Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Weakening Real Estate Environment?

Most residential moves take place between Memorial Day and Labor Day. So - amid talk of a weakening real estate environment - how is this moving season shaping up? In New York City, apartment sales are holding their own but there are some troubling signs. Recent activity shows an annualized 5% to 10% gain in both transactions and apartment prices. Good, right? Yes, but not compared with a 25% increase in both areas in the same quarter last year. Also, apartments are taking longer to sell (with averages up to 130-140 days compared to 90-100 days in 2004-2005) and the number of listings have ballooned (6,900 co-ops and condos on the market versus 4,300 a year ago). Sound like a good time to buy? Perhaps, but consider that average apartment prices in New York City have remained roughly the same: $423,659 for a studio; $700,201 for a one bedroom; $1,491,060 for two bedrooms; $3,295,963 for three bedrooms, and $7,175,170 for four bedrooms!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Moving Tips from the AMSA

The weather's getting better which means ... moving season is here! Peak season for residential moves is between Memorial Day and Labor. With that in the mind, the American Moving and Storage Association ("AMSA") provides the following helpful packing and moving tips:

* Be available on all loading days. Movers will have questions.

* Accompany the driver as he prepares your inventory. Ask questions if you are unsure of the condition that the driver is noting.

* Carefully read and complete the Bill of Lading. This is the legal contract between you and the mover, treat it accordingly.

* Make sure you have copies of the Bill of Lading and Inventories before the driver leaves.

* Before the driver leaves do a final walk through the house checking all closets and storage areas to make sure nothing was missed.

* Provide the driver with contact information in case he needs to reach you during the course of the move.

* Acquire the driver's truck number, agency and contact information. This will make it easier to reach the driver if you have questions or if your plans change.

* Make sure the driver has the correct address of your new home or storage facility.

* Provide the movers and helpers with a clean water supply (either individual bottles or cups) and restroom facilities.

* The items that will be traveling with you, clothes, papers, etc. should be put in one place (a bathroom that has been previously packed) or in the vehicle that you will be taking with you. This will help prevent them being loaded on the truck and having to find them later.

* Valuables (cash, jewelry, photographs, papers) should be taken with you or sent ahead by a trackable service such as UPS or FedEx.

* When possible arrange for the house closing to a day or two following loading. This will help reduce the stress of having to be available for the movers and having to concentrate on closing at the same time.

* Get a good night's sleep and have a good breakfast the morning of the move.