10 Apps to Help Choose Your Perfect Neighborhood

Preparing to move comes with many unknowns — starting with the neighborhood. Finding a neighborhood that fits your lifestyle is almost as important as the house you buy. Below are the most important factors to consider when narrowing down your list of possible new hoods.

1. Nearby Amenities

While distance to gas stations, pharmacies and grocery stores might not seem important when starting your search, these amenities will be invaluable after you are settled in. Before choosing a neighborhood, scout the area for the closest grocery stores, healthcare centers and bank locations. All of these factors will contribute to a more convenient lifestyle.

Apps that can help: Werzit (Free, iOS/Android), AroundMe (Free, iOS/Android)

 

2. Local Market Details

You’ve mapped the distance to the nearest Target and Starbucks, but how much do you know about the local real estate market and community? Begin your home search on a site like HomeFinder.com, that includes  important community details and market information. Also do thorough research on the taxes. You might have found your dream house, in your dream area, but the taxes could price you out of the neighborhood.

Apps that can help:HomeFinder.com Real Estate Search (Free, iOS/Android), Mortgage Calculator by Quicken Loans (Free, iOS/Android)

 

3. Transportation Options

Access to transportation (both public transportation and highway access) are an important part of your everyday life. After visiting a prospective neighborhood, drive around the area and note access to major interstates or highways. If you live in a metropolitan area, research what public transportation options are available to you. Using public transit to your advantage can help cut back on costs like gas and general car maintenance.

Apps that can help: Transit (Free, iOS/Android), Moovit (Free, iOS/Android)

 

4. Commute

Does your preferred neighborhood come with a long commute to work, friends or family? Consider if you’re willing to sacrifice the extra time spent on the road for your prime location. Purchasing a home within walking distance to a downtown area might cost more, but in exchange you will have the luxury of a quick walk to town, or easy train access if you are commuting from a suburb.

Apps that can help: Commute (Free, iOS/Android), Waze (Free, iOS/Android), Walk Score (Free, iOS/Android)

 

5. School District

Even if you don’t plan on using the school system, buying a home in a neighborhood with a great school district can benefit you. Purchasing a home in these areas can result in a higher resale value and offer protection from instabilities in the market. If there are school-aged children in your family, look beyond testing statistics and research core competencies, extracurriculars and teacher credentials and support. Learn more about why school district should impact your home search here.

Apps that can help:GreatSchools Finder (Free, iOS)

 

After you find your new locale, use these tips to give you and your family a fresh start in your new neighborhood.

Behind the scenes at MCR: Our chatroom

Every now and then we like to share a peek at how we do things here at MCR. There’s an important key to keeping the business running smoothly (and why we all look so happy and friendly in our pictures) . It’s our chat room. We use a tool called HipChat for Instant Messaging (IM) and the team shares a room for everything MCR-related. But it’s more than just IM. It give us information, it helps our remote workers feel like they’re here in the office (hello Brock in Minneapolis or Dave with twins at home or Denzell with his new comfy apartment!), it makes us laugh and it helps keep everyone up to date on some of our most important metrics.

Here are just a few examples of how we use our chat room every day:

Canons go off to celebrate when we have a new sale:

Sale
A new sale

Someone – often The Rock – applauds when a mover receives their first quote from MCR:

First RFQ
Mover receives their first MCR Referral (quote request)

We quickly access information, like moving licensing requirements for a certain state:

State license lookup
State license lookup

Our developers share new features with the team when they’re ready to review:

Deployment
Deployment Notification

We see every time a new move is created and which movers the consumer selected. Through these notifications, we know which days are busiest, which cities are on the rise and how far ahead people plan (not much). Most of all, it helps keep our consumers “real” and remind us that we’re helping people plan one of the most important and stressful events of their lives.

New Move
A consumer created a move on MCR

And we have a little fun:

Mic drop
Heading home for the day (mic drop)

 

Caffeinate Me
Caffeine

Ok, a lot of fun and silliness:

Nothing to see here
Silliness

 

As we continue to grow with more consumers visiting our site and creating moves, and more mover customers working with us to grow their business, we’ll keep looking for ways to use our chatroom to keep everyone on the team in touch with the business and our people.

 

Happy Holidays from MCR

It’s been an exciting year here at MovingCompanyReviews (MCR)! Nearly two years ago, we started MCR to give consumers a better option for planning their moves, and to help great movers grow their business. In 2014, we grew our traffic exponentially, added hundreds of new verified reviews to the site, and generated thousands of free move referrals in what was the busiest move season in years. We also introduced our first paid mover product offering, Suggested Mover. We’ve been thrilled with the results and feedback we’ve gotten so far from our loyal mover customers. Please keep that feedback coming. We have lots more exciting stuff in the works for the coming year. Cheers to a great 2014 and an even bigger and better 2015.

– The MCR Crew

Shirlee, Shannon, Heather, Czarina, Marcus, Denzell, Dave and Brock (Doug not pictured)

 

the team

Moving Industry Trends: 2014 in Review and 2015 Forecast

As the housing market continues to recover, MovingCompanyReviews.com anticipates that competition within the moving industry will intensify, due to an increasing number of home sales. According to the National Association of Realtors, home sales are expected to be higher in 2015 and this growth in home sales  will benefit both buyers and sellers, as improvements in inventory, slower price gains and pent-up demand contribute to the trend.

MovingCompanyReviews.com (MCR), a site that connects consumers with reliable moving companies, identified 2014’s moving industry trends and predicts how housing trends will impact the moving industry in 2015.

Moving on up

According to MCR data, 2014 was a year of expansion as consumers moved into larger sized homes. The median square footage of homes consumers moved from was 1,100 square feet, and moved into homes that were a median of 1,728 square feet.

On a national level, consumer moving trends indicated:

MCR3

 

On the move

According to MCR data, out of state moves make up approximately 20% of moves on the site. In 2014, the top five states where the most consumers moved from were:

MCR1

In 2014, the top five states where the most consumers moved into were:

MCR2

Preparing for 2015

As home sellers, buyers and renters prepare for 2015, hiring professional movers is likely to be on their moving checklists. MCR anticipates the five below trends will be prevalent in the moving industry in 2015.

1) Mover availability will be tight in spring and summer months. 2014 was the strongest move season in years according to MCR’s moving company customer feedback. This increase resulted in a nationwide truck driver shortage, making it difficult for consumers to book the move dates they wanted. Consumers can expect this same problem in 2015 and should book a moving company as soon as they know their moving date. The average person books their mover only two weeks in advance, so beating that timeframe means consumers will have a better chance of getting the date they want. This is particularly important between Memorial Day and Labor Day, with moves peaking in August.

2) Major metros are still hot. In 2014, MCR reported the most moves in the nation’s largest cities, including Chicago, Atlanta, Houston, Denver and Dallas. Continued urban population growth and the return of post-recession new construction will continue to fuel moves in these cities. For consumers looking to move in these cities, MCR advises to book a mover at least one month in advance.

3) Interstate moves will expand to smaller cities. MCR anticipates growth in some of the mid-size cities that are joining the trend of urban development, with investments in jobs, housing, retail and dining. The 2015 Emerging Trends in Real Estate report, published by PwC and Urban Land Institute, lists Charlotte, Raleigh-Durham and Nashville as “markets to watch”. MCR data identified a healthy number of moves in these cities in 2014 and expects the trend to continue into 2015.

4) Square footage will remain flat. According to MCR data, 2014 saw an upgrade in home sizes, by a median of 628 square feet. MCR does not expect any more significant upgrades. While the economy is improving, the rental market is still strong.

5) Mover scams are still a threat but more controlled. 2013 and 2014 saw the rise of illegitimate companies that preyed on unsuspecting consumers. These individuals and companies marketed to consumers looking for the lowest price, and then scammed them by drastically increasing the rate at the point of delivery or even holding goods hostage. In 2014, the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA) and state moving associations made significant efforts to educate consumers on how to choose a vetted, licensed mover. Using a site like MovingCompanyReviews.com helps consumers understand the industry rules and regulations and identify the licensed movers with verified reviews from real consumers.

Are you a mover interested in getting free moving leads?   Claim your profile, add pictures, get some reviews and start getting free leads.   We only send leads to licensed movers and make it our mission to connect consumers with the highest quality movers.

5 Costs to Consider When Budgeting For Your Move

Are you making a big move in 2015? Before you start packing, take time to crunch some numbers and set a realistic moving budget. We’ve listed five unexpected moving costs below. Avoid sticker shock by considering these costs when calculating your budget.

Packing supplies

Packing supplies can be a huge surprise expense if you don’t do your research. Avoid purchasing boxes from standard mailing centers and use a wholesale bulk retailer instead. After selecting your mover, you can purchase packing supplies kits directly on MovingCompanyReviews.com that are specifically tailored to the size of your home. Also, don’t skimp on bubble wrap or packing paper — that extra layer could mean the difference in your items arriving in one piece.

Mover gratuity

Assuming your movers do a good job, it’s best practice to tip them. The industry standard for a full day move is between $20-$30 per person, or $10-$15 per person for a half or partial day. Assuming you have three workers performing your move, this could add up to an additional $60 or more on top of your basic move costs.

Storage costs

Moving can involve a lot of hiccups, including those that will require you to put your items in storage. Storage costs vary widely by area, so research companies in your new community to find an option that works for you. For a temporary fix, we recommend renting a self-storage unit.

Deposits and utilities

When planning your move, budget for current utility bills that may overlap with deposits and bills for your new home. This unexpected cost catches many homeowners by surprise and can make the first few months in your new place stressful. If you rent, thoroughly clean your apartment so you receive your full security deposit.

Unexpected Moving company fees

When using a mover, there are several fees that could drastically increase the cost of your move. Read the fine print of your contract so you fully understand each individual cost.

Some surprising fees include:

  • Driving charges: Most movers charge for the time it takes to get from their primary location to your home. In most cases, they will charge their hourly rate, or pro-rate it to the quarter or half hour depending on your home’s distance. Ask your mover about this cost if it’s not called out explicitly in the estimate. If there is anything unusual about your location, including nearby construction or closed roads, let them know to avoid paying for the time it takes them to find your home.
  • Long-carry fees: You may be charged a long-carry fee if your movers have to carry your items further than their standard “distance limit.” Ask your movers what their distance limit is and if they think it could be an issue. Apartment or city-dwellers beware, as this fee normally results from limited available parking and if your condo or apartment unit is more than a few units away from the elevator and the movers have to carry your belongings down the hallway.
  • Elevator fees: If you’re moving in or out of  a high-rise, your mover and/or building may . charge an elevator fee. Your building may also charge a move-in/out fee. Make sure to check with your building management before you move.
  • Supplies fees: Many movers will wrap your belongings with blankets and tape, and pack your clothing into wardrobe boxes. You may then be surprised with charges for these items on your final bill. Understand the cost for any packing materials before you book your move, and work with your mover to estimate what you need to include in your overall budget.

Once you’ve established your budget, use these apps to make your move as smooth as possible.