Posts

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.

 

tips when searching for apartmentsThink about What You Can’t Change

The most important thing to remember before signing a lease is you can’t change some things. This just means that some things you should be certain that you’ll be okay with before you sign the lease. If not, you may end up upset, with eight months left on your lease. Put yourself in the best situation by remembering the following things when exploring your rental options.

Property Manager

You cannot change your property manager. Of course, your property manager might change while you’re a resident, especially if you are a long-term resident. But you need be sure that your personality will mesh with your property manager’s personality and communication style. That’s not to say you’ll have to be the same person or you’ll need to be friends, but just that you can understand where they’re coming from.

Neighbors

Your neighbors will change. But some neighbors may stay at the apartment property longer than you. Before you sign the lease, it’s a good idea to attend a community event the apartment community is involved in. Or, even, hold one yourself. Have a cookout, or set one up with the property management staff, for the community.

Seasons

Like most people, you’ll probably visit different apartment communities during the spring and summer seasons. But a good air conditioner in the summer doesn’t equal a good furnace in the winter. Ask neighbors about how the apartments change with the seasons.

Lease

You must read your lease. You can’t change it once you sign it. It’ll tell you the responsibilities of your property manager and your own obligations while you’re a resident. This will be your guide for certain policies as well. Most of all, if you find something unacceptable in your lease, talk with the property manager about it. You might get it changed.

Think as if Your Apartment is Permanent

The best thing to do when looking at apartments is to pretend you’ll be living at the apartments permanently. This may open up your eyes to things you may not focus on. For instance, you might think to ask about how old the water heater is. You might think about the water pressure, and how much utilities generally cost.

Pretending your apartment will be permanent is a good way to come up with questions to understand your move-in situation better. Then there’ll be no surprises. Remember, if you have any questions about the apartment you’re visiting, don’t leave it unanswered. Ask the property manager and do your own research.

when to contact your property managerProperty managers are like community organizers. They plan visits, fill vacancies, submit and follow-up on maintenance issues, resolve tenant complaints, and much more. They work to ensure their apartment community works like it should. Contacting your property manager shouldn’t be your number one option for settling certain issues. On the other hand, you definitely shouldn’t hesitate if one of the following occurs.

Emergency

If your air conditioning goes out in the middle of summer, it’s reason to contact your property manager. Do so quickly, so maintenance can put you on their task list (because they probably have a list of jobs to do). Priority is obviously given to emergencies, so the sooner you report your issue to the property manager the sooner your home will be back to normal.

But if you contact your manager for an emergency, make sure it’s an emergency. For instance, an inoperative cabinet door may seem like an emergency when you’re hosting a dinner party. But you should simply submit a repair request to the property staff instead of the manager in that situation (and others like it).

But, to be safe, if you don’t know if your issue is an emergency or could be considered one, submit it straight to the property manager. They’ll know how to classify your request.

Concerns

If you have questions or concerns regarding property rules you should contact your property manager. From parking issues to pool policies, the rules are in place for reasons your property manager can give to you for clarification.

Safety concerns should be brought up with your property manager as well. When common area doors are either jammed or broken, it’s important to get those fixed. If there is broken glass in the parking lot, for instance, it’s in the interest of the community to get it cleaned up.

Living in an apartment community is different from living at home by yourself. General and emergency maintenance is taken care of for you. And property managers are there to make your stay as comfortable and smooth as possible. Don’t be afraid to communicate when you have issues.

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

get fit The summer is the perfect time to get in shape. Trips to the beach, vacations, and yard work in the hot sun call for sleeveless tees and beach attire. If you live in an apartment community, now you won’t have to leave your home, or break your budget, to get in shape.

Gym

Want to run in air conditioning? Most apartments with gyms have treadmills if nothing else. And for casual strength trainers, do a few cable-based exercises to compliment the run. Apartments with gyms are fantastic for procrastinators because all the excuses for skipping—the drive, the cost—are eliminated. And you most likely won’t need a spotter for your lifts, because most apartments will have cable-based equipment only.

Pool

Swimming in the pool is a great way to burn calories and relax at the same time. When you run, you’ll sweat. Do you ever remember sweating while swimming? Also, who doesn’t like floating? Buy a small pool hoop and basketball to compliment the swim. Work on your dunk game while exercising. You can also swim laps and see how close you can get to a Michael Phelps time (given, you probably won’t have an Olympic size pool). The pool is a great way to exercise while also enjoying yourself.

Bark Park

Have an energetic dog? Maybe it doesn’t get enough exercise. Jog with your pet to the dog park, then teach it some tricks. Many bark parks have agility training equipment. With a bag of treats in hand and some determination, you’ll be surprised how much discipline a dog can acquire with a few weeks training. And if there is no equipment, at least you’ll have some open room to play fetch with your dog.

Attaining your fitness goals can be a breeze when you live in an apartment community. Those amenities aren’t for nothing. Take advantage of all your community offers!

how to save moneyMoney in the future isn’t a matter of relying on every paycheck coming in exactly as expected. If you save up, the future looks a lot different. You can plan trips and large purchases ahead of time. It’ll take all the stress out of spending, and it’ll take a lot of stress out of living. Here are some tips to get you started.

Establish Goals

Why do you make money? To pay bills? What else? Do you want to fund a hobby, go on a trip, plan for a future child’s schooling? If you create goals, you’ll be able to reach them with financial plans—estimate how much you need, how much you make, and how much time you’ll have, then the rest is easy. These considerations are the foundations for any budget.

Basic Budgeting

Some people hate this word. But budgeting is the only way to get your money to work for you. Of course, you work to earn money, but have you thought about the ways in which you can, now, become more independent from your earnings? That’s what making your money work for you means.

When you’re hanging out with friends, or that new video game is released, it’s easy to blow the latest paycheck. In these situations, it can seem like your always chasing that next payday. Create an expense sheet. List all your monthly expenses—estimate if you need to, for your food and gas costs, for instance. Then add all your income per month together. Now subtract your expenses from your income. The money left over is free for you to save or assign to different goals or wants for the rest of the month. It’s a good policy, however, to try to save at least ten percent of what you make monthly in a savings account. And many people recommend only spending about 5% of your monthly budget for entertainment.

This is just an extremely basic budgeting strategy. But there are plenty of strategies available online. Whatever you do, plan ahead!

living next to a loud neighborIt’s a renter’s worst nightmare. Loud, thumping noises from the ceiling at night. Booming music from across the hall. What can be done? Chances are, you’ll be seeing your neighbors for a while, especially if you just signed a lease. Here are some tips for resolving noise issues with your neighbor in a courteous way.

The Right Place

The easiest way to deal with a loud neighbor is to avoid one altogether. When you visit your next apartment community, talk with the office staff about your schedule to determine with them the best place for you to stay. Are there sections of the apartment community that stay home all day? That leave for work early? Come up with some questions that’ll help you determine an area perfect for your own routine.

Securing an upper floor apartment is also an easy way to eliminate a possible source of noise: the ceiling. With an upper floor room, you won’t have to worry about running children, jumping pets, and falling objects.

Communication and Empathy

Some unexpected noise is to be expected when you live in a community. So it’s good to be understanding, especially if it’s a first offense or a holiday, maybe even a move-in day. When you haven’t heard loud noises from your neighbor before, trying to think about the situation from your neighbor’s point of view is helpful.

If occurrences are frequent, or even if they aren’t, talk with your neighbor. Maybe they don’t know how loud they are. Sometimes walls can seem thicker than they are. Or maybe they just haven’t lived in an apartment community before. Whatever it is, the noise can be an honest mistake.

But if talking with the offender doesn’t work, and giving them the benefit of the doubt doesn’t either, write a note, and give the same note to your property manager. Bringing the apartment manager into the conversation can be crucial. It’s also important to discuss the situation with other neighbors. Maybe your problem is theirs. And maybe you can talk with the neighbor as a group if needed.

Dealing with a noise problem is as simple as communicating with your neighbors and property manager. But the noise problem is also avoidable. Move to an apartment with a game plan to put your best foot forward.

prevent mosquitoesMosquito bites shouldn’t ruin the summer for you. Open the windows and curtains and enjoy the weather from the inside of your home. Keep the mosquitoes away from your apartment this summer with these tips.

Screens

Most modern windows come with screens. But some don’t. You can purchase a low-cost screen to fit any window size at most hardware stores. Lighten things up with some sunshine. Enjoy the breeze and air out your apartment with a window screen.

Seal Windows and Doors

As time goes by, wood splits and houses settle. Basically what this means is sometimes your windows and doors allow a bit of air (and therefore bugs) to get by. Insects crawl through the smallest cracks. You can prevent most bugs from entering your home by purchasing door sweeps and weather strips. Either will take about five minutes or less to apply. It’s worth the peace of mind. Then you’ll also be prepared for winter!

Outdoor Water and Plants

If you have a patio or balcony attached to your apartment, be sure no standing water is sitting in plants, bowls, or chairs. Mosquitoes are notorious for breeding in standing water. Females prefer to lay eggs here. So it’ll also attract males.

If you don’t have plants on your patio, get some. Certain types of plants actually repel mosquitoes. You’ll also add to your balcony’s beauty. What’s the downside? With plants, you’ll get fresh air and, with certain types, a mosquito-free patio or balcony.

Repelling mosquitoes is actually pretty simple. Ensure they don’t ruin your summer by taking simple steps. And if all else fails, use mosquito repellent spray. Enjoy yourself this summer by preventing mosquito bites.

essential tools for apartment residentsMaybe you need to do simple maintenance. Maybe you want to tackle a small home project, like hanging a series of shelves. Whatever it is, you’ll probably need some tools. Here are the tools you’ll need to complete common projects and simple maintenance tasks at your apartment.

Screwdrivers and Hammer

Need to take something apart? Remove it from the wall? You’ll probably need a screwdriver or hammer. Whether electronic or manual, screwdrivers are a basic requirement for almost any project. Screws are used to hold most things together. Hammers are good for the same reasons: nails are everywhere.

Extras:

For those shelves you’ll be hanging, you’ll probably also need a drill. To hang on drywall you’ll need anchors. But if you’ll be hanging directly on wood, you’ll need a drill so the wood doesn’t split when you put screws in it.

Vise Grips

Vise grips are your all-in-one tool. They lock, so they can be used for clamps. They extend, so they can be used like wrenches. They also grip, so they can be used like pliers. Get a pair of vice grips, and you’re probably set for most projects or issues that’ll arise.

Utility Knife

We’ve covered tools you’ll need to put things together, hang things up, or take things apart. One last thing you’ll need: a tool to cut things. That’s where a utility knife comes in. Most utility knives will enable you to cleanly cut anything from cardboard to carpet, from plastic to drywall.

                Extras:

                Whenever you cut, you’ll probably need to glue. So keep some glue handy.

You don’t really need many tools when you live in an apartment. That’s because a perk of apartment living is having access to a maintenance team. They’ll take care of all major maintenance issues you might come across. But it’s good to have tools for simple maintenance and projects.

create a chore wheelYou know the type of situation. Your roommate’s garbage lines the countertop. The follow-up awkward conversation. Or your sister uses all the clean glasses in the house to drink the gallon of chocolate milk before you can get to it. And they sit in the sink.

You don’t want to be mean, although you might be annoyed. The best way tackle this type of situation is to plan for it. Of course, everyone is responsible for their own personal messes: laundry, bathroom, etc. But the problem comes when a public space needs cleaning. Who should clean it? You both use it. And you both, probably, don’t clean up after yourselves as much as you should.

A Chore Wheel

ApartmentGuide.com has a very good suggestion. Create a chore wheel. Add all the tasks you’ll need to complete to clean common areas. Have a vote to determine the two worst areas. Place those two areas at opposite ends of the wheel. That way one of you will always have one of the “bad” areas, while one of you will never have both “bad” areas.

Having a plan beforehand can prevent tension in the house. It can also make cleaning the common areas much easier: both of you are responsible for all of it, although individually you’ll only be responsible for half of it at any given time. That way, next time you forget to cover your bowl in the microwave, you might be more likely to clean the mess immediately, to save time later.

A chore wheel can work for any living arrangement. Whether you live with a roommate, family member, or significant other, a chore wheel is a good way to divvy up work unbiasedly. View the ApartmentGuide.Com chore wheel below. Create a wheel that’ll work for all members of the house. Make sure it’s fair, balanced, and includes all the tasks to clean common areas in your home.

http://www.apartmentguide.com/blog/downloadable-free-chore-wheel/