right that the crash is doing an excellent job of separating the wheat from the chafe, he's wrong if he thinks the price of wheat wasn't inflated too.
LOL nice analogy!
Cara-I do find it funny that people do not want to buy something that is cheaper than it used to be. This mentality is also why people get their butts kicked in the stock market. People do a very good job of selling right after everything falls and buying after everything has gone up... Time and time again people show they are really bad at spotting good values...
Cara,Burke is wheat, not chaff. Ashburn is wheat, not chaff.I think a lot of wheat has had large price drops and not just chaff areas.Now, maybe continuing the analogy, McLean and North Arlington are organic wheat. ;) I think there are a lot of people thinking that organic wheat is really, really good and worth the extra money. But as the economy continues its recession and people really think about how much money to spend they start to realize that organic wheat is not really that much better than the regular wheat and not worth an extra 50%.Then again, there will always be a group of people only willing to shop at Whole Foods instead of Trader Joe's, Giant, et al.
tbw,shhh. don't tell anyone.But yes, I agree completely. I just didn't feel the need to defend Burke from random detractors.
And really, within Burke there is both wheat and chafe.The chafe is falling a lot faster, possibly because a lot of it was late to the party. There was no market for it until people got priced out of the more desireable stuff. Which means more of the loans are newer, implying a whole host of problems.
Cara- I agree although as I have said I am looking on the Orange line I actually grew up in Burke and Fairfax Station and like those areas far more. For the same price range as a nice TH in Vienna/Dunn Loring I could have a very nice SFH with a great yard close to some amazing parks. Unfortunately I commuted from Fairfax Station to Tyson's one summer and decided I will never do it again. I hate traffic...If you have a job that allows you to live in Burke I think that's great area and you really do not need to justify it to anyone
Wells Fargo sues itself over a mortgage...http://tinyurl.com/mjrvnnEntertaining read.
JeffB said: I just don't like the feeling that someone is prowling the streets in the middle of the night looking for things to steal. It makes me concerned about the stuff in our shed, on the porch, etc.A few outdoor security cameras with a DVR might help catch the thieves. I posted this last month when the other Jeff thought someone was in his house: Q-See security camerasI have that system. It works great. The cameras have night-vision, so you can view/record even when it's dark. Also, if someone looks at the cameras, they'll see the multiple infrared lights...might scare them away if they know they're being recorded.
housebuyer,I once read that Justice Clarence Thomas lives in Fairfax Station. I wonder how early he has to wake up to get to the Supreme Court in downtown DC.
nova, thanks for the tip. That system does look pretty neat, I'm a little hesitant to install it in a rental house though. Depending on our situation we may not be there 11 months from now. I'm a technophile though so maybe I'll buy the wireless version to play with anyway :)
10 things you should know about moving companies Scary scary list, and so accurate. I think this has just solidified my feeling that for our little local move we will move all the fragiles ourselves and ply our friends with food and alcohol to move the rest.Why any of these people thought a cross country move could be under $2000 in the first place is beyond me though.
TBW,Re: Fairfax's budgetIt is feeding the beast. Here in Arlington in FY04 the budget was $487M, in FY07 $609M, in FY10(proposed) $946M. It nearly doubled since just 2004!During the 2000's county revenue from real estate alone has more than doubled. How is this sustainable? The budgets were increasing over 6% per year, every year. Insane. It isn't just Arlington as I'm sure if you looked at Fairfax and Montgomery counties it would be close to the same Paris Hilton style spending sprees. The need for large increases in revenue in PWC and Loudon is much more plausible since they did have to build out infrastructure.
From CR, Obama considering letting people behind on their mortgages rent their homes:As Foreclosure Activity Surges, Obama Considers Rental OptionThere's also info on the foreclosure backlog -- more NODs and pending foreclosures than actual sales. The comments on CR are pretty entertaining also.
TBW-Way too early. It was really convenient growing up. There were a couple of high up government officials in my neighborhood (senators, congressmen...) so anytime it snowed we had our roads plowed immediately. It was almost comical living in a small neighborhood with a couple hundred houses and we always got plowed more often than 66 or 495...
re: other areasi'm on a realtor mailing list for charlotte nc as i am being considered for a job there, and i get a staggering number of homes, maybe 30 a week, 4br+ 2100sq ft+, mid 90's built, close to lakes and parks, some lakefront, for 150-200k, they're a dime a dozen. if that doesnt work out, i should know in a month or so, i'll have to look closer at burke and maybe lake ridge
Just read in the Washington Post that Steve Rattner -- the "car czar" -- has already quit. There goes one of Robert's hopes for a new neighbor in Great Falls brought here by the Obama administration.
http://franklymls.com/AR7099803WTF? Listed for 299, 2BR 1 bath, poor condition,tenants beat it to hell. absentee specuvestor ran it down. Close to rt 27, i think we are back into a mini bubble.I figure it needs 50K of work and someone wants it?
I think I found my new house :) http://franklymls.com/QA7096940I can either get a nice TH in Dunn Loring or this gorgeous mansion on an island...
I assumed SCT Justices had drivers.
Pat: The house on 6th St. was a foreclosure and the owner who defaulted on the loan had lived there - he bought it for $440,000 a few years ago. I wanted it and my contractor could make it look pretty good (kitchen, bathroom, paint, redo floors) for $25K. It is near Ft. Myer so very good rental potential. A better property is on 14th St. (AR7108764). It is a "normal" sale and in reasonably good condition. I am going back there tomorrow with contractor.
Oh, housebuyer, put me down for one of those, please.This will make you bitter. I have worked at a few different govt agencies and in each office, there were inevitably old lifers (slated to retire under CSRS) who worked 3 days a week (or 4 days a week, but they had so much vacation time built up that they just took off 1 day a week), or worked from home half the week, etc.,---anyway, they always lived way out on the eastern shore, or in annapolis, or Rixeyville on a horse farm, etc. Oh, the jealousy!
Anie,What's the market rent on a renovated house like that?
Meshell-Yeah I know the type. Both of my parents are government workers who are currently eligible to retire. They probably will retire in a year or two. Yeah I am most definitely jealous they work less than 4 days a week and will have a very cushy retirement... Ohh well lucky them :-D
Cara:Scary scary list, and so accurate. I think this has just solidified my feeling that for our little local move we will move all the fragiles ourselves and ply our friends with food and alcohol to move the rest.Titan moversI know one of the owners and he's a good guy. My wife and I will be moving the fragiles ourselves anyway, if our short sale comes through this decade.
housebuyer said: "That is a pretty interesting map. By the way I find it silly that theft, robbery, and burglary are all different icons. They all sound like the same thing to me..."Theft - Bike stolen. Basically, no violence involved.Robbery - Gun in your face, thief then takes your wallet and watch. Pretty much theft with some element of violence (or threat of violence).Burglary - Someone enters your home and steals your TV and jewelry. This one involves breaking into a home or business with the intent to commit a crime (including theft).JeffB, you could also check out alarm.com. All wireless security system. Self install (no drilling). You can take it with you when you move.
Study Showing Predictions Regarding ReapportionmentGuess which states are seen as likely to gain House seats after the 2010 Census? The bubble triumvirate of Arizona, Nevada, and Florida. [Non-bubbly Texas and Utah as well.]I wonder how many empty homes the 2010 Census will find. I also wonder how much of the population growth seen in Phoenix, Vegas, Miami, etc actually was there and how much is from demographers thinking "surely, most of those new buildings have people in them..."Sadly, Virginia looks likely to still have 11 seats after the 2010 Census. BORING. :(
"old lifers (slated to retire under CSRS)"I know some like that too but they do much of the work. Dedicated, knowledgeable, have a real work ethic.
Cara and any other people who may move soon, I haven't moved in a long time but there were protective steps you could take back then that may still apply.Reputable companies will come out, size up all of your stuff, and give you a contract to sign weeks before the move. This is different from an estimate, in that, the day of the move, they cannot legally charge you more than their own contract, and they know this. If you add stuff to be moved before the date of the actual move, of course, that's all null and void.There are several different levels of insurance protection. You can pay for the greatest reimbursement value (e.g., replacement cost) or pay a much lower premium and take the chance that nothing is damaged. Note that paying the higher price has an added benefit that they have greater incentive not to damage your stuff, since they have to pay more to you if they do damage it.Take photos of everything, ideally before they come out to size up your move and offer a contract. Share these with the company.Join and look up movers on Checkbook.org. I have almost never gone wrong when I used checkbook.org to hire people.Have at least 3 of the top rated companies come out to offer contracts. Amounts may vary considerably. Be sure to ask why.Hope this helps!
ps one more thing re: movers: pay for the move on your credit card. If you are forced by them to pay something you should not legally have to pay, in order for them to release your stuff, you can appeal it through your credit card company. If you have a good ccc, they will temporarily reverse the disputed charge after you provide a report (including your contract showing the amount you should have paid), and give the mover an opportunity to respond. If the mover can't explain to the ccc's satisfaction why you should have to pay more than the contract states, they will not pay the mover more than that. Reporting it to the Better Business Bureau can also lead to a good resolution, though they have no real power to force the mover to comply, and sometimes take a long time to get resolution. And if the mover tries holding your stuff hostage, of course, you can file charges with law enforcement as well.
sorry to be so long winded, but just to clarify, Harriet, I have no connection to checkbook.org except as a happy customer/member. I once posted info about it on another site, in response to a post, and the website owner thought I was "advertising."
Most of that moving advice was pretty much what they said in the article too. But, (1) we got 12 quotes, NONE of which would accept anything other than CASH. Which was humorous, what did they think we had an ATM on our balcony?(2) You can do all the right things and still get screwed. Why? Because you only move once in a very long while. Unless your move is through a company relocation program that has a contract with a couple moving companies such that an established business relationship is on the line? Unless that's the case? It's just the luck of the draw. It's not worth it. And generally unless you are paying them to pack your stuff and therefore paying for that labor and that overpriced packing stuff, you are not eligible for any higher insurance because they can't know how well you packed it.I'm not skipping the moving company because I'm cheap (this is one problem I'm willing to throw money at if that would work), I'm skipping them because I care too much about my stuff.
Cara, maybe I didn't read the article carefully enough, but I saw few if any of those possible solutions (which I actually did use) and their upsides/downsides - I saw only a description of the problems that occurred. I'm not trying to urge you to change your mind. I'm simply trying to point out ways that at least at one time existed to protect consumers - since many on this board may be moving - and some may not be able to do what you're doing.It sounds as though a lot of movers have found a way to sidestep those consumer protections (e.g., with the cash), which obviously makes things much harder.
Ace,Indeed, not everyone will reach the same solution as me, and yours are good suggestions. Especially the paying by credit card part, which was definitely not in the article. My suggestion would be that if you have to use movers? Don't skimp. Move the most delicate fragiles yourself separately, but get a good mover and let them pack everything so that you are eligible for the insurance and so that they have a larger stake in whether stuff makes it.
Moving companies suck. EoQ.Always try to overcharge you, always damage your furniture, insurance is very expensive. It is a quite different story if it is corporate relocation company when they pack your belongings, but i don't even want to think how much it costs.
For our one paid-for move, they only charged my employer $2500 from MA to MD a two-bedroom TH to a 1bed+den 2flight walk-up apartment. And we have a ton of stuff. (Even more now though...) We packed most stuff, but they packed the entire kitchen. Not one broken dish or glass. 2/3 filled 25ft long truck.
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