Have you noticed the number of new construction homes going up lately? A recent report by The U.S. Census Bureau and US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) showed single-family home building permits up almost 5%.

The process of building a new home can be stressful; there are lots of decisions to be made and obstacles to overcome.

Here are some useful tips to keep stress at bay when building a new home.

1. Get pre-approved for a loan. Make sure that you do all the steps necessary to put the proper loan in place. You will need to fill out a mortgage application and provide the necessary documentation to check your financial background and credit rating. This process will let you know exactly how much you can afford to spend. You will also need to make sure your lender knows you are planning on purchasing new construction.

2. Do your homework. Check the reputation of your builder. You can search for information online, contact the better business bureau or ask your friends for recommendations. If you are building in a subdivision you may want to ask some neighbors who have already moved in about their experience.

3. Watch you budget. The advertised price of a new home is rarely the final price. The price can escalate quickly when you start upgrading the standard flooring, cabinetry or lighting. Plan on how much you can afford to spend before you start upgrading and budget accordingly.

4. Don’t forget about resale. You may love the upgraded plumbing and light fixtures but know that those things rarely bring in a good return. You will not be the last owner of your home. Be mindful not to add so many upgrades that you overprice your home for the neighborhood.

5. Keep the lines of communication open. Communicate with your builder, ask questions and make sure you know where your money is going. You may want to keep a running list of quotes for extras and upgrades. Be comfortable asking even the simplest questions.

6. Be prepared for delays. Building a home can be a long process. Depending on the size of your home it can take anywhere from three months to a year or more. Get an estimate of when the building of your new home will be completed and plan accordingly.

Are you making a big move? If so there are lots of tips on how to pack and move the contents of your home but what about your car? How can you get your car from point A to point B without actually having to drive your vehicle a long distance?

If you are relocating there is good news. There are auto transport companies that can help in moving your car or motorcycle long distances.

Here are some tips to help get you started:

1) Pick a date
In order to get an exact quote you will need to pick a moving date, the sooner the better. Most moving companies need at least seven days notice to accommodate such a request.

2) Get a referral
Ask around to see if anyone knows people who have recently made a cross-country move. See if they have references on a company that transports automobiles. Do your due diligence by researching the Better Business Bureau and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

3) Get several quotes
Call around and get several quotes (including insurance options) from a number of reputable car transport companies in your area. The transport companies will need to know the type of car you drive, your destination and the dates of your move.

4) Check with your insurance agent
Make sure your insurance needs are squared away before you move. Ask your insurance company about your coverage in the event of an accident, theft or damage to your vehicle during the move.

5) Prepare your car
The car transport company probably will not let you pack your car full of stuff to be shipped. Remove any miscellaneous items and take photos of your car before you send it off to the movers.

6) Pick up your car
Try to be present when the car transport company delivers your vehicle. Inspect your car from top to bottom to make sure it was not damaged during the move.

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