Blog :: 05-2013

10 Ways To Save Money When Moving



Organizing the move to your new home will make your transition much simpler and even save you money! Try these tips during your next relocation:

1. Do Your Own Packing: As much as we all dread it, this is a major money saver. Give yourself a few weeks to completely pack up so you're not rushing at the end. If you hire movers to take your things to your new home, make sure your boxes are fully packed when they arrive. Movers charge by the hour, so have everything ready, and as close to the truck as possible. Professionals also tend to charge more for carrying items down stairs or far distances, so if you can do some of the legwork yourself you will be better off.

2. Don't Buy Boxes: Ask local stores if they have extra boxes that they will give away. They would rather give them to you than pay to have them hauled away...a win-win! If you must buy boxes, you are better off getting them in bulk from a home improvement store to save money.

3. Get Creative: Pack your breakables with things you have around the house (think: towels, scarves, tablecloths etc.). You will need to pack these items anyway, so you may as well put them to work--not only saving you money, but saving valuable space in your boxes. Tip: stow your small drinking glasses, or candle-holders inside of mittens to protect them.

4. Don't Use Newspaper: If all else fails and you must use paper--skip the newspaper, it will leave black ink on your dishes and glass. Instead opt for blank newsprint or tissue paper available inexpensively at craft stores.

5. Downsize: Packing up your home is the perfect time to evaluate what you use and what you can part with. If you're not using it, or haven't worn it in over one year, get rid of it! Have a moving sale and put the proceeds toward your moving expenses. Since movers factor weight into their pricing, purging unnecessary items can be a huge money saver.

6. U-Pack Solutions: Instead of hiring a moving company to carry boxes onto a truck for you, try the rented container route. The company will drop off a container to meet your size requirements that you load yourself. When you are ready, you call the company back and they deliver it to your new home. This is much less expensive than the traditional moving service. If you have enough help it is a great alternative.

7. Enlist Friends and Family: Ask (or beg, or bribe) friends and family to lend you a hand. A few extra hands go a very long way toward saving you time and money. When you're all settled into your new home, host a "Thank You" party to show your appreciation.

8. Move In The Off Season: Rates for moving companies will be lower if you're not moving during the peak seasons (Spring, Summer and Early Fall). Check with local moving companies to see if their rates change depending on the day of the week. Services will be in higher demand on the weekend so it may be a good idea to book ahead, and during the week instead.

9. Keep Your Receipts: Make sure to keep all of your moving expenses written down and keep copies of your receipts. These may be tax deductible-especially if you are moving because of a new job.

10. Gas Up The Truck: If you decide to rent a moving truck, remember to return it with a full tank of gas. Rental companies will charge a premium price if they have to do it themselves. Also, check to make sure the truck doesn't need to be returned by a certain time and do your best to avoid an extra day's fee.

Flood Damage: How To Minimize The Effects


This week's rapid rainfall has left many in our area with wet, damaged property. Dry out your home and minimize damage with these steps:

1. SAFETY FIRST: Moving water is a very strong force, and continues to pose a risk once settled. Never enter a flood damaged building before making sure that the structure is absolutely sound. If there is standing water inside-CALL THE POWER COMPANY IMMEDIATELY. Never risk entering an area where wires and water may be touching (don't forget that furnaces and boilers are often run by electric power and in basements-common flood zones). If you are in any way doubtful of the safety of your home, call in an electrician before cleaning up to be sure. Also keep in mind that flood water could be contaminated with sewage and other bacteria--wear rubber boots and protective gloves to keep yourself safe.

2. Circulate The Air: Once the home is cleared for safety, set up fans wherever you are able to keep air flowing. Open windows and doors to further aid in drying out the home.

3. Remove As Much Water As Possible: If there is standing water in your home, use a shop vac or pump to remove as much as you can. Getting the excess water out as quickly as possible is crucial to salvaging your property.

4. Dry The Home: Mold begins to grow between 48 and 72 hours after water has entered a home. This becomes especially problematic when the air is humid. Shut your doors and windows and run a de-humidifier to continually remove moisture from the air. This will also sap moisture from wood and help maintain its integrity. Remember to wear a mask and gloves during this stage to protect yourself from mold spores. You will need to remove any carpeting, mats or drywall damaged by the water to prevent any further damage and potential mold growth.

5. Clean Up: When you have removed all of the water and damaged materials, mix up a solution of hot water and bleach to clean all surfaces touched by the flood water. As mentioned earlier, the water could be contaminated with bacteria, so a thorough cleaning is critical for health purposes.


*Remember: Flash floods are very serious. If roads are covered with water, it is not safe to drive. Find a safe place and stay put until the storm has passed.*

Tips for Renters: The Perfect Apartment Experience



Nearly everyone rents at some point in their lives. Whether you are looking for your first apartment or searching for a new place, these tips will prepare you and make you feel at home in your new space.

1. Avoid Scams: When you begin your search make sure you are using reputable sources and ALWAYS make an appointment to meet with the landlord before agreeing to anything. See: Buyer Beware: Avoiding Rental Scams for more detailed information.

2. Pick The Right Neighborhood: You want to feel at home and safe in your new environment. Make sure to scout out the area of potential apartments before committing to any. A nice neighborhood will go a long way toward your well being and overall satisfaction.

3. Be Prepared: So you've found an apartment that fits your needs and have set up a meeting with the landlord--that's great! Now it's time to prepare. Think of your first meeting with the landlord as a job interview-you will want to make a good impression. Dress nicely and bring with you your rental application, list of references with contact information and a current copy of your credit report (or the information necessary for the landlord to run one). Your future landlord will be impressed with your responsibility which goes a long way in selecting a tenant.

4. Don't Forget Extra Costs: Remember that the cost of your rent should be no more than 28% of your gross monthly income. Don't forget the other costs associated with your new apartment though: heating, hot water, tv, internet, phone service etc. These all add up. Make yourself a monthly budget to be sure you can afford the apartment you are interested in before fully committing.

5. Review The Lease: Once your credit report comes back and the owner feels you are a good match for the apartment, you will sit down to review and sign the lease. It is important to read through the agreement carefully and ask questions on anything that isn't perfectly clear. Remember your landlord will be happy to explain the rules and regulations now but will not be as pleased to find out of any violations later. Remember to keep a signed copy of your lease for your reference.

6. Be Honest: If at anytime your living situation changes (new roommates, pets, accidents, etc.) make sure to contact your landlord immediately. It is always best to be direct and honest about changes than to have the owner find out through the grapevine of unsavory changes. Your landlord will appreciate the communication and be more likely to work with you. You risk violating your lease and facing possible eviction if you keep secrets--it's best to be honest from the beginning.

7. Keep Track of Issues: Be sure to notify your landlord of any problems you are experiencing with your apartment. Remember that this property is his investment as well as your home; a leaking sink is not only a nuisance to you but harmful to the property as well. This applies to neighbors as well--if you are having problems with another tenant that you cannot work out alone, let your landlord know.

8. Insure Your Property: The apartment building and property you live in is covered by your landlord's homeowners insurance. However, that insurance will not cover any personal property inside the residence. It is highly recommended that you invest in renters insurance to protect your belongings.

9. Protect Your Security Deposit: No one wants to think about moving out when they have just unpacked, but you need to take note of the conditions of the apartment. Make a list of anything you notice isn't perfect and give it to your landlord upon moving in. Then do your best to minimize wear and tear while you live in the apartment. Remember that you are liable for any damage that occurs while you occupy the apartment so fill any nail holes, offer to re-paint if necessary and thoroughly clean the apartment before moving out.

10. Treat Your Rental As Your Home: Even though this may be a temporary living situation, it is important you feel at home in your space. Transform the apartment as much as you can (abiding by the lease of course) to make the apartment your own. Why wait until you own a home to invest in art and furniture you love? Treat yourself now and make the most of your living situation.



  1. Brandie Knowles on

    5. Not asking about utilities — or forgetting to turn them onOn occasion, eating takeout by candlelight may be romantic. But doing it every night, storing your garbage on your balcony and taking cold showers every morning is just plain sad. So before you move in, make sure you ask your landlord specifically what utilities you're responsible for paying — and for turning on. Some apartment buildings, for example, will provide the garbage and water service as part of your rent but leave you to arrange your own gas and electric service. Others may require you to handle everything. And don't forget the extras, such as a phone line, Internet service and cable TV.
    • Jarah LaRock on

      Good point Brandie, thank you! Utility information should be one of the first questions after rent and location. To view available Signature Properties rentals, be sure to visit our Facebook Page for photos and information!

      Is Your Home Costing You Money? 15 Cost Reducing Tips!


      1. Adjust Your Water Heater Settings: reducing heat to 120 degrees reduces energy loss.

      2. Change Your Shower Head: Newer low-flow shower heads cut down on wasted water saving you money.

      3. Turn Down The Thermostat: Lower your heat to 65 degrees or less or turn off your air conditioner when you aren't home. Better yet, change to a programmable thermostat and set it to heat or cool your home 30 minutes before your arrival.

      4. Run Appliances At Night: Avoid peak hours to save money. It is also less expensive to run a full dishwasher or washing machine than to do two smaller loads.

      5. Unplug Electronics: Even when not in use small appliances, phone and computer chargers draw energy. Unplug them or utilize a surge protector you can switch off.

      6. Skip Paper Towels: Opting for reusable microfiber cloths will be more effective and less expensive than replacing paper towels.

      7. Energy Saver Bulbs: Replacing your regular light bulbs with energy efficient ones will dramatically lower costs. If you have dimmer switches--use them! That is another easy way to save energy and money.

      8. Buy In Bulk: Investing in a membership at a bulk store may prove beneficial to your household. You can save further by splitting costs and products with a friend.

      9. Fix Leaking Faucets: Dripping taps and running toilets are huge money wasters. Fixing them will make a dramatic difference in your utility bill.

      10. Draw The Curtains: Thick curtains help keep heat (or a/c) in your home where you want it. Close the curtains whenever you can to prevent drafts.

      11. Don't Throw Money Out The Window: While you're at it, repair or replace any windows and doors that are excessively drafty. Heat loss through windows is probably the number one cost culprit.

      12. Keep Inside Doors Closed: Remember to close your closet and cupboard doors to minimize the square footage you need to heat or cool.

      13. Buy Rechargeable Batteries: The initial investment may be greater but you will save in the long run.

      14. Heating Price Cap: Ask your utility company about winter heating programs that cap your monthly payments. You will pay a set rate during the colder months which will likely be much less than paying for actual usage. Often times you can go off of these programs in the warmer months for even greater savings.

      15. Upgrade Appliances: If you can afford to invest in more energy efficient appliances, do so. The return on your investment will be evident in your monthly utility bills.


      1. replacement windows greenville sc on

        Great delivery. Outstanding arguments. Keep up the good effort.
        • Margarito Antinarelli on

          Very interesting subject , thanks for posting .

          How Much Home Can You Afford?



          You've made the decision to purchase a new home. The next step is figuring out how much you can afford...

          1. Find your mortgage 'comfort zone':  There are lots of free online mortgage calculators to give you an idea of the sales prices you can afford. This is a great place to start even before actively looking for homes. Keeping your 'magic' number in the back of your mind will make your home search more satisfying. There is nothing worse than getting your heart set on something that you can't quite afford.

          2. Speak With a Lender (or two, or three): Make an appointment to sit down with a loan officer to discuss your current financial situation and your lending potential. A professional will be able to give you a pretty good idea of how much the bank will be willing to lend you based on the amount you can afford to put down, your debt, credit and income. Once you have found a home you are really excited about, you will want to be pre-approved for the amount of the house less your down payment. A pre-approval letter tells the current homeowner that you are serious about buying their home, and have the resources to do so.

          3. Calculate Monthly Expenses: Now that you have a good idea of what your monthly mortgage payments will be, it's time to sit down and think about the other expenses that will come with this new home. Include the mortgage payments, taxes and insurance in your calculations. Keep in mind that your monthly home costs should be 28% or less of your gross monthly income. For example, if you make $5,000 each month before taxes, you should be spending no more than $1,400 on home expenses. To give yourself some breathing room, you can calculate 28% of your take home pay.

          4. Consider Your Debt: Unfortunately most of us carry some debt, whether it be student loans, car payments or credit cards. Your debt to income ratio (including your mortgage payment) should be 36% or less of your gross income. If you're making $5,000 per month, your debt should be $1,800 or less.

          5. Factor In All Other Expenses: Now it's time to make a list of everything else you spend money on monthly. These will include groceries, heat, maintenance, fuel, car expenses, entertainment and phone bills. Add this number to your debt and monthly expenses and subtract from your take home pay. Do you have enough to feel comfortable month to month? If not you will need to make adjustments to your spending patterns.

          6. Don't Forget Closing Costs: Typically closing costs are between 2-5% of the total purchase price of a home. You will need to bring this amount with you at closing to cover legal fees, inspections etc. When you find a home you can afford and decide to place an offer, remember to calculate this percentage and deduct it from the amount you can afford to put down initially.

          7. Leave Money For Upgrades: Remember not to leave yourself so strapped for cash that you won't be able to afford the upgrades you were initially excited about making to the new home. Maybe you want to plant a garden, paint or buy new furniture. These are important and you should factor those costs in to your decision.

          When you have your affordability calculated you will be much more prepared to place an offer on your dream home. Let the search begin!


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