Category Archives: Greater Vancouver

Ease Your Children Into Moving to a New Home

Ease Your Children into Moving

When a family moves into a new home, it can be a major transition. Whether that home is across town or across the country, there are many changes that a family must get used to including new neighbors, stores, communities, and, especially, schools. While adults are usually very good about changing and being able to adjust, children often have difficulty in this capacity. With younger children, it can be even more problematic. That is why we have compiled a list of the different things that you can do to ease your children into moving to a new home (http://www.handinhandparenting.org/article/ease-the-transition-of-moving-to-a-new-home/ ). These are suggestions that can help reduce a lot of headaches in your household.

Talk to someone (and also listen)

Many times, the anxiety that adults fill can subconsciously spill over into the feelings and emotions of our children. That is why it is important for you to have a sounding board. If you are feeling nervous or anxious about the move, then your children will definitely pick up on this. Talk to someone, and then also talk to your children. Let them share with you any fears they may have about the move and the things that they will miss about the old home. Also, be sure to help them celebrate the old so that they may be excited about the new.

Be open, honest and positive

When you talk to your children, you should also be sure to be as open and honest as possible. This will not just involve a one-time sit down. Your child will probably come at you each day with a new question about the move. Answer their questions fully. Don’t make “pie-in-the-sky” promises that aren’t realistic. At the same time, don’t be pessimistic or negative about the move. Try to paint it in terms of a positive, warm experience. Also, your child may question their place in the world that you have already built together. Be sure to comfort them with extra love and support as you go along.

Give your children their own special time

If you’ve ever moved before, you know that it isn’t just about the moving day. For the days and weeks leading up to the move, you will be busy beyond belief, taking care of packing, utilities, and coordinating. A lot of times, children can get lost in the shuffle of those moves and feel like they are being forgotten. This can make them resentful toward the move because it is taking “mommy and daddy” away from them. That’s why it is important to set aside as much time as possible during your day to just focus on your children. Put away the packing boxes and tape and just be with your children. This may mean it takes longer to pack, but it will be worth it in the long run.

Say hello and good-bye

It is important that your child have a positive first experience in their new home. To achieve this, arrange a visit early on so they can see the nice home that they’re moving to. If possible, show them what will be their new room and talk with them about ways to decorate it and make it special for them. Also, look around the neighborhood so that they know about fun and inviting places to go and things to do such as parks and recreation centers. In addition to seeing your new home, also make plans to say good-bye. Have a big final meal at your old home. Encourage your child to share his or her favorite memories. Be sure to get lots of pictures so that you will have memories forever.

visit www.crescentmovingandstorage.com for more articles and tips on moving.

Little Known Ways to Speed Up Your Moving Day

One of the most stressful experiences that people have to deal with is the moving process. Sure, many people enjoy the excitement of getting out and starting over in a new home or apartment. But the actually process of organizing and packing everything up seems so tedious that it drains us emotionally and physically. Here are seven things that you can do to speed up the moving process so that you can get on with more important things like enjoying your new home

Get organized early
It seems like a contradiction that spreading out your move will speed it up. But if you get organized and clean out your home early on will make the actual final process go smoother. Go through your stuff room by room and get rid of anything that you don’t need or want anymore so that the final move can be lighter.

Go room-by-room
Start with the room that you don’t use the most, like a guest room or guest bathroom or the infamous “junk room.” Pack that room up first and then gradually go room by room to clear out your home and get you ready to go. Also, label boxes carefully so you can instantly find things if you need to.

Don’t just use boxes
Many of us stock up on boxes for our move when we actually have containers all over our homes. You can speed up the process by packing all of your laundry hampers, baskets, and suitcases with items to move. In addition, you can also keep your clothes in your dresser drawers and then just wrap them with moving cling wrap to keep everything put away neatly. You can also use your thick winter clothes as packing material for your breakable items.

Get some help
This one should be a no-brainer, but it is insane to try to move on your own. Draft your friends with promises of pizza. If that doesn’t work, then spring for the professional movers who can move you in no-time flat.

Move early
If you pack your things in smaller boxes and suitcases, then throw them in your car and move them in a few days early. This way, on the big moving day, you can concentrate on the large items using the moving van.

Don’t wait until the last minute
On moving day, all you should do is pick up the moving van and start loading it up and then unloading it in the new house. Don’t wait until the last minute to pack up anything like food or toiletries. Get it all packed at least the night before.

Pack smart
When you load the moving van, put in all of your heavy items like furniture first and then load the large boxes in. Finish up with the small stuff so that when you unload you can move in reverse order from small to large.

Moving and Storage Secrets to Downsizing

If you find yourself “of a certain age,” then you may realize that your house seems huge and empty with all of the kids gone. Retirement may be looming and you don’t know what you are going to do with yourself or how you are going to afford it. That’s where downsizing comes in. Here’s why you should consider trading in your home for a smaller model.

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  • First and foremost, selling your larger home and buying a smaller one makes good financial sense. You will wind up freeing up equity. On average, homeowners who downsize are making more of a profit on their home sale than they would have ten years ago. The profit you pick up could help you buy a nice something for yourself or be a good-sized nest egg for future expenses.
  • Another financial consideration to consider is in your monthly bills. Your mortgage payment will be significantly smaller, but so will your utility bills. Power, gas, and water bills will all go down because you have a smaller property.
  • Need more financial reasons to downsize your home? How about upkeep costs? With a smaller property, you will not have to worry as much about maintenance and upkeep fees. But even more than the monetary savings, you will spend less time cleaning, managing, and mowing.
  • One serious modern problem has been an issue with hoarding. Do you have stacks of useless papers and items that you will never need again cluttering up your home? Moving into a smaller home will require that you do a good cleaning. You will literally have to go through everything and decide if you want to trash it or move it into your newer, smaller home.
  • If you are already retired and need a project to take up your time, how about a small fixer-upper house? It might cost some money, but if you are a handyperson, then it may be the perfect opportunity that you are looking for to keep yourself active and happy.

If your current home feels “too big” for you, then it may be just the right time to consider downsizing. The empty nest can feel overwhelmingly large, but if you take it down a few notches, you may find your life much happier and more fulfilling.

Most Effective Tactics to Buying a House in North Van

Buying a new home is one of the biggest decisions you will ever make in your life. Not only is the cost involved probably the single biggest financial choice you will have, but it also involves your personal style and comfort for years to come and perhaps for the rest of your life.

The median price of a single family home in North Vancouver shot up to $1,042,600 by the end of last year. That’s almost a 10-per-cent increase in one year and a 21-per-cent increase in five years, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. And it may be January, but buyers are out in full force, looking to snap up deals priced under that amount. As stated in the Globe & Mail

In the red hot real estate market in North Van – it may feel like the weight of this decision is tenfold. That is why you should take a great deal of time researching your options and coming to a conclusion that is not only right for you, but also for your spouse and the rest of your family. Here are some ideas for how to work together in order to find the house that is perfect for you.

  • Make A List:  Lists Are Your Friend — The first thing each person in the family should do is make a list of the top ten features that you must have in a new home. Is a big yard important to everyone or do you want a small one that needs less maintenance? Is it important for you to have a garage or a large kitchen? These are things that each person should consider on their own. Then, have each person right “Want” or “Need” next to the items on their lists. If a gourmet kitchen is something that you would like, but don’t have to have, then mark it as a “Want.”
  • Discuss Amongst Yourselves — Once everyone has their lists made out, then you need to sit down and have a hard conversation about your needs. If you never eat at home but always dine out at restaurants, do you really need a large kitchen or formal dining room? If you absolutely hate doing yard work, is it really necessary to have a huge yard? As you go through the lists, delete items that you can live without, or add them to a separate “wish list” in case the stars are in alignment and you luck out getting the dream house with all of your must-have features. Also, as you have these conversations, be sure to keep an open mind. Listen to what your spouse and other family members are saying and do not simply dismiss them off the bat.
  • Work Closely With Your Realtor — Keep in mind that one of the reasons why you are paying your realtor a commission is to help you navigate the problems and manage the stress of buying a new house. Ask your realtor to give suggestions about what features are workable within your budget and which items you will have to live without if you can’t budget more money. Also, talk about different areas within the Norhshore that may better suit your lifestyle. If upgardes and changes are an option for you – your agent  can probably suggest contractors who can help you add things to your home after the sale.

  • Step Back if You Have To — Remember, the moving into the North Vancouver market is stressful – the cost is high and there is a lot of speculation about a “realestate bubble” However, until you sign on the dotted line, you are not obligated to any house or plan. So if the stress starts to be too much, take a step back. Even if it is just to walk around the block or hit the gym to work off some stress, a quick break can help you refocus your mind and put the house hunt into perspective. Above all, always try to be positive!

While the realesate market in North Vancouver is stressful – hiring a moving company doesn’t have to be! Get in touch with http://moversnorthvan.com  for a free moving estimate!

 

A Pack Rat’s Guide to Surviving a Move

One of the most hectic and aggravating parts of any household move is the packing itself. This is quickly followed by the unpacking which can be just as infuriating if you do not have a system in place to make the process easier. As we pack up our belongings, we realize that there is just too much stuff in our homes that are cluttering it up. Many of us are not hoarders, but we do have a serious problem with being pack rats and keeping a little bit of everything in our homes. Here’s how you can solve that problem before you move so that the process of moving will go much easier and much smoother.
1. Start Early — The first thing that you need to do is get started early with planning for the move. This is not something you can knock out in a week before you pack for the big day. Ideally, you should go step-by-step through the house taking care of a room at a time. Trying to do too much at once will just irritate you more and make you feel as if you are not making any progress. Create a schedule for what rooms you are going to tackle each day and then stick to it as much as possible.

2. Clean Up Time — After you have your plan in place, clean the room thoroughly. This not only will be important for the new tenants, but it will also help you realize just how much stuff you have that you don’t need. Also, make sure that everything is where it belongs. If something usually goes in the garage, but for some reason you have it in the guest room, then put it back so you can start your new home off with a little more organization.

3. Purge! — Once you have cleaned an individual room, let the purge of that room begin. If you haven’t worn an outfit in years (or you can’t wear it anymore because of weight loss or gain), then donate it to a local charity. If your kids don’t play with their toys anymore, do the same. Is your home office overflowing with documents that you will never use again in your life? If so, toss them out. A good solution with documents is to scan them first so you can keep a digital copy on the off chance you need them. Generally, when you pack up a room, consider having two bags and a box on hand. One bag should be for trash; the second is for items to donate; and of course, the box is for the actual packing itself. Take care of all of this as you go and the whole process will run smoother.
A move doesn’t have to be as difficult as many people make it out to be. But one of the essentials when it comes to moving is getting rid of unnecessary and unused items that are cluttering up your home. By doing a serious purge of these items, you can rest easy knowing that the move will go easier.

American Dream Shrinks

It used to be that the ideal presented by the American Dream was to live in a large home in the suburbs with the white picket fence and a dog and a cat.  But what is the new vision of the American Dream?  A recent sample of 1,492 adults who were surveyed revealed the following information on the changing attitudes of a population:

•Sixty percent say their ideal home is smaller than 2,000 square feet;
•    Twelve percent say that their ideal home is larger than 3,000 square feet;
•    Twenty-nine percent say it would be between 2,000 and 2,999;
•    Forty-eight percent place their ideal home at between 1,000 and 1,999 square feet; and
•    Ten percent would prefer to live in a home under 1,000 square feet.

This seems to confirm another recent survey that found fifty-five percent of Americans would prefer a home between 1,400 to 2,600 square feet.  The average American home is on the high end of this scale, coming in at 2,438 square feet for 2014.  However, this is down almost 100 square feet from 2007 when the average was 2,531 square feet.
One reason for this downsizing of the American Dream is the downturn in the economy that has taken place in the last decade.  Many Americans cannot afford larger houses and those that have large homes are finding it more and more difficult to handle the upkeep on larger houses.  Another reason that some may attribute to this is the need to “go green” and leave a smaller carbon footprint on the environment.
This second cause, however, was somewhat refuted by the survey that found only six percent claiming that it was important to have an environmentally friendly home.  By contrast, twenty-three percent saw it as somewhat important in their purchase while fifty-one percent were neutral and almost one-third (thirty percent) saw it as unimportant.
The suburbs also saw some competition as only a little more than half wished to live in the ‘burbs while twenty-four percent wanted a home in the city and twenty-two percent wanted one in the country.  Additionally, twenty-seven percent of those surveyed wanted to live less than 10 miles from work while forty-five percent wanted to live within 11 to 30 miles from their job.
A final consideration is safety.  Fifty-five percent saw neighborhood safety and the crime rate as a very important issue while thirty-seven percent saw it as somewhat important.

How Parents Can Help Children Buy A House

ParentsHelpTobuyHouse

ParentsHelpTobuyHouseOne of the goals of many parents is to leave a legacy for their children, something that they can pass on that will help make the children’s lives a little easier and help keep their own memories alive even after they are gone.  One of the best ways to do this is with a home.  Parents who have dealt with the home buying process know that it can be incredibly difficult and expensive.  But if you are looking at helping your children with this major milestone in their adult lives, there are some options that are open to you.

How can parents  help their children buy a home?

If you are considering the idea to sell your home at a bargain price to your children, you may want to reconsider.  Doing so will cause you to lose a big tax-free investment.  If you use your home as your main residence, you can sell it without paying any taxes.  So if your home has increased in value since you first bought it, you are literally throwing away money if you sell it cheap to a child so that they can live there.  In addition, selling your home for a low price means that you will not have much left to buy yourself a new condominium or apartment to live in.

If you are thinking about selling your home, a better option is to sell it at the best market value that you can get.  Try to make as much on the sale as you can.  Take money from the sale to put into a smaller home for you and then gift the remainder of the money to your child to use towards buying a house of his or her own.  Since there is no gift tax in Canada, there is no penalty or liability in giving as much money as you want to your children.

Another way to handle the situation, of course, is to pass your house down to your child in your will.  This does leave open a few issues, however.  If you have multiple children, there may be jealousy issues if you leave the house to only one child.  Additionally, if you leave the house in a will, then there will be probate fees.  They may not be much, but they can add up.

In order to avoid probate, one final move is to put your child’s name on the title of your home as a joint ownership.  If you state that the child has “right of survivorship” (a legal term usually used for a person to keep the home when his or her spouse dies) then they will keep the home when you pass away.

 

Canada’s Unhappy Affair with China’s Princeling Millionaires

moving-to-canada-121106-679143-In a recent ranking of the “Top Ten World Cities,” Vancouver was singled out for its Quality of Living as the number one city in all of North America.  However, this has not translated completely to the average resident of Vancouver.  Another survey, this one by Statistics Canada, showed that residents of Vancouver were the most unhappy people in Canada, with thirty-two other cities ranking ahead of them in the poll.  So this begs the question:  If Vancouver is such a great place to live, why are its residents so dissatisfied?

The answer to this question may lie in a rather unusual location:  overseas in China.  But first, consider this:  In 2014, the average Vancouver resident brought in an income of roughly $66,000.  That same year, the average Vancouver home price was a little over $700,000.  The only city with this much disparity was Hong Kong.  What do these two have in common?  They are both heavily favored by the ultra-rich of China as a means of distributing the income to avoid taxes back home.  This has long been known about Hong Kong, but the move into Vancouver is more recent and is just as devastating to the local economy.

While other areas of Canada having booming industry and agricultural centers, Vancouver’s economy is closely tied to real estate.  Those residents of Vancouver who are lucky enough to own a piece of property, make a sizable piece of income either dealing this out on the real estate market or acting as landlords for renters.  Because of this, there is less of a feeling of community and cohesiveness in Vancouver than in other parts of the country.

In 1997, Hong Kong was transferred from being under the control of England to that of China.  This is when money started to move out of China at an alarming rate to overseas markets where it could be hidden and laundered in a variety of phony investments and offshore accounts.  By the first decade of the new millennium, it has been estimated that over $100 billion dollars was moved out of Chinese banks and a great deal of that was invested in Vancouver real estate.

Just recently, China’s Operation Skynet began to look through Vancouver real estate deals looking for evidence of fraud.  However, the damage has largely been done as Chinese millionaires have now priced many Vancouver residents out of their own city.  Because the real estate market has been so largely (and artificially) inflated, many Vancouverites cannot now afford to own an average home.

 

The Problem with Vacant Homes in Vancouver

vancouverhomeRecently, a new issue has arisen in certain neighborhoods of Vancouver—the rise of vacant homes and storefronts leaving abandoned buildings.  Blight’s Home Hardware, a long established business on Dunbar Street, is one of the few remaining buildings as convenience stores and furniture stores are closing up shop due to rising rents and drops in sales.  In addition to these closures, a large commercial center that recently opened remains tenantless despite offering four retail spaces.  Even the ubiquitous Starbucks, that seems to be able to survive anywhere and everywhere, is struggling in the area.  The Starbucks coffee shop on Dunbar and 18th Avenue has closed leaving a vacant space in its place.

The cause of these business blues can be traced to housing problems.  Unlike in the United States, which is facing a depression leading to businesses failing and homes being foreclosed, Vancouver and other Canadian cities are seeing problems arising from the real estate boom.  Houses are being purchased at an increasing rate, only to stand empty, as investors try to get in at the right moment of the real estate movement.  But with homes standing empty, businesses are failing due to the lack of traffic coming into the neighborhood.  If there are no customers walking around to spend money, then it makes sense that the businesses will not be able to survive.

This “empty-house syndrome” is caused by real estate speculation.  This is when investors purchase homes that then stay vacant on the market.  The hope is that they will be able to buy low and sell high, eventually turning a profit in Vancouver’s real estate market which recently saw home prices average $1 million.  However, these investors only see the homes as a commodity, much like a stock investment.  They do not put any interest into the viability of the community that the home is a part of.  As the home remains vacant waiting on someone to purchase at a higher rate, the community suffers.

What makes the problem even worse is how the cycle continues to perpetuate itself.  A home is purchased and then boarded up, as it stands vacant for months and years without a buyer.  The house is eventually demolished to make way for a newer, bigger home that, in turn, stands vacant looking for a buyer as well.  In fact, recent statistics show that these homes average between 77 and 85 percent larger than the older homes.

One solution to this problem, a vacant homeowner’s fee, has been floated by a few political parties.  However, most are steering clear of this issue that has the potential to harm the economy if it goes unchecked.

For more information about these dated homes standing empty – visit: http://beautifulemptyhomes.tumblr.com

Top 10 Most Common Moving Blunders

overloaded-carDuring your life, you will probably move several times.  (Americans alone average approximately eleven moves in a lifetime.)  However, even with all of these moves, many people still make the same mistakes each and every time.  That is why these are a list of the most common blunders so that you will know how not to make these missteps.

Blunder #1—Not researching your moving company

One of the biggest mistakes when moving is simply not doing your homework.  Too many people just type in “local moving company” into a search engine and go with the first one that pops up (or the cheapest).  Instead, find out if the local governing body has licensed the company and if they have a clean slate with the local Better Business Bureau.  Find out if they are bonded as well.  This can save you a big headache later on.

Blunder #2—Not using free supplies

Convenience costs money.  If you purchase moving boxes and packing paper, they will cost you.  Instead, look for free resources like boxes that can be found at local liquor shops or grocery stores.  Also, ask friends and family for old newspapers that you can use for packing materials.

Blunder #3—Not properly using large boxes

Many people try to save boxes by packing as much stuff as they possibly can into them.  Unfortunately, this can be a real pain in the back when you try to lift these heavy packages.  Instead, use smaller boxes that will be less cumbersome when you go to move.

Blunder #4—Not measuring your new home’s doorways

If you are moving large pieces of furniture, be sure to measure the entryways for your new home.  One of the worst moving experiences in the world is having a couch or a washer and dryer set that won’t fit through the doorway.

Blunder #5—Not packing safely

There are some items that should not be packed.  If something is corrosive or flammable, it can be dangerous to pack and move them.  Consider if it would not be beneficial to just throw out these items and buy new when you move in.

Blunder #6—Not keeping up with paperwork

Another major blunder is not keeping up with paperwork like the bill of lading.  Sit down with the movers and create and organized list of what is being moved and what the condition of the items are so that you are covered if something is lost or damaged.  If you don’t keep up with the paperwork, you will have no way of proving your claim if you have to make one.

Blunder #7—Not labeling all of your boxes

Be sure to label all of the boxes fully.  Include the destination for each box and the items in each one.  This way, they will not be put in the wrong room and you will be able to find whatever item you need before you unbox all of the items.  Once you have everything packed, label the boxes as “Kitchen 1 of 9” and so on so that you can be sure to have all of your boxes delivered.

Blunder #8—Not knowing tax rules

Some items used in a move can be tax deductible.  Be sure to research these with your tax agency and hold on to receipts that will be necessary for your claim when it comes to filing your taxes.

Blunder #9—Not taking care of your movers

Your movers are willing to work harder (and faster) for you if you take care of them.  Be sure to provide snacks and drinks for them so that they can stay hydrated and happy.  Also, be sure to buy them lunch.  An investment in something like pizza can actually save you money as they will be willing to work harder and save you time on the move itself.

Blunder #10—Not formally changing your address

Don’t forget to let the postal service know about your new address.  If you get to your new home and your mail doesn’t follow, it is going to cause you serious problems, particularly when your bills don’t arrive and they go unpaid.

These are just a few of the top errors that people make when they are moving.  Make sure that you think through each one of these and follow them closely so that you don’t make the same mistakes over and over.

For a professional moving company get in touch with Crescent Moving and Storage