How Much Apartment Can You Really Afford?

Woman sits at desk in window area of loft apartmentMuch has been made in today’s media outlets about the affordability of apartments. And, while the cost of renting is still lower than the cost of owning in most cities, the truth is that many apartment residents are struggling to pay their monthly bills. Despite what is often reported in the news, there are still plenty of affordable apartments in every city in the U.S. The two challenges are first finding them and second knowing how much apartment you really can afford.

Location vs. Lifestyle
If we all had our wish, we would live in the nicest apartment in our favorite part of town, close to all of the things we love and need to do. But where you rent an apartment is just as important as which apartment community you choose. Downtown high-rise and mid-rise apartment communities will cost you much more than their counterparts in a more suburban or rural setting. Ask yourself which is more important: living close to the action or saving more money to enjoy your lifestyle? To lead the life you choose, it might be necessary to either commute or moderate your apartment expectations.

Does Size Really Matter?
When you are searching for a new apartment for yourself (and those who live with you), ask yourself how big or small of a place you truly need. The bigger the apartment, the more space you have —but also the more you are going to pay. For people who seek more play than possessions, a micro-apartment may be a great way to save a few dollars on rent. But, if space is a necessity for you and your family, you might need to give up some luxury in order to afford the space you crave.

How Old (New) is Too Old (New)
In a perfect scenario, you will spend less than 20% of your take-home income on rent. Depending on the job that you have and the lifestyle you desire, you are going to have to make some choices when it comes to how old your new apartment community is. The newer the community, the more it will cost. With a new community, you get a newer fitness center, outdoor recreations, and some other community amenities. This enables you to save a few bucks on a gym membership and other things you would normally venture outside your home to do. But the real savings come when you find an older, established community that still meets your basic lifestyle needs. It may not have all the trappings of the newly-opened place up the street; but, for the money you will pay, it is hard to beat the savings you will find at an established community.

Once you have determined just how much you are able to spend, the next step is finding the apartment for rent that best meets your budget while appealing to your lifestyle. Instead of spending hours of legwork to discover the best options, head over to www.apartmentseach.com. There, you will find the nation’s only free apartment locating service that actually pays you (up to $200) for using it. Enter the criteria that you are looking for and ApartmentSearch’s comprehensive marketplace listings will match you with the apartments that are best for you. That is time and money well saved and one step closer to moving into a great apartment you can really afford.

Keep Reading!

  • How to Budget for Your First Apartment
  • Why Paying More for Rent Can Be a Good Thing

Source: blog.apartmentsearch.com

What is a Concierge?

You’ve seen them at hotels … but what about your apartment?

A concierge is a hired professional of a multi-unit property, usually, a luxury building, tasked with acting as a “lent hand” to the residents of that building.

Concierges are primarily associated with hotel stays but can be found in any setting where there are multiple residents in one building.

What does a concierge do?

Tasks of a concierge vary widely as they’re generally assigned to help residents in almost any way that they can. That being said, there are some common tasks that apartment concierges likely handle frequently, such as making restaurant reservations, ordering car service, accepting deliveries, receiving visitors and making sure the building is secure.

Pros and cons of an apartment concierge

That all seems great, right? But as you probably imagine, there are some downsides to the luxury of an apartment concierge. Here are some pros and cons of having an apartment concierge.

Pros of an apartment concierge

  • A helping hand for some overwhelming day-to-day tasks
  • Added security for your building
  • Package and mail reception

Cons of an apartment concierge

  • Diminished privacy
  • Added costs

How common are apartment concierges?

apartment conciergeapartment concierge

Apartment concierges are not extremely common, but they do exist. You’re more likely to find an apartment with a concierge in a large city where apartment life is the norm and luxury amenities are in high demand.

Beyond that, many of the primary functions of a concierge — like calling car services and making restaurant reservations — are only possible in larger cities. If an apartment concierge is high on your priority list, however, you shouldn’t have a problem finding one — for the right price.

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What’s the Difference Between a Joint Lease and an Individual Lease?

Renter on bed, debating over individual or joint lease apartment optionsFilling out the application for an apartment and then reading through the lease can be a confusing process. We understand.

One of the things that might be a bit hard to understand before you sign on the dotted line is the difference between an individual lease and a joint lease. We’re going to break it down for you.

Individual Lease Apartments vs. Joint Leases

An Individual Lease

As explained by the University of Kentucky, an individual lease means you’re financially responsible only for your part of the rent and other expenses associated with an apartment. Under this scenario, each roommate has his or her own lease. So, if your roommate moves out unexpectedly and each of you has an individual lease, then the landlord can’t force you to cover your ex-roommate’s part of the rent. Think of this as a “by the bedroom lease.”

“Individual rental agreements mean that each tenant is responsible for their own behavior and decisions separately,” according to Tenants Union of Washington State.

A Joint Lease

On the other hand, a joint lease — in legalese, this refers to the lease’s “joint and several liability” clause — puts full financial responsibility for the rent and related expenses on all of the tenants, the University of Kentucky says. In this situation, all of the roommates are listed on a single lease. Think of this as a “by the apartment lease.”

“Unfair as this practice seems, this clause is enforceable. If may be a good idea to have one tenant responsible for paying the rent and have all roommates pay that person,” the University of Kansas recommends.

Tenants Union of Washington State gives this example of what can go wrong if you have a joint lease:

You and two roommates share an apartment, and all three of you are listed on the joint lease. Each of you is supposed to pay one-third of the rent. But if one of the roommates fails to pay, the landlord could send a notice to all three tenants demanding payment of the one-third of the rent that hasn’t been collected. If that rent isn’t paid within a certain period, all three roommates could be evicted — not just the roommate who didn’t pay his or her share of the rent.

Under a joint lease, you also could be left paying for damage caused by a roommate. The Tenant Resource Center offers this example:

Joey punches a hole in one of the walls one night and then relocates to Mexico for work a couple of weeks later. Kyle, the remaining roommate on the joint lease, moves out of the apartment, but still lives in the same town. Since Kyle is easier to track down, the landlord likely will come after him for money to fix the damaged wall.

Tips for Handling Joint Lease & Individual Lease Situations

To avoid sticky lease situations with roommates, experts offer these tips:

  • Get an individual lease for each roommate, instead of a joint lease covering all of the roommates.
  • Carefully screen roommates before moving in. Pick a roommate who’s responsible, not flaky, and who’ll pay his or her fair share.
  • Avoid surprises by reading through the lease to make sure you know what your rights and responsibilities are.
  • Consider going to court. If a roommate moves out and you had a joint lease, you can sue the ex-roommate in small claims court to try to recover the money that you were stuck paying for something like a hole punched in a wall.

Whether you’re aiming for a joint lease or an individual lease on an apartment, you can start your apartment hunt on ApartmentSearch.com and always come out on top. Regardless of the type of lease you sign, you’re eligible to receive $200 in rewards!

Source: blog.apartmentsearch.com

Things to Consider When Moving From a House to an Apartment

Moving from a house to an apartment has its perks and its challenges – and planning your move strategically can help with the latter! Whether you’re looking for a fresh start in a new town or moving cross-country for school, there are several things to consider as you downsize to an apartment.

1. Measure your new space.

That plush, overstuffed couch may look incredible in your house’s open-concept living room. However, it might be a bit overwhelming in a smaller apartment. The same goes for your six-person dining table and king size bed.

Don’t spend time or money (or elbow grease!) lugging your furniture to a new apartment only to discover it won’t fit in the door! If you’ve already picked out your specific apartment, you’ll be able to get exact measurements of each room you’ll be furnishing. Use those measurements or your apartment’s floor plan to figure out what can stay and what needs to go.

Haven’t selected your apartment yet and not sure how to downsize? You can still start determining which furnishings need to go. For example, if you know you’ll be searching for a one-bedroom apartment, you can probably get rid of your guest room and home office furniture.

2. Ditch the (unnecessary) past.

Aside from losing the excess or oversized furniture, you’ll likely have plenty of belongings to sort through as well. The beautiful thing about apartment living is that you won’t need everything you needed in a house. Appliances are provided, so don’t worry about transporting your stove. Lawn care is officially a thing of the past, so you can get rid of your gardening and landscaping tools. One downside of moving from a house to an apartment is that you’ll likely lose some storage space. However, this makes your move a perfect opportunity to declutter, donate, and sell stuff you won’t need.

3. Look into storage units.

If you’ve got things that won’t quite fit in your new apartment, but you can’t fathom getting rid of them, check out your local storage options. You can use a storage unit for keeping the things you only use sporadically, like a camping tent, seasonal décor, family heirlooms, and so on. This is also the perfect option for someone moving into a temporary apartment, who needs to stash their extra things for the time being.

4. Consider “double duty” furniture.

When downsizing to an apartment, it’s wise to be savvy with your furnishings. For example, buying a pullout couch can instantly turn your living room into a makeshift guest room. Opting for a storage ottoman instead of a coffee table can offer extra functionality. In an apartment, multi-tasking furniture like futons, modular couches, and expandable dining tables can help you make the most out of every square foot.

If you’re just testing the apartment life, you don’t need to spend a fortune on new, “multi-tasking” furniture. Avoid the upfront costs and hassle of furnishing a new space by renting furniture with CORT. When you shop at CORT, you don’t have to empty your life-savings to furnish an apartment for a one-year lease!

5. Embrace everything apartment living has to offer!

One beautiful thing about moving from a house to an apartment is the ability to take advantage of the amenities of the property. For example, an on-site gym means you can cancel your pricey gym memberships and sell your home gym equipment. Additionally, some apartment complexes offer free internet and cable, giving you one less bill to pay. There are plenty of things to look forward to when moving to an apartment!

Considering a grander life in a smaller space? Make sure you’re happy with your new home’s amenities, neighborhood, and square footage. Find your next place on Apartment Search and downsize to the perfect apartment.

Source: blog.apartmentsearch.com

What To Do If Your Apartment Is Broken Into | ApartmentSearch

broken window with a view to the outside of an apartment

Few feelings are worse than the one you get when your apartment is broken into. You frantically search for your most valuable belongings. You’re angry and scared. You feel violated and vulnerable. But all isn’t lost. Find out what to do when you experience the worst: an apartment break-in.

Step #1: Stay calm.

It’s important to keep a level head in the event of an apartment break-in, whether it happens while you’re there or you find evidence after the fact.

Step #2: Be extra safe.

Call 911 immediately if you suspect that the burglar is still in your apartment. Do NOT go room to room searching for the thief, even if you think you’re prepared.

Step #3: Report the crime.

Once you know that you, your roommates, and your pets are safe, it’s time to report the apartment break-in to law enforcement. Phone your local police’s non-emergency number and tell them what happened. In the meantime, try not to move anything around.

Step #4: Survey the scene in your apartment.

If you notice anything peculiar in your apartment that might help the police in their investigation, make sure you tell them about it when they arrive at the scene. Some helpful things to know would be possible entry and exit points, items left behind that do not belong to you, and likely sources of fingerprints.

Step #5: Document the damage.

Make detailed notes and take pictures of anything the thieves damaged. This will help your landlord and your insurance company determine the amount and the method that you will be compensated for your lost belongings.

Step #6: Contact your landlord or property manager.

Notify your landlord or property manager about the break-in. They may be able to provide temporary residence or other resources to aid in your recovery. Discuss a strategy with them about improving apartment security.

Step #7: Talk to your neighbors.

Contact your neighbors as soon as possible to discover whether they witnessed anything unusual around the time when the break-in occurred.

Step #8: Contact your renters insurance provider.

Once you have a list of damaged or stolen personal property, call your renters insurance company to file a claim. The representative you speak to will most likely request a detailed account of what has been stolen or damaged.

Step #9: Take some time to de-stress.

Break-ins can be traumatic. It’s best to ease yourself back into normal apartment life slowly. If you need help re-adjusting, seek a professional counselor.

Step #10: Reduce your chances of another break-in.

Invest in some added security to make sure this never happens again. Hide your valuables, lock your doors, and keep a light on at night while you’re away. Take some extra precautions before you head out on extended trips. Most importantly, make it difficult for anyone but you to access your apartment.
A break-in doesn’t necessarily mean that you can break your lease, but in some circumstances it does. Talk to your landlord and head to ApartmentSearch to find a new apartment where you feel safe and secure.

Source: blog.apartmentsearch.com

Pros and Cons of Moving During the Winter

person standing outside in a ponchoShould you stay or should you go? Don’t let freezing temperatures give you cold feet when deciding whether or not to move apartments this winter! There are many positive reasons why moving in the winter months could benefit you — and your wallet. Check out this list of pros and cons to learn if moving during the cold months makes sense for you.

The Pros of Moving Apartments During the Winter

Sure, the weather outside might occasionally be frightful and cold, but the best time of the year to move into an apartment might actually be during those winter months. Why? Here are a few of the benefits.

Less Competition

First of all, if you’re looking to move apartments during the winter, you’re going to have much less competition than if you were looking to move in the spring or the summer. During the warmer months, college students are out of school, graduates are moving to new cities, and families are not relocating to avoid moving their kids during the school year.

When it’s warm, landlords have no problem finding people to fill up a lease and can pick and choose who gets the property. In the winter? Not so much. And this is good news for you, as they’re eager to get you to rent given there’s much less competition.

Lower Rents During the Winter

Landlords don’t like empty apartments, and because fewer people are looking to rent during the winter, that means they may try and entice you with lower rents during this time. In fact, Investopedia goes as far as to say that “individuals renting between the months of December and March typically find the best rental bargains.” In turn, the most expensive months to start a lease are usually between May and October.

Use this to your advantage before demand picks back up in the spring.

Better Negotiations

Along those same lines, you have a distinct negotiating advantage in the winter that you don’t have in the summer when they have dozens of people willing to take the apartment as is for the price they command. During the winter landlords want to fill the vacancy, they tend to be more lenient and open to negotiations.

For example, if the apartment generally doesn’t allow pets, but you have a cat, they might just let that slide, and you and Fluffy can live there with no worries. What else should you negotiate? Ask about a shorter or longer lease term, nicer amenities, associated fees, parking restrictions, and above all — rent! During peak months, you’re at their mercy in terms of this point. But when they’re feeling a bit desperate and want to fill the vacancy ASAP, you might be able to negotiate different rates.

More Attention from Moving Companies

First, if you use a moving company, you’ll have a broader selection to choose from during the winter. Their schedules are lighter, meaning they can often even fit you in on short notice. And once you go with a specific company, you’ll have plenty of time to work out a deal, and the moving crews will have enough time to handle your items carefully, making the winter move more efficient and relaxed for all parties involved.

The Cons of Moving Apartments During the Winter

There are also some drawbacks to packing up your stuff and hauling it to a new apartment when the snow flies. This includes:

Bad Weather

This is by far the most significant deterrent for most people, as snow, ice, subzero temperatures, and even a massive storm are the risks that you take when you decide to move in the winter.

There’s the chance movers will slip and fall on ice and break some of your items; that the freezing temps will not only chill you to the bone but also damage your sensitive belongings; and roads might be closed due to snow or ice, meaning you’re at risk for an accident at the worst and a delay at best.

To combat the winter conditions, you may need to insulate all your belongings and get a climate-controlled moving truck (at an extra cost). Additionally, it may be a good idea to protect all floors and carpets in your old place and your new apartment, and make sure all sidewalks and walkways are clear of ice and snow.

Fewer Options

The tradeoff for having less competition, the upper hand in negotiations, and lower prices is that there’s also less for you to choose from. Why? Most apartment leases end during the summer, meaning summer renters often have more units to choose from.

In the winter, you run the risk of renting the apartment of someone who terminated their lease, was evicted, or left due to other unexpected circumstances. In other words, the listing might be less than ideal. But as long as you know what factors are really important to you in an apartment, you can decide what you’re willing to compromise on before signing on the dotted line.

Busier Season All-Around

We all know the holidays are in the winter, so adding in a stressful move on top of an already stressful season is, well, stressful. You might not even have the time to settle into your new apartment before you’re thrown into holiday shopping, parties, and the general hustle and bustle. Moving will take time away from your holidays, so you have to decide if you want to spend your time packing up boxes of your belongings or packing up and wrapping boxes for seasonal gatherings.

Ready to Make Your Move?

Demand for apartments tends to be lowest in the winter months, making them the best time for renters to find a steal! But moving during winter can come with drawbacks, including horrible weather conditions, so it’s up to you to weigh the pros and cons.

Luckily, ApartmentSearch can provide a complete list of available apartments in your area no matter the season! If you’re ready to take advantage of winter rental rates, explore apartment units on ApartmentSearch.com!

Source: blog.apartmentsearch.com