Category Archives: Vancouver

How to Pack Up Your Kitchen Pantry When Moving

pack pantry when moving

The kitchen has always been a scary place when it comes to packing up for a move. Between the heavy pots and pans, the fragile glasses and dishes, and the sharp cutlery, packing up items can be a nightmare. This goes the same for the pantry itself since you’re packing up items that may expire and will have to be unpacked pretty quickly. If you follow these tips, however, you may find that your next move goes smoother than your last (http://www.apartmentguide.com/blog/how-to-pack-up-your-pantry/).

Clean up and clear out

The first step in packing up any room of the house is to clean it up and clear it out. By that, we mean get rid of all the clutter you don’t normally take the time to remove but that you don’t want to take into your new home. Think of this as a fresh start with less “stuff” clogging up your home. If the item is expired, toss it. If it isn’t expired, but you haven’t used it in months, then donate to a local food bank for the hungry and homeless. Face it, if you haven’t eaten that can of green beans that’s been in the back of the pantry for eight months, then chances are you won’t eat it when you get to the new house.

Don’t buy new stuff

In the weeks leading up to the move, cut back on your grocery shopping. Eat as much as possible from what is already in the pantry and then plan on buying new items when you get to the new home. Also, the week of the move, plan to eat out a lot or order pizza. You’re going to be too busy packing to cook and most of your food and dishes should be going into the boxes anyway.

Seal your open boxes tightly

Open food containers, like cereal or chips, can be a problem if they open in transit and spill out. If possible, save these items for last and try to polish them off before the move. If that’s not feasible, use packing tape to close them up tightly so they won’t leak.

Don’t pack too much in one box

The heaviest items in the pantry will probably be your canned items. First, you will need to get boxes that are really thick and sturdy so they won’t rip or tear due to the weight of the cans. But the other way to fix this problem is to not put all the cans in one box. Put a layer of cans on the bottom of the box and then pack light items in the top like chip bags, noodles, spices, or kitchen towels. This way, you’re spreading the weight around and not likely to break your back or the boxes.

 

Don’t pack everything

You’ve heard the phrase that “an army marches on its stomach”? Well, that’s true for people moving as well. You’re going to get hungry on the day of the move and need protein for extra pep and energy. Be sure to leave out some snacks that can give you a jolt of strength when you really need it.

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Housing Prices Surge in Vancouver

Vancouver’s housing market is once again making headlines.  After setting a record earlier this year with average home prices reaching $1 million, the city is once again proving that the housing bubble has not burst yet.  Overlooked homes that agents and prospective buyers used to ignore are now starting to sell again as more and more people are looking for entry-level single-family homes that are actually affordable.
The east side of Vancouver, often disregarded and unheeded by potential homeowners, have seen bidding wars break out over properties.  One such example was a home listed with Sutton Centre Realty for $799,900.  By the time the dust had settled and all of the bids were received, the home sold for $958,000.  Anytime a property sells for $150,000 more than the asking price, you can tell that the market is heating up.
But the high sale price isn’t the only point of interest.  The home is right at 1700 square feet and is over seventy years old.  It sits on a main road with heavy traffic flowing through four lanes.  And even with these factors going against it, this home managed to get seven bids before the winning one of almost $1 million was accepted.
Because of the high demand for houses in Vancouver, homes like this are starting to sell again.  In the past, a listing such as this home would have not gotten any attention or, at best, would have been given a few “low-ball bids” far below the asking price.  But because the housing supply is not keeping up with the demand, you have what we see with this home.  Another example would be for a listing on the east side; this home is over an hundred years old, is only on a twenty foot wide plot of land, and is close to a busy street.  However, it is still listed for almost $750,000.  Time will only tell how much more the home will garner when it sells.
In April of this year, the Home Index Price on the east side hit a record high of $1,046,000.  That is a staggering sixteen percent increase from the same time last year.  By comparison, Vancouver’s west side climbed thirteen percent from last year to a high of $2,490,600 for a detached single family home.  When all of Vancouver is looked at as a whole including suburbs, the HPI rose over twelve percent to $1,078,900.  This measurement is considered better than the “average price” figure of $1,398,967 for the Vancouver area because the HPI measures what a “typical” home would sell for.
Despite these record prices

, prospective buyers are swarming on the area with a thirty-six percent increase from last year in condo and townhouse sales in just the last month.

4 Moving Truck Accessories You Need for a Smooth Move

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If you are trying to get ready for a move, then surely you have researched truck rental services and all of the things that they can offer you in terms of supplies.  Many of these are essentials that will make your next move safe while also keeping you sane at the same time.  However, many of these accessories are only available if you know to request them.  Simply thinking that all you need is a truck is not the most efficient way to move your belongings.  Here are the four top accessories that you need to request in order to make your next move go smoothly while at the same time reducing your risk of bodily injury and material damage:
Packing Materials—In order to have a successful move, one of the first things that you will need is packing materials and supplies.  These will include boxes (and lots of them) as well as packing tape and labels.  Be sure to invest in new materials.  Old boxes are likely to fall apart when you try to pack them.  You also will want to invest in a good quality tape dispenser/roller that can easily tear the heavy packing tape at the end of each strip.  Also, consider looking into apps that allow you to print labels for your boxes clearly stating what is located in them and what room they should go in.
• Hand Trucks—The next big item you are going to want to get is a hand truck.  No one wants to throw out his or her back by lugging heavy boxes all over the site.  A hand truck allows you to slide a metal piece under the boxes and then simply lean the stack back and transfer them onto the hand truck.  Once you’ve done this, all you have to do is leisurely walk the wheeled hand truck to the desired location.
• Furniture Pads—Most people know that, when packing, you should put padding of some sort inside the boxes to prevent jostling and breaks.  However, you should also put padding in between the boxes themselves while they are on the truck.  These pads will prevent boxes (and their contents) from banging around in the truck and it will also keep furniture from sliding into each other and causing scratches and dings.
• Car Dolly/Car Trailer—If you are moving a long ways, such as to a new city, you will probably need either a car dolly or a car trailer.  This way you can drive the moving truck yourself and still have your own vehicle in your new city when you move.  Both tools can accomplish this in different ways.  A car dolly hooks onto the back of a 16-foot (or larger) truck and lifts the car’s front tires off the ground.  The car is then towed by the moving truck with its back tires on the pavement.  A car carrier is a full trailer that can allow you to place the entire vehicle on the trailer so that none of the wheels touch the ground.  These are also good for transporting all-terrain vehicles (ATVS) in addition to cars.
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How to Make Your Next Move a Green Move

Make Your Moving Day GreenMake Your Next Moving Day Eco Friendly! One of the biggest movements of the past few decades has been the Green Movement, affecting everything from how we lead our daily lives to the political landscape of world governments.  So it should come as no surprise that this undertaking has found its way into the moving industry as well.  Even though you might not be thinking about your carbon footprint when you are packing up your belongings for a move, there are still many things that you can do to help the environment the next time you have to change addresses.

Reduce.  The first thing that you can do to help the environment during a move is to reduce the amount of stuff that you are actually moving.  Look around your house or apartment and find things that you no longer need or haven’t used in months or years.  Chances are, you aren’t going to need these items either once you get to your new place.  So reduce the amount you are moving by getting rid of it.  No, don’t dump it all in the nearest landfill.  Have a yard or garage sale to get rid of as much as you can to earn some quick cash that can go towards financing your move.  Whatever you don’t sell, donate to a local charitable organization and pick up the tax deduction for later.  This will help you, not only economically, but also in terms of the move because it will lower your moving costs.  Movers charge by weight, so the less you move, the less you pay.  In addition, the less you move, the less you spend on gasoline to move your stuff, helping the environment in the process.

Packing.  When you are packing up your belongings, many people think that the best thing to do is find used boxes around town from grocery stores and liquor stores.  This is a good idea, but only for small, light items.  Using these type of boxes can be considered “green” because you are reusing other packing crates, but they can easily split because they have been used before.  Instead, consider renting plastic crates from an online service.  These can be delivered straight to your door and then picked up at your new residence once you are done for someone else to use.  This is a very environmentally friendly option since these crates can be reused multiple times without needing to throw out the boxes when done.

Check the Truck.  The last thing you can do to be more environmentally friendly is to check the type of truck your movers are using.  Most large trucks from moving companies are diesel powered.  But, some are making the switch to cleaner, more efficient biodiesel.  If the environment is something that you care about and you really want to go green, see if your moving company offers a biodiesel truck option.

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Questions to Ask Moving Companies

When hiring a moving company, many people do not know that they should ask questions of their movers.  Instead, they take them at face value and do not bother to find out very valuable information.  Many times this is simply because they do not know what types of things to ask moving company representatives.  Here, then, are some questions that you should absolutely ask before you hire a moving company.

  • Are you a broker or do you work for the moving company?  Some of the people that you deal with in the moving process do not work directly for that company.  They may, in fact, be brokers who are responsible for setting up prospective clients with the companies.  If you are dealing with a broker, remember that he or she may not be able to answer all of your specific questions about the moving process, such as exactly how much the move will cost, nor are they responsible if an item is lost or damaged by the moving company itself.
  • Are your quotes binding?  Many times, when you first make contact with a moving company, they will be happy to give you a quote for the move.  This is almost never a binding quote.  Once the mover has come to your home and checked over everything being packed and moved, then you can ask for a binding quote.  (Some brokers will offer a maximum quote that the final move will not exceed.)
  • Are there any extra charges or incidentals?  You may also want to find out if the quote is final, or if there are other extra charges that may be tacked on later.  Be sure to ask about this so there are no surprises later on.  Find out if there are charges for extra distances or for carrying certain belongings such as appliances or awkward objects that may be difficult to move, such as a piano.  Also find out if there are charges for parking, storage, or fuel on the moving van.
  • Will my items have to be transferred if I am moving a long distance?  Sometimes, if you are moving particularly far away, it will be necessary to transfer the items from one moving truck to another.  You need to know this because the extra transfer may provide more chances for items to be damaged, and there may be an extra fee involved.
  • What type of insurance do you offer?  Find out the terms of the basic insurance included in your quote.  In addition, find out if you can upgrade your insurance if you want extra coverage for your items.
  • What happens if something is damaged or lost?  Here, you should specifically delineate exactly who is responsible for lost or damaged items.  You should also find out what the process is for making a claim if this happens.
  • What forms of payment do you accept?  If your movers only take cash, you may want to steer clear.  This signals a fly-by night operation that is trying to operate under the radar.  Also, find out if deposits are refundable if something unforeseen happens.

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Be Careful with Social Media and Moving

relocatingSocialMediaIn today’s society, everyone seems to be wired in to social media and they have no qualms letting people know about the details of many aspects of their personal lives.  One of those areas is letting your friends and family know about your impending move from one home to another.  This is a great way to let others know about the move so they don’t wind up at your old address looking for you and it is also a good way to recruit friends and relatives to help with the moving process.  However, there are some risks about putting too much information out for the world.  For instance, if your privacy settings are too open, then anyone can see your posts.  This would mean that not just your friends, but also complete strangers would be able to see your new address and possibly get information on you.

Benefits of Posting Online

As soon as you post on Facebook or Twitter that you are considering a move to a new location, you can be rest assured that your social network will step forward with opinions on the subject.  This can include information about neighborhoods with good schools or amenities or even specific apartments or homes that are available for you to look into. They can also point out other bits of neighborhood information, such as crime statistics and demographics.  If you are moving particularly far away, such as out of town, you can learn about your new city and your friends can possibly let you know about some of their connections in the new area so that you don’t have as hard of a time making friends once you move.  If you are moving because of business reasons, it may also be a good idea to post on-line so that you can begin to make new business contacts in the area.

Moreover, you can also get recommendations from your followers as to what moving company you should use or what is the most affordable storage provider in your area.  This information can actually be more helpful than reviews on public websites as you know that you can actually trust them more than the anonymous users on the Internet.  Once you are fully moved in, your risks diminish and you should update your location on your social networking sites so that the local businesses can better offer you their services through website advertising.

Risks of Posting Online

Once you have made your decisions and you are actually in the process of moving, you should really refrain from posting too much information online until the move is finished.  For instance, because of all the ins-and-outs of moving, the two homes (both your new and your old) could possibly be less secure.  Letting potential burglars know about either address could be a tip-off that you are vulnerable and looking to be robbed.  Posting the day and time of your move can also be dangerous as your moving van is often left open as you move back and forth loading and unloading your belongings.  A wary robber could watch your van and simply grab things out while you are in your home moving in or moving items out.

The bottom line is that you should just utilize some common sense when dealing with social media and moving.  Be careful not to share too much to the whole world so that you don’t wind up the victim of a robbery.

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Will the Role of a Real Estate Agent Become Obsolete?

realestateAgentObsoleteFor years, career planners and guidance counselors have predicted the inevitable:  with the rise of technology has come the loss of jobs that are now becoming obsolete.  This is not some kind of conspiracy with machines taking over.  Instead, it is a simple matter of economics as computers and software are able to handle what previously took a human being to accomplish.  One of these careers that seems destined for antiquity is the real estate agent.

One of the main reasons why this appears to be the case is because of the proliferation of the Internet.  Instead of going to a real estate agent to see listings of homes in a specific area, potential buyers can instead go online and use a search engine to do this for them.  A few key words such as location and desired features can produce full listings along with price analysis.  In addition, sellers can place their homes on the market by posting them online using a variety of websites.  So this begs the question:  why do you need a real estate agent if the Internet is making it possible to do everything yourself?  Because of these changes, the role of the real estate agent has changed significantly.

Although some may think a real estate agent to be outdated and obsolete, the reality is that agents still offer a plethora of experience and knowledge.  You are ultimately paying them for their expertise.  They can not only help a buyer understand the difficult process of purchasing a house, with its many legal intricacies, but they can also help their client get the best deal on the house, be it as a buyer or a seller.  They are also able to help promote the house so that it does not languish on the housing market for months and even years.  They are also able to know exactly what the market will stand and how much a home can be expected to realistically sell for.

Instead of being afraid of being replaced by technology, real estate agents should embrace the possibilities of using technology in their process.  Skype, for instance, can be used to communicate with out-of-town buyers while virtual tours can be posted online to help make open houses easier.  These are just some of the ways that agents should acknowledge the possibility of technology instead of hiding from it.

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One Secret Trend in Real Estate That is Catching Hold in Vancouver

minihome in vancouver

Many people who follow the housing market have heard of the latest study that has declared Vancouver the second least affordable place to buy a home.  This report does not limit itself to just Canada, but instead places it as the second most expensive location in the world.  In order to beat the high prices (averaging $1 million for a detached home), many Vancouver residents are significantly downsizing their home choices.

Vancouver resident Isabella Mori, for example has lived in the city for almost thirty years.  However, in order for the fifty year old to afford a house in the area, she had to reduce to a home that was only 168 square feet.

Mori is just one of many Vancouver residents who are turning to tiny housing because they cannot afford the high costs of homes that are being driven even higher by foreign investors.  Others are turning to renting or sharing the living expenses with roommates.  But for those who want the independence of their own home and the security that it brings, then tiny homes are a viable option.  This is especially true for older residents who aren’t looking at thirty year mortgages that they have to carry into their seventies or eighties.

One company, Camera Buildings, is helping to pioneer the tiny homes trend as a kind of interesting design challenge.  The tiny homes require more attention to be paid to detail such as space planning.  With a larger home, the designers and builders have more room to play with and a lot more open space.  Tiny homes have to utilize every square foot of the site practically with no wasted space.  Because of the size of the house, a buyer is able to get a home like Mori’s for $39,000 up front and $900 a month for the land.  This is a long way from the city average of $1 million for a standard detached home.  Camera Buildings is not alone in this housing revolution.  In 2012, there were only about six who were part of the local tiny house group.  Today, that number has risen to three hundred.

The trend of the last forty years has been towards larger homes.  But in recent years, while the size of homes has continued to grow, the number of people per household has decreased as family sizes have gotten smaller.  As a result, many are sitting in homes that they realize are too big for their needs.  Thus, the tiny home movement has come in as a viable alternative.

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2015 is the Year for Endlessly Rising Real Estate Prices

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house-prices-upIf you live in Vancouver, then you already know that one of the favorite pastimes for local residents is discussing the real estate market. And anyone who has been watching the local real estate market closely knows that just a few months ago, the average cost of a detached house in Vancouver topped $1 million. But while this may sound like the market is about to start dropping off with people unable to afford houses, the exact opposite seems to be true as real estate is up twenty-one percent from last year.
In February of this year, over three thousand homes were sold in the Greater Vancouver metropolitan area (3,061 to be exact). This is up from 2,530 home sales from the same time last year. This is a 21 percent increase from last year and a 60 percent increase from sales in January of this year, which were only 1,913. Significantly, January was when the $1 million house cost figure was released.
This bump in the housing market is not just a statistical anomaly over last year’s sales. The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver has verified that the 3,061 homes sold in February was a 20.2 percent increase over the 10-year average for February sales. They have gone so far as to declare the area an “active and competitive marketplace…[with] homes that are priced competitively [that] are selling at a brisk pace.” In addition, this sales increase has been across all types of houses. Townhome sales only rose 11.8 percent, but condominium sales were up 20.5 percent while detached homes were doing the best with an increase of 25.6 percent.
In addition to this, the $1 million dollar price for detached homes is a bit inaccurate. When all residential properties are factored in (including detached homes, townhomes, and condominiums), the benchmark price for the region came in at $649,700. This is a 6.4 percent increase from the same time last year and a 1.3 percent increase over January of this year.
All of this means that the higher prices are a positive sign for current homeowners. There has been a great deal of movement at open houses with the coming spring promising even more as the “real estate season” heats up. Unfortunately, it is not good for new buyers trying to get into the market without equity. The current affordability statistics show that someone looking to buy a detached home needs to make at least $158,300.

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Painstaking Lessons in Real Estate Vancouver can Learn from San Francisco

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Much has been made about the soaring prices of homes in the Vancouver area and how it is putting the pinch on local residents.  But Vancouver isn’t the only area with a soaring real estate market, nor is it strictly a Canadian issue.  San Francisco is showing that even markets to the south are falling into the same problem.  The only difference between the two is the source of the income:  Vancouver is being driven higher and higher by foreign investors while San Francisco is seeing the same from their own tech workers.

Much like Silicon Valley was the epicenter of the computer industry in the 1980s and 1990s, the San Francisco Bay area has been at the center of the dot.com startups including the big three:  Facebook, Google, and Twitter.  The area is becoming home to young urban professionals who are looking to invest in pricey real estate.  (Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, for instance, paid $10 million for a home in The Mission, a neighborhood that was once more avant-garde than urban upscale.)  Because of this, many of the long-timers who have called the Bay Area home for years and even decades are finding that they can no longer afford a home in the city.

One of the main problems that San Francisco is finding is that as they expand housing, they are losing many of their hometown businesses and arts groups.  Just in the past few years, the Bay Area has lost All-Star Donuts, the rooftop Empress of China restaurant, the Gold Dust Lounge, Marcus Books, and Woodward’s Garden.  (Marcus Books, located in the Filmore District, was particularly disheartening as it was one of the oldest bookstores in the country.)  In this way, San Francisco is losing its identity, a cultural individuality that has helped define it for generations.  This is moving city officials to start registering businesses that are part of the city’s legacy.  They are also giving economic perks such as tax credits to encourage historical preservation.

Some local neighborhoods are trying to stop this gentrification by creating non-profit groups to lobby the local and state government for better urban development.  They see it as the wealthy buying up the inner core of the city while those with less money are being pushed to the suburbs.  These groups are pushing for more mixed-use/higher-density buildings in the city’s interior to create more diverse neighborhoods.

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