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5 Tips for Moving With Young Kids in Tow

1. Pack your child’s room last. Unpack it first. Children of all ages crave stability and comfort. Make your child’s bedroom a safe place for them in your old home and recreate that same sense of ownership for them in their new bedroom. Older children may not want their new bedroom to be identical to the old (in fact, new furniture or decor could help dull the loss of school friends and activities), but younger children will benefit from a room nearly identical to the one they left behind. Make the moving disruption as minimal as possible by packing your child’s room last and unpacking it first upon arrival.

2. Know (everything) before you go. Have the information handy for the local hospital, a new pediatrician, a dentist, your closest pharmacy, the grocery store, and the nearest chain restaurant that the kids love before you depart and arrive at your new home. If your infant gets an ear infection en route, your toddler chips a tooth and gets a bloody lip on that new front step, or your last bottle of infant pain reliever runs out on your first night in the new house you’ll want to know where to go for help. Moving is a completely different experience with children; move prepared.

3. Enlist help with the kids for moving days. Your moving days are going to be incredibly hectic. Don’t subject an infant or a toddler to the chaos. While older kids might want to be around, and may get closure seeing their house empty and their things all packed up, that isn’t the case for younger children. If you can’t find childcare, consider splitting you and your spouse splitting up for the day and entertaining the kids away from the house.

4. Try to keep your cool. Moving can be a stressful time. However, if you’re moving with infants, toddlers, or both, effectively managing your stress is absolutely essential. There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that kids feel their parents’ stress, and infants aren’t excluded. A calm mom and dad may equal a calmer, less colicky baby. There’s already going to be plenty of reason for your baby to be feeling the effects of the move, so try to focus on staying calm and avoiding extra stress when you’re relocating.

5. If it’s important to your child, it should be important to you. Never make the mistake of letting the movers pack your toddler’s favorite toy or special blanket. Keep these items with you at all times. This will help ease any separation anxiety your child may experience from the changes, and minimize your stress when you arrive if you can’t put your fingers on it right away. If it’s important to your infant or toddler, it should be just as important to you — don’t let it out of your sight when you’re moving.

 
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Trim Your Remodeling Cost: 4 Ways to Save

Case Remodeling recently featured several ideas at its blog on how to make those remodeling projects more budget friendly. Here are a few ways to trim remodeling costs:

1. Don’t change plumbing or electrical configurations. Keep your plumbing fixtures and electrical work where they’re at. Instead of moving the plumbing or electrical all over the room, Case recommends for remodelers to “think about supplementing and extending your existing wiring instead of ripping it out and starting over,” which can be much more costly.

2. Find savings in materials. “The cost of cabinets, counters, fixtures, paneling, etc. can constitute up to 70 percent of your remodeling budget,” Case Remodeling notes in its blog. “While labor costs may be hard to reduce, the choice of materials is within your control.” For example, solid surfaces can look similar to marble, and granite tiles may be an option over stone to curb costs.

 

3. Build up, not out. You’d be better off adding stories or building upward than expanding those rooms outward on the lower floor, according to Case Remodeling. Adding another story to a home, like over the garage, can be cheaper than laying a foundation to extend a home out.

4. Consider energy efficient upgrades. By selecting energy efficient windows and appliances, you may have to pay a little more upfront but in the long-run, you’ll be saving. Energy efficient upgrades may be an item worth splurging on initially in order to cheapen your utility bills and the cost of operating your home.

 

The Manliest Cities….

Top 10 ‘Manliest’ Cities

DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS | MONDAY, JUNE 18, 2012

You may not have considered how your city ranks in the masculinity department. But COMBOS, along with “Best Places to Live” researcher Bert Sperling, released the fourth annual ranking of America’s manliest cities.

The 50 largest metro areas were ranked on the quantity of “masculine” offers, such as number of major league sports teams; the availability of so-called “manly lifestyle” activities like fishing, woodworking, and home improvement work; and number of “manly businesses,” like home improvement stores and steak houses. 

The following cities topped this year’s “Manliest Cities” list: 

  1. Oklahoma City, Okla.
  2. Columbia, S.C.
  3. Memphis
  4. Nashville
  5. Birmingham, Ala.
  6. Houston
  7. St. Louis, Mo.
  8. Toledo, Ohio
  9. Cleveland
  10. Charlotte, N.C.

Sources: “The ‘Manliest’ Cities Where Real Men Live,” AOL Real Estate (June 15, 2012) andCOMBOS

 

Quote:

“Your time is limited, don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living the result of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinion drowned your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

How Couples Sabotage Their Finances

By Chris Taylor

updated 6/13/2012 12:38:18 PM ET

NEW YORK — With a wedding coming up, you’d think Jay Buerck would be obsessing about the usual details: Writing vows, choosing appetizers, or figuring out seating charts to accommodate challenging relatives.

But what worries the 29-year-old St. Louis marketing professional isn’t any of those things: It’s money.

Not that he and his bride-to-be Liz Downey won’t have enough; they earn comfortable salaries. What really freaks him out is the inherent challenge of joining two people’s finances.

“Money is the reason why many people get divorced,” says Buerck. “I have a buddy who got married and didn’t tell his wife about the extent of his debt, and they had a rough go of it when he came clean. That’s something I want to try and avoid.”

The couple has already taken steps to prepare their finances. That’s a smart strategy, according to financial experts, especially now that U.S. couples are waiting longer to marry, and many people have thousands of dollars in student loans and credit card debt by the time they take their vows.

Money causes more arguments than other typical flashpoints, according to a recent survey by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and Harris Interactive.

A full 27 percent of respondents said their spats started over money, more than problems with kids (16 percent) or chores (13 percent).

Couples who lock horns over finances at least once a week are 30 percent more likely to get divorced, according to a 2009 study by researchers at Utah State University,

“I probably spend 15 percent of my time with couples actually talking about money, and the other 85 percent talking about personal issues,” says Chris Kimball, a certified financial planner in Lakewood, Washington, who also has a Masters of Divinity degree.

“It all ties into money. It’s a very powerful thing that can do great things in people’s lives, or can really mess them up.”

Shockingly, nearly one-half of all people have lied to their significant other about money, according to an April poll by Self Magazine and Today.com.

And a survey conducted this spring by CreditCards.com revealed that 6 million Americans have hidden financial accounts from their spouses or live-in partners.

The deception isn’t usually malicious. Often it’s prompted by guilt and embarrassment about spending. Compounding the problem is that financial behavior is very deeply set, and can’t be altered easily.

So where do couples go wrong, when it comes to money — and how can they make it right?

Have the money talk 
Only 43 percent of couples talked about money before marriage, according to a May 2010 survey conducted for American Express.

But lack of disclosure about your financial issues — maybe you’re struggling with $100,000 in student debt, or maybe you filed for bankruptcy at some point — isn’t really any different from lying. Be up front about your financial situation, have the “money talk” long before the big day, and tackle any challenges as a couple.

“My significant other didn’t tell me about the money problems we were having, and then one day we had no credit left and had lost pretty much everything,” says Holli Rovenger, an author and speaker in Greenville, S.C. “If we’d worked together, maybe our finances wouldn’t have spiraled out of control.”

Minor money differences can be overcome as long as you have the basics covered: You have your daily needs met, you’re bringing in more than you’re paying out, and you’re able to build a nest egg for the future. But once overspending and debt enter the picture, all bets are off.

“I was always a black-belt shopper, and hated to miss a sale,” says Jenny Triplett, an entrepreneur in Powder Springs, Ga., who’s been married to husband Rufus Triplett for 22 years. “I’d have bags full of new clothes in the closet, and only bring them out one piece at a time. But eventually we came to a compromise, and I got my spending under control.”

That’s exactly the right template for resolving money disputes, planners advise. Even with differing money styles, if both partners take strides toward the middle and agree on broad outlines of a budget, it could prevent countless disputes.

Hiding from help 
Money is such an emotional issue that it could be difficult for couples to untangle all the knots on their own. A trained third party can help you figure out the core issues, and mutually agree on a financial plan.

“I’ve had clients yelling at each other in the parking lot, who came into the conference room and then wouldn’t say a word to each other for the first hour,” says Kimball. “But eventually we were able to work through it. Talking to someone can help air these financial issues in a safe environment.”

Check out the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education, which has a database of trained financial counselors.

Being on the same page 
It’s helpful to have basic guidelines in place that will keep you on the same page. For instance, purchases under a certain dollar amount can be left to each spouse’s discretion, while larger ones should to be cleared with your partner.

Some couples might be comfortable pooling all of their money, and others may not; neither is the “right” choice, but that should be decided explicitly.

“Understanding your partner’s values on money is so very important,” says Andi Wrenn, a financial counselor in Boston with a master’s in marriage and family therapy. “Talk about how they learned money management, and what they plan to do in the future with the money they have and earn. Not often do people marry that are from exactly the same background.”

That certainly applies to Jay Buerck and his bride-to-be. She’s traditionally been more of a budgeter, and he’s more laissez faire when it comes to counting pennies. But since they set up a joint account and moved in together, finances have “actually become less stressful,” he says. “It’s all about being open and honest.” 

All Commercial Real Estate Sectors Continue to Improve, Multifamily Strong

WASHINGTON (May 24, 2012) – Shaking off a prolonged impact from the recession, fundamentals are gradually improving in all of the major commercial real estate sectors, according to the National Association of Realtors® quarterly commercial real estate forecast. The apartment rental sector has fully recovered and is growing.

The findings also are confirmed in NAR’s recent quarterly Commercial Real Estate Market Survey, which collects data from members about market activity.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said new jobs are the key. “Ongoing job creation, which is at a higher level this year, is fueling an underlying demand for commercial real estate space, assisted by a steady increase in consumer spending,” he said. “The pattern shows gradually declining commercial vacancy rates, with consequential but generally modest rent growth.”

Yun expects the economy to add 2 to 2.5 million jobs both this year and in 2013, on the heels of 1.7 million new jobs in 2011, assuming a new federal budget is passed before the end of the year. “Although we need even stronger job growth, by far the greatest impact of job creation is in multifamily housing, where newly formed households striking out on their own have increased demand for apartment rentals – this is the sector with the lowest vacancy rates and strongest rent growth, which is attracting many investors.”

Rising apartment rents also are having a positive impact on home sales because many long-time renters now view homeownership as a better long-term option, Yun noted.

A large problem remains for purchases of commercial property priced under $2.5 million. “Our recent commercial lending survey shows that there is very little capital available for small business, which is significantly impacting commercial real estate transactions, although funding is less restrictive for bigger properties.”

NAR’s latest Commercial Real Estate Outlook1 offers projections for four major commercial sectors and analyzes quarterly data in the office, industrial, retail and multifamily markets. Historic data for metro areas were provided by REIS, Inc.,2 a source of commercial real estate performance information.

Office Markets
Vacancy rates in the office sector are projected to fall from 16.3 percent in the second quarter of this year to 16.0 percent in the second quarter of 2013.

The markets with the lowest office vacancy rates presently are Washington, D.C., with a vacancy rate of 9.3 percent; New York City, at 10.0 percent; and New Orleans, 12.6 percent.

Office rents should increase 2.0 percent this year and 2.5 percent in 2013. Net absorption of office space in the U.S., which includes the leasing of new space coming on the market as well as space in existing properties, is forecast at 24.7 million square feet in 2012 and 48.0 million next year.

Industrial Markets
Industrial vacancy rates are likely to decline from 11.0 percent in the current quarter to 10.7 percent in the second quarter of 2013.

The areas with the lowest industrial vacancy rates currently are Orange County, Calif., with a vacancy rate of 4.7 percent; Los Angeles, 5.0 percent; and Miami at 7.2 percent.

Annual industrial rent is expected to rise 1.6 percent in 2012 and 2.4 percent next year. Net absorption of industrial space nationally is seen at 44.1 million square feet this year and 62.4 million in 2013.

Retail Markets
Retail vacancy rates are forecast to decline from 11.3 percent in the second quarter to 10.7 percent in the second quarter of 2013.

Presently, markets with the lowest retail vacancy rates include San Francisco, 3.7 percent; Fairfield County, Conn., at 4.0 percent; and Long Island, N.Y., at 5.0 percent.

Average retail rent should rise 0.8 percent this year and 1.3 percent in 2013. Net absorption of retail space is projected at 8.0 million square feet this year and 21.9 million in 2013.

Multifamily Markets
The apartment rental market – multifamily housing – is likely to see vacancy rates drop from 4.5 percent in the second quarter to 4.3 percent in the second quarter of 2013; apartment vacancy rates below 5 percent generally are considered a landlord’s market with demand justifying higher rents.
Areas with the lowest multifamily vacancy rates currently are New York City, 2.1 percent; Portland, Ore., at 2.3 percent; and Minneapolis at 2.4 percent.

After rising 2.2 percent last year, average apartment rent is expected to increase 4.0 percent in 2012 and another 4.1 percent next year. “Such a rent increase will raise the core consumer inflation rate. The Federal Reserve, in turn, may be forced to raise interest rates, possibly as early as late 2013.”

Multifamily net absorption is forecast at 215,900 units this year and 230,300 in 2013.

The Commercial Real Estate Outlook is published by the NAR Research Division for the commercial community. NAR’s Commercial Division, formed in 1990, provides targeted products and services to meet the needs of the commercial market and constituency within NAR.

The NAR commercial components include commercial members; commercial committees, subcommittees and forums; commercial real estate boards and structures; and the NAR commercial affiliate organizations – CCIM Institute, Institute of Real Estate Management, Realtors® Land Institute, Society of Industrial and Office Realtors®, and Counselors of Real Estate.

Approximately 78,000 NAR and institute affiliate members specialize in commercial brokerage and related services, and an additional 232,000 members offer commercial real estate services as a secondary business.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

Wearing Sunscreen could save your life!

Health Tip: Apply Sunscreen Properly

30 minutes before you go outside

June 11, 2012 RSS Feed Print

 

(HealthDay News) — Sunscreen can help you avoid the harmful effects of the sun’s ultraviolet rays, but the product must be applied properly to be effective.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers these guidelines:

  • Lather your skin with sunscreen about 30 minutes before you go outside, and always reapply after you swim or sweat heavily.
  • If you spend a lot of time outdoors, reapply sunscreen several times throughout the day.
  • Thoroughly shake the bottle before applying.
  • Apply a thick, thorough layer of sunscreen, and don’t scrimp.
  • Don’t forget to use sunscreen on your ears, shoulders, back and the backs of your knees and legs.
  • Don’t get sunscreen in your eyes.

Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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