The Benefits of Renters Insurance

Rentersrenters insurance benefits insurance may seem like another unneeded expense. But it actually covers more than many people realize. And its benefits far outweigh its cost.

Cost

The average renters insurance is about $15-$30 a month. That’s as much as buying a Starbucks coffee four times a month. That’s it. It’s about a dollar per day or less.

Coverage

Your landlord’s insurance doesn’t cover everything, like your own possessions. Renters insurance typically covers your property when it’s stolen by thieves or damaged by disasters. Be sure to photograph your possessions and take inventory of everything you’d want replaced if the unexpected happened. This will speed up the process should anything occur. Plus it’ll give you peace of mind. In a time of misfortune, the last thing you’ll want to do is count up all the things you lost.

Protection

It may protect you if somebody gets hurt at your property. Accidents happen, especially in the winter months when ice accumulates. If you are legally responsible for a guest’s injury, renters insurance may help pay the bills.

But it doesn’t only cover injuries and possessions. A dead tree limb can significantly damage your roof. If your house is uninhabitable due to damage, renters insurance could pick up the bill for your living expenses during repair time. Make sure you’re covered.

Gift Ideas for New Neighbors

gift ideasNot much is worse than living next to a neighbor you don’t want to socialize with. The typical neighborly gift is food. But many people have food allergies. Get off on the right foot with these gift ideas for new neighbors.

Introduce to Local Places

Your new neighbor may also be new to the community. Gift cards to local restaurants and coupons to local stores should warm them up. Sharing your favorite places in the community, and giving tips on where to shop for the best deals, is a good way to start the conversation on your interests.

Cleaning Supplies

Cleaning is a universal activity for renters and homeowners. Who doesn’t need more cleaning supplies? Gift your favorite brands, or create your favorite home-made cleaners, and put them in a ribbon-tied basket. It’ll save your new neighbor money and it’s a gift they can use. Show how pragmatic you are with a bundle of cleaning supplies.

Plants

Don’t overdo this one. Especially don’t buy a high-maintenance plant. There’s no need to make your neighbor do work they don’t have to. But everyone can appreciate cleaner air. And the plant could contribute to decorating the new apartment.

A gift for a new neighbor will show your friendly side. And, who knows, maybe you’ll find another person to talk to about Netflix.

Don’t Lock Yourself Out

locked out of apartmentIt doesn’t happen often, but when it does, you want to be prepared. Yes, even today, with all the gadgets you could ever want, you can still get locked out of your apartment. Here are 3 ideas for having your spare key handy when you need it most.

Car floor mat

A great place to store your spare apartment key is right in your car. Just place it under your floor mat and forget about it. And when that faithful day comes, you won’t have to worry about paying a locksmith or contacting your property manager. Simply open the door of your car. And it’ll go anywhere you go. That means you won’t have to worry about thieves finding it.

Phone case

Cell phones are a basic part of modern life. They are everywhere. What better place to store your spare key than with the phone you have in your pocket 24-7? Just slip it in the back of your cell phone case. Then you’ll always have the spare handy.

A friend

Another good option is to lend the key to a friend. But, as Seinfeld taught us, this is a big step in a friendship. Make sure you absolutely trust the person you are giving the key to. Remember, they will have access to your house anytime, any day.

Of course, you can always get back to your cat by contacting a property manager. But this could take some time. And storing your spare key at a strategic location or with a friend could be the difference between feeding Oliver on time and opening the door to a wrecked apartment from a hungry cat.

Tips for an Effortless Move

moving tipsMoving is always an exciting experience. It can be stressful, however, if you don’t prepare. These three tips will help you put your best foot forward on move day.

Packing

Begin packing for your move a few weeks in advance. Pack clothes you won’t wear soon first, a few weeks ahead of the move. Then follow up with rare-use items. Those candles you haven’t lit since last year? Wrap them in your extra towels. Leave day-to-day stuff for the final week before the move. Preparing for your move early ensures a less stressful move-day experience.

Donate or Sell Unwanted Items

When you begin packing, you’ll notice some things you would rather leave behind. This is why it’s important to get a head start. Take all the unwanted stuff to Goodwill or make a few bucks hosting a yard sale. Whatever you do, it’s a good idea to lighten your load. Fewer boxes mean fewer things to move. And it also means more space for new stuff in your new home!

Label Boxes and Pair Items

As you look around at all the glassware you own, don’t worry about getting newspapers or bubble wrap to pack with. Use things you already have handy and need to store anyway. For instance, clean sheets, blankets, towels, and clothes work just as well to create layers of separation between glassware. There’s no need to get fancy.
And while you’re putting that all-purpose cleaner and dish detergent into boxes, be sure to label them appropriately. Then you won’t have your friends asking every few seconds, “Where does this go?” The less you need to explain when you get to your new home the less time it will take to setup your living room and watch Netflix.

4 Ways to Save Energy and Money

Untitled-1Saving energy can translate into big savings in your wallet. Here are 4 easy, cost-effective ways to save energy and money.

Use Power Strips

Yes, your phone charger does consume electricity, even if you aren’t using it. And your television. And your lamp. This “phantom load,” according to the EPA, can cost the average home about $100. Try to plug all these objects into the same power strip. Then you can just switch it on and off without unplugging any cords.

Change Lightbulbs

Lighting represents about 11% of your home’s energy bill. By replacing incandescent, old lightbulbs with CFLs or LEDs, you can save up to 75% on your annual lighting bill. You could save that money up for a new fuel efficient car.

Change Shower head

The typical shower head flow rate is about 4 gallons per minute (if your home is older than 1980, it could be above 5 gallons per minute). For a ten minute shower, that amounts to 40 gallons of water! However, by installing a low-flow shower head, the flow rate could drop from 2.5 gallons per minute to as low as .75 gallons. That’s about 25 gallons of water compared to 40 gallons per ten-minute shower.

Toilet Tank Hack

Toilets use anywhere from 3.6 gallons of water per flush to 1.6 gallons. A quick, cost-effective way to reduce toilet water consumption is by filling up an old 2-liter bottle, or one-gallon jug, with gravel or sand and placing it in the toilet tank. That’ll save you at least a gallon of water per flush. Think about how many times the toilet is flushed per day.

Saving energy doesn’t have to break your bank. In fact, it can put more money in your pocket. Try out these energy-saving tips and let us know other ways you save energy!

Tips for Hiring Movers

tips for hiring moversMoving can be tedious. It can also be fun: when someone else does all the work.

If you’re considering hiring movers, it is important to stay informed on their moving policies and practices. Are they liable if your box of fragile glassware arrives in pieces? It’s also important to know about the business itself. ApartmentHomeLiving.Com provides helpful questions that ensure you or your stuff won’t be left in the dark.

Staying informed can be a chore. An estimate from a professional moving business requires, at times, complicated variables. What must be considered, and what you should ask about, is how long it will take to move your possessions and how they will be handled. Ask about previous experience, and what sort of challenges come with each move.

Before you pack up your stuff, you may want to visualize how you will arrange your things before you arrive. Don’t set unrealistic expectations for your movers. If your new home is a thousand miles away, don’t expect a rush, next-day delivery. And if you do get that rush delivery, you may have moved too fast.

 

Photo credit: Thad Zajdowicz via Foter.com / CC BY

The Best Time to Apartment Search

apartment searchingThe decision to search for a new apartment brings feelings of hope and, sometimes, stress. Of course, there are many factors that determine where you will end up. For example, an apartment’s website rank on Google could rule out otherwise viable options. Most people don’t search more than two or three-page results.

But an otherwise important element to apartment searching, yet often ignored, is timing. ApartmentHomeLiving.Com recommends that if you are looking for a new apartment, be aware of special deals for rental prices. Most deals are time-sensitive. It might not be such a bad idea to move in the winter, in the off-season of the apartment hunt. Some complexes may just need to fill one more vacancy to meet their goals. Alternatively, the summer may provide more apartments to choose from, as more people apartment search.

According to Rent.com, the best time to search for apartments, if you want the most options, is from May to September. This is the time span in which most people move. Thus, more vacancies. But if you’re looking to save money, the best time to search for apartments is from October to April. With fewer people on the move during this period, vacant units are in lower demand. This drives prices down.

If you are looking for a quick way to save on rent, the timing of your search may perhaps be the most underrated factor. If you know where you’d like to move, it’s better if you plan ahead of time. That way, you’ll enjoy more options and save more money.

 

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The Advantages of Renting

the advantages of rentingDeciding between renting an apartment and buying a house? Of course, buying a home gives the stability of a mortgage. And renting a house or apartment allows for tremendous flexibility of location and residency duration. But there must be more, right? Is flexibility the only reason to rent?

Many pro-and-con lists are created for this type of decision. Realtor.Com has a convincing video for the pros of renting. For example, if you rent, you may have access to amenities that, as a homeowner, would not typically be in your reach. Similarly, renters often do not make home repairs. Rather, property managers and landlords take care of them. What renters lack in ownership they gain in freedom. If you don’t like your neighborhood, feel an itch to move, or want to explore the world, renting is a good option for flexible people. Leases aren’t mortgages. With renting, you aren’t locked in for 30 years.

The Khan Academy has published a video on the difference, mathematically, between renting and buying. They challenge the notion that “buying is always better than renting.” Many people have also challenged the claim. If you haven’t heard, renting is on the up-and-up. According to Appfolio.Com, “2 million new renter-occupied households were added in 2014, while the number of owner-occupied households decreased by more than 350,000.”

Renting has many appeals, from communal living to practically maintenance-free appliances. And renters don’t need to acquire realtors. Many apartment complexes have their own websites. If websites are the “For Rent” signs of the internet, you no longer need to drive milest Utilizing the tool ApartmentsForUs.Com proves the many advantages renters have over traditional home buyers because of the rise of digital marketing.

Amenities are an often overlooked but important aspect of renting a unit in an apartment complex. If you buy a house, not many conveniences are included. Gyms typically require a $30-$50 a month payment plan. You may have to drive to a far location to play tennis or basketball, or swim. And, almost certainly, your home will not come with a playground. Imagine all these expenses as monthly fees in addition to your mortgage. However, many apartment complexes include such amenities and more.

The last thing you want, after closing a house for hundreds of thousands of dollars, is to hear your water heater or roof leaks, and your foundation is shifting, etc. With renting, you have nothing to fear. Everyday maintenance issues are taken care of by property owners or landlords. Furthermore, you may wake up to an upgraded Wi-Fi network, new central air unit, or a renovated carpeted hallway.

The decision to rent or buy is one of the more important decisions you’ll have to make. The worst thing to do is listen to clichés. As we have seen, renting isn’t just for people who want flexible living arrangements. There are reasons to rent long-term.  It is not accidental that rental properties are thriving.

 

Photo credit: frankieleon via Foter.com / CC BY