Flint Foley Real Estate Blog
You’re buying a new home? That’s wonderful--congratulations. But soon you’ll have to move all your things into it. That’s bound to be one of the more stressful experiences in your life.
There’s no way to move hassle-free, but there are things you can do to minimize risk of being taken for a ride. There are three basic questions you should answer before you get into serious negotiations about rates and services.
Question No. 1: Am I Dealing with a Mover or a Broker?
Moving companies own the trucks that transport your things. They hire people to drive them and to load and unload them. Brokers are agents for moving companies and usually partner with a number of different moving companies. They often give the business to the company that makes the lowest bid for the job.
It can be hard to tell whether a company is a mover or a broker. But it’s a critical distinction to understand. Movers do the actual work of moving your things—and they’re responsible for everything. In the event something does go wrong, you, the consumer, know exactly whose feet to hold to the fire.
But brokers may be able to save you money. This may seem strange, since they are classic middlemen who take a cut of each moving job they assign. Think of that mortgage lender whose slogan is “when banks compete, you win.” Moving brokers can hook you up with the mover who can move you efficiently and (relatively) inexpensively. They steer clients away from incompetent and unethical carriers to protect their reputation.
Question No. 2: May I Have a Detailed Written Estimate?
Moving is expensive. And risky. While there are many straight-up honest moving companies and brokers in the business, the moving industry has its share of deceptive practices. That’s why it’s important to get an estimate in writing, one that includes your full moving contract.
Don’t rely on an oral estimate or one prepared without actually seeing all your stuff. Sketchy estimates open you up to unpleasant surprises on moving day when you will have little choice but to agree to new terms. Estimates should list all of your heavy, valuable, and fragile items and should describe how and where they will be delivered.
Question No. 3: What Do I Really Know About This Company?
Moving companies are regulated by both state and federal authorities. You can check up on them at the US Department of Transportation’s website and through whatever agency regulates them in the state where you live. Be aware that the license requirements for interstate movers are more stringent than the requirements for in-state movers.
Check out what consumer publication are saying about where to find the best moving company. Look at each company’s BBB page.
You can also jump into your car and drive by the moving company’s offices just to make sure they’re real. If the business is run out of someone’s home, you might want to look for a more substantial company.
If you’ve searched for a new place to live recently, you’ve likely seen the Equal Housing Opportunity logo (an equal sign inside a house) on a landlord’s, real estate agent’s or lender’s paperwork.
But the Fair Housing Act is more than just a logo. It’s a federal law designed to protect renters and buyers from discrimination.
Here are some key points to know about the Fair Housing Act when you’re searching for a place to live.
What is the Fair Housing Act? Also known as the Civil Rights Act of 1968, the Fair Housing Act was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson just days after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., who had championed the cause for many years.
The act prohibits housing discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability and familial status (sex was added in 1974, and disability and familial status were added in 1988).
At the time the act was signed, overt housing discrimination was a huge problem throughout the country, including the attempted segregation of whole neighborhoods and the outright rejection of qualified renters based on race and other factors.
Today, much of the discrimination in the housing market is less obvious, but it’s still an unfortunate reality.
According to the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), over 25,000 housing discrimination complaints were filed with the federal government and local and national fair housing agencies in 2017. Over half of the complaints were based on disability, followed by race at 20 percent.
But these numbers reflect only reported incidents. The NFHA estimates that over 4 million instances of housing discrimination occur annually, but many people don’t realize they’ve been discriminated against — or know what steps to take when it happens.
What does housing discrimination look like?Most of the people you encounter in your home search, including real estate agents, sellers, landlords, property management companies and lenders, are bound to Fair Housing Act regulations and additional state and local laws, based on where you live or are looking to live.
Fair Housing Act violations can occur in all phases of buying and renting, including in advertising, while you search, throughout the application process, in financing or credit checks, and during eviction proceedings.
Here are a few examples of discrimination people in protected classes have encountered:
Everyone is talking about the seller's market in real estate, especially in the Carolinas. When we are in a seller's market, we are experiencing low availability of houses up for sale, which means when you decide sell your home you can ask for top dollar because competition is low. This is great for anyone thinking about selling their house.
But this doesn't mean that buyers are completely disadvantaged because of the seller's market. Check out my video and read below for my tips for buyers in a seller's market.