October 2009 Archives

October 27, 2009

Movers Have Cell Phones, Too!

I thought our book Nolo's Essential Guide to Buying Your First Home had a pretty complete list of what to do when planning a move -- but this recent article in The New York Times mentions something we forgot:

Ask for the cell phone numbers of the people actually driving off in the moving van with your stuff, and give them your cell phone numbers! Who knows what mini-disasters this might avert . . . .

The article also gives some handy costs breakdowns on everything from cardboard boxes to truck rentals to tipping the guys loading the truck.
October 19, 2009

Selling in a Market Thick With Foreclosures?

If you're selling a home with lots of competition from foreclosures, you probably feel like you've got some unfair competition -- they can sell for cheaper than you can or want to go. However, Amanda Gengler of Money magazine's October, 2009 issue makes an important point for home sellers in this situation: It's better to try distinguishing yourself from the competition, not undercutting it.

Foreclosures are often in crummy condition -- trashed, even. If you spruce your house up to where it's attractive and move-in ready, you're likely to find a buyer who'd rather not deal with the mess and hassle of a foreclosure. Read her full article here.
October 9, 2009

Tax Credit for First-Time Homebuyers on YouTube!

I never thought I'd see the day when an IRS agent (who introduces himself as "Prince") would take to YouTube to promote a tax credit, but here it is. He doesn't really say much, but you can still help him become the next YouTube hit!

October 5, 2009

Last Chance to Hang Laundry Outdoors Before It Rains!

laundry.jpgI confess, I'm lucky -- my husband does all the laundry. He's even careful (more careful than I would ever be) to read the labels and not mix gentles with regulars, or lights with darks.

So I'm about to recommend doing something that I don't actually do myself -- that is, take every opportunity to hang the laundry outdoors. But there are great reasons to do so, and said husband actually seems to enjoy the ritual of hanging laundry. (Plus, it makes him an avid weather-watcher, which comes in very handy for other plans.)

First of all, hanging the laundry saves energy and is good for the environment. At Project Laundry List, you can download an Excel spreadsheet that lets you calculate exactly how much you'll save.

Second, as the beneficiary, I can attest to how nice it is to have clean clothes that have been sun-dried (which has great antibacterial properties) as opposed to dryer-bashed (which wears clothes out faster).

Third, there's nothing wrong with the sight of hanging laundry -- in fact, it's the subject of many fine photographers' work. But that hasn't stopped misguided efforts by various homeowners' associations to ban the practice within their developments. Isn't it time to set aside such aesthetic judgments about a clean, energy-efficient practice, and use the easiest form of solar power around?

With the last rays of Indian Summer sun beaming down on us, now's the time to begin. Or, for those of us in California and other warm climes, to see how little we can use our dryer throughout the winter.