How Renting is Greener than Owning

renting is greener than owningWhen you think about it, the average apartment unit size per family size is probably smaller than the average house size per family size. This, at the outset, gives an advantage to renters: with a smaller area, you’ll use less energy to provide heating or cooling to satisfy the same amount of people. But some statistics, provided by the Federation of Rental-housing Providers of Ontario in 2012, may surprise you. It turns out that renting is significantly greener than owning.

Statistics[i]

APARTMENTS ARE GREENER THAN SINGLE FAMILY HOMES

  • 65% less energy use per household
  • 40% less water per capita
  • 60% less waste 10 km shorter commute distance to work

RENTERS ARE GREENER THAN OWNERS

  • 50% less energy used per household 8.4 km shorter commute each day
  • 32% less likely to use a car
  • 150% more likely to take transit
  • 175% more likely to walk

This is good news. Not only is the rental market booming in the United States, but other green initiatives are combing to create a market climate better for the environment and better for our wallets.

Could there be a better time to rent?

 


[i]Federation of Rental-housing Providers of Ontario. (2012, February 08). Apartment Living Is Green. Retrieved August 23, 2016, from frpo.org, http://web.archive.org/web/20140208064830/http://www.frpo.org/documents/2012%20Apartment%20Living%20is%20Green.pdf

Tips for Working from Your Apartment

working from homeWorking from home can be a huge blessing for some people: you can drink as much coffee as you want! For others, it can be a death sentence. From childcare and errands to cleaning the house and Sportscenter, some distractions you’ll find at home don’t exist at the workplace. But distractions don’t have to ruin the experience for you. These tips will help you make the most of working from home.

Create a Workspace

This is one of the easiest ways to remove distractions. Create a workspace you’ll enjoy seeing and working in. Make it extremely personal. You can do this: you have the freedom of your home. But whatever you do, leave that television in the living room. And never bring your phone or phone charger to the workspace. You’ll probably want a coffee pot though, right?

Dress like You’re Working

I know, it’s very tempting to stay in your pajamas all day. But it might also encourage you to take a nap, watch TV, or check your Instagram. This is because you’re basically dressed to lounge around. Continue with your normal morning routine when you work from home, but instead of going in to work, you’ll be able to just go to a different room in your apartment. You’ll feel more energetic and ready to work if you don’t make working from home like a day-off.

Take a Walk

When you’re feeling drowsy or uninspired, simply take a break. But don’t just watch TV or check your phone. Get outside the apartment. Take a walk around the neighbor or exercise for half an hour. Make sure you’re off the clock. But getting your mind off work every once in a while might actually boost productivity and energy.

Working from home can be extremely rewarding. Follow these tips and you’ll be just as productive, if not more so, than when you drive to the office.

Boost Cell Phone Reception in Your Apartment

improve cell phone signal in apartmentNot much is more frustrating than trying to talk on the phone when your cellular reception is low. From broken sentences to incomplete words, the conversation is pretty much incomprehensible. The most obvious thing to do is keep your phone charged. A full battery guarantees the best hardware performance. But aside from finding the sweet spot in your apartment, there are a few things you can do to improve your cell phone service.

Wi-Fi Calling

Most phones now have a Wi-Fi assistance option. This is certainly the future of voice calling, and it’s free. All you need is an internet connection. And if your phone doesn’t have a Wi-Fi assisted option, you can simply forego your phone’s default voice calling by downloading any of the number of free Wi-Fi calling apps available on app stores. You can also get free texts through these apps also.

Purchase a Femtocell

A femtocell is a powered base station that connects to your internet service in order to amplify your cell phone signal. It’s basically an in-house cell tower. Through the Wi-Fi, a femtocell bridges the gap between the cell phone tower signal and obstructions (such as your house, its walls, and objects inside the house). It also reduces the number of cell phones using the cell tower directly, thus improving your signal.

It’s a fairly inexpensive solution to what might be a long-term problem. Before you go out and purchase one, research which femtocell might be best for you.

Signal Booster

Another option is acquiring a signal booster through your wireless carrier. This device basically boosts signals from anywhere in your house. For instance, if you can get two bars when you stand nearby the microwave by the back door, placing a signal booster in that area will spread the signal throughout the house, and in many cases will improve upon it.

Basically one of the only free options for improving your cell signal is to connect your phone to Wi-Fi (if the option is available). No matter what you choose, be sure to research to determine the best option to fit your needs.

 

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.

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

Why You Should Rent

Blog1-830x1030If 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.” But why?

The decision to rent or buy forces a common gridlock, “If I rent, I can move when the lease is over. But if I buy, then I can probably pay lower monthly payments.” Yet both renting and buying are more than monthly payments and lease dates.

For example, homeowners have the privilege of ownership. But with great privilege comes great responsibility. Maintenance is the homeowner’s duty, on top of home insurance, property taxes, and other home owner fees.  Sure, the monthly mortgage payments are low, but you’ll have many unexpected and inbuilt fees.

On the other hand, if you rent, you may have access to amenities that, as a home owner, you would not. You could have access to a 24 hour gym, bark park, and pool. Similarly, you won’t have to repair leaky faucets or clogged drains. Apartment complexes take care of maintenance. Another key advantage to renting is location. Most large cities don’t have room for houses. An apartment building fits the same lot space but, with tall, multi-unit designs, houses more people.

Renting has many appeals, from communal living to basically maintenance-free living. It is not accidental that rental properties are thriving: the numbers don’t lie.

2 Types of Renters

types of rentNot everything is black and white. Take newspapers for example. They get such a bad rap.

Renters, though, are of a more defined class. There are those that know what they want, know what they will miss if they don’t have it, and know what they can live without. And then there are those that don’t know a deductible from a deposit, let-alone the amount of stress added by a rental without dishwashers and in-unit laundry attachments. The first class of renter is the Grandmaster, whereas the second class is the Novice.

The Novice’s problem is simple. It is a problem of noticing how living arrangements determine the way you live.  In every apartment visited, the Novice envisions ways of utilizing space and coming to terms with no-too-obvious flaws without much effort. It’s not until after move-in the Novice realizes that ways of living are determined by the tools one has at one’s disposal. The water pressure happened to be different, for instance, and the Novice didn’t think to ask about that. Amenities like air-conditioning were also ignored.

Don’t be a Novice. Know what you need to live the way you want. That’s how you’ll put your best foot forward when choosing a new home. That’s how to be a renting Grandmaster.

 

Photo credit: Helgi Halldórsson/Freddi via Foter.com / CC BY-SA

How to Stop Cats from Scratching Furniture

Apartment CatsCat-lovers have taken over the Internet—aren’t they just toxoplasma zombies anyway? And many apartment units are feeling the love, allowing cats only: no dogs.

A common misconception is that cats keep to themselves, are generally low-maintenance. But many have found even cats can be destructive to property. When it comes to cats, let’s just say property destruction is inversely related to physical activity. When the yarn ball isn’t around, or the toy mouse doesn’t squirm around the floor, your cat is going to need some attention.

Whether you play with your cat or not, it needs to burn energy somehow. That may translate into plucked couches or torn curtains. This is an easy issue to fix. Consider purchasing a laser for it to chase. If your cat has claws, get a scratch post for them to use. Sometimes it is best to have a scratch post for each room. You can also purchase anti-scratch tape that cats dislike to touch. Whatever you do, make sure Oliver has an outlet for all that feline energy.

And don’t forget, give that cat a treat!

 

Photo credit: JamesCohen via Foter.com / CC BY

Your Essential Apartment Move-Out Checklist

Below is a checklist provided by the American Apartment Owners Association called the “Move-Out Checklist.”