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Moving With Your Pets

The Truth About 
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FAQs and solutions to your problems in the move to your new home.


QUESTION: Credit History Fix
My husband is in the US Navy and we are going to be relocating to New London, CT in June 2000. We are really excited about the possibility of building a log home, however, we are in the process of having a Chapter 13 discharged in a few months. Are there any lenders that would even bother with us in the next year or so?

Thanks so much for any input you may have.

Sincerely, Leslie 

ANSWER: Setup a Payment Record
You should go ahead and check with the lenders who specialize in working with people wanting to build their log home. Get Country's Best Log Homes magazine. I write a column in the magazine explaining how to get loans for these special houses. 

 It's harder to get a loan this year because rates are going up, and lenders are giving better rates to borrowers who have good credit.  You will probably have two options -- go with a very high interest rate lender now, and reestablish your payment record over the next two years, and then go with a more traditional lender at better rates.

As researching zoning, buying land, preparing drainage,  building the log home  will be a long project anyway, I'd strongly recommend you go with the idea of building a payment history first and waiting, rather than spending so much extra on interest.

Best, Shari Steiner

QUESTION: Taxes on Home Sale
How do I calculate the taxes that will result from purchasing a home
of lower price than the sale price of my current home?
A.McD, Via email

ANSWER: No More Taxes
Alan, You are in luck and should not have to pay any taxes on selling
your home. Congress changed the rules.

There is now an exemption of tax on the profits you may make on selling
a home if you lived in the house for at least two of the last five years.
You can make $250,000 profit if you are single or $500,000 profit for
a couple. That is not the sale price, but the difference between your original
purchase basis and the proceeds of the sale.

This tax free deal covers most home sales. The old rule of having to
trade into a new home of equal value is no longer necessary to avoid taxes.

Clyde Steiner

QUESTION: Getting Your Money Back
What can i do if my landlord did not give me my deposit back?

We didn't have a walk thru when I moved in, and we didn't have a walk thru when I moved out. She just took the keys and said she would let me know later when I would get my deposit back.

My landlord is accusing me of damaging the house that I was renting, but I know for a fact that I did not damage the house in any way.

What can I do about this situation? 

Anna, in California

ANSWER: Hindsight
It would have been great if you had taken photos of the rooms the day you moved in and the day you moved out. 

Even if you don't have that kind of evidence, you can still take the landlord to small claims court. California has laws requiring the landlord to return renters deposits with a written accounting for any claimed damages.

Sometimes the filing of small claims court papers is enough of a nudge to get the other side to settle. You don't need a lawyer because lawyers are not allowed in small claims court.


QUESTION: Moving Contract 
My husband and I are planning to move and chose a local mover. They will not provide me with any type of contract to guarantee our move. They sent me a hand-written letter stating the date and time they will be at our house to move our items. Is this a normal practice or should I demand a contract? Thanks.


ANSWER: No Contract, No Deal
Never make a household move without a written agreement. Movers have the legal right to hold your possessions hostage and not off load their truck until you pay what ever they demand. You have to have an agreement in advance or you a subject to any demands they make.

The only exception might be hiring a local guy with a pickup to move a couple of apartment belongings. Then a verbal contact is all you can get. But, if they are a licensed moving company, you should have a contract.

Check our section on moving companies for the three types of contacts that are norm for the inductry.


QUESTION: Moving Company or Truck Rental
There is a possibility that I may get to relocate to Colorado within the
next three months. My company cannot pay to relocate me (because of the
type of contract I'd be working on). I don't have a lot of stuff--just
mine and my daughter's bedroom furniture, clothes, and toys.

My question is this: would it be better for me to rent a truck and move myself
(I live in Maryland), or just go ahead and get a moving company to do the job? I'd still have to drive either way I decide to go (it's a 24-hour trip).

Also, how do moving companies come up with their rates; is it by weight,
mileage, or both (this is the first time that I'd have to move by myself,
so I'm not sure about things like this)?

Thank you,

ANSWER: Saving Money
In your interstate move, you should get binding bids from at
least 3 moving companies because they will compete now that the law has changed..

Don't plan your move on the weekend or end of the month since rates
are highest for these busy times. Don't let the moving company store
your things until you find a place to live as their storage rates are usually  higher than self-storage rentals.

You should look for a company that specializes in "less than load" moves
since you do not have a full house of furniture. Our book explains the 3 types of moving company bids.

If you rent a truck with a hitch to tow your car, you will likely find your costs are less as you plan to drive your own car anyway. Have a moving party so friends can help you pack the truck very tightly so that nothing shifts on the road.

Moving companies charge by weight. Our book has pages of tables
showing the average cubic footage and weight of almost every household

Please let me know what you decide to do. We would love to have you
take part in our annual nationwide moving survey so that you can list
your comments, problems and successes.

Good Luck
Clyde Steiner

QUESTION: Self Move OK??
We will be moving from a house in Georgia/South Carolina to San Diego in the near future. I've heard pros and cons regarding moving companies... but if I'm on a tight budget and have 2 cars, which would you suggest: A full service moving company or renting a truck and doing the move ourselves. Obviously I would expect the full service movers to be more expense, but if I consider our time and efforts, I'm thinking it might tip the scales a bit... especially with 2 cars.


ANSWER: The Cheapest Way
Most truck rental companies have special low ball rates for their smaller vans. Since you have two cars to drive to California anyway, check out the cost of renting two smaller trucks with tow hitches for the cars. Split your belongings between them. Each of you can drive a truck instead of the car you would have driven across the country.

If you don't want to deal with the time and trouble this will entail, consider the full service movers and the companies that hire college kids and other to drive your cars for you. Read the moving company cautions in the "Save Money" answer and our chapter on moving companies before you sign any contracts.


QUESTION: Picking a Moving Company:
Once you have interviewed the companies (in our case Allied, Bekins and United) how do you pick the right company? The estimators are all SALES reps, they'll tell us what we want to hear and they are not going to say, "oh yeah, our company has screwed things up in the past." We are really having a difficult time discerning who is being truthful and who is giving us the "right" answer. Please advise,

Thanks and regards,

ANSWER: The Sales Pitch
Richard You are right, moving company "estimators" are really sales people. They say "what ever is necessary".

You have to get it in writing. You'll find a complete description of the three types of moving company contracts in our Steiners Complete How To Move Handbook (chapter 10). We always go for the Binding Contract since the others will allow the movers to change their charges before they deliver your furniture, and you gave to pay what they ask before they unload.

Our book may be in your local library or you can get a copy at 800-444-2524 extension 1.


QUESTION: Temporary Storage
We moved from the east coast to California and had to rent
an apartment until we found a suitable house to buy.

The moving company stored our furniture for us for two months
before they delivered it to our new home. We had to pay them cash
even though their charge for this simple storage was ten times what we could have paid, had we rented some self storage space.

How can I complain about these excessive charges and get a refund?

T.J. Los Angeles

ANSWER: What Price Convenience?
The problem is you didn't put your furniture into self storage yourself.

Yes, storage charges can be what they want. If you look at your original
contract with the mover you see they likely have the right to put your stuff in
"temporary" storage, called SIT, at their rates. As our book cautions,
it is the most expensive storage you can get. Next time.....

Yes, and most movers demand cash before they off-load the truck.
They have your goods hostage. It's an industry tradition, although some will now take credit cards on delivery. You have to get it in writing before you start.

We know this not a satisfactory answer for you. They were within their legal rights.

The best tactic to take is to get at least three written estimates from regular
serviced storage warehouses in your area, not selfstorage companies.
If the movers rates were really out of line for the same amount of furniture,
you could pressure them with a letter and photo copies. The dollar amount they charged may be small in comparison to how they value their reputation.

Hope this helps,
Clyde and Shari Steiner

QUESTION: Moving with Hi-Tech Gear
Is is safe to pack my computer, software disks, vcr, and video tapes in a moving van for a trip across the country in August? I am worried about excessive heat causing damage.


ANSWER: Packing Tips
The ultimate way to ensure safety of your computer and disks is to make sure they are insured. Don't rely on the moving company insurance, it is too little, too late. Add them to your home owners policy and ask your insurance company what they will accept as proper packing. They will then have to honor any claim you may make.

We never worry about the computer any more than we would about our TV in the truck. Disks and tapes are different. We wrap in aluminum foil, shinny side out and put them in a cheap Styrofoam picnic chest.


QUESTION: Temporary Cold Storage
Found your site on the net. Hope you have the expertise to answer my
question. I am planning a move that may or may not work out so I don't
want to move everything just yet. I need to put a lot of stuff in a mini-storage
unit. My question is this: The unit is unheated, the winters here are
cold (WA state) I need to store a lot of electronic stuff, both video and
audio, movies, vcr tapes,video games, units, audio tapes, computer disks,
that kind of thing etc. How can these be packed to protect them from cold,
or can they be stored for some months over winter ?


ANSWER: Cold is Good
Cold is not the enemy of electronic gear... heat is. You should of course
make sure the stuff you store is not damp so that ice does not form and
expand between parts breaking them. The only other consideration is to
allow the stuff the hours needed to come back to room temperature before
plugging in again.

Remember that pro-photographers freeze their batteries to keep them
in shape and techies have canned freeze spray they use on chips to isolate

Good luck,

QUESTION: Kids and School
My wife has just gotten a terrific job offer, but it means we will have to move
the family from Ohio to the New York area in the middle of the school year.
It would really disrupt our family life if I stayed here with the our two girls,
aged 8 and 12, and my wife moved to New York alone. The other possibility would be to take the kids out of school in mid term, breaking up both their
education and social life.

If we wait until the end of the school year, My wife's great job offer will disappear and it would likely take months for her to find a similar opportunity.
Maybe it could take longer. In any case it would really impact our income.

You can see the dilemma. Any suggestions?

John D

PS: I am a self employed consultant and can move fairly easily anytime.

ANSWER: Conventional Wisdom?
Most people try to move to a new location after school is out.
This is the heavy traffic time of year when moving companies charge
the highest rates because all their vans are in demand.

Do the kids benefit from starting in a new school at the beginning
of the new school year with all the other local kids?

We don't think so.

All kids have to deal with a slew of new experiences, make new friends,
and learn new school procedures as the school year begins. 

Our past surveys show that your children's transition will be easier if they come to the new school in the middle of the year, because the teachers will have more time to deal with them as individuals. They will not be just part of the new term horde that consume a teachers time at the beginning of each term.

Similarly, your kids will be celebrities for the rest of the kids in the class.
Other kids will approach them, making "breaking the ice" an easier process
than it would be if your kids have to make the first step.

All this points to your family having the best of all worlds, best job offer,
best income increase, and best educational and social deal for your children.
Make your move now.

Best luck on your move.
Clyde and Shari Steiner

PS: There is more information on dealing with your children's concerns on page 18 of our book, Steiners Complete How To Move Handbook.
See also our chapter on Settling In, that begins on page 234.

I am 13 years old, but I'd like some advice.

My dad has recently gotten a new job and we will be moving.

I've went to the same school all my life and I'll be leaving after graduation.
My class has 11 people in it and we've been close since Kindergarten. I
will miss them a lot. I am a very shy person and I don't think that I'll
fit in at the new big school that I'll be going to. I'm really scared.
Any ideas how to cope??

Also, I have a dog and two kittens and they've been able to run free
since we live in the country. Now, where we are moving there won't be as
much room. The place there has invisible fencing and that will be ok for
the dog. But the kittens have always stayed in the barn that we have. There
isn't even a shed at the place we are moving. Where do you think that I
should keep them?? I can't keep them in the house because....my mom says
so. And my dog will kill them if they stay in his dog house. Please help!!!!!!!!!!!!!


ANSWER: Adventure can be great!
Dear L.J.

Thanks for your questions!

Regarding fitting in to a new school -- almost everyone feels worried
about these changes, no matter what the size. It happens that when I went
from the 8th to the 9th grade, I was in the country, and I went from a
class of 5 to a class of 55, and none of my other classmates were assigned
to the new high school. Even though I'd known it was going to happen, I
hadn't figured out how to meet people at the new school or what things
students liked to do there, and I felt really scared in the beginning.

It turned out people were friendly, and within two weeks I met a person
I've been best friends with ever since, BUT I would have been much happier if I'd found out about people there ahead of time. 

You have two big advantages -- you're planning ahead and you already use the web. See if you can find something about your school-to-be on the web at  www.askjeeves.com or www.snap.com (or your own favorite megasearch engines) to find clubs for 4-H or other clubs you already belong
to or are interested in. Once you've found an interesting site, get in
touch with someone there and tell them you're looking for a pen pal or
you want to find out what things they'll want you to do ahead of time.

Regarding your pets -- it sounds like you've gotten it worked out how
to get your dog to the new location, and where he will be living. Taking
your kittens will be the problem.

You don't mention if they're very wild or how old they are, but from
your description, making a long distance move may be very hard for them.
Since they don't live in the house and probably aren't used to travelling,
putting them in a box and taking them with you (and your parents and your
dog) will be tough, because they'll fight you the whole trip and try to
run away if you open the box to feed them or clean out the box.

Once they're at the new location, you may be able to build them their
own "house" outside, but, again, they'll keep trying to run away, back
to their old home.

It would be better if you could find out who's going to be moving into
your current home. They may very well be happy to have a couple of kittens,
who'll keep the farm mouse free in exchange for love and meals and milk.
Otherwise, maybe some of your friends there would want them. It might take
a couple of "transplanting" trips to convince them to live someplace else,
but after a several weeks in a new place, they should stay. And, if they
run away, it's much easier to find them... they'll be back in the old home.

Good luck!
Shari Steiner

QUESTION: No Place to Live
We were were going to close on a house the day before signing the couple decided that they did not want to sale. now were out of a place to live. our apartment has already been rented, all mail forwarded deposits have been made. what can we do. 


ANSWER: Get a Lawyer
See a real estate attorney immediately. Find one by checking with the local real estate board and in the yellow pages for real estate transaction specialists. If you're on good terms with your real estate agent, he or she may have a good recommendation, HOWEVER, you're going to be threatening to sue for performance on the sales contract, and your real estate agent may be afraid you'll include him or her in the suit. 

Hopefully, your sales contract does not contain any wording giving the sellers a contingency right to kill the deal. Sometimes sellers will insist they must retain such a right until they find a new home of their own to move into, or until their daughter gets married and moves on, or who knows... Good real estate agents don't let their buyers get in to such contracts if they don't have a deadline for the sellers firm decision. If the sellers simply said they're not moving, you may not ever be able to force them to perform, but you can sue for damages. 

Meanwhile, move into a motel for a short while. A strongly worded attorney's letter may be all that's needed to get the sellers out of their "Sellers Remorse". If they dig in their heels, you'll have to find some place to rent while you look for a new home and decide what to do legally. We have a number of options for finding economical short term housing in our book, "Steiners Complete How to Move Handbook." 

Good luck! Shari Steiner



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