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Apartment Hunting: What Do Renters Look For in a Property?

When prospective tenants are looking for while apartment hunting there are many things they look for. This goes beyond the usual square footage and amenities questions. They want a location that is convenient to their work. They want good schools nearby if they have children. It is a competitive environment for landlords, but even tenants want to know what renters are looking for.

Here are some examples of what renters want while apartment hunting.

Location is Key

As mentioned above, location is critical for tenants. It goes beyond just a location near work, however. They want to be located close to shopping, grocery stores, and more. If a property is close to everything a prospective wants they might be willing to pay a little more for rent. Of course, everyone’s tastes are different. What one person desires in a place another person may want something different.

Security

If you own a home you want to make sure it is safe and secure. If you’re renting, the landlord is responsible for maintaining a secure environment. Many landlords may look into having an alarm service or extra security on the property. Most tenants will look into nearby crime statistics too before signing a lease.

Condition of the Apartment

Moving is already a large hassle. If a tenant is looking to move into a unit that needs repairs they might look at another place that is more move-in ready. Appearance is everything. When a prospective tenant arrives, they want to make sure they have a property that looks like they could move in immediately. This is also where the age of the property factors in. An updated and renovated property definitely appeals to prospective tenants.

Outdoor Spaces and Amenities

One of the downsides to renting an apartment is that you don’t have your own yard, but outdoor community spaces are an important draw for many renters. Does a property have a playground on site? Are there areas for cookouts? Is there a basketball court? These are all things that can help attract renters. Having a wide variety of community amenities is important in this day and age. It makes a property have a sense of community and residents are encouraged to interact with their neighbors.

A Good Tenant-Landlord Relationship

A good tenant-landlord relationship is not something that is established in a day. It is built over time through trust and respect. If a landlord makes promises like renovations or upgrades the tenant should expect them to be fulfilled. As long as the landlord fulfills his or her promises, the tenant is usually happy. Happy tenants become tenants that renew leases and stay longer.

Finding a new apartment is a process. When tenants and landlords have a good relationship and a tenant finds what they are looking for in a place that process can go much more smoothly.

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smart thermostat

How to Lower Your Heating Bill in Winter

heating bill

Apartment living comes with many perks, but utilities are often still part of the cost of living. In the summer that can mean higher electric bills when it comes to cooling, and in the winter that often means a higher heating bill. When winter’s chill sets in it can start to get expensive. It seems like the heater is always running, and that means costs are rising. There are ways you can save on your heating bill, however, even in the middle of winter.

Keep the Thermostat Low

This is one easy way to lower your heating bill. While you may not be able to install a power saving programmable thermostat like a NEST, keeping the heat lower helps save a few coins. Most experts recommend keeping the thermostat between 62 and 68 degrees in winter. That maintains a comfortable temperature and you can often make up the difference with blankets and sweatshirts.

Monitor Your Hot Water Usage

The hot water heater in your apartment is also a major user of electricity, and when it is cold out few things feel better than a long, hot shower. If you have a dishwasher in your apartment this also is a major user of electricity. Try to run it only when it is full and not for just a handful of dishes. This conserves both electricity and hot water.

Install LED Light Bulbs

Energy efficient bulbs may cost a little more up front, but they save money in the long run with how much energy they save. LED bulbs use a fraction of the energy that conventional bulbs use, and even when you put up your Christmas lights most newer light strands are energy saving LED lights.

Plastic Window Sheeting

This one may seem simple, but most hardware stores and even regular retailers sell window sheeting plastic that can got over windows and be easily removed. This type of sheeting helps to seal out drafts and helps your heater work more efficiently. Since they go up with a special dual-sided tape they are also easy to remove when spring comes.

Saving money on your electric bill is not hard. It only takes a little bit of work. With some simple tips like are outlined above you can make sure that your apartment stays warms and you have some extra money in your apartment.

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Kitchen

Things to Stock in Your First Apartment Kitchen

First ApartmentThings to Stock in Your First Apartment Kitchen

You’ve done it! You’ve moved out on your own for the first time and you have your first apartment. It can be a daunting experience because of any number of reasons, especially after you move in. Now that you have all of your things in the apartment it is time to start making it a home. A great place to start is the kitchen.

The thing is, you may not know what you need in your new kitchen. Here are a few ideas for what you need in your first kitchen to make many great meals.

Boning Knife

Every kitchen needs a good knife that is also versatile. A mid-sized boning knife can serve many purposes. It can slice and dice fruits and vegetables as well as meat. Boning knives can serve a variety of purposes across many food groups. They are a great prep tool for any meal. If you want to save space by having just one knife this is the choice to go with.

Saucepan

The saucepan is the do-everything utensil in every kitchen. The common size is three-quarts, but going with a five-quart saucepan can also work. These pans can be used soups, sauces, hot cocoa, or even a frying pan if needed. As long as they have oven-safe handles you can even use them for roasts and more.

Measuring Cups

These are essential devices for almost any time of cooking, but especially for baking. Stainless steel measuring cups are the best choice. If you select plastic cups they can break easily, while stainless steel cups are durable and can even last in the dishwasher.

Mixing Bowl

When it comes to mixing bowls, the larger, the better. It is easier to use a large mixing bowl for small tasks than a small mixing bowl for large tasks. If cost or space is an issue a large mixing bowl is the way to go because it is one tool for many purposes. If you can get a tempered glass bowl it will be even more durable.

Spatula

Rubber spatulas are hygienic and they last longer than a traditional wooden spoon. They also work well with hot saucepans. Their flexibility allows you to scrape ingredients out of bowls so nothing goes to waste.

These are just five tools, but they are great for stocking your kitchen and getting life in your new apartment off to a great start.

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What to Do During an Apartment Visit

What to Do During an Apartment Visit

You might have a great idea of what you’re looking for in a new apartment, but finding a great place can still be tricky. There are a lot of different factors to consider from pricing to amenities. It can be an overwhelming experience for sure. Here are some tips on what you should do during an apartment visit.

Take Notes

Taking notes is the most important thing you can do. Nothing is too small to miss as a note. Without notes, you can forget small details that might become major issues later on after you have already signed a lease. You can also take note of small things like the exterior grounds and how well the property is maintained. This will give you an idea of how well maintenance works around the property.

You should also take note of how friendly the staff is. These are the people you’ll be speaking with whenever you have an issue, so if they are friendly and accommodating that is a good start. If you can, try to talk to any current residents of the property. Their experience can say a lot about the property.

The Unit Itself

Visiting the apartment itself is a critical step in the process. If you notice broken items or a strange smell it can immediately turn you off to the space. Remember, the rental agent is making a first impression too. Be sure to ask to see an empty unit and not just the model. It gives you a better idea of how each unit is maintained by the staff.

Take Pictures

In this case a picture is definitely worth a thousand words. Taking pictures allows you to keep a visual record of the place and keeps it fresh in your mind. If you’re visiting multiple places take a picture of the sign first so you can keep each property’s pictures grouped together.

Stick With a Checklist

Always be sure to have a checklist of what you’re looking for in a new home. If a complex with a pool is important to you then keep it on your checklist. If you want a ground floor apartment don’t settle for a third floor walk-up. By sticking to your checklist you’ll have a much happier experience in the end.

Yes, apartment hunting takes time, but it can be easier by making sure you get what you want and by taking notes of where you visit. It can also help you nab the apartment you want quickly before anyone else gets it.

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Couple unpacking with dog

All You Need to Know About a Roommate Agreement

All You Need to Know About a Roommate Agreement

When you’re just starting out on your own money can be tight, especially when it comes to living in cities. That’s why many people opt to live with roommates in order to share costs. It can be a great way to save some money on living expenses, but it can also be fraught with peril due to the ups and downs of interpersonal relationships. If you choose to live with a roommate here are some things you need to know before signing a lease when it comes to a roommate agreement.

What is a Roommate Agreement?

A roommate agreement is basically a written document that puts down the responsibilities of each roommate. It is often made without the landlord present.  This can range from financial responsibilities to personal ones. It often outlines how rent and utilities are to be divided, but it can also be modified to include chores, food sharing, quiet times, and the policy on guests.

The three biggest things included in the roommate agreement are rent, security deposit, and utilities. These financial items are critical to any agreement.

Is a Roommate Agreement Legally Binding?

The answer to this can be tricky. A lease with a landlord is legally binding from beginning to end. If there is legal action against a tenant that broke a roommate agreement a judge will likely only hold them responsible for certain items. For example: If the roommate moves out early because they had to take a job elsewhere, leaving you to pay all rent and utilities, the court may order the roommate to pay you back in full.

The court likely won’t get involved if some of the more personal terms are violated like playing the TV too loud. Another important factor is if the roommate files for bankruptcy or has no money. If they don’t have any funds it is unlikely you will be able to collect on any judgment.

Always Do Your Homework

The phrase “caveat emptor”, or “buyer beware” is important before agreeing to live with a roommate. Be sure that it is someone you know and trust if it is at all possible. That makes the entire rental experience much more enjoyable for all parties involved. If you are meeting someone for the first time be sure to do your homework and find out more about them. In this day and age of the internet and social media you can learn a lot about a person before living with them.

In the event you do have to go to small claims court for failure to pay rent and utilities a roommate agreement can be a handy tool in your favor. It can help you get the share of the bills the other party agree to pay, but it is by no means a guarantee. By getting to know the person and trusting them you can make sure you have a much better experience, and it will end up as a much better experience for the second party as well, because they likely need a roommate too!

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Advice for Moving From a House to an Apartment

Advice for Moving From a House to an Apartment

No matter the reason for the move, going from a house to an apartment can be a difficult transition. There are limitations to space, storage, and even something as car storage can be an issue. It is important to keep many things in mind when it comes to a move like this. Here are some tips on how to deal with this tricky transition.

Dealing with Less Space

Unless you manage to snag a gigantic apartment you’re going to have less space. It can make for cramped quarters, but it can also be a positive. You’ll be able to cut out a lot of clutter and live more minimally. Things like heavy duty furniture and old clothes in your closets are areas where you may have to cut down. With fewer and smaller kitchen cabinets you will have to keep appliances and utensils in mind.

If the apartment is only part of your short-term future you might consider renting a self-storage space. This is a great option for things you just cannot get rid of, but you simply don’t have the space for it.

Considering Your Pets

Pets are part of our families, but when you live in an apartment they can be a limitation. Not all apartments allow every type of pets. Some may allow cats but not dogs. Even if you do find a place that will accept your pet it can be a stressful time for them as well. Dogs may not adjust to losing a big yard. Be sure to consider amenities such as nearby dog parks when it comes to keeping your furry friends happy.

Get Cozy with Your Neighbors

Are you used to playing music as loud as you want or having quiet time at any time? A downside to living in an apartment is that you probably now share walls with your neighbors. Sure, you can pick a corner unit to help with noise, but it can still be a factor.

Increasing Rent

If you had a house you’re probably used to a static house payment every month that did not increase. That’s often not the case with renting an apartment. In an apartment complex your rent can increase every year. It is also subject to a property management company, so there is not a lot of room to negotiate.

As you can see, there are many aspects to consider when it comes to renting, especially if you are moving from a house to an apartment. It is not all bad, however. With the right complex and amenities apartment living can be quite comfortable. Plus, you can live more simply and efficiently.

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dog with Christmas lights

4 Tips for Cleaning Pet Hair from Carpeting

4 Tips for Cleaning Pet Hair from Carpeting

It’s the one thing that annoys pet owners the most: the fur that spreads on every piece of furniture, every inch of carpet, like a disease. Some people refrain from wearing dark clothes in general because their pet’s fur somehow lingers on clothing surfaces despite multiple tumbles in the dryer. What are pet owners to do? Luckily, these four easy tips can help you both prevent and clean pet hair, no matter your carpet.

Vacuuming is a given. Although you should at least vacuum your carpet three times a week to remove most pet hair, Home Guides provides a useful technique for gathering up all the hair into clumps, like leaves. To make vacuuming easier, they suggest, “raking your carpet with a rubber-bristled carpet rake collects the pet hair in clumps, so you can remove the hair by hand before vacuuming.” RugCare.com adds another step to this process: if you powder baking soda over your carpet before you vacuum, it can help loosen up the fur, making the cleaning process much easier.

Similarly, News Press Now explains that some pet owners purchase pet beds for the sole purpose of limiting pet fur to a certain section of the apartment. If you get your pet a large enough bed, or a flat pillow, all you’ll have to do is take it outside every once in a while and shake it out to prevent pet hair from spreading all over the carpet and furniture. Rugs can also act as a catch-all for pet fur. Carpet Keepers Inc points to this role when they write that if you place a rug along your pet’s high-traffic area, it can both catch whatever dirt is on its paws and also the fur that falls off it when it moves.

Just remember, rubbery tools like rubber rakes and gloves can help you collect pet fur from the carpet, and catch-alls like beds and rugs can help prevent fur from spreading. Although there are no perfect solutions to cleaning pet hair from carpeting, these four tips will make pet shedding somewhat beside the point, and the pet hair a little less annoying.

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