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Posted by RE/MAX Main Street Associates on 3/10/2019

You hear about this magic "cost-of-living index" number, but where does it come from and how can you use it to improve your real estate experience? The cost of living index is a numerical measurement of the relative cost to live in a specific geographic region. There are a lot of economic formulas out there, but it basically adds up and compares the cost of goods and services that are part of ordinary living expenses. These include clothing, utilities, health care, transportation, groceries, restaurants, building materials and more. The index is relative and not an exact measurement, so you always want to compare with the actual cost of living you're familiar with to get an idea of the comparative costs where you want to move.

Whatís the Math?

To begin, researchers collect a representative sample of goods and services and then compare prices. To determine what goods and services to include in the formula, they use a "typical family budget." When comparing the cost of living, remember that your budget may not be "typical." While they may sound similar, the cost of living index and the consumer price index aren't the same thing.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics sets the consumer price indexóand the US government uses it to measure inflation in day-to-day-purchases, changes in interest rates and taxes. To make the CPI and Cost of living index more easily relatable, the CPI now measures housing costs using "owners' equivalent rent" instead of mortgage payments which allows them to remove the investment part of homeownership from the cost of living index and make it more equivalent for renters and owners.

Different companies use different market values and various products and services to make their calculations. One example, the Council for Economic Research, actually divides goods and services into six different categories, then chooses 60 items to represent the whole, gets the prices all at once and uses that to compare costs between locations. 

Other sources take a variety of goods and service cost comparisons and combine them for a broader cost comparison between locations.

The US Department of State provides links to a lot of this information along with some great tools like the "Cost of Living and Salary Comparison Wizard." It combines information on goods, services, real estate, and average salaries to create a short 3-step process: enter your current base salary, the nearest metropolitan area to where you live and work, and the most adjacent metro area to where you want to move. The wizard will spit out not only cost of living comparisons, but what you can or should expect your salary difference to be, and whether that salary will actually be workable in the new area.

How do I Use it?

For example, if you have an annual salary of $50,000 in Dallas, Texas and you move to San Diego, California in a similar position, you can expect a 5.8% salary increase, which brings you to about $53,000. That $3,000 seems like a lot, but now you must look at the cost of living difference between the two areas. According to all these calculators, the average cost of living increase between Dallas and San Diego is roughly 36%. That calculates out to $15,000 less in disposable income. So now you can compare, do you really HAVE $15,000 you can give up in order to move to San Diego? If not, it might just be time to start looking elsewhere or trying to find a San Diego job with a salary of at least $68,000 to maintain the same lifestyle.

What If I Have no Choice?

Sometimes you don't have a choice about moving. Maybe you're being transferred by your company, or you need to be near a school, university or family. If you are stuck moving anyway, use the cost-of-living numbers to help you plan for your new budget and negotiate for a better salary.

Your real estate professional is familiar with the cost of living index for the area, and they will be able to help you find the right place for your budget.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by RE/MAX Main Street Associates on 2/24/2019

Looking for a quality daycare can be pretty overwhelming. There are probably many childcare centers in your area, but you want to make sure you find one that suits your family. It's always crucial to ask the right questions when interviewing daycare centers into which you're potentially enrolling.

1. Is the center licensed?

It's important to be sure that the daycare center has certification under state regulations. You are legally able to request to see their license and any notes written regarding safety hazards or other infractions issued to the center.

2. Do they have an open door policy for parents?

Itís crucial to know the facilityís policy on parents dropping in unannounced. If the center does not allow you to come by anytime, this could be a potential red flag. 

3. Whatís your policy on____?

Itís important to ask about the centerís protocol on things such as discipline, nap-time, screen time, and allowing sweets. If you have strong feelings about any of these topics, itís important to ask about providing specific instructions geared toward your child. 

4. Can you accommodate special circumstances?

Itís important to note in the interview certain special circumstances to your children such as breastfeeding, cloth diapering, allergies, medications, or special food requirements. Some daycares will not be suitable for your childís specific needs. 

5. Whatís your sick child policy?

If your child or another child in the facility becomes ill while in the care of the center, it's important to note how the staff will handle it. Proper care is especially crucial to infants as illness among children can spread rapidly. Be sure that the facility takes sickness seriously and will send any child home if they become ill.

6. Whatís your policy on immunizations?

Regardless of your stance on vaccines, itís important to know what the daycare policy is for each child and if they are required to be kept up to date. 

7. Whatís the staff to child ratio?

Your state will require each center to have a certain amount of qualified staff members available in the classroom. Be sure to research the requirement of your state and if the center adheres. 

8. What are the qualifications of the staff here?

It's important to note the process staff members have to go through before they are allowed to interact with children. Ask the facility manager what type of training is required, what they teach them, and whether staff members need specific certifications? It will bring you peace of mind to know that each teacher is trained for emergencies and are fully certifications in Infant and Child CPR and First Aid.

Finding the right daycare facility may take time, but it's a decision that you want to be sure you make the right call. Ask friends, neighbors, and other parents in your community which daycare center in their area they like best.




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Posted by RE/MAX Main Street Associates on 1/6/2019

If you recently bought or sold a house, it may be only a matter of weeks before moving day arrives. As such, you may want to start planning ahead and contact a moving company to help you prepare for the big day.

Ultimately, not all moving companies are created equal. And if you make a poor selection, you risk encountering problems with your moving company as you try to take your belongings from one address to another.

Differentiating one moving company from another can be simple. In fact, there are several questions that you should consider before you hire a moving company, and these are:

1. What do I need from a moving company?

Moving from a big house to a small one is very different than relocating from an apartment to a home. Thus, you should consider your moving day needs and tailor your search for a moving company accordingly.

Don't forget to evaluate your moving day budget too. If you consider how much money is at your disposal, you can map out a search for a mover and discover a moving company that falls within your price range.

2. What services does a moving company offer?

Many moving companies will help you pack up your belongings, move them to your new address and help you unpack. Comparatively, some moving companies only offer limited support on moving day.

Think about which moving day services you'll need before you choose a moving company Ė you'll be glad you did. If you know what you want out of a moving company, you can narrow your search and quickly find a mover that will match or exceed your expectations.

3. What are past clients saying about a moving company?

Oftentimes, it helps to look at client reviews for moving companies. These insights can help you understand what it is like to work with a particular moving company before you make your final decision.

If customers frequently rave about a moving company, this is a positive sign. In this instance, you may want to move quickly to hire a moving company for your upcoming relocation.

On the other hand, a moving company that receives many negative reviews should raise red flags. If most customers are not satisfied with the support they receive from a particular moving company, you may want to consider other movers.

Finding the right moving company may seem difficult, particularly for individuals who have only a limited amount of time to relocate. But if you collaborate with a real estate agent, you may be able to discover the ideal moving company in no time at all.

In addition to helping you buy or sell a home, a real estate agent will make it easy for you to enjoy a seamless move. A real estate agent likely can put you in touch with the top moving companies in your area. As a result, a real estate agent can help you find a great moving company, regardless of when you need to relocate.





Posted by RE/MAX Main Street Associates on 12/30/2018

Moving day is an exciting day but itís also a lot of work and can even be a little stressful. Everything is boxed up and feels near impossible to find when you need it. Avoid scrambling through boxes to find a trash bag or paper towels.

Be prepared on moving day no matter what comes your way with a cleanup toolkit on hand.

Messes happen even on moving day. By packing a special box that is clearly labeled with these items inside youíll be ready for anything.

  • Ziplock bags

  • Permanent marker

  • Trash bags

Have ziplock bags on hand to wrangle up loose screws and other bits and bobs. Use a marker to write on the bag what the contents belong to. Trash bags are for the obvious: trash. No matter how much you clean out and clean up you will find you have some sort of trash on moving day. Have at least one ready and waiting.

  • Dustpan and brush

  • Paper towels

  • Window spray

  • All-purpose spray

  • Dusting clothes

  • Microfiber cloths

  • Spray bottle

For messes left behind by the previous owners and any spills that may happen. Dust items before putting them away on shelves or hanging back up on walls. Wipe down windows and mirrors. Run a dusting cloth over shelves and banisters. And always have a few paper towels at the ready - just in case.

  • Hand soap

  • Hand towels

  • Toilet paper

  • Plunger

Because the bathroom will be the first to be used so have the essentials in place. Letís be honest, these are not the things you want to dig to the bottom of a box for. Pull these out and set up the bathroom as soon as you first step into the new house.

  • Air freshener

  • Disinfecting wipes

Not necessities, but certainly nice-to-haves. Wipe down counters, doorknobs and switch plates with a disinfectant wipe. Air fresheners take care of any funky smells left behind from previous owners or from sitting vacant for a while.

Having a cleaning kit on hand and at the ready allows you to clean up as you go. You donít want to start cleaning up after youíve unpacked and put everything away. Do it beforehand for an easy, seamless moving experience.  

Tackles messes as they come up, proactively clean as you start moving items in and avoid digging through boxes to find disinfectant wipes or a trash bag. Clearly label your box in large print and/or color code it with a bright colored packing tape. This way youíll know exactly which box has your supplies and where it is at all times.

Make your new house your home by freshening it up before unpacking. It will feel so good to have a clean organized home from day one.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by RE/MAX Main Street Associates on 6/17/2018

If you recently bought or sold a house and plan to move out of state, now is the time to start planning for moving day. By doing so, you can ensure that you're fully prepared to take all of your belongings to your new address.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you prep for an out-of-state move.

1. Create a Moving Calendar and Budget

Determine how much time is available before moving day. Then, you can put together a list of items that you will need to pack, along with various pre-moving day tasks that must be completed. With this plan in place, you'll be better equipped than ever before to seamlessly navigate the moving process.

Also, don't forget to budget for your out-of-state move. If you craft a budget today, you can avoid the risk of overspending on moving boxes and other moving supplies.

2. Don't Wait to Start Packing

Moving day will be here soon enough, and as such, there is no reason to wait to start packing your belongings.

Enlist friends and family members to help you pack Ė you'll be glad you did. With loved ones at your side, you can get plenty of assistance as you prep your belongings for your out-of-state move.

In addition, you may want to contact a moving company that specializes in out-of-state moves. If you hire a moving company, you can receive comprehensive support throughout the moving cycle.

3. Cancel Various Services

Reach out to your current utilities providers, along with cable, internet and phone services providers. This will allow you to find out exactly what you'll need to do to cancel various services prior to moving day.

Remember to connect with services providers in your new city or town too. If you contact these services providers today, you can guarantee that all of your essential services can be set up as soon as you reach your new address.

Lastly, if you need help getting ready for an out-of-state move, you may want to reach out to a real estate agent. By collaborating with a housing market professional, you may be able to simplify the moving cycle.

A real estate agent is happy to help you buy or sell a house, as well as connect you with the best moving companies in your area. That way, you can receive plenty of assistance as you count down the days to your out-of-state move.

Furthermore, a real estate agent is happy to provide expert insights into the housing market. If you need to find a new house out of state, this housing market professional can help you discover a great residence at a budget-friendly price. Or, if you need to sell your current residence, a real estate agent will help you find the best ways to optimize the value of your house.

When it comes to moving out of state, why should you be forced to leave anything to chance? Instead, use the aforementioned tips, and you can streamline the out-of-state moving process.




Tags: moving tips   moving  
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