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The Best Time To Rent A New Apartment

Renting a House vs. Renting an Apartment

When it comes to renting you have many options for a home. There are apartments, townhouses, houses, and other options, but what is the best? Each type of unit has its own advantages. Apartments generally allow you to save on cost, while houses often offer more space for your belongings. Location is also important, as apartments and townhomes are usually closer to the center of major cities while homes can be found elsewhere. When it comes to a house vs. an apartment, what is the best to rent?

Costs and Expenses

Apartments and houses each have different types of expenses. This is on top of the rent you have to pay, which is also even different. Generally, houses are more expensive than apartments for both rent and expenses. Houses typically have more space, so heating is therefore more expensive. Apartments can be all-inclusive, however, which means that all utilities are included within your rent payment. This can end up being better in the long run because the amount you pay per square foot can be better.

Transportation is also a concern. If you rent a house the parking is often a part of the rental, but it is not always included with an apartment. Some places may only have a limited amount of parking spots available.

Space

The biggest factor in deciding between an apartment and a house is the amount of space you need. If you have a larger family, a house is probably the way to go. A house almost always offers more room, but if you are moving out on your own an apartment can be best. This is especially true if you are living on your own for the first time, as the building will have a professional management staff that can handle any problems you may encounter. If you rent a house the landlord is likely the only person you can trust for repairs.

Amenities

One of the top benefits of renting an apartment is the amenities that come with them. Many apartment complexes and buildings have fun amenities such as a fitness center, pool, sauna, and entertainment room. Many times these rooms can be rented or checked out for your own small gatherings. A house often does not have access to these things, but if it is in a good neighborhood it may have parks and sports fields nearby.

There are, of course, several things to consider beyond these, such as the amount of rent you can afford, the location of where you want to rent, and more. Once you take all of these things in consideration you will be ready to make your decision.

Save Money with a Roommate

Ways to Save Money with a Roommate

8 Tips to Get Your Budget on Track

 

Ways to Save Money with a Roommate

When you get your first apartment you may find that you want to get a roommate in order to save on expenses. Living in big cities is becoming more expensive each day, so getting a roommate is a great way to cut your part of the rent in half. There are more ways to save money than just on rent with a roommate, however. Here are some other money saving tips you and your roommate can apply to cuts down on costs.

Buy in Bulk

And investment in a membership at Sam’s Club or Costco can save a lot of money in the long run. You and any roommates can split costs by buying things like toilet paper, paper towels, coffee, and more in bulk. This allows you to build up supplies that will last for months because toilet paper never goes bad.

Use Natural Light

If you apartment has ample windows that allow for natural light, embrace it! Open up the curtains and save on electricity by taking advantage of natural light as much as you can. Natural light also promotes a more cheerful household. It can keep the place a little warmer in the winter, too, if you can get direct sunlight.

Share Cooking Duties

Eating out for every meal gets expensive. An easy way to save is to eat at home, and if you can share cooking duties with your roommate, even better. It helps build a sense of community with your roommate as well. You can be creative and try new recipes for each other or keep it simple with a few tested recipes that are easy to make.

Make Plans

Making a plan with your roommate is a great way to save money. Rather than going out for drinks at the last minute because you’ve got nothing better to do, make a plan to stay in for a group activity. If you make plans at the beginning of the week you can save money at the end because you already have something to do.

Make Coffee at Home

Many people love coffee, but getting one a day at your local coffee shop can get expensive after a while. If a coffee costs $3 and you get one a day that’s $21 a week. By making coffee at home you can save money and even get creative with different flavors.

Cut the Cable Cord

Many people are cutting cable these days. A streaming service like Netflix or Hulu is a much cheaper way to watch the show you want to watch. If you can convince your roommate to split the cost, even better.

These are just a few handy tips for saving money with a roommate. Perhaps the best way is to brainstorm with said roommate and come up with your own.

Why Smart People Rent--On the Benefits of Renting

Why Smart People Rent: On the Benefits of Renting

Why Smart People Rent--On the Benefits of RentingTrying to decide between renting or buying a home? Of course, buying a home gives the stability of a mortgage. And renting a house or apartment allows for tremendous flexibility of location. But there must be more, right? Is flexibility the only reason to rent?

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.”

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 per month membership plan. You may have to drive to a far location to play tennis or basketball, or to 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.

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 within your reach. Similarly, renters often do not make home repairs. Rather, property managers and landlords take care of them. Many apartment complexes have onsite maintenance and even 24/7 emergency maintenance. Everyday maintenance issues are taken care of by property owners or landlords. Furthermore, you may wake up to an upgraded wifi network, new central air unit, or a newly carpeted hallway.

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 decision to rent or buy is one of the more important decisions you’ll have to make. The worst thing to do would be to listen to cliches. 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: the numbers don’t lie.

Renting has many appeals, from communal living to practically maintenance-free living. And renters don’t need to acquire realtors. Many apartment complexes now have their own websites. Utilizing the tool ApartmentsForUs.Com proves that finding the perfect apartment in this day and age is a breeze thanks to the rise of digital marketing.

bicycle storage

How to Discuss Clutter with Your Roommate

How to Talk about Clutter with Your RoommateIf you’re living independently for the first time, with a roommate or significant other, you’ll encounter a universal problem: people organize their lives differently. What seems to be clutter to one person will be organized chaos to another. This problem may appear irresolvable to some. If your roommate or significant other doesn’t think about what counts as clutter in the same way you do, how can you change their mind? Luckily, you don’t have to.

Organizing a shared space isn’t about changing anybody’s idea of what is a mess and what isn’t. Actually, it’s just a matter of communication, like most other things, and respect. You live in a common space: you have common goals. Talk about them.

Shared Interests

If you talk about clutter only when you’re annoyed about it, the way you communicate with your roommate or significant other may take the form of blame. You might say, “Why haven’t you picked up your laundry?” Or, “Why is this room still not clean?” This doesn’t do anyone any good.

You live with someone. If you haven’t explicitly decided on what kind of organization you both would like to see for each room, then you cannot appeal to an agreed upon goal. The sentence, “Why is this room still not clean?” appears to be grounded in an agreed upon norm. And that’s why it’s so disorienting and, sometimes, maddening, when people talk this way without establishing, beforehand, what this agreed upon goal is.

Talk about your shared interests, what each of you hope to get from your home, and make compromises. But certainly do not wait until you are aggravated, annoyed, or irritable to bring up how your shared space should be organized.

State how you both want to use the room and accommodate each other’s visions. If your visions contradict, maybe split the space, or try to allocate different spaces for your separate visions.

Agree upon the appropriate items for the space. Then talk about how you’d like to see them stored when not in use.

Conclusion

Most of all be reasonable about your vision. You share space with another person. Sometimes you can’t get everything you want. No matter what you decide about organization, having a discussion about your goals, interests, and expectations is always healthy. And it’s certainly the best way to talk about clutter with your roommate or significant other.

Why Renting is the Better Choice for Millennials

Why Renting is the Better Choice for Millennials

Why Renting is the Better Choice for MillennialsYou’ve probably heard: student debt is over $1.3 trillion. And, according to a report by CNBC, it’s “growing faster than the average salaries for recent graduates.”

For a borrower aged 20-30, the average monthly student loan payment is $351. That’s quite a bit, especially when the median income for millennials remains relatively low. As reported by BusinessInsider.com, “In 2013, the median annual earnings for millennial women working full-time, year-round were $30,000,” states the report, “compared with $35,000 for their male counterparts.” A $351 payment can seem steep, since it accounts for about 12% of income for males and 14% of income for women.

Coupled with other expenses, from car loans to credit card debt, from housing costs to food, student loans are a heavy burden for many millennials trying to scrape by.

So, if you’re a millennial with a lot of debt, listen up. The following are things to consider before you buy a house. Like many others, you might find renting the better path.

Stability

Houses are sought for their stability. Even as markets change, a locked-in mortgage rate won’t. But the stability of a mortgage requires stability in life. Before you house-hunt, begin at step one. Think seriously about how stable your job is, your relationships, and career path. Are you expecting a promotion, or a change of scenery? Do you see yourself in the same job or relationship in five years? If not, a house probably isn’t your best bet.

Especially if you don’t plan to stay in a house long term, you should consider the payoff of picking up and relocating that an apartment provides. The assumption of many homeowners is they’ll be able to sell whenever they want. That, tops, it’ll take maybe a few months to close a deal. But as many learned during the housing crisis of ’08, when interest rates skyrocket, the equity of your house diminishes. The stability of a mortgage is a double-edged sword. There’s nothing to protect your home from future devaluation by the market. This isn’t a decision you should rush into.

Cost

Unexpected losses aren’t just restricted to market change. Other costs to home owning can also set you back significantly. The best thing to do is create a hypothetical budget. As HousingWire.com suggests, “Aim to keep total rent or mortgage payments plus utilities to less than 25% to 30% of your gross monthly income.”

To place the costs of owning in further perspective, imagine that, after you budget, you have $500 every pay period left over. One day you notice your refrigerator isn’t working. You have to buy a new one. You get the new refrigerator and it turns out that the issue is with the electrical wiring going to the refrigerator. You have to pay an electrician to come out, and it turns out your entire kitchen was poorly wired and needs updated. If you don’t have deep savings or a friend who happens to be an electrician, your bills can become, very quickly, too large for a budget with little room for error.

Conclusion

When it comes to renting, however, apartment complexes take care of all major maintenance issues, and many minor issues as well. And, though rent prices might be higher than mortgage prices in some areas, apartment complexes provide amenities that you’d usually have to pay for if you own a house: pools, weight rooms, clubhouses, etc.

If you’ve acquired large amounts of student or credit card debt, it might be a wiser choice to rent an apartment for a few years while you climb out of debt, and stash away some money in savings in the meantime. That way, if you get a house, you’ll be ready for unexpected issues and they won’t break your budget.

tips when searching for apartments

Things to Consider before Signing the Lease

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 manager

When to Contact Your Property Manager

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.

the advantages of renting

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

types of rent

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