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What It’s Really Like to Move to Los Angeles

What it's like to move to California

Are you wondering about what your future life might be like if you were to move to Los Angeles? If you’re picturing life the glitzy, sun-kissed life depicted by Real Housewives or in Hollywood movies, then you might want to think again. While L.A. is an exciting city with much to offer its residents, it also has its cons. Here are some insights about what it’s really like to move to the City of Angels.

Los Angeles Traffic

The difference in traffic patterns is the primary change transplants from small-town America must get used to when they first arrive in Los Angeles. L.A. streets and freeways are extremely congested during rush hour. Here, it’s not uncommon for a 25-mile trip to take an hour and a half during peak traffic times.

You also can’t count on traffic to clear when rush hour is over as maintenance is often performed during non-peak hours. If you travel on L.A.’s freeways in the middle of the night, you may find that several lanes are closed, resulting in a trip that takes just as long as an outing during rush hour. In Los Angeles, which has the worst traffic in the U.S., you can’t count on ever being able to take a quick trip anywhere.

finding-cheap-moving-companies-LA

Los Angeles is notorious for terrible traffic and usually lives up to its reputation.

Housing in Los Angeles

If you want to buy a home, expect to pay a premium for housing in L.A. right now. Los Angeles currently has a hot housing market, with home prices currently at their nine-year peak.

The L.A. Job Market

The Los Angeles job market has lots to offer job seekers, particularly in the high-tech sector. Currently, corporate jobs with large companies are more readily available than jobs with smaller, privately owned companies. However, there are ample opportunities for talented people in many different organizations.

The Cost of Living in Los Angeles

The cost of living in Los Angeles is notoriously high. The most recent data available from the Los Angeles consumer price index indicates that the cost of living is up 2 percent over last year. Specifically, you’ll have to budget more for food and energy, particularly for electricity, than you would have had to a year ago. Overall, the city ranks as the 7th most expensive place to live in the U.S.

You’ll also have to budget for some expenses that might not be as obvious. The following are a few examples:

  • Parking tickets: No matter how hard you try to avoid parking violations in Los Angeles, you’re probably going to get parking tickets from time to time. Each infraction will set you back anywhere from $25 – $363. Parking fines often cost $60 or more. To avoid as many parking tickets as possible, be sure to park with your wheels facing in the correct direction when you leave your car parked on a hill, particularly in West Hollywood.
  • Water filtration or bottled water: Ordinary tap water in Los Angeles is undrinkable by New Yorkers’ standards. You’ll likely be paying a higher water bill for water that’s of lesser quality than what you’re accustomed to at home.
  • Registering and smogging your car: At home, you may not have to pay for smog inspections, but you’ll have to in Los Angeles. Car registration is also more expensive in California than it is in many other states in the USA.

Not everything in Los Angeles is overpriced. There are a few surprisingly affordable things in L.A. For example, used cars cost less in L.A. than they do in many other areas of the USA. Used furniture, used clothing and collectibles can often be found at bargain prices in L.A.

From apartments to groceries, the cost of living in LA is on the high side.

From apartments to groceries, the cost of living in LA is on the high side.

Making the Move to Los Angeles

We hope these insights are helpful to you as you ponder whether you’d like to move to Los Angeles. One of the top ways you can save money if you do decide to make the move is by getting a good deal on moving services. With Cheap Movers LAX, you can easily shop rates from the best LA moving companies in one convenient location. Get free quotes from licensed and insured movers and save as much as 35% off your upcoming move. Trust us, your wallet will thank you.

 

Best Neighborhoods for Millennials Moving to DC

moving-to-washington-dc

A diverse, melting pot of opportunity, careers and educational opportunities, Washington DC is becoming increasingly attractive to Millennials looking to further their education and develop as young professionals. With so much to offer Millennials students and professionals, just what thriving neighborhoods will meet your educational and career needs? Look at the top neighborhoods in the DC metro where Millennials are flocking to settle.

In DC, it's easy to get around using public transportation since Metro stations are in just about every neighborhood.

In DC, it’s easy to get around using public transportation since Metro stations are in just about every neighborhood.

1. Ballston, VA

Although Ballston, VA hasn’t always been a hot spot among young people, this up-and-coming region is now known for its affordable new construction. While the availability of reasonably-priced housing may be one vital piece of the puzzle for you as you consider a DC move, Ballston also boasts a central location, just a few Metro train stops from the nation’s capital. In addition, with the boom in housing and the influx of a younger generation, better schools, restaurants, shopping, and bars have been popping up all over this fun neighborhood. As a bonus, the Ballston Common Mall is being completely redone with a completion date of 2017 holidays.

2. Del Ray, VA

Despite older housing, this neighborhood in the heart of Alexandria offers residents a funky and unique vibe with convenient proximity to the hot job market of DC. The shopping, coffee shops, yoga studios and delicious bites in this sweet neighborhood are reminiscent of what you might find in cities like Portland, Oregon or Austin, Texas. Imagine Saturdays spent strolling main street, buying fresh produce at the farmer’s market, and dining al fresco on flower-lined sidewalk patios.

3. Georgetown

Another local business hot spot, Georgetown has a plethora of art, food and outdoorsy fun to cater to Millennial tastes. In addition to all the neighborhood’s delicious restaurants and unique boutiques, there are lots of nearby trails for the avid runner, as well as educational opportunities at nearby colleges and universities. While housing here is a bit steeper, the convenient location might just be worth it. The area offers fast access to downtown, the metro, and the thousands of job opportunities in the District.

4. Foggy Bottom

Like Georgetown, Foggy Bottom offers easy access to education so you can earn that Master’s degree you’ve been thinking about getting, with George Washington University just blocks away. While you’re taking a study break or off from work for the weekend, explore the multitude of art galleries and museums in this popular neighborhood or play a little “beach” volleyball near the Potomac River.

Georgetown is a great neighborhood for both students and professionals, and it's conveniently and centrally located.

Georgetown is a great neighborhood for both students and professionals, and it’s conveniently and centrally located.

5. U Street

You work hard to climb that corporate ladder. U Street will give you the immediate access to play hard, right in your own neighborhood. Despite the booming nightlife, you’ll enjoy the rich, diverse history of U Street, which was once home to movie stars, Jazz musicians and more. Feast at restaurants, bars, and clubs that were once filled with historic musicians who changed the course of the music industry. The best part: with U Street near the center of it all, your commute to work and entertainment will probably be short (if not non-existent).

Looking for DC Area Movers?

With so many up and coming neighborhoods and a transportation system that makes getting around a breeze, navigating the nation’s capital will extend bountiful career options, schools, great food and drinks, a rich history, and weekends filled with sites and shopping. While you focus on finding the right neighborhood for you, why not leave the logistics of your move up to the professionals? Here are some of the area’s best moving companies:

Cheap Movers DC
3509 Connecticut Avenue NW #10028
Washington, DC 20008
(202) 774-9296

Matthew’s Nationwide Moving
6110 Redwood Ln
Alexandria, VA 22310
(571) 276-7024

A Few Good College Men Movers
8616 Dakota Drive
Gaithersburg MD 20877
(202) 557-4000

 

Tips for Moving to an NYC Apartment that is Short on Storage

Apartment

New York City apartments are known for having little to no storage options, and when it comes to finding an apartment with a spacious layout, any extra room can cost you a lot of money. If you’re struggling with getting the most out of your cramped living situation without breaking the bank, you’ll need to get creative and think outside of the box. To help you out, here are a few ideas from Imperial Moving Company, experienced NYC movers, for getting the most out of a small apartment.

Make Use of Platforms

Have a custom wood platform placed in your living room so that a couch, coffee table, or an area rug can sit on top. Under the platform, you can build a roll out bed, extra drawers, or even storage dividers to help eliminate clutter around your apartment. Just be sure to leave enough floor space under and beside the platform for roll out beds or drawers to open. You can also do this with an existing bed by placing the mattress on top of a platform and storing items underneath it.

Bike Racks

Bicycles can take up precious floor space and cause unneeded clutter in an apartment. To solve this, attach bike hooks or specialty shelves to a wall to vertically store your bike. If you aren’t allowed to put holes in your walls, you can purchase or build a free standing bike rack.

Store your bike on a vertical bike rack instead of keeping it around the apartment.

Store your bike on a vertical bike rack instead of keeping it around the apartment.

Hanging Shoe Bags

Hanging shoe bags are perfect for getting the dozens of shoes you own off of the floor, but can also be used for sundries, socks, office supplies, and many other things. You can hang a bag on the back of your front door, closet, or even bathroom, and watch the clutter around your apartment disappear.

Shower Caddies

Shower caddies come in various styles, such as wire shelves that can hang from a tub pipe or shower head and floor-to-ceiling tension poles with shelves that are perfect for showers. Both types are ideal for storing your shampoos, soaps, razors, and lotions, keeping space clear for other essentials in your bathroom cabinets.

Furnishings with Built-in Storage

When looking for furniture, try to find pieces that have built-in storage. Ottomans and high bar seats can be purchased with hinged tops and hollowed centers that can store blankets, shoes, books, and many other things inside of them. Trunks can easily double as coffee tables, and benches with storage are great for seating options.

A bookcase with shelves is perfect for storing odds and ends.

A bookcase with shelves is perfect for storing odds and ends.

Shelves

While this might seem obvious, shelving is one of the easiest ways to maximize storage in a small apartment. Utilize an entire wall or hallway by building open shelving for books, spices, glassware, and more. Closets are usually designed with extra room at floor level and are perfect for installing a shelf or two.

Hooks

Decorative hooks on entryway walls can be used for coats, scarves, hats, and bags, and can be made out of fun materials such as vintage door knobs or metal cleats. Attaching hooks to a painted pegboard or using s-hooks is a great way to store things in your kitchen, including pots, pans, ladles, and any utensil with holes or loops on the ends of handles.

Get the Help of Professionals

If the thought of moving or unpacking is too overwhelming, then call in some professional moving help. Imperial Moving & Storage is Manhattan’s premier mover, offering everything from furniture moving to VIP packing and unpacking services. They’ve helped thousands of customers with NYC relocations, and can help you move quickly and even organize your new apartment.

Imperial Moving & Storage
83 Washington Place
New York, NY 10011
(212) 879-6683

5 Things You Should Know About Moving Quotes

house-for-sale-moving

Moving to a new location can be the start of an exciting new adventure. It can also be a huge hassle getting your belongings safely to your new abode. Before you start packing your great aunt’s china for the movers to transport, be aware of what your moving quote includes. Know what you’re paying for, what you’re guaranteed, and what you’re not. Below are five things you should know about moving company quotes:

1. How Much It Will Cost

Every moving company calculates the cost of their service differently and is required to print a tariff showing the rates for each of their services Here’s an example of a sample tariff distributed by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. While tariffs are great in theory, they can end up being dozens or even hundreds of pages long, which means trying to figure out exactly how much your move will cost could be tricky. To get the most accurate estimate possible, movingcompanieslongdistance.com recommends making an exact list of every item you’re moving. Provide this list to your mover when they come to do the in-home estimate. This will help the moving specialist approximate the total weight of your move and calculate the estimated cost. And, whatever you do, make sure you get their estimate in writing!

Make sure your insurance options to make sure your items are fully protected during transport.

Make sure your insurance options to make sure your items are fully protected during transport.

2. The Situation on Insurance

Any reputable moving company will make their best attempt to deliver your items in the same condition they were in when the movers picked them up. A company that develops a reputation for damaging people’s property likely won’t stay in business long. However, movers are human too and sometimes accidents do happen. Long distance moving companies must offer customers the option of full value protection insurance. While this is an upgrade (and will cost more) it means your items are fully protected if a mishap occurs. Alternatively, you can downgrade to a liability plan that pays $.60/pound, which won’t go very far if the mover drops and shatters your 100-pound coffee table. As this site points out, it may be wise to opt for insurance protection since your current homeowner’s policy may not cover items during the move.

3. There Are Some Things They Won’t Move

In general, most movers won’t transfer pets, household plants, flammables, and firearms, so you’ll need to make other arrangements for those items. They also won’t move refrigerators or freezers with food in them, so make sure those appliances cleaned out before they arrive. Your moving company, for liability reasons, may have other items they won’t transport, so be sure to check the terms of the agreement to avoid surprises.

No matter how adorable your dog - or your tiny hedge hog - movers are not allowed to transport live animals. Make sure you make alternative arrangements on moving day for your pets.

No matter how adorable your dog – or your tiny hedge hog – movers are not allowed to transport live animals. Make sure you make alternative arrangements on moving day for your pets.

4. Movers Can Pack Your Stuff…For a Price

Many moving companies offer a service where professional packers will come to your home and pack and box your items. If time is a factor, this is a service worth considering – if you have the money. You’ll pay a per-hour fee, so be realistic about what you need packed and what you can pack yourself.

5. How Your Items Will Be Stored During the Move

You probably have visions of your sofa being loaded into the back of a filthy truck by sweaty men who don’t have much regard for chintz. However, your moving company should spell out, in detail, how they safeguard your belonging. Whether covered in blankets, stored in heavy duty crates or carefully secured by bungee rope, your chosen company should be able to tell you exactly what safeguards are in place to get your things to your new home.

Moving, and all the things that come with it, such as getting used to a new neighborhood, starting a new job, making new friends, and finding new schools, can be stressful enough. Before selecting a moving company to get you started on your new undertaking, do careful research.

 

What to Know Before Buying Your First Home

For Sale

While many people dream of becoming a new homeowner, buying a home is a huge decision that comes with a lot of preparation. In fact, it’s one of the biggest financial investments that you’ll make in your entire life. From inspections to plumbing to figuring out financing, it’s easy to get in over your head when starting the home buying process. If you’re thinking of looking at a house anytime soon, here are a few things that you should know before buying your first home.

Run a Credit Report

One of the first things that you should do before buying a home is to run a credit report. If you have items in collections, are behind on paying bills, or have a high debt-to-income ratio, it might be difficult for you to obtain a mortgage. By running a credit report, you can wrap up any unresolved issues and avoid surprise problems before booking an appointment for a mortgage approval. You’re also guaranteed a free credit report every year by federal law, which makes it very easy to get the correct information you need.

Determine What You Can Afford

Once your credit is in order, you’ll need to figure how much you can afford to spend on a home. By setting a budget, you’ll be able to know how much you’ll need to save for any down payment or closing costs. You don’t want to get your hopes up by looking at a dream home that is $250,000 only to find out that you can only afford one at $175,000. Try one of the numerous mortgage calculators available online to help you determine how much you can afford and how much you should save towards your down payment.

Running a credit report and setting a realistic budget will streamline the process of buying a home.

Running a credit report and setting a realistic budget will streamline your process of buying a home.

Save for a Down Payment and Closing Costs

When buying a home, it’s smart to save up money for the down payment and closing costs. While FHA loans only require a 3.5% down payment, many other mortgages can require up to 20%. Having that amount down will give you a better interest rate and will prevent you from having to pay Private Mortgage Insurance (an insurance premium that your lender requires you to pay that can cost up to $200 per month).

You’ll also want to to get an estimate on any closing costs that will be attached to a home. While many buyers will ask to get closing costs covered as part of the price negotiation, it’s not a guarantee, and you don’t want to lose out on the perfect home due to closing costs that you didn’t save for.

Determine Your Home’s Non-Negotiable’s

Compromise is part of the territory when shopping for a new home and you shouldn’t expect to find everything that you’re looking for when viewing a property. However, you don’t want to throw away everything that you want and compromise to the point of buyers remorse. Instead, make a list of absolute must-haves in a home, such as a number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and then share it with your realtor. You’ll feel much better looking at homes that you know have the bread and butter of what you need.

Ways to Make Your Out of State Move Cheaper and Easier

Interstate Highway

Moving out of state can be expensive and stressful, especially if you have a large family to bring with you. Without a good working plan, organizing and packing all of your household’s belongings can quickly become chaotic, adding more aggravation to an already hectic moving process. If you need help with planning a move, here are a few tips to plan ahead, get creative, and make moving across state lines cheaper and easier.

Start Early

The most important part of a moving process is to plan as far in advance as you can. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll be able to make an inventory of all of your belongings, ensuring that nothing will get lost or left behind. You’ll have more time to gather your belongings, pack and to think through the best options for moving supplies, such as boxes, labels, and wrap. You’ll also have more options for interstate movers and can pick out the best dates for your moving day. Although it can be tempting to leave packing until the last minute, packing ahead of time will help you to be prepared on the day of your move.

Get Rid of Stuff

When packing your belongings, you’ll probably find things that you haven’t used in years or forgot that you had, including old clothes, canned goods, sports equipment, or furniture. Instead of wasting time and money packing these unused items, it’s best to get rid of them. Whether you donate to charity or sell items on eBay or Craigslist, you’ll have fewer boxes to pack and unpack, saving space and energy.

Collect boxes from your friends, neighbors, and even your local grocery market to save money on moving supplies.

Collect boxes from your friends, neighbors, and local grocery market to save money on moving supplies.

Use Recycled Packing Materials

While moving out of state can be expensive, you can save a lot of money by using recycled packing supplies. Check with your local grocery store or recycling center for cardboard boxes or plastic crates that can be utilized for your move. Ask local cafe owners for any newspapers that tend to be thrown away after the end of a week to use as wrapping. Talk to your family and friends and ask them to save any shipping boxes they get in the mail. When it comes to your home, keep any old paperwork that needs to be shredded before the move to use as packing material and make use of any containers that you already own, such as suitcases and plastic storage bins. You can also pack clothing in garbage bags and use old linens to wrap your breakables.

Shop Around for Interstate Movers

If you plan to hire a long distance moving company, make sure to ask a lot of questions before signing the paperwork. Per greatguysmoving.com, most nationwide moving companies will offer free in-home moving consultations. During this consultation, the mover will send someone to your home to give you a breakdown of how much they’ll charge and what kind of services they offer. Some companies will charge for wardrobe boxes that you could buy online at a much lower price. Others might offer to pack your things at a discount, but only if you purchase their overpriced boxes. In any case, don’t merely settle for the first company that you talk to. Be sure to compare and contrast many different companies to get the best price for you and your family.

Why Austin is One of the Fastest Growing Cities in the Country

austin

Over the years, people from all around the United States have been flocking to the city of Austin, Texas, and it’s easy to see why! With countless job opportunities, family-friendly neighborhoods, and a unique, eclectic vibe, Austin has all the appeal for both individuals and families alike. Read on to discover what makes this southern state capital one of the most popular and fastest growing US cities.

Mild Winters

If you live in any Midwest or mid-Atlantic states that have snowfall and below-freezing temperatures during the winter months, you probably fantasize about living in a place where you don’t need to bundle up and grab a shovel to get out of your driveway. In Austin, the average temperature in December, January, and February doesn’t drop below 42 degrees! Living here, you can say goodbye to salting the sidewalks and buying expensive winter tires for your car, as Austin has sunny weather all year long.

Goodbye dreary winter skies! Austin has beautiful weather all year round.

Goodbye, dreary winter skies! Austin has beautiful weather all year round.

Music Scene

The city of Austin holds the title of “Live Music Capital of the World” and attracts many different kinds of music enthusiasts. With an extensive selection of great venues to choose from, such as the Frank Erwin Center and the 311 club, Austin is the ideal destination for those who enjoy listening to tunes during their after-work hours. One of the best representations of Austin’s vibrant musical scene is at the annual South by Southwest Music Festival, where thousands of bands from all over the world come to play in Austin. Other popular festivals include the Austin City Limits and the Fun Fun Fun Fest.

Affordability

Many people move to Austin because they crave the warm temperatures and culture of Los Angeles, but can’t afford the expensive real estate and cost of living in California. Austin’s average monthly rent is a mere $1,300 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,600 for a two-bedroom apartment. For big city living, these prices are relatively low when compared to places like L.A. or New York City.

Austin has affordable real estate prices and a relatively low cost of living.

Austin has affordable real estate prices and a relatively low cost of living.

Job Market

Austin has one of the strongest job markets in the country, making it the ideal destination for anyone looking to start fresh in a new career. With employment opportunities such as information services, business, medical, and construction, there are many different fields to choose from when relocating to this city. Austin also has a very low rate of unemployment (3.7 percent) and a high average monthly starting salary ($3,150). It even offers employment opportunities for the disabled, with 45.6 percent of disabled Austin citizens having jobs.

Planning Your Move to Austin

From music festivals to warm weather to an abundance of job opportunities, the capital city of Texas is a one-of-a-kind place. Whether you’re considering moving here to escape the high prices of other metropolitans or to pursue a new career path, there are lots of reasons to move to this fast growing city. Before you pack up and relocate, make sure to think ahead. Take a trip to explore Austin’s varied neighborhoods to find the one that’s right for you. Read up on housing, jobs, schools, healthcare, and more from publications like Austin Relocation Guide and Austin 360. Then find help from a local moving company, like Apple Moving (about.me, google+), that knows the area to smooth your transition and help you get settled into your new hometown. With a little planning, you too could live the dream life of calling Austin, TX home.

 

Trendiest Cities in the U.S.

minneapolis

The United States boasts some of the most enticing cities in the world. With countless attractions, entertainment venues, and friendly neighborhoods, it’s easy to see why so many people are eager to move into one of these appealing towns. If you’re looking for a fresh start in a new and exciting environment, here are some of the trendiest cities that the U.S. has to offer.

Salt Lake City, UT

This state capital is known for its beautiful mountain views and quiet town atmosphere. You can enjoy many of the city’s attractions that include hiking in the majestic Rocky Mountains, attending the famous Sundance Film Festival, and vacationing at the ski resorts of Snowbird or Deer Valley. With a friendly atmosphere, Salt Lake City is a perfect destination for both individuals and families alike.

With stunning scenery and a small town feel, Salt Lake City is a one-of-a-kind destination.

With stunning scenery and a small town feel, Salt Lake City is a one-of-a-kind destination.

Richmond, VA

The historic city of Richmond is full of cobblestone streets, colonial monuments, and has become an engaging center of modern culture. With many music venues, restaurants, and shopping districts, Richmond offers a vibrant city life that attracts a younger crowd. It also boasts of natural beauty, which you can find by taking a stroll in the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, King Dominion, or Williamsburg Park.

Pittsburgh, PA

Well-known for its culture, you’ll find plenty of art galleries, jazz bars, and breweries in most of the streets of Pittsburg. The city also features an amazing food scene that offers everything from southern fried chicken to food truck street cuisine. And with attractions that include the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and the Andy Warhol Museum, this city is an excellent place for you and your family to appreciate the arts.

Pittsburgh has amazing views and an even more amazing food scene. Who could ask for more?

Pittsburgh has amazing views and an even more amazing food scene. Who could ask for more?

Minneapolis, MN

This snowy, northern city has something for everyone all year round. Families love visiting the Science Museum of Minnesota and the exciting Underwater Adventures Aquarium and can hike, fish, and bike in one of the many campgrounds located just outside of the city. The famous Mall of America is a paradise for the shopping addict and contains many attractions and fine dining experiences inside.With so many activities and fun attractions, Minneapolis is an ideal city for anyone to enjoy.

Cincinnati, OH

Cincinnati is the third largest city in Ohio and is considered one of the trendiest and least expensive cities in the country. With massive street painting parties, evening glow-art decorations, and a restored riverfront, the city draws in people from all around the U.S. Cincinnati also has a German heritage, and has many different pubs and breweries located around the city.

Top 100 Real Estate is a real estate advice blog put together by some of the top real estate agents from across the country. Started by ten friends with over 200 years of collective experience as real estate agents, Top 100 Real Estate is here to support you as you embark on making one of the biggest life decisions – buying or selling your home.