James Franco’s Former West Hollywood Digs — Next to the Chateau Marmont — Sells for $4.65 Million

Pretty sure I’m not the only one, but when I saw that James Franco’s former home was up for sale, first thing I did was to check and see if it’s the incredible house he’d reportedly built for himself in the 2013 comedy This is the End — where Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill and their equally funny buddies take cover in James Franco’s house as Armageddon descends upon Los Angeles.

james franco house this is the end
James Franco, Seth Rogen and Jay Baruchel in Columbia Pictures’ “This is the End”

Sadly, it’s wasn’t. But that didn’t make the property any less impressive, especially since the home is set right across the road from the famed Chateau Marmont — which basically means you can get room service brought to your front door!

And most recently, a well-off buyer was charmed by that; the Los Angeles Times reports that the 1920s villa once owned by James Franco sold for $4.65 million ($1.6 million shy of the initial ask, but still considerably more than what Franco paid for the property back in 2010).

If you happen to be from out of town and aren’t quite sure why anyone would wanna live right next to a hotel, know that there’s no end to the crazy stories that take place at the Marmont: from James Dean jumping through a window, to John Belushi overdosing in one of the rooms, F. Scott Fitzgerald having a stroke in front of the hotel or Lindsay Lohan racking up a $46,000 /night bill that she later refused to pay (getting her banned from the hotel), Chateau Marmont has many, many stories to tell. And most often than not, they involve some of Hollywood’s biggest names.

james franco former house chateau marmont
Image credit: The Agency

According to the LA Times, Franco bought the Marmont Lane property in 2006 for $2.325 million and owned the place for four years, selling it in 2010 for $3.3 million. Francis Lawrence, director of three Hunger Games films and last year’s Red Sparrow, is another former owner.

The 1920s home sits on more than a quarter of an acre with a swimming pool, an outdoor dining area and a rooftop deck.

james franco former house chateau marmont
Image credit: The Agency

With 4 bedrooms looking over West Hollywood and the Downtown Los Angeles skyline, the 5,125-square-foot home was built back in 1923, in the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Heavily renovated throughout the years — many updates dating back to the time James Franco lived here — the luxury home has built-in cabinetry, high end finishes, dark-stained floors, and wood-beamed ceilings throughout.

james franco former house chateau marmont
Image credit: The Agency
james franco former house chateau marmont
Image credit: The Agency

Don’t miss: Take a Tour of Tom Brady’s Custom-Built Home in Brookline, Massachusetts

james franco former house chateau marmont
Image credit: The Agency
james franco former house chateau marmont
Image credit: The Agency
james franco former house chateau marmont
Image credit: The Agency

SEE ALSO: You Can Book Tony Stark’s ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Cabin on Airbnb for $1,000/Night

james franco former house chateau marmont
Image credit: The Agency
james franco former house chateau marmont
Image credit: The Agency

The outdoor spaces are surrounded by expertly manicured grounds and mature trees. There is also a walled swimming pool to keep… celebrities from spying you, I guess??

james franco former house chateau marmont
Image credit: The Agency
james franco former house chateau marmont
Image credit: The Agency
james franco former house chateau marmont
Image credit: The Agency

The Agency held the listing, with founders Mauricio Umansky, Farrah Brittany, and Eduardo Umansky representing the seller — a suitable all-star team for a timeless Hollywood gem. According to the recent press coverage, Marcie Hartley of Hilton & Hyland represented the buyer, whose identity has not been released to the media.

More celebrity homes

Alicia Keys Says We “Can’t Go to Her House”, So Here’s the Next Best ThingEverything We Know about Trevor Noah’s Apartment — the New Set of the Daily ShowTake a Tour of Lenny Kravitz’s House, a Massive 1,000-acre Farm Compound in Brazil
Queen Frontman Adam Lambert Re-Lists Hollywood Hills Home for $3.35 Million

Source: fancypantshomes.com

7 Carpet Cleaning Hacks You Haven’t Tried Yet

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Carpet Cleaning Hacks For Your Apartment | DIY Carpet Cleaning Tips

While hardwood and wood-style flooring continue to gain popularity in the world of apartment rentals, plenty of landlords and property management companies continue to use wall-to-wall carpeting in their rentals.  No matter what your preference, there are, in fact, some benefits that come with carpeted flooring.  From sound dampening to comfort for bare feet, carpet still has a lot to offer and is much easier to maintain with minimal wear & tear with a few great cleaning hacks.  Whether you live with wall-to-wall carpeting or choose to cozy things up with rugs, check out our carpet cleaning hacks to help keep them looking their best.

Use a lint roller to help extract small debris

Sometimes, suction from a regular household cleaner is just not enough to help you get rid of all the dirt, crumbs, pet hair, spills (i.e. flour, sugar, rice or etc), or the many other tiny particles nested in the fiber of your carpeting.

Truth is, that’s normal. The experts at Fantastic Cleaners say that regular steam (or dry chem) cleaning at least once every 6 months is a mandatory chore for any conscientious homeowner or renter. High-end steam cleaners and dry compound solutions remove up to 95% of the unsanitary agents in both carpets and rugs, unlike regular vacuums.

A great way to extract pesky particles DIY is by using an almighty lint roller! The one downside of using one to further extract fiber-stuck dirt is the need of some manpower. On average, you’ll need anywhere between 5 and 15 minutes to cover a fully carpeted room.

Use a squeegee to remove pet hair from carpets

Have you ever seen what happens to a carpet in a house full of cats? How about dogs? Either way, you can surely imagine the excessive amount of hair pets leave behind as they shed.  What doesn’t stick to furnishing and upholstery will inevitably end up on the carpet.

Bear in mind: This works best for short-haired carpets and rugs.

Squeegees might be meant for cleaning your windows but their efficiency with hair removal is a know-how must for pet-owners! All you have to do is rinse the squeegee so it’s moist enough for pet hair to stick. To maintain a clean carpet when living with pets can be a hefty task, but some know-how, discipline, and persistence is the one sure way to success.  

Apply heat to help remove stubborn stains

Although there are some stains that are not susceptible to removal via heat, most are. The challenge of removing a stubborn smear has pushed human creativity and ingenuity to the maximum.

You can find many different recipes for removing stains via ironing but the one we have comes in 5 simple steps:

  • Remove all dirt possible vie regular vacuum cleaning;
  • Mix water and vinegar 3:1 and pre-treat all stubborn stains;
  • Leave the mixture to set in and work. 5 to 10 minutes should be enough;
  • Use a towel or a rag to cover the stain;
  • Gently iron the area, being mindful to move quickly to avoid damaging the carpet fiber.

The combined forces of water, vinegar, pressure, and heat causes most stains to “relocate” from your carpet to the rag or towel.

Blot a stain rather than rubbing it

We rub one too many things in our daily life – washing silver and dinnerware, brushing our teeth, washing our face in the morning, all the way to wiping smudges off your shoes and etc. Rubbing something to clean it is an instinctual reaction, but when it comes to cleaning a carpet – rubbing is a huge no-no.

Here’s why: When applying pressure to your carpet will only worsen the situation. The more you rub the deeper a stain will set in. Once fiber and dirt spots bound for good – cleaning could render impossible.

Always mind what direction you blot at:

  • Start at the outer edges of the stain, working your way in toward the center.  Working outward could further spread the stain.
  • Mind the arrangement of fibers. You would not want to blot the opposite way, for it could further damage the piece.

Deep clean using safe and effective DIY solutions

The market is oversaturated with products meant for people who own gear for deep cleaning a carpet, but unfortunately, most detergents are heavy on chemicals and pose health hazard risks to you and your family.

If you’re looking for an eco-friendly and nature-safe solution for your steam cleaner, here’s a green recipe you should definitely try:

What you’ll need:

  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • White vinegar
  • Essential oils
  • Dish soap
  • A regular fabric softener
  • Hot water

Directions:

  • Pour about 3/4 cup of hydrogen peroxide in a cup;
  • Add ¼ cup of white vinegar;
  • Add 2 tablespoons of dish soap;
  • Add 2 tbsp of fabric softener;
  • Dilute in a gallon of hot water.
  • Optional: add a few drops of your favorite (colorless) essential oil, such as lavender, to help neutralize the vinegar scent

Although not always as powerful as off-the-shelf carpet shampooers, this DIY deep cleaning solution is relatively inexpensive and harmless when diluted in this way.

Shampoo your carpet with shaving cream

Bright and light colored carpets are vulnerable to signs of wear and tear.  Naturally neutral colors can easily become a victim of accidents, mud marks, and kid and pet stains.

An efficient yet lesser known cleaning solution is the hack of using regular shaving cream! It’s budget friendly and can work wonders. It not only helps with aged stains but rejuvenates and freshens the entire fabric of your carpet!

Some call shaving cream “the anti-aging solution”. It not only leaves a pleasant aroma but softens the fabric itself.

Make a DIY carpet deodorizer

Deodorizing your carpet on a regular basis can help maintain a pleasant smelling apartment and is rather simple to do. Simply mix a tablespoon or two of Borax with a few drops of your essential oil of your choice, then add the mixture to a cup or two of baking soda and your DIY deodorizer is good to go.  Simply sprinkle liberally and evenly on your carpet and let the mixture sit for at least 10 minutes and up to an hour or two, then vacuum it all up and take a deep breath!  Take care to keep any children or pets out of the room while the mixture works its magic – while these ingredients are relatively safe and natural, you want to avoid ingestion and the spreading of the mixture beyond the intended treatment area. 

Carpets are simply a must but cleaning can be a hefty burden. Surrounded by numerous chemical-rich products, we often ask for eco-friendly cleaning hacks to do so. Use these handy carpet cleaning hacks to handle stains and dirt-mark spots in an efficient, cost-effective and eco-friendly way!

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Source: blog.apartminty.com

How to Find Move-In Ready Apartments

Sometimes life takes an unexpected turn, and you find yourself in need of an apartment, right now. Within the U.S. alone, almost 7.3 million people were displaced by natural disasters alone over the last 10 years.

When events happen that are out of your control, the ability to search quickly and easily for available places to live in your area is essential.

How we’re helping renters find an apartment fast

Apartment Guide, and our sister brand Rent.com, understand the struggle that people who have been displaced are facing in these circumstances. There’s nothing more important than finding a safe place to live for you and your family. So we’re making it easier for renters to identify apartment communities with immediate move-in ready housing.

If a natural disaster (hurricane, flood, tornado, winter weather, etc.) displaces residents, we’ll put messaging on the property pages of our websites to let renters know that these communities have available units right now.

Messages will look like this example after the Texas ice storm in February 2021:

apartment guide screen shot to find move in ready apartmentsapartment guide screen shot to find move in ready apartments

The messaging will vary depending on the situation, but you’ll be able to easily see if your desired property has any availability. You might even be able to take advantage of move-in specials, depending on the length of the lease you want.

What this means for renters

Apartment availability will always vary from property to property.

In your search, you might find a community in which you’d love to live, but then discover all of the units are currently full or uninhabitable because of the storm. In this case, the earliest availability might not be until the beginning of the new month after another tenant’s lease has expired. Depending on when you are searching, that could be only a few days or a few weeks, but neither options are favorable when you need something right now.

This new messaging helps you save time in your apartment search by showing you right at the top of the property’s page on Apartment Guide or Rent.com if there are immediate openings.

Then you can take the necessary steps to contact that property to discuss your options.

Other tips for finding an apartment fast

While the move-in-ready housing messages will help renters locate properties with availability, it’s not the only way to find apartments quickly.

Here are a few other things that renters can do to find an apartment fast.

1. Be prepared

Although you may not have all your essentials within reach during this time, there are a few important documents you should have ready to ensure a faster process if you find the perfect place. Especially if you end up in a market that’s saturated with other renters undergoing your same experience, speeding up your rental application review is a definite plus.

Make sure you bring the same set of documents to each apartment viewing or have them ready to email to a property manager at a moment’s notice. You’ll want to have:

  • Proof of employment: This is either the last few months of pay stubs, a letter from your employer or your most recent tax return.
  • Proof of finances: Pay stubs and a recent bank statement can work together here.
  • Veterinary records (if you have a pet): Your future property manager will need proof of vaccinations before you’re allowed to have a pet.
  • Proof you’re ready to rent (if applicable): Share documentation from your previous property manager that explains why you can no longer live there and confirms you’ve been let out of your previous lease.
  • Proof of your situation: It never hurts to provide a letter documenting your situation so that a property manager gets a complete picture of you as a renter and your circumstances.

One other document you can bring with you to really speed up the review of your rental application is a credit report. Although this is something a property manager can access themselves, handing it over at the moment saves a lot of time.

2. Know what you’re looking for

The ideal way to search for apartments is online. At Apartment Guide, we allow you to narrow down your search criteria to improve the results. We’ll help you get into the neighborhoods you want, and only show the listings that align with your wish list of amenities.

Find exactly what you want with True Search

The easiest way to get started is simply using the True Search functionality on our website.

Looking for a one-bedroom apartment in Atlanta that allows dogs and is near public transportation? Simply type that in the search bar and boom, you’ll see all one-bedroom apartments in Atlanta that allow dogs and are near public transportation.

How about a studio apartment in Houston for under $1,000 that has stainless steel appliances? Same thing.

True Search can help you save time so you can find your move-in ready apartment even faster.

Use filters to your advantage

If you’d rather do it the old-fashioned way, you can still use manual filters to help in your search. To find the filters on your mobile device, click on the Filters button in the upper right of your screen. You’ll then be able to select your custom search filters.

apartment guide screenshot to filter to find an apartment fastapartment guide screenshot to filter to find an apartment fast

To best narrow down your results, it’s important to filter your search in as many areas as possible.

  • Set your price range first and be realistic.
  • Pick your preferred bedrooms and bathrooms.
  • Click on the pet-friendly filter if you’re bringing an animal with you.
  • If in-unit laundry is a die-hard amenity for you, make that selection. Skip this option if not, and you’ll get more results.
  • Click on your ideal list of extra amenities, but be selective and pick only the top choices. You’re in a hurry after all, and it helps to find areas where you could compromise.
  • Make sure results are set to sort by best match.

From there, you can click on the heart icon (if you’re signed in) to save searches you like and keep a comprehensive list.

At the same time you’re clicking on the hearts though, give the listings a call to inquire about availability. Don’t fill out the form online if you’re looking for immediate results.

3. Go on virtual tours

When you can, tour an apartment community in person. But, if you want to find an apartment fast, virtual tours will be a quicker option.

Most communities on our website give you the following virtual tour options:

  • 3D tours and videos: Use interactive 3D features to virtually explore a unit at your own pace.
  • Recorded video tours: Watch a prerecorded video tour of a leasing agent walking through the unit.
  • Live video tours: FaceTime or Zoom with a leasing agent who will walk you through the unit and grounds. This option gives you the ability to ask questions in real-time.

You’ll be able to find the virtual tour options under the Tour From Home section of the property page on our website.

4. Shop the specials

It’s also beneficial to look for specials when you’re trying to find an apartment fast. From free rent to heavy discounts, each dollar you can keep will help with the additional expenses of relocating and replacing your possessions.

This is easy to do when you search with Apartment Guide. Look for the filter called Hot Deals. Adding this to your search criteria prioritizes rentals with special offers. When clicking on a listing with a Hot Deals tag, you’ll see the specifics of the special right at the top.

apartment guide screenshot to find hot deals on a move in ready apartmentapartment guide screenshot to find hot deals on a move in ready apartment

Make sure to mention the deal when you call the property manager. Let them know where you saw it, and ensure that it’s still available should you come in to sign a lease.

Find your move-in ready apartment today

Helping renters find their move-in-ready apartment is what Apartment Guide is all about. We’re here for you, with a comprehensive search, whether you’re in a rush to find an apartment fast or can take your time. Either way, we understand the importance of having a home that works for you on all levels.

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Source: apartmentguide.com

Is Marie Kondo Killing Collecting?

How many of you are watching the new Marie Kondo show on Netflix? All of you? I suspected. Me too. And while I’m frantically trying to teach myself the Konmari folding method and I’m definitely motivated to purge every room in the house – I’m also curious, is all this minimizing going to kill the art of collecting?

Is Marie Kondo Killing Collecting? on apartment 34Is Marie Kondo Killing Collecting? on apartment 34

While I’m all for minimalism, there is something so compelling about a well curated collection. Now as a kid, I collected cows and anything in a sunflower motif. I’m thrilled I was able to let those collections go by the wayside a long time ago. But ceramics. Glassware. Vases. When artfully collected and displayed a mass of like objects can add such personality to a home.

While I fully agree we should consume less, buy less, what about pursuing personal passions? Sometimes blue glass just speaks to you and you need every piece you see.There’s also something to be said for simply indulging an irrational love. Be it vintage French porcelain. Or all things black. Charcoal drawings. Antique books. Whatever your vice might be, I would argue that there isn’t harm and actually amazing design value in hoarding with abandon. Ok, maybe not hoarding but you know what I mean.

So if you have a a type of objet that sparks joy no matter if you have one, or 1,000 I say keep going. Collect those things that make you smile every time you look at them – and be sure to share that love with everyone who walks in your house.

Is Marie Kondo Killing Collecting? on apartment 34Is Marie Kondo Killing Collecting? on apartment 34Is Marie Kondo Killing Collecting? on apartment 34Is Marie Kondo Killing Collecting? on apartment 34Is Marie Kondo Killing Collecting? on apartment 34Is Marie Kondo Killing Collecting? on apartment 34

For more examples of amazing collections, check out my Display & Storage Pinterest board HERE.

For more design ideas, CLICK HERE.

And I’m curious – do you collect and display things? If so, what??

images 1, 2, 4, 10 nicole franzen / 3 tess neustadt / 5 apt34 / 6 pinterest / 7 tumblr / 8 sfgirlbybay / 9 architectural digest / 11 pinterest

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Source: apartment34.com

The Difference Between Tornado Watches and Warnings

Tornadoes are scary to think about. We don’t have any control over when they occur or how much damage they cause. While we can’t stop them from impacting our towns and homes, we can control our reactions and be prepared for extreme conditions. It’s important to educate yourself on tornado safety to at least keep yourself from being hurt if a tornado does come along.

Tornadoes can happen everywhere

There are certain states that are more prone to tornadoes than others. This area of the country is known as Tornado Alley and generally covers the Great Plains from South Dakota down to Texas.

tornado alley maptornado alley map

Source: Accuweather

However, there are other areas of the country that tend to see more tornadoes than average. Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia — an area referred to as Dixie Alley — are at risk of severe storms in the Spring. Tornadoes are also common in Florida during hurricane season when those storms make landfall. In fact, tornadoes have been reported in all 50 states.

So, even if you don’t live in one of the most tornado-prone areas, you should familiarize yourself with the difference between a tornado watch and warning. For good measure, you should also know what a PDS watch and tornado emergency are.

Tornado watch

When there’s a watch, it means you need to start preparing. A tornado hasn’t been spotted yet, but one could develop in your area over the next few hours.

Watch the weather conditions and notice changes in the clouds and wind speeds. Common signs that a tornado might be coming are dark, low clouds that are either rotating or have a green or orange tint, large hailstones and winds that are loud and sound like a freight train.

Keep up with your local news and weather stations for updates on conditions. A watch can be issued hours before a tornado shows up, so make good use of the time you’re given to prepare. Make sure you have a 72-hour kit and keep it somewhere accessible. Go over your emergency plan and know where you can take shelter if needed, such as a basement or lower floor in your apartment building or any other building with a solid foundation.

Particularly dangerous situation (PDS) tornado watch

While any tornado is dangerous and should be taken seriously, a particularly dangerous situation (PDS) watch is issued when it’s believed that violent tornadoes or an outbreak are likely in your area.

These watches are rare but should be taken very seriously. If a PDS watch is issued in your area, you need to think about changing plans so you’re near a secure place should bad weather approach.

Tornado warning

If a warning has been issued, that means a tornado was picked up by radar or was spotted visually. Tornadoes can form quickly and, unlike a watch, a warning can be issued with just minutes to spare.

In fact, the average warning time is only 13 minutes before the storm reaches you. This means it’s time to take action in order to keep yourself safe.

The first thing you should do is take shelter right away. Get out of any car or mobile home, if possible, and into a sturdy building. Most deaths and injuries that result from tornadoes are caused by flying debris, so you need to get into a safe, closed space where your chances of being hit by flying objects are reduced.

Don’t think you can drive faster than a tornado — you can’t. Go to the nearest secure house or building and stay on the lowest level possible. If you’re outside and not near a stable building, find a ditch or lower ground, lie face-down and cover your head with your hands.

Remember, tornado warnings can be issued even if a watch hasn’t been, so pay attention to changing weather conditions and take any alerts seriously.

Tornado emergency

If a tornado has already formed, it can begin to pick up speed, become larger and ultimately, be more destructive. Most of the time, tornadoes form over rural areas, but big tornadoes can stay on the ground for hours and might approach more populated areas. In this case, a tornado emergency tells people in its path that a dangerous storm is heading their way and they need to act without delay.

preparing for a tornadopreparing for a tornado

Preparing for weather

Always be alert and proactive to keep yourself safe from any type of natural disaster. Watch or read the local news to stay up-to-date on weather conditions and make sure you have an emergency plan in place. Prepare a 72-hour kit and keep a small supply of food storage on hand at all times — you can never be too prepared for a serious situation.

You never know when a tornado, or any disaster, will strike, but if you’re prepared, you’ll be much better off than if not!

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Source: apartmentguide.com

What is a Clubhouse?

You’re paying for the amenities, so you might as well take advantage of them.

A clubhouse is most commonly known as a central building used for club activities. Depending on the type of apartment complex or neighborhood that you live in, the amenities offered by the association may be different.

For example, one of the most common amenities that a complex’s clubhouse offers is a gym. A gym is a great amenity to take advantage of, especially if it’s going to save you time and money by freeing you from a monthly gym membership payment.

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Other clubhouse activities

Other common amenities offered by an association’s clubhouse include locker rooms, conference rooms and event spaces. Some clubhouses even have game rooms and babysitting centers.

Nearby your association’s clubhouse is often the association’s pool and possibly tennis court and basketball courts, among other things.

Pros of a clubhouse

  • An easy way to gather with other community members
  • Great way to enjoy playing different sports or throwing parties for events
  • A central hub to socialize
  • Included in your rent

Cons of a clubhouse

  • You may not want to participate in any of the clubhouse activities
  • A portion of your rent is used to pay for upkeep
  • Not all apartments offer the same clubhouse features

The overall consensus

Use your clubhouse if you have one! It’s a great way to gather with friends and family, and it’s all yours to use.

Hang out by the pool, grill some food, or take advantage of the gym. If you have a clubhouse, you might as well take advantage of it.

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Is Bleach or Vinegar Better to Get Rid of Mold?

Mold is a fungus that grows in a wet or damp environment. It reproduces and forms ugly black spots on your tile grout or your shower curtain. When left untreated, it gradually destroys the look, smell and structural integrity of your home.

Mold can cause health problems, too, such as allergic reactions and even asthma or lung infections. By keeping surfaces dry and clean, you’ll prevent damage to your home, save money and avoid potential health problems.

So, how do you kill and remove mold in your home? Clean with the right products like bleach and vinegar. They can both kill mold, so which is best?

Bleach

Bleach is a popular cleaner because it’s powerful and leaves a surface looking clean and bright. Yet, using bleach is only effective on mold that’s growing on non-porous materials, such as tile and glass. Bleach can’t penetrate mold that’s growing on surfaces like concrete, wood, drywall and unsealed tile.

Unfortunately, using bleach on some materials kills the mold above the surface but the mold continues to grow underneath, which can cause it to return and grow faster. Another disadvantage of bleach is that it can damage the materials it’s used on as it is a harsh and toxic chemical.

For killing mold with bleach, use a ratio of one cup of bleach per gallon of water. Never mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners, as it will produce dangerous, toxic fumes. Wear rubber gloves and safety goggles to protect your skin and eyes. Open windows and doors to ventilate the room.

Although the active ingredient in bleach, sodium hypochlorite, is the main ingredient in many mold removal products, there’s a non-toxic alternative — vinegar.

Vinegar

Vinegar is a mild acid that’s effective for killing mold and can actually help prevent future mold growth. While not as strong as bleach, you can use vinegar to clean porous surfaces like concrete, wood, drywall and unsealed tile.

Don’t use vinegar to clean marble or granite because it can eat away at the surface and cause discoloration. To clean these fragile materials, the Organic Consumers Association suggests using rubbing alcohol or vodka with water.

To clean mold with vinegar, just spray it on the moldy surface and leave it. Repeat this every few days to prevent mold from growing back. Vinegar is a natural all-purpose solution for killing germs and removing odors. Combine it with some orange peels to make your own citrus vinegar cleaning spray and use it to clean everything in your home, from your bathroom to your kitchen counters.

Removing mold from your home

Because of its non-toxic nature, vinegar is usually the best cleaning product to use on mold. If vinegar isn’t strong enough, use bleach and heavily dilute it (about 1 part bleach to 10 parts water).

Cleaning mold with vinegar is safe and effective, but large quantities of mold should be cleaned with specialized equipment. If you have extensive mold growth, call a professional to tackle the job. If you’re renting and find mold in your apartment, contact your landlord immediately, take photos and keep records of any health problems that you encounter.

The CDC provides these suggestions for cleaning up mold in your home:

Chart outlining how to clean mold from your home.Chart outlining how to clean mold from your home.

Source: CDC

Tips for preventing mold growth

The best way to fight mold is to prevent it from growing in the first place. Keep your bathrooms, kitchen, basement, storage rooms and other areas of your home well ventilated. Humidity levels in your home should be no higher than 50 percent. Here are some things you can do to reduce the moisture and keep your home mold-free.

  • Fix leaky faucets, showers or household appliances that use water (dishwashers, refrigerators, water heaters, etc.)
  • Vent bathrooms, clothes dryers and other moisture-generating sources to the outside
  • Use air conditioners and de-humidifiers
  • Use exhaust fans whenever cooking, cleaning and bathing and run ventilation fans for at least 10 minutes after taking a shower or finishing cooking.
  • Fix leaks in your home’s roof or walls. Clean out gutters to prevent leaking.
  • Clean bathrooms and dry completely
  • Remove or replace carpets in rooms like bathrooms or basements that have a lot of moisture
  • Check windows for condensation and keep them clean and dry

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Source: apartmentguide.com

How Do Apartments Verify Income?

Blond girl at computer with phone, looking up how apartments verify rentYou’ve scoured the internet to find the perfect apartment, wowed the socks off your future landlord, and picked the perfect color to accent the cabinets in your new kitchen. All that’s standing in your way is navigating the rental application and all the details it demands, including your income. Many leases, especially with larger apartment complexes, have some sort of income requirement (likely 2 to 3 times your rent). But how do landlords actually verify your income during this crucial process?

In addition to your credit score, renter’s history, and a few other variables, your income is a key component of your candidacy for an apartment. A good rule of thumb is to search for an apartment that costs about 30% of your income. Be careful though – some leases require more than this, or a higher security deposit.

The first thing you can do is be prepared with 3 to 6 months of current pay stubs and/or bank statements. For freelancers, bringing along a few years’ of IRS-approved tax returns is recommended in addition to bank statements. Students should bring their loan disbursement schedule.

Landlords will probably ask you to list your employer’s contact information so they can verify your income and date of hire. They might also run a credit check to gain insight into your financial health. Some landlords work with outside organizations to run employment checks and verify income.

Bottom line? Be honest. Don’t waste you or the landlord’s time if you don’t meet the income requirements up front. Some may be willing to work with you if you don’t, but avoid getting attached to a place if you don’t think you’ll be able to afford it. Tell him or her up front to establish a trusting relationship with your potential future landlord.

Now that you’re in-the-know, you can prepare your information ahead of time to speed up the apartment application and approval process. Find your next apartment on ApartmentSearch.com to get started today!

Source: blog.apartmentsearch.com

Are You Unscorable? – Lexington Law

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The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, act as legal, financial or credit advice. See Lexington Law’s editorial disclosure for more information.

The topic of credit repair is a broad one, and while it mostly focuses on recovering from past mistakes, it can also encompass credit creation.

Consumers who are new to the credit realm are often tagged with the term “unscorable” because the credit bureaus do not have enough information to create a credit file in their name. For example, an unscorable consumer usually falls into all of the following categories:

  • A new adult or American citizen with no credit experience
  • No credit cards
  • No bank account
  • No mortgage or auto loan
  • No personal (or reported) rental, utility, or cable accounts

Even those with previous credit histories can fall off the map if they close all accounts and fail to use credit for more than six months. There are a few things you can do to build your credit file and establish a positive score:

  • Order your credit reports. It’s impossible to know your credit status without contacting the credit bureaus. Every consumer is entitled to free annual copies of their TransUnion, Experian and Equifax credit reports via AnnualCreditRepair.com. Order yours to see where you stand.
  • Assess your accounts. The average consumer isn’t getting the full benefit of “alternative” credit data, also known as unreported data. For example, suppose you rent an apartment, have cell phone service and a cable package, and yet, none of these accounts appear on your credit reports. In general, these types of lenders fail to report histories to the bureaus unless a problem exists, costing you credit score points in the process. Contact your lenders directly to learn more about their policies. A simple request to report could lead to fast and easy credit creation.
  • Open a credit account. The concept of credit can be overwhelming without the right perspective. Rather than viewing credit and debt together, consider using credit as a tool to help you create a positive future. Start slow by opening one of the following accounts:
    • A secured credit card. Consumers with no credit history may find it difficult to get approved for a standard line of credit. Consider applying for a secured credit card first. This type of card requires pre-loading funds before use like a debit card, however, your activity is reported to the bureaus like a regular credit account. Steady use will also allow you to convert the card to standard credit after a period of six months to a year.
    • Personal loan (with a cosigner). Applying for a small personal loan, e.g., a line of credit at the local bank or a federal student loan can help you establish credit with necessary funds and a manageable repayment schedule. Ask a close family member to act as your cosigner and remember that your actions affect their credit health as well. Pay your bill in full and on time to avoid taking advantage of their generosity.
  • Remember the Five Factors. Losing the “unscorable” label takes time, and it’s important to establish healthy habits from the very beginning. Click here to review the Five Factors that determine how your credit is calculated. Understanding the facts is your first priority.

The bottom line: A world of opportunity waits for those who take the right steps. Begin your journey with knowledge and planning; the result will help you achieve the credit score you deserve.

Source: lexingtonlaw.com

Renters: 5 Must-Do Tasks to Handle Before You Move

With these key tasks on your to-do list, your move can be a light lift.

When Barry Blanton moved with his wife from Eugene, OR into a rented unit in a high-rise residential tower in downtown Seattle, he thought he had his bases covered.

He had measured the size of his new living room, and knew that his furniture would fit perfectly. Once the movers got his couch through the new entryway, however, they faced an insurmountable problem: The couch was too big to maneuver past two curves in the hallway.

“It sat in the hallway for a week before my wife rented a van to move it,” says Blanton. “We had to crawl over it to get into the bathroom.”

The fact that Blanton is the principal at Seattle-based property management and development consulting firm Blanton Turner — and has worked in the industry for most of his adult life — only underscores how easy it is for renters to make mistakes when moving.

Measure — then measure again

Despite best planning efforts, such logistical issues are surprisingly common when people are moving familiar belongings into an unfamiliar space, says Blanton.

Knowing the dimensions of a room and the things being moved into it isn’t enough. “Think about the bottlenecks,” Blanton advises. “Not just where something’s going to go, but how it’s going to get there.”

He recalls a situation in which a young man moving into an apartment was able to get his loaded moving truck into a building’s garage, but found that once all his furniture was unloaded, the now-lighter truck was too tall to get back out without hitting overhead ductwork and sprinkler heads (more on this later).

The man and his friends spent hours filling the truck with weights from the property’s exercise room just to lower it enough to safely exit.

Make reservations

When moving into any multi-story building — especially one in a crowded downtown neighborhood — it’s important to make arrangements ahead of time with the building’s management team. More than likely, you’ll need to reserve the elevator.

“This isn’t something you tell them that morning,” warns Blanton. “If you’re moving on a Saturday at the end of the month, there could be four or five other people moving that day.” (Don’t forget to schedule use of the elevator at the building you’re moving from, as well.)

And if you’re bringing a moving pod or parking a moving truck on the street, make sure you have the proper permits. Most multi-family properties will be able to help with this, as will moving companies. “Moving companies do earn their money, especially in an urban environment,” says Blanton.

Document your environment

In the age of ubiquitous technology, it’s easier than ever to take photos of any pre-existing damage in your rental.

Before you get settled, pull out your phone and snap pictures of any damage such as scuffed floors, chipped countertops or bent window blinds — then send the photos to yourself so they’re date-stamped.

It’s easier to refer to the photos at move-out than argue with the building manager about who cracked the Formica and when.

Prepare to clean

When it’s time to move, few renters look forward to the deep cleaning that’s required upon vacating a unit. If you plan to use a cleaning service, Blanton suggest hiring the same company that your building uses — that way there won’t be a gap in expectations.

“There’s nothing worse than spending the entire day cleaning your apartment, then having someone come in and point out all the things you missed,” notes Blanton.

If you want to save money and do it yourself, keep in mind some of the things renters often forget to clean: window tracks, underneath the stovetop burner pans, beneath the crisper drawers in the fridge, the rim around the dishwasher door, and behind the toilet.

Stay insured

Most renters know that protecting their property with renters insurance is important, but many forget to update their policy when they move to a new residence.

Renters insurance doesn’t just protect your belongings, it also covers damage you may inadvertently do to the building itself.

Remember that overhead sprinkler mentioned earlier? Accidentally breaking that off with a moving truck could cause flooding — and a great deal of damage. Depending on the building’s insurance policy — and temperament of the manager — you could be on the hook for the building’s insurance deductible, if not more.

Contact your insurance company before you move. It’s an easy call to make, and it could help you avoid costly penalties later.

Get more advice about renting in our Renters Guide.

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Source: zillow.com