How to Avoid Mover Scams

Hey, That’s My Stuff! How to Avoid Mover Scams
4,100 consumers filed moving fraud complaints in 2017, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. How can you avoid negative experiences? Be aware of common scams, and take steps to protect yourself from these fraudulent activities.

Get it in writing: It might be tempting to get a quick quote and schedule your move over the phone. Don’t do it. This is one of the easiest ways to get scammed. Since you have nothing in writing, the movers can easily charge whatever they want once they begin, and they may hold your belongings hostage until you pay an outrageous amount. Always schedule an in-house walk-through to get an accurate quote, and get the agreed-to amount in writing.

Read the fine print: When you sign a contract with a mover, read all the fine print. Make sure you understand the terms of payment before you sign. Unscrupulous movers may include terms that allow them to hijack your belongings after demanding more money. If you’ve signed anything that allows for these practices, the police will be unable to intervene.

Vet the movers: Before you agree to work with a moving company, research its reputation. Contact the Better Business Bureau to check the company’s rating. Ask for recommendations from friends. Read online reviews. Ask movers for proof of registration, proof of insurance and an office address. Take the time to vet the mover, so you know you are working with someone you can trust.

Try a hybrid approach: Consider renting and driving the truck yourself, and hiring movers for loading and unloading only. This will keep your possessions under your control to prevent hijacking scams. (It can also reduce the cost of the move!)


Shoot Pics Like a Pro on Your Next Vacation

Vacations call for mementos. We want to document every sunset, every dive off the dock, and every roasted marshmallow with a photo. And not just any photo, but a photo that perfectly captures the golden glow, wide smiles, and lush landscapes. This summer, make it your goal to take vacation photos that are frame-worthy. For iPhone shooters and SLR slingers alike, these tips will help take your snapshots from blah to beautiful.

Get high, get low. When you shoot every picture from the same angle, things start to get boring. Experiment with shooting from different angles and heights for more unique perspectives.

Capture candids. The best photos usually aren’t posed. Instead of wrangling the family to sit still for a picture, snap away as they’re building sandcastles, eating ice cream, and running out of the water. You’ll capture the sincerest expressions and memories.

Get up close and personal. Don’t be afraid to shoot close-ups – of food, details, faces, and more. This is especially true for smartphone cameras, which can produce dull images when the shot is too long.

Share the camera. The shoemaker’s son always goes barefoot, and the photographer always goes unphotographed. Make sure you pass the camera to someone else once in a while to capture your presence on the trip.

Use the right apps. Simple edits, when appropriate, can transform your images. You don’t have to be a Photoshop pro; phone apps like VSCO and Afterlight come with photographer-approved tools for adjusting brightness, cropping, and reducing shadows.


When Is It OK to Toss Your Kid’s Artwork?

Art gives youngsters a creative outlet, helps them develop both small and large motor skills, gives them a means to tell stories, and provides an accessible way of learning.

Children’s art is sweet and lovely, and there’s something special about the moment it is bestowed upon Mom or Dad to behold and admire.

Indeed, it’s the wish to prolong this moment that motivates many parents to keep and curate their children’s art for posterity. But childhood is composed of a thousand moments like this, which makes it hard to hold on to all of them.

Still, how can we part with any of our child’s endearing creations? Here are three strategies that can help.

First, keep in mind that children’s art is about its creation, not its preservation. It’s the act of doing/making the art that’s instructive and delightful for children. The experience and learning that occur will be preserved, even if every coloring-book page is not.

Second, use the fridge as a temporary gallery. Art can go on the fridge to be admired for a week or two. Then, if something is deemed worthy of saving, it can be placed in a memory box to be stored temporarily. At the end of the school year, save only truly special treasures as mementos.

Lastly, use technology to your advantage. Take a snapshot or a video of your child’s creations to store them digitally. Or take advantages of services such as plumprint.com that will make a book out of your kid’s artwork. These methods will preserve their Picassos – without making colorful paper mountains in your garage.


Wondering What’s Happening in Your Neighborhood?
If you’re wondering what’s happening to prices in your area, or you’re thinking about selling your house, I’ll be able to help.

Click the market report below or select San Antonio Real Estate Market and complete the requested information about your home!


5 Buyer Turn-Offs to Avoid This Summer
When you’re in the process of selling a house and moving, you have a lot on your plate. You might be job-searching, researching your next home, and doing everything you can to keep your kitchen spotless for the next showing.

With so much going on, it can be easy to let seasonal maintenance items slide, but this would be a mistake. It’s crucial to care for these items to keep your home in top shape. The exterior provides the first impression of your home, so put forth the effort to boost your curb appeal. Here’s how.

1. Manicure the yard. Keep your landscaping tidy. Sweep walkways, cut the grass and pull weeds. A well-kept yard with attractive flowerbeds and an inviting front porch are appealing to buyers. Dead tree limbs, piles of leaves and overgrown lawns are not. In fact, they can be instant turn-offs.

2. Clean the gutters. This task is easy to forget about, but its neglect can lead to significant issues. Clogged gutters can cause drainage issues that damage your landscaping and your foundation. If buyers see puddling water and piles of debris on the roofline, they won’t get a good impression of your home. Let them know it’s a well-cared-for property by keeping gutters clear.

3. Check for critters. Uninvited guests are a sure turn-off for buyers. Make sure no pests have made your home their own this season. Inspect any attic, basement and crawl spaces. Cover vents with wire mesh and plug any holes or cracks that could allow animals access to your home.

4. Wash the windows. That’s right – this isn’t just a spring-cleaning project. To attract buyers, keep those panes sparkling all summer. Be sure to wipe them down after storms to keep windows looking sharp.

5. Stay in season. You never want to let your home look out of season. It gives the impression that you no longer care about the home and it is not well maintained. Be mindful of what is in the yard, on the deck or sitting on the front porch. Keep furniture, plants and decor in season. Let potential buyers know your property is well cared for by staying on top of these seasonal tasks.

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Chilled Lettuce Wraps
Tired of the same old sandwiches and hot dogs? Here’s something fresh and flavorful for your next picnic.
Serves 6
2 tablespoons fish sauce
5 tablespoons lime juice
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 small shallots, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons minced ginger
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1.5 pounds ground chicken breast
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1/4 red onion, very thinly sliced
12 lettuce cups (Bibb lettuce)
Directions
In a small bowl, combine the fish sauce, lime juice, and brown sugar; then set aside. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add oil. Sauté shallots, ginger, and red pepper flakes, and cook until softened. Then add the ground chicken and continue cooking while breaking up any lumps and until meat is no longer pink. Remove from heat and add sauce mixture. Allow mixture to cool and then refrigerate for at least one hour. (Can be made in advance and refrigerated for up to two days.)

Stir in cilantro and onion before serving. Serve in lettuce leaves with extra wedges of lime.


Ask the Agent: This Month’s Question
How much is my home worth?

One of the best first steps in determining a home’s worth is a comparative market analysis (CMA), which is done by a licensed real estate agent. This process gives a much more accurate picture of the home’s current market value than the prices provided by popular home-valuation websites. (According to Inman, an industry-leading real estate source, websites like Zillow and Redfin can be off by up to 40%.)

To complete the CMA, the agent typically walks through the home and gathers information from the homeowner about the property so he or she can research comparable properties in the area. The CMA often includes active listings (currently on the market), pending listings (under contract) and sold (closed in the past year). By examining listings that are similar to the property, the agent can provide an approximate price at which the homeowner can expect to sell the home.

If you’re curious about how much your home is worth, I’d be happy to complete a personalized CMA for you. Just give me a call!

This newsletter and any information contained herein are intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, financial or medical advice. The publisher takes great efforts to ensure the accuracy of information contained in this newsletter. However, we will not be responsible at any time for any errors or omissions or any damages, howsoever caused, that result from its use. Seek competent professional advice and/or legal counsel with respect to any matter discussed or published in this newsletter. This newsletter is not intended to solicit properties currently for sale.
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