Pros and Cons of Tiny House Living

Smiling man leaning on orange camper van.Are you in the process of looking for a new home? Whether you live alone or you’re relocating with your roommates, you’re probably weighing all of your housing options. Houses and apartments are the two obvious choices, but have you considered tiny houses?

Tiny houses are a relatively modern type of housing that’s gained significant popularity over the past few years. These small-but-mighty homes vary in terms of style, amenities, mobility options, and more! Are you curious about what it’s like to live in one of these charming abodes long-term? Here are the pros and cons of tiny house living.

The Pros of Tiny House Living

In addition to being aesthetically adorable, there are many pros to tiny house living, which can explain their boom in popularity.

Most notably, tiny houses are incredibly affordable in comparison to their “normal-sized” counterparts. They cost much less money and time to build and are typically designed to be highly energy-efficient. Depending on the total cost, tiny home dwellers are often able to skip paying a mortgage altogether. All of these subpoints make tiny houses an especially great option for first-time homeowners.

Additionally, tiny house living can span beyond miniature houses. Converted vans, refurbished buses, and trailers also count! With all of these different options, portability is a big advantage. Choosing the tiny house life allows you to enjoy unconventional freedoms, such as a nomadic lifestyle, going off-the-grid for extended periods, and traveling without pricey hotel bills.

The Cons of Tiny House Living

Although tiny houses have their fair share of perks, it takes a specific personality and lifestyle to thrive under this type of living arrangement. Consider if you’re willing and able to deal with these cons.
Living in a tiny home can cause you to encounter issues that apartments and larger homes manage to avoid. For instance, sub-par plumbing is a known problem with this type of living arrangement. If a tiny house is calling to you, make sure you can handle a composting toilet first. This kind of living experience is not for everyone.

What’s more, tiny homeowners aren’t awarded the luxury of having a landlord, HOA, or dedicated property management company to help with routine maintenance and repairs. Although it’s nice to have ownership of your place, this means more work on your part when something needs to be fixed.

Most obviously, tiny homes are significantly lacking in space. This typically isn’t an issue for those living alone or practicing a minimalist lifestyle; however, that’s where the buck stops. Tiny houses aren’t well equipped to handle large families or excessive storage and can feel quite confining to some.

The Happy Medium

As you can see, tiny houses are an enjoyable and affordable option — but they often come at a cost. If low-maintenance living is what you’re looking for, you’re better off finding an apartment that perfectly suits your needs.

By using our apartment lookup tool, you can find all the things you love about tiny homes in an apartment of your dreams. You don’t have to live in a small house to reside in an on-trend space! By searching short-term apartment rentals on ApartmentSearch.com, you can enjoy the same freedoms that tiny home living brings. Plus, with our referral reward, you can easily claim a $100 cash + $100 CORT bucks to spend on your furniture rental package!

ApartmentSearch.com does all of the tedious work for you by gathering all of your worthy options in one place. Whether you’re looking for a studio apartment, a one-bedroom, or a space with multiple bedrooms, ApartmentSearch.com will help you pick out your ideal living situation.

Source: blog.apartmentsearch.com

Wants vs. Needs: Which Apartment Amenities are Essential

When you begin apartment hunting, a wish list starts to form in your head. Comprised of all the things you think you want and what you really need, this list can get long, but what do you actually have to have versus what you can do without?

Think about it like this, you want a big kitchen, but you need two bedrooms. You want in-apartment laundry hookups, but you need easy access to public transportation for work. Getting all the wants and needs on your wish list while staying within your budget sometimes presents a challenge.

In fact, 74 percent of renters typically make a sacrifice in amenities in order to rent what they can actually afford. Deciding what to knock off your wish list can be tough. Everything can feel like a “need” when most items are simply “wants.” Here’s a little help deciphering between the two.

Let’s start with the wants

Think of these wishlist items as things it would be great to have, but aren’t a must for you to function.

Aesthetics

These are items that help to create the look you want in your new place. Things like hardwood floors, granite countertops and stainless steel appliances all fit into this category. They’d be great to have, but you could always upgrade later.

Technology

As something we all use every day, having an updated apartment with features like USB charging outlets or app-controlled door locks or thermostats may have made it to your wish list. These are great wants and something you can ask a landlord to consider adding after you’ve signed a lease if they’re not there from the start.

However, access to technology – like internet and cable – is a need.

Outdoor space

Often a popular “want” on the wish list, finding an apartment with either a balcony, shared green space, garden area or rooftop access adds space and luxury to your home, but how often will you really use it?

Appliances

Of course, you’ll need a refrigerator, stove and oven. But other appliances might be more of a want.

If there’s not a washer/dryer in your unit, or hookups to add you own, is there a laundry room in the building? It’s a little less convenient, but not necessarily a deal breaker. Same can be said for central air. A window unit will work just fine.

Services

Looking at these as bonus items for your wish list can help you cross them off if your perfect place is lacking in amenities like a fitness center, pool, concierge or even a shuttle to public transportation.

Now onto the needs

Needs vary from person to person, but there are standard items most people require in their home.

Location

Sure, you may want to live in a specific area of town because you like the vibe and what’s close by. However, you need to live in a certain neighborhood in order to get to work easily or be in the right school district.

Parking

You’ve got to put that car somewhere. While you need a spot, try being flexible on whether it’s a covered spot, one in a garage or out in the open.

Pet-friendly

There’s no way you’re getting rid of Fido. So, if you have a pet, you’ll need to find pet-friendly apartments to bring your animals with you.

We all make compromises when on the hunt for our next home, but knowing what you really need in your new place versus what you’d like to have can make the search easier and less stressful.

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What to Ask When Hunting for a Handicapped-Accessible Apartment

Young man in wheelchair unloading the dishwasher in his handicapped-accessible apartmentFinding an apartment that’s handicapped accessible can be challenging, especially if you’re unable to visit the apartment you’re considering. With the right resources and questions, though, you can do it! Of the 56.7 million Americans who have some type of disability, more than 30 million of those require a wheelchair. You’re not the only one out there asking questions about handicapped accessibility, and we’re here to help!

Start Digital: Ask Questions Online

By searching for apartments on websites like ApartmentSearch.com, you can narrow the results to view only apartments that meet certain needs. There’s nothing worse than falling in love with an apartment’s beautiful cherry floors, country-chic kitchen, and gorgeous view, only to find out that the building is too old to have an elevator! Keep things simple and save yourself time by narrowing the selection online. For instance, you can modify search requirements to answer questions like:

Is the apartment wheelchair accessible?
Are roll-in showers available?
Does the apartment building have an elevator?
Does the building offer covered parking?

Get Personal: Ask Questions Over the Phone

If you’re unable to get your questions answered online, pick up the phone! Over 30 million people (10 percent of the population) have a severe disability of some type, so apartment managers should be accustomed to hearing questions like these. While every disability is different, here are some basic questions to get your wheels turning in the right direction. Once you’ve found an apartment that covers your basic needs, you ask secondary questions like:

Where is the thermostat located? Is it low enough for those in wheelchairs to reach?
Do waste services accommodate handicapped tenants?
How wide are the apartment’s door frames?
Where are units located in relation to the laundry facilities?
Can you connect me with residents in other handicap accessible units?

In addition to asking yes-or-no questions, ask open-ended questions. For example, you might ask, “What other challenges could this apartment pose for a person with a handicap?” This type of question helps you cover more ground. Asking open-ended questions could bring up important issues that you, or the landlord, had not previously considered.

Get Local: Ask Questions About the Area

Inquire about the general area around the apartment, too. Start with the apartment complex’s immediate surroundings. For example, if you need public transportation, you may want to ask the apartment manager questions like, “What kind of access do tenants have to public transportation?” Follow up with other questions like:

What are the sidewalks like? Are they well-maintained?
How far away is the nearest grocery store?
What is the terrain around the apartment like? Are there any gravel pathways?

Asking questions like this could help ensure your safety and in the long run, help you enjoy your apartment complex! If your surroundings are conducive to your lifestyle, you may be well on your way to finding a great apartment.

Get Legal: Know Your Rights

Whether you ask questions online or over the phone (even in person), don’t be afraid to bring up your disability. It’s against the law for apartment managers or owners to treat disabled persons differently with regard to renting an apartment.

Under the Fair Housing Act, managers are not permitted to discriminate based upon disability. Plus, this Act requires all “covered multifamily dwellings” designed and constructed for first occupancy after March 13, 1991 to be accessible to and usable by people with disabilities. Check out the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s list of FAQs for more information about the requirements outlined in the Fair Housing Act.

Handicapped individuals have the same right to rent an apartment as everyone else. You don’t have to be afraid to ask questions about handicapped accessibility for fear of discrimination. Ask away!

Get Started! Begin Your Search Today

As you start your search, visit ApartmentSearch.com and look for handicapped-accessible apartments. Our site may help you find the perfect apartment from the get-go. Visit ApartmentSearch.com, type in your location, and click Enter. You’ll be presented with a list of apartments in that city. Then, refine your search by clicking on the arrow under “Advanced” in the upper, right hand side of the screen. You can refine your search by apartments that are wheelchair accessible, have a roll-in shower, or a number of many other amenities. Start your search today!

Source: blog.apartmentsearch.com

Why Paying More for Rent Can Be a Good Thing

Why Paying More for Rent Can Be a Good Thing - Couple Paying RentWe have all heard the stories on the news about how apartment rent is continuing to rise to near-historic rates. As America takes it last few steps to full recovery from the economic challenges that plagued the nation a few years ago, a new discussion has emerged. This one has very little to do with bank interest rates or mortgage qualifications. The new discussion is about value and how we perceive it, and it seems that each generation – stereotypically speaking – has its own take on it. This is especially true when it comes to how and where we choose to live.

Baby Boomers

Typically, retiring baby boomers have a variety of options when it comes to the value they have in housing. Many have been homeowners for years and now that they are retiring empty nesters, they’re looking to downsize.

However, they may not want to be locked into a burdensome mortgage that forces them to stay put. A desire to travel, a yearning to connect to family that may be spread across the country, and being on a quest for active retirement are leading downsizing baby boomers to look to multi-family solutions. The offerings of luxury apartment communities allow for amenity-rich lifestyles, while offering them the flexibility to always be on-the-go!

Gen X

Replacing many of the retiring baby boomers in the C-Suite is Gen X. They were some of the hardest hit by the economic downturn: many invested everything they had into the housing market right before the crash. As they recover, those who have called apartment living home for the past few years may be hesitant – or unable – to return to the financial trappings of home ownership. As they continue to grow their careers, they seek executive positions that could take them across the country. This period of growth and transition comes with the desire to live in a better apartment that meets their location and lifestyle needs.

Millennials

The children of the baby boomers are the most influential generation to date. They watched their parents struggle with home ownership for a number of reasons, whether it was due to the economy, divorce, or job changes. They also likely watched their neighbors struggle to maintain more house than they could afford.

As it turns out, Millennials would rather spend money on experiences than on housing. Apartments – especially micro-apartments – are perfect for them.  Less space means a lower rental rate, and they’re OK with both. For many Millennials, this will be their first apartment and the first time that they are fully independent of their parents. By saving money and making due with less stuff, they have the ability to afford the experiences they seek while still maintaining their independence.

Gen Z

What will the future hold for today’s college and high school students that will soon follow in Millennials’ footsteps? As technology becomes more abundant, will they move into apartments with greater automation? Will they choose to remain in a communal living space and move into the “adult dorms” that are beginning to pop up across the U.S. as the next trendy apartment option? During their time in student housing, they will surely be exposed to a multitude of apartments for rent that are filled with luxurious and cutting-edge amenities. Will they seek space, location, luxury or something else when the venture out on their own? Whatever the case, their hard-earned money will go to the apartment they say is right for their lifestyle – and their budget.

If you are looking for apartments for rent that fit you and your budget, look no further than www.apartmentsearch.com. Our national database can match you to the apartment you’ve been looking for, plus help you find the best value for your hard-earned dollar. To learn more about how ApartmentSearch can help you find your next apartment home, visit www.apartmentsearch.com today.

Source: blog.apartmentsearch.com

Technology Revolution Calls Multi-Family Home

Speaker at Optech conferenceOne of the great proving grounds for technology lies within the apartment industry. In an effort to offer greater amenities for their residents, while staying one step ahead of the local competition, property management companies have been on the forefront of lifestyle-based technology. And, as society’s craving for technological offerings have steadily increased along with the preference for the apartment lifestyle, apartment communities that do not evolve with the times are doomed to fall into obscurity within their marketplace. This week, apartment industry professional meet for the annual Optech Conference to focus on the present and future of the technology that proliferates today’s apartment communities. Here are a few of the exciting new developments they will discuss:

Smart Technology in Apartments

The news today is frequented with discussions of the Internet of Things and the evolution of smart technology around the home. The smart phones that are in the hands of two-thirds of Americans have initiated a new era in connectivity, and that technology is having a profound impact on people who enjoy the apartment lifestyle. Keyless entry via smartphone and appliances that send alerts to your phone are just a few of the technology items that were once considered sci-fi, but are now becoming mainstream amenities. Amazon Dash Buttons, smart lightbulbs, and countertops that can wirelessly charge digital devices are also prolific. As smart technology continues to evolve into the centerpiece of household life, you are sure to see more technology available – both inside your apartment and inside your apartment community’s office.

Package Delivery to Apartments

The increased technology available to apartment management teams has done much more than enabled maintenance teams to complete your requests faster and create a world where rent can be paid online. Property management teams are becoming almost extensions of the family with their increased ability to assist renters in a variety of ways. One in particular that has come under scrutiny recently is the ability for community staff to accept package delivery on a resident’s behalf. In the past, that was a no-brainer for delivery companies such as UPS and FedEx. Packages were to be delivered at the community office in order to guarantee safety against weather and possible theft.

However, the significant increases in package delivery – thanks to more of us buying products online – have caused some communities to discontinue this policy in favor of other alternatives. However, technologically-advanced solutions are available for management teams to make sure your package deliveries still successfully arrive in your hands. Package notification systems can send text and email alerts about a parcel’s arrival. In some communities, package lockers take the place of leasing office storage for deliveries. In either case, tomorrow’s technology is available today for apartment communities, to help ensure you get your deliveries in time for the holidays.

Digital Connectivity for Apartments

Two things that are essential to modern apartment life are quality cellular connectivity and access to high speed internet. The challenges to find both of these are not new to apartment shoppers. Many communities have begun to add cell signal booster stations to buildings and are partnering with service providers to increase internet speeds. Instead of free premium internet offered in solely common area, many communities are offering it throughout the entire community. Google Fiber, AT&T GigaPower and other such services are bringing internet speeds to new heights, to ensure that you will always be connected.

As you shop for your next apartment, the technology that is important to you is available at many apartments in your city. All the things you want and need for your lifestyle can be found when you search for your next apartment using www.apartmentsearch.com. Sort by amenity, location and price and, when you find the apartment of your dreams, be sure to tell them how you found the community. When you mention ApartmentSearch, you can earn up to $200 in rewards. That bonus goes a long way to help you get ready for the holiday shopping season.

Source: blog.apartmentsearch.com

Finding New Cities and New Apartments in 2016

AS_NewCitiesNewYear2016 is right around the corner, ringing in a wealth of new opportunities for everyone in America and abroad. As the job market continues to grow, so will the companies driving the new economy. This also means wages will continue to grow, and more people will be relocating to cities throughout the U.S. for job opportunities.

Job relocation, along with the fact that more Millennials are moving out of the homes they have shared with their parents as well as the emergence of the new Generation Z workforce, means that apartment demand will be at an all-time high. Now is the time to start getting ready for the new year, your new job and your new apartment.

Hot Cities for 2016

Some of the most in-demand cities for 2016 will be Austin, Texas; Houston, Texas; Denver, Colo.; Charlotte, N.C.; and Seattle, Wash. Population-dense cities, such as New York, N.Y.; San Francisco, Calif.; and Boston, Mass., are also beginning to see additional apartment vacancies, due to the high cost of living there.

In addition, according to Livability.com, many of the “best places to live for 2016” are small to medium-sized cities throughout the country. These great places are not only seeing a boom in job opportunities but also an increase in the lifestyle amenities that apartment residents enjoy. These include walkability, trendy restaurants, bars and food trucks; and high-tech connectivity from services such as Google Fiber, and AT&T GigaPower.

A New Apartment for Any Demographic

There really is an apartment for anyone, any lifestyle and any budget. One of the fastest-growing segments of the apartment population is Baby Boomers. Rather than spending their hard-earned retirement funds on a cumbersome mortgage (not to mention the hefty hidden costs of owning a home), they are instead choosing the rental lifestyle and finding apartments with luxuries they would not otherwise be able to afford. The up-and-coming Gen X executives who are relocating are also choosing the flexibility that apartment living offers.

As you can see, 2016 is shaping up to become the year of the renter.

If you are starting a new life and are looking for a new apartment to rent in your city – or anywhere in the U.S. – the best way to the perfect home for you is to visit ApartmentSearch.com. We help you quickly narrow down your choices by neighborhood, walkability, price range and desired amenities – including tech-friendly features. You can even earn up to $200 in rewards for you or to be donated to charity when you let your new apartment community know that you found them on ApartmentSearch.com.

Source: blog.apartmentsearch.com

What’s the Story Behind Your First Apartment?

Young smiling couple surround by moving boxes, playing guitar and making memories in their new apartmentThere are nearly 38 million apartment residents in the United States. Each one has their own story to tell and each one chose apartment living for a different reason. I remember my first apartment. It was 1993 and I had milk crates for end tables and a high-voltage line spool for a coffee table. I can still hear the A/C compressor sputter as the unit kicked on. The apartment was small and very old, but it was three blocks from the beach and I loved being able to walk or bike to the sandy shoreline. My apartment was the social center for all of my friends. We would laugh until the early morning hours, and more than once we had a noise complaint. (Hasn’t everyone at one point or another?) It was a great time in my life, but that’s my “first apartment” story. What’s yours and why did you chose apartment living?

Renting an Apartment (& Learning Life Lessons) as a College Student

Many people become apartment dwellers for the first time during their college years. From dorms to quads to off-campus living, the apartment living stories that college students have are as varied as the colleges they attend. During the university years, the most valuable lessons are often not the ones that are learned in the classroom. Residents of student housing learn how to get along with roommates, manage their time, do their laundry, balance work and play, and fend for themselves (for the most part) in society. They learn the lessons they’ll need in order to have a place they’ll one day call their own.

Renting an Apartment for Financial Benefits

Others make the leap to apartment living for financial reasons. Mortgage payments often eat up too much of a paycheck to be considered “affordable,” especially early on in a career. Down payments and unexpected fees for things like repairs and HOA dues are often so cumbersome that they don’t allow for any quality-of-life expenditures. Remember when you could afford to eat out almost every weekend? Thankfully, there’s an apartment for nearly any budget. When financial burdens become less restrictive, there’s opportunity to move to a better apartment and increase your quality of apartment life.

Renting an Apartment for Flexibility & Freedom

Life changes also bring people to enjoy their first apartment experience. The flexibility apartment living offers can give new couples the financial freedom to move in together and still have enough space (and paycheck left over for dates!). The freedom of apartment life allows families to expand as new members are born, adopted, or moving back home.

And while it’s sad to say, not all relationships last. We’ve all experienced a little heartbreak in our lives, and thankfully, apartments are an affordable way to ease that heartbreak and separation.

Finding Your First Apartment

There are hundreds – if not thousands—of reasons people make the decision to find their first apartment. Within its walls, people pursue their dreams, improve themselves, and continue to push towards the future. What is the story of your first apartment and how did the experiences you have there change your life?

Whether you’re looking for your first apartment or your fifth apartment, the team at www.apartmentsearch.com is here to help. Our free online tools help you to find the apartment that’s right for you and we even reward you for doing so. In fact, ApartmentSearch is the only national apartment locating service that pays you for using its services. When the time comes for you to move in, make sure to let your apartment community know that you found them using www.apartmentsearch.com and you could end up with an extra $200 in your pocket.

Source: blog.apartmentsearch.com

Top 5 Qualities to Look for in a Landlord

Smiling young apartment landlord, reaching out with apartment keysLooking for an apartment that fits your needs doesn’t have to be a headache, and neither does finding a landlord that you can get along with. Developing a positive working relationship with your landlord can make a huge difference when it comes to negotiating the terms of your lease or requesting maintenance. When visiting any prospective apartment, look for these qualities in your next landlord.

#1: Good Communication

Good communication is the key to any healthy professional (or personal) relationship. Does the landlord listen to your questions and give thoughtful, direct answers? Are they transparent and clear in communicating their expectations for you and for themselves? Do they seem approachable and respectful?

If you sense any hostility, ambivalence, or if the landlord seems reluctant to answer your questions, it could be a red flag. You might be dealing with someone who sees tenants as expendable and interchangeable, someone who isn’t interested in working with you to build a long-term partnership.

#2: Organization

You took the effort to fully prepare for the meeting with your landlord, arriving with your ID, bank statements, and reference letters in tow. Can the same be said for them? Are the lease documents ready to sign? Do they appear to have a well organized system for signing new tenants? Does it look like they’ve done this before? If the initial meeting seems disorganized, it could be a sign that your experience with the complex’s staff could be too…think lost receipts, forgotten maintenance appointments, and overlooked tenant messages.

#3: Reliability

You should be able to rely on your landlord to follow through with their commitments. Did they arrive on time to your meeting? Do they return your phone calls promptly? Do they make excuses or change their story? A landlord who deals fairly and plainly with you during the application process will likely continue to be reliable in the future.

4: Professionalism

Are the landlord and their employees courteous and respectful? Is the apartment, its grounds, and the leasing office tidy, well-organized, and inviting? Does the office staff seem to take pride in their complex’s brand and their overall appearance? A landlord who maintains a respected, well-run business is likely someone who has a knack for building and maintaining positive working relationships with their tenants as well.

#5: Reputation

It’s worth looking up your landlord or their property management firm online to see what kind of reputation they have. You can even ask the landlord for the contact information of current or past tenants. If they are forthcoming, that’s a good sign. There are also online resources such as WhoseYourLandlord.com where you can search for landlord reviews by name and location. (Only bummer is that it’s limited to Philly, NYC, and DC right now.) While it’s good information to know, take anything you find on the internet with a grain of salt. One bad review from a disgruntled tenant doesn’t necessarily mean you’re dealing with a slumlord.

Ready to put your landlord know-how to good use? Browse recently listed apartments in your area on ApartmentSearch.com and schedule a few tours today! With our landlord tips in hand, you’ll be able to pick the apartment that’s right for you in no time.

Source: blog.apartmentsearch.com

Tips for Improving Your Credit Score

Young man in denim shirt on the phone with credit card company, working to improve his credit scoreWhen you find an apartment you really love, you don’t want to give up on it due to a shaky financial track record. Even if you have a less than stellar credit history, there are many things you can do to improve your score in both the short, and long term. Follow along as we dive into how your credit score works and learn what you can do to work on improving your credit score, no matter your financial background.

Credit Score 101

What makes up your credit score anyway? Your credit score is a grade that tells lenders how you stack up against other potential borrowers. Basically, it’s a rough indication of how likely you are to repay a loan on time. The FICO credit score is an industry standard that is used in over 90% of lending decisions and by all three major credit bureaus. So, this score is most likely what your landlord sees. Don’t be caught off when they do–visit ApartmentSearch’s Moving Resources to find out what your credit score is right now, for free. If your credit score isn’t what you (or your landlord) had in mind, then keep reading and we’ll tell you how to work on improving your score in each of the five areas that FICO considers.

Improving Your Score

1. Make payments on time, every time.

Your payment history is the single most important factor contributing to your credit score. Don’t worry, a few missed payments here and there won’t damage your credit score beyond repair. Try these tricks from Forbes to help your score recover from a spotty payment history.

In the short run…

  • Get current! If you have any outstanding or missed payments, pay them off as soon as possible.
  • Negotiate! If you have a mostly clean payment history, ask your lenders if they will “erase” a missed payment from your record. Explain to them why your payment was late (you lost your job, had an unexpected expense come up, like a medical bill etc.) and offer to pay off the remainder of your balance in exchange for a clean slate.

In the long run…

  • Set up automatic payments for your credit accounts so that you never miss another payment again!

2. Avoid maxing out your cards.

Having a lot of loans, or even a lot of credit card debt, won’t necessarily hurt your credit score. With that being said, lenders will look at your credit utilization ratio (the percent of your total available credit that you have spent) to see what kind of relationship you have with debt. Do you rely heavily on credit to make monthly purchases? Do you frequently use up most of your credit each month? These behaviors are red flags that could be hurting your score, even if you pay off the balance in full each month. Here’s how you can reduce your credit utilization ratio to improve your score.

In the short run…

  • Raise your credit limits. If you have a good payment history, ask your lender to raise your total credit limit. This will lower your credit utilization ratio, and you won’t even have to change your spending habits.
  • Make two payments a month. The first payment will lower your Credit Utilization ratio, and the second will prevent you from paying a late fee and any additional interest.
    Don’t close unused cards. Make a few small purchases on them each month to keep them active. Then pay them off to keep your balance down.

In the long run…

  • Keep your balance on credit cards as low as possible.
  • Pay off debt instead of shifting it around. The same amount of debt on fewer cards can actually hurt your credit score, says FICO.

3. It’s OK to be the new guy on the block.

If you are new to the credit market, or if you’ve never had a line of credit before, this will likely impact your credit score. Thankfully, the length of your credit history only accounts for a small portion of your overall score.

If you’ve never had a credit card…

  • Open one as soon as possible! Use it responsibly and make payments regularly and consistently.
  • Become an Authorized user. If you don’t qualify for your own credit card, ask a relative with a strong credit history to make you a user on their card. Again, be responsible and make all your payments on time. Over time, you will accumulate credit history that will enable you to open up your own card.
  • Be wary of new cards. Opening up new lines of credit can make lenders nervous. Without a stable payment history, who knows if you’ll be able to meet this new financial obligation?

In the short run…

  • Don’t open up lots of new credit cards at one time. Especially if you have a relatively short credit history, this can reduce your credit score.
  • Don’t open new credit cards that you don’t need to increase your credit line. This could negatively impact your credit score in the long run.
  • Know that checking your credit score WILL NOT lower it.

In the long run…

  • Only open up new lines of credit as you need them. If you can, use the credit you already have to make new purchases.

4. Mix it up, but stay on top of your accounts.

The two basic forms of credit accounts are revolving accounts (like your credit card) and installment accounts (such as student loans or mortgages, which you take on as a lump sum and then pay off over time). A mix of both demonstrates responsibility and financial security, provided the accounts are in good standing, says Credit Karma.

In the short run…

  • Consider paying for high ticket items on an installment plan. If you are going to make a big purchase (like a new computer or a piece of furniture) consider asking the store to put it on an installment plan, rather than paying for it with your credit card. Retail installment plans often have low or zero interest rates, so you might even save money in the long run.

In the long run…

  • Don’t open up lines of credit you don’t need. It won’t help your credit score to “mix it up” if you don’t use or pay off the new credit accounts.

Now that you are armed with knowledge about how to improve your credit score, it’s time to put it into practice! Take it a day at a time and you’ll soon see: repairing your credit may not take as long as you think. Head to ApartmentSearch.com to pick out your next dream apartment and give yourself a fun goal to work towards!

Source: blog.apartmentsearch.com

7 Tips for a Smooth Apartment Move | Apartminty

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Getting ready for an apartment move? This may be a new beginning for you. Finding an apartment that suits your needs for location, space and overall comfort can be difficult, so consider yourself lucky. Preparing for a move can be exciting if you think about it. You’ll set up your new place according to your preference. You’ll discover new adventures and things in your new neighbourhood. Before getting pumped about moving into your new apartment, take some time to check these simple moving tips for a smooth and stress-free move.

1. Give Proper Notice

Before you start feeling all excited about your new adventure in your new apartment, you need to make sure you give proper notice that you are moving out of the old apartment. This may include reviewing your lease agreement. Your lease will outline every necessary step before leaving an apartment. Make sure to check all the required steps to avoid any additional charges for the apartment you no longer live in. You need to start from writing a notice of your move, usually 30 to 60 days, or even 90 days for some. This will alert your landlord and at the same time, you will have a fond farewell with your nice neighbours.

2. Making a Timeline and a Checklist

Planning for a move is never easy so be sure to make a timeline for the tasks you need to do.

You need to prepare at least a month before your move to make sure all activities will be followed in the timeline. This will give you enough time to gather all necessary packing supplies and to pack each item carefully. You also have enough time to do all tasks from cleaning the whole unit to moving out the items to avoid any procrastination that may cause problems, especially during your moving day. 

Making a checklist is a smart way to avoid forgetting important things before your move.

Be sure to include in the checklist the items you have for each room, your cleaning progress, setting up utilities, scheduling a move-out inspection, hiring a trusted removalist and the preparation of your new home.

3. Schedule a Move-out Inspection

Contacting the property manager and scheduling for a move-out inspection before your move is a good idea to avoid any surprises once you received the statement of your security deposit. This way, you will have a chance to ask for any possible repairs required or additional charges that you are not aware of and ask for advice for any particular areas to clean such as toilets, under the kitchen sinks, or in drawers that people usually forget. You will be able to do all required repairs and at the same time, you will receive vacating cleaning guidelines from the property manager to have a smooth and easier apartment move.

4. Make a plan for repairs

Checking your lease document is essential before moving out to avoid any issues or problems. Having a normal wear and tear on the surface and appliances occurs in every apartment. But for any damages that are beyond the normal wear and tear, then you are responsible for paying or making any repairs. You should check the specifications of the condition that you’re required to leave your apartment. This may include painting walls back to their original colours, patching nail holes in the walls, and most especially fixing any other damage the apartment has undergone since you moved in.

5. Deep Clean the Whole Unit

It depends on the agreement you have signed if you need to clean or not. Some leases charge a fixed cleaning fee but if your apartment doesn’t hire cleaners, be ready to deep clean the whole apartment. If you are thinking of leaving behind a piece of furniture or any designer curtains that can be used by the next residents, you need to think twice. Even if it’s tempting to leave these items, particularly couches, rugs or any cleaning supplies, remember that you need to leave the apartment free from any of your belongings.

When it comes to cleaning, remember to work from the top (ceiling fan, windows, walls) to the bottom (floors, baseboards, carpet). This allows dust and dirt to fall to the ground while you are cleaning, so you don’t need to sweep or vacuum multiple times which will consume a lot of your time. Be sure to follow all tasks on the checklist you’ve created before your final moving day.

6. Documentation 

Even your property manager already conducted a move out inspection, documentation of the process and the situation of your current place before moving out is a crucial step for an apartment move. Why? This is because taking pictures will serve as evidence that will prevent you from being charged for the damages created after you move out and avoid any problems and conflicts with the landlord. 

Remember to take photos of each room once all the belongings are out. This will serve as proof that you left the apartment in a good, clear and clean condition by showing all of your hard work to thoroughly clean the space in your photos. Keep the photos until you have already received your security deposit back.

I know you are excited to move in and decorate your new apartment, but make sure to take photos as well or even record a video of the current situation. If you see any damages before moving in, even if it’s okay with you, still you need to report it immediately to the landlord for them to check and do the proper actions needed. This will avoid any conflicts with the new landlord and of course, additional charges for the damages that you didn’t do.

7. Hiring a Trusted Moving Company

When arranging for an upcoming apartment move and needing some help, you have two options. You may recruit family and friends or hire a trusted moving company. Moving with family and friends is like a double-edged sword. It might be less expensive and will help you to have a closer relationship with your family or friends before you move out. But without enough experience and knowledge on the process, this may lead to moving mistakes which may cost more money and worse, injuries to you or anyone helping your move.

On the other hand, hiring a trusted and professional moving company is a smart choice. The move will be executed and handled with care and efficiency by the people who have enough knowledge, experience and equipment. If you have limited time, this will make your move faster and most especially avoid any physical injuries to you and to the people helping you out, giving you a stress-free apartment move. 

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7 Tips for a Smooth Apartment Move
Article Name
7 Tips for a Smooth Apartment Move
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Before getting pumped about moving into your new apartment, take some time to check these simple moving tips for a smooth and stress-free move.
Holli Beckman
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Apartminty
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Source: blog.apartminty.com