apartment plants

Finding Plants For Your New Apartment to Spruce Things Up

apartment plants

Finding Plants For Your New Apartment to Spruce Things Up

Plants are a great way to spruce up your living space. The greenery helps the room feel less sterile and they can even help improve the air quality. Plants need light to grow, however. Some of them are more high maintenance than others, too. If you want to enhance your indoor space with a plant consider these low-maintenance options that can thrive in almost any type of environment.

Chinese Evergreen

The Chinese Evergreen is a great plant that only needs indirect sunlight. This allows it to thrive in spaces without much natural light. It is considered a plant for beginners with wide, green leaves that are able to tolerate almost any indoor condition. It is a slow growing plant that easily fits in smaller spaces like shelves and tabletops.

Peace Lilly

The Peace Lilly is great for dim settings, especially if your apartment faces another building. Regular interior lighting can even be enough to help it grow. Best of all, this is a flowering plant that produces large, hoodlike flowers. Be aware, however. These plants can grow to be up to four feet tall.

Cactus

A cactus is one of the ultimate low-maintenance plants. They have evolved to grow in arid environments with little water. While Cacti are growing they only need to be watered once a week. During cooler months to can go even longer between waterings. As long as they are not in direct sunlight cacti can thrive. They also look great in almost any space. Small cactus plants do not take up much room, either.

Weeping Fig Tree

The Weeping Fig Tree is a larger potted plant that is part of the ficus family and can be up to four or five feet tall. They are great for apartment living, however, because they only need to be watered every 4-7 days. They also only need indirect sunlight near a window, but you’ll need to turn the plant on occasion in order to avoid excess growth on one side.

Bonsai Tree

Bonsai trees are far beyond the old Karate Kid films. They mimic the shape of a full sized tree, but are great for apartments because of their small size. They thrive in warm environments, making them great for being indoors. They do need direct sunlight, however, so keeping them in a window is a must.

These are just a few of the options to add some greenery to your place. For more ideas be sure ask the garden section at your local hardware store.

apartment mistakes

Mistakes to Avoid When Renting an Apartment

apartment mistakes

Mistakes to Avoid When Renting an Apartment

Renting an apartment is often one of the first major things young adults do when they move out. Like many things in life, there is a learning curve involved. You’re not going to instantly know what to do from day one. As a result, there are some common mistakes that first time renters make. Here are few of those common mistakes, as well as some advice on how to avoid making them.

Read the Lease Carefully

The key thing to remember is that your lease is a legally binding document. Don’t rush into a rental agreement no matter how busy the market is. Everything is laid out in the lease and it is your responsibility as the tenant to read it before signing. You’re allowed to take the lease home before signing and you can have an attorney or friend help you go over it. Be sure to know your rights as a tenant by visiting the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s website, which has a state-by-state list of your tenant’s rights.

Take Pictures When You Move in

This step is important to make sure you get your deposit back when you leave. Your landlord should provide a move-in checklist that will allow you to note any damage you see upon moving in. If the landlord needs to make major repairs make sure you get that agreement in writing before signing the lease. You can also sign and date your own list and send it to the landlord before signing the lease.

Renter’s Insurance

If there is an accident or natural disaster that results in damage to your property it is not covered by the landlord’s insurance property. This is where renter’s insurance comes in handy. They are usually fairly inexpensive between $100 and $300 per year, but they can save you money in the long run if your property is damaged.

Take Advantage of Tax Credits

Some states have certain tax credits available to renters since they help pay the property taxes on the property the landlord owns. California, Missouri, and Maryland are just three states that have these benefits. To find out if your state offers similar benefits be sure to contact the state tax department.

Hold Your Landlord Accountable

This is related to your rights as a tenant. If your landlord is not making repairs or allowing unsafe conditions you have the right to report them. Your local government can help you with your options if you believe your rights are being infringed.

It only takes a small amount of knowledge to make sure you avoid a major mistake. By following the above steps your rental experience can be everything you need it to be and more.

Moving

Moving Without a Truck

You’ve done it! You have finished all the hard work of scouting for a new apartment and found the place that has everything you’re looking for. You’ve signed your lease and there is only one last step to complete. Unfortunately, it is one of the toughest, because moving is never easy.

Moving is never much fun. While you weren’t looking it seems as if all of your possessions have multiplied. It also probably won’t fit in your car in just a couple of trips. Many people look into renting a moving truck for this, but sometimes you can get by without renting a truck. Here are some things to consider if you want to try going without a moving truck.

Can it be Done?

If your new apartment is your first home and you only have a few possessions you might be able to pull off moving without a truck. It also depends on how far you’re going, too. Moving across town can be done fairly easily if you can get friends and family to help. They can also be bought off with the promise of food and beer when the job is done. Moving across the state without a truck is trickier.

The amount of time you have to move is also important. If you have a few weeks you can make several small trips over time with maybe a day or two for some of the bigger items. If your time is limited, however, a truck will save on time since you can carry more in one trip as opposed to several smaller trips.

Do You Have the Equipment?

This also ties in to what you’re moving. Packing blankets, dollies, and other such things are often included in the truck, but if you don’t have access to these yourself it can be harder to move large, bulky items.

Most people also prefer moving trucks for large items such as mattresses and furniture. These are really hard to move in a standard car, but if you have friends or family with a pickup this is the best way around the bulky item question.

Can You Even Drive a Moving Truck?

Driving a large, bulky moving truck is vastly different from a regular car. It takes some getting used to and you’ll have to watch turns, overpasses, and much more. If you do choose to rent a truck you might have to pay separately for insurance, too. Your regular car insurance often will not provide coverage for moving trucks.

If these are questions you have satisfactory answers to, then have at it. A move can be done without a large moving truck and you can probably save money in the long run if you choose this option. The downside is that it can be a lot of hard work that you may not be ready to tackle. If you do choose to rent a truck after all make sure to read if the mileage is covered in the rental and how much fuel you have to leave in it as well.

Lease Extension

Requesting a Lease Extension

Lease Extension

There are a lot of concerns if you’re moving, especially if you’re moving out of an apartment. You often have a set date in which you need to vacate the apartment due to the lease terms. Sometimes though, things do not work out as well as we would like. Because of circumstances, there are times where you may have to ask for an extension on your lease. The good news is that this is a common practice that can easily be handled.

Asking for an Extension

The best way to get an extension is to be a model tenant. Landlords are often much more flexible with tenants that have taken good care of their units and have paid their rent on time. If you can give them enough lead time and if they haven’t already lined up a new tenant they are more likely to give you an extension. You might have to pay a little extra on top of your regular monthly payment, but at least you are not scrambling for a place to stay. Just remember to be polite and ready to negotiate.

Write it Down

It is a very good idea to write a formal lease extension letter. Be sure that it includes the following:

It is a good idea to submit your letter at least two weeks before the date you need a decision. As always, the earlier, the better. By putting the request in writing it also keeps a formal record.

It is always a good idea to submit an extension request at least 30 days before the end of your lease. Some landlords may have a policy in place where they will want as many as 60 days’ warning. This allows them to set a better move-in date for their next tenant.

Relax, You’re Not the First Person To Do This

The good news is that this is a pretty common situation. Life happens. Many landlords are aware of this and they can even work in potential lease extension terms into the initial lease when it is signed. Most commonly, you’ll have to pay a pro-rated rate during the time of the extension. The important thing to remember is to be polite, submit your request as early as possible, and take good care of your place. This will greatly increase your chances of getting a lease extension.

first apartment

What You Need in Your First Apartment

first apartment

What You Need in Your First Apartment

Getting your first apartment is exciting. It is like being handed a blank canvas because you now have a space you can make your own. There are certain essentials that you need to make your new apartment truly a home. Some of these are no-brainers, but others are things you may have not thought of. Here are some helpful tips for when you’re getting set up in your first apartment.

Your Mail Situation

Is there a community mailroom or do you have a front door slot? If you have large packages is there a main office area where they are stored if you’re away when they arrive? Many apartment owners who don’t want packages left outside their doors elect to set up a P.O. Box at their local post office. You can contact the local post office about setting one of these up, and many offices allow access to them 24 hours a day.

Utilities

Some apartments include utilities as part of their rent, but most of the time your electricity, water, phone, cable, and more need to be set up in your name. You will have to make sure you contact the service providers before you move in, so everything is ready to go on move-in day. Your landlord can likely help you get in contact with the service providers, but some like cable and internet will likely need to schedule an installation time.

Get Furniture

You’ll need some essentials like a bed, a table, chairs, etc., but be sure to take measurements before going on a shopping spree. This goes beyond measuring each room, too. Be sure to measure the doorway and hallways so you can physically get your new furniture into the home. If you’re looking to save a bit of money be sure to check out consignment stores or donation shops.

Invest in a Set of Tools

Getting a good set of tools for your first home is definitely essential. You can always use a screwdriver, wrench or socket set for any number of things. Many stores offer tool sets with virtually everything you could ever need for $30-40 and they often come in a convenient carrying case as well. This keeps things organized and mobile at the same time.

Change Your Address

If you’re already at the post office to set up a P.O. Box you can also request a change of address form. This will make sure that your mail is forwarded when you’re ready. As a bonus, most of these packets come with coupons that will help you in your move. You’ll still need to contact your bank and anywhere else that needs a formal change of address notification, but changing your address with the post office will forward your mail in the meantime.

Finally, Explore the Area

Your new apartment brings you a whole new world. Be sure to take time and explore the area for shops, restaurants, parks, and more. Get to know what is around you so you can fully acclimate yourself to the area.