The Best State Capitals to Call Home

Capital idea!

A lot happens in a state’s capital city. It’s where the local government governs, but these centers of activity are usually so much more. Most are cities full of opportunity and infrastructure that make an effort to honor local history and culture.

Highlighting the best state capitals in America

Should you shoot for a capital city when thinking about making a move? Maybe. Especially if you’re interested in local politics or want to live in an area that’s guaranteed to have a lot to do, it’s probably worth taking a look.

There is a lot to consider when selecting the best state capitals where you should live, but we’re making the decision a little easier for you. From economic factors such as cost of living and median income to professional considerations like overall business counts and commuting time, we created a formula that looks at all 50 state capitals in the U.S. and measures in terms of overall livability.

We then scored each city to rank the capitals in every state from 1 to 50. Without further ado, we give you the best state capitals to live in our country.

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The 10 best state capitals in the U.S.

While all of the state capitals are the best in their own way, there are 10 that stand out from the pack. These cities are located all across the country — from the Midwest and the Rocky Mountains to the South and from New England all the way to Hawaii (let’s be honest, who wouldn’t love a tropical paradise?).

These state capitals really do have it all, so if you’re considering a move, think about one of these cities that cracked our top 10 list.

They’re truly some of the best state capitals to call home.

10. Honolulu, HI

honolulu hawaii

Long before Hawaii was part of the United States, Honolulu became its capital. In 1850, King Kamehameha III gave the city its status in honor of the previous King, Kamehameha I, who moved his court thereafter conquering Oahu in 1804. However, between the two kings, Russia, Britain and France all occupied the area, each at a different time.

The beauty of Honolulu back then, is still very present today, even among the modern buildings and resorts. That’s thanks to the world-famous Waikiki Beach and Leahi, the 760-foot tuft crater you’re able to climb.

Drawing in the majority of Oahu’s population, this scenic capital city has a business score of 9, which puts it toward the top. Residents also bring in a relatively high median income of $71,247. Top industries in the area include food service, healthcare and retail.

Living in Honolulu will cost you about $1,918 per month for a one-bedroom, which is a nice deal to call this laidback, diverse city home. Where else can you tour Pearl Harbor, walk on an extinct volcano, go surfing and grab an authentic poke meal all in a single day?

9. Des Moines, IA

des moines iowa

When Iowa first became a state, Des Moines wasn’t the capital. That happened 11 years later after over a decade of debate. Originally, the capital was Iowa City, but lawmakers believed the capital belonged in a more central location, which is why in 1857 it moved to Des Moines.

Calling Des Moines home today is a very budget-friendly choice. The city is one of the most affordable in the U.S. Rent averages at about $1,168 per month for a one-bedroom and the overall cost of living here is 12 percent below the national average.

Residents get a lot out of living in Des Moines. As one of the fastest-growing cities in the Midwest, it’s the food, the culture and the natural surroundings that draw in people.

For outdoor enthusiasts, there are over 4,000 acres of parkland and 81 miles of trails to explore. You’ll also find four colleges and universities within the city limits including Drake University and Grand View University.

Working in Des Moines means having the opportunity to dabble in a variety of industries including insurance, government, manufacturing, trade and healthcare. Just remember, if you’re relocating to the city, don’t pronounce the S’s in Des Moines.

8. Columbus, OH

columbus ohio

Named after that famous explorer, Columbus became the capital of Ohio in 1816. This was the third capital city in the state’s history, but thankfully it stuck. Before that, Ohio’s capitals were Zanesville and Chillicothe.

Today, Columbus is a diverse town with lots of fun waiting around every corner. A highly walkable and bikeable city, it’s easy to get around as you check off all the must-see items on your list. These should include trips to the German Village, the Botanical Gardens and the city’s array of cultural and historical museums. There are also plenty of trails and parkland to explore.

With a highly-developed economy, most locals find jobs in education, insurance, banking, fashion and more. The city ranks first in job growth in the Midwest as well. Seventeen Fortune 1000 companies call Columbus home thanks to the affordability of the city. Living here will cost you $1,201 per month for a one-bedroom apartment.

7. Boston, MA

boston massachusetts

With a long history as one of the oldest cities in the country, Boston earned its capital status way back in 1632. This was while Massachusetts was still a colony. Boston would have to wait over 100 years before it became the capital of a state.

History continues to come alive in this city, where you can easily walk from one end to the other in a single day. Along your trip, you can see Paul Revere’s house, tour the graveyard where Sam Adams and Mother Goose lie and revisit the site of the Boston Tea Party. Even the architecture speaks to the history of the city, with beautiful brownstones sitting beside each other on tree-lined streets.

Boston is a busy town with accessible public transportation on top of being easy to walk through. The city’s walk score of 89 puts it at the top of our list. It also means you’ll often see people on foot whether rain or shine. This includes tourists walking through Boston Common, commuters rushing to the office and even children on their way to school.

Although the cost of living here is almost 50 percent higher than the national average, Boston does have the highest median income, $71,834, of our top 10. This comes in handy since rent here is also on the higher side. Expect to pay an average of $3,461 per month to rent a one-bedroom.

5 (tied). Denver, CO

denver colorado

Denver found its way to Colorado’s capital city in 1867, while the state was still a territory. Colorado wouldn’t join the union until 1876, but Denver stuck since it was already where the governor lived and all the important government meetings took place.

The Mile High City has continued to grow and attract more residents since back then. With its proximity to picturesque, snow-capped mountains, and plenty of sunshine, Denver today is an outdoor lover’s dream. There are more than 200 parks within the city limits and 20,000 acres of parkland in the nearby mountains. The city even has its own herd of buffalo.

The largest city in Colorado, Denver serves as a central hub for industry and transportation. Primary businesses include telecommunications and biomedical technology in addition to tourism, mining and construction. It’s also worth mentioning the fast-growing cannabis industry (in the city and the entire state) too.

With plenty of culture and a lot of sports, living in Denver combines natural beauty with plenty of activity. There’s also thriving nightlife and amazing restaurants. To rent a one-bedroom apartment here will set you back about $1,928 per month, on average.

5 (tied). Boise, ID

boise idaho

Location is what made Boise the obvious choice for Idaho’s state capital. Sitting at the crossroads of the Oregon Trail and routes to the Boise Basin and Owyhee mines, it became the capital in 1864. Technically though, it wasn’t the state’s first choice, and the capital moved from Lewiston to Boise after only a year.

Boise is both urban and outdoorsy, with a comfortable cost of living, less than a percentage point below the national average. Renting a one-bedroom apartment here averages out to about $1,340 per month.

Opportunities abound here in technology, manufacturing, food production, energy and outdoor recreation, giving the city a business score of 9, a second-place rank.

Nicknamed The City of Trees, Boise takes a portion of the state’s 4.7 million acres of wilderness for its residents to use. On nice days, you’ll find people out biking, horseback riding, fishing and even skiing. There are plenty of hiking trails, boat docks and more.

Adding to the activities in Boise are the museums, theaters and energetic downtown area. It’s a city with a small-town feel that’s not lacking in any big city amenities.

4. Madison, WI

madison wisconsin

Wisconsin became a state in 1848, the same year Madison got named the capital. The debate over this selection lasted for two days, and even then it wasn’t a unanimous pick. It may seem silly to us now, but locals took their selection seriously. The final vote passed in a close call of 15 to 11.

Locals will tell you Madison is one of the happiest cities in the country — thanks to the weather. Situated between two lakes, Madison enjoys a constant breeze of fresh air. That’ll get you outside quick, but the miles of biking and hiking trails will keep you outdoors. In fact, Madison has the third-highest bike score at 75.

Downtown, you’ll find a centralized hub for both work and play. Primary industries in the city include manufacturing, government and agriculture. Nearly one-sixth of the state’s farms are within the Greater Madison area, and diversified farming is a primary contributor to the local economy. After a long workday, the same area offers up plenty of shopping, culture and restaurants.

Living here mixes the outdoors with urban amenities to fit any agenda. To rent a one-bedroom apartment, you’ll pay an average of $1,223 per month.

3. Cheyenne, WY

cheyenne wyoming

Wyoming set Cheyenne as the state capital in 1869. The city itself got its name from the Cheyenne Indians who lived in the area.

If you’re looking for a city with a solid cost of living and easy commute time, Cheyenne is for you. The cost of living is 8.2 percent below the national average and rent for a one-bedroom apartment averages out at $930 per month.

Getting to work is easy, too. The city has an average commute time of just under 16 minutes, putting it in third place.

Major industries here include light manufacturing, agriculture, military and government and tourism. Sitting in the southeast corner of the state, you’ll find the F.E. Warren Air Force Base here along with plenty of train-centric attractions. After all, Cheyenne is sometimes known as the Railroad Capital of the country.

Many who come to visit imagine a place full of rodeos and cowboys, but really Cheyenne is both a rugged and modern city.

2. Austin, TX

austin texas

A year after Texas’ annexation into the United States, Austin became its capital. Originally, the capital of the state was Houston, but in 1839 it moved to a city named Waterloo. In 1846, that city’s name got changed to Austin in honor of the “Father of Texas,” Stephen F. Austin.

There are plenty of good neighborhoods to call home within the modern city of Austin, many of which surround the University of Texas. Between the college, the rivers and the music and bar scene, there’s a lot to bring people to this state capital.

Austin received the highest business score on our list at 9.3. With the nickname, “Silicon Hills,” the city offers up a lot of opportunities in technology and innovation. You’ll find a lot of startups call Austin home as well. Even Apple is getting in on things, creating a campus in this Texas town.

A mild climate, and about 300 days of sunshine per year, make Austin a great place to have fun both inside and out. There’s also plenty of amazing Tex-Mex to chow down on when the craving for tacos hits.

Living here will set you back about $1,417 per month if renting a one-bedroom apartment but luckily it’s also an affordable city with the cost of living just a touch over the national average and a median income of over $71,500.

1. Salt Lake City, UT

salt lake city utah

Earning the distinction of state capital when Utah joined the union in 1896, Salt Lake City has long had a reputation of acceptance. The city itself was a popular choice for the capital because its ideals aligned with the country at the time — growth, expansion and religious freedoms.

Today, you’ll find Salt Lake City an active community with a lot of potential for professional growth. It earns near-top scores in its walkability, bikeability and business opportunity.

With an urban center invigorated by a buzzing tech scene, the downtown area is where you’ll find a lot of the action. From craft beer to theater, amazing dining to culture, Salt Lake City provides eclectic fun.

The outdoor recreation of the area is also worth mentioning. Living in Salt Lake City, you’re not only close to some incredible skiing, but also within reach of five national parks. The city itself also draws residents outdoors with a festive atmosphere you can walk through all year long.

Calling this part of Utah home means plenty to do and even more to see. It’s a perfect combination of natural beauty and urban design. Renting a one-bedroom apartment here means budgeting for about $1,233 on average, per month.

The best state capitals by rank

We’ve given you a taste of what some of our state capitals have to offer, but see how all 50 of them rank. Check out the complete chart below.

Methodology

To find the best state capitals in America, we used the following data points:

  • Median household income reported by the U.S. Census Bureau
  • Cost of living reported by the Council for Community and Economic Research
  • Average commute times reported by the U.S. Census Bureau
  • Walk Score
  • Bike Score
  • Overall business score determined by the number of variety of business listings in a particular city compared to other cities of similar size across the country

We ranked each city from 1 to 50 (with 1 being the best) in each of these six categories. We allowed ties in these rankings. Then, we added up the rankings for each of the six categories to determine a final score for each city. The cities with the lowest overall score were determined to be the best state capitals.

Rent prices are based on a one-year rolling weighted average from Apartment Guide and Rent.com’s multifamily rental property inventory of one-bedroom apartments as of April 2021. Our team uses a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each individual unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets.

The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.

Source: rent.com

Best Neighborhoods to Move to in Nashville | ApartmentSearch

High-rise building in Nashville's city.Are you thinking about making Music City your new home? With its vibrant downtown, ample outdoor space, delicious southern food, and country music galore — there’s so much to love! Whether you’re a young family on the move or a mobile, dog-loving professional, these cool neighborhoods in Nashville have a little something to offer everyone. Learn the best suburbs of Nashville and which one is right for you with this handy neighborhood guide.

The Gulch

The Gulch is the fastest-growing neighborhood in Nashville, and for good reason. Packed with restaurants, shops, bars, fitness studios, and some of Nashville’s trendiest apartments, this area attracts young professionals who enjoy being center of the action.

Nashville is also one of the best U.S. cities for dating — making this small neighborhood a prime location for singles. The Gulch is the perfect home for anyone with the “work hard, play hard” mentality. So, you’ll have tons of unique things to do and fun, young people to do them with!

12 South

This neighborhood spans half a mile along 12th Avenue South – hence 12 South. And it has become one of the most desirable places to live for young, remote-work professionals and families alike.

12 South is a highly walkable neighborhood, so you’ll find no shortage of hot eateries (like Burger Up and Urban Grub), coffee shops (like Frothy Monkey), and stylish clothing stores (like Reese Witherspoon’s own Draper James!). 12 South attracts Nashville natives and excited transplants alike, and it’s an excellent option for someone who always wants something to do or see.

East Nashville

While East Nashville isn’t as walkable as many of the other neighborhoods on this list, it has plenty of perks that make up for it. A hub for musicians and various creative types, East Nashville residents enjoy the neighborhood’s laidback, inclusive vibe and ample green space.

While some may describe East Nashville as “the hipster neighborhood,” it’s home to a diverse mix of creatives, young families, and professionals. You’ll find everything from rental houses to apartment buildings in this lively, on-trend neighborhood. But it’s likely a better option for those with their own vehicle.

The Nations

The Nations is one of the more affordable neighborhoods on this list – though, with how many people move to Nashville a day, it may not stay that way for long. This area was largely industrial only a few short years ago but is now exploding with restaurants, breweries, retail establishments, and residential developments.

Located around the central district of 51st Avenue and about 10 minutes from the heart of downtown, the Nations is an up-and-coming neighborhood that’s attracting a mostly younger crowd. This is a great place to look if you’re on a tighter budget and want all the amenities of a vibrant city. This hotspot will be on everyone’s list of cool neighborhoods in Nashville before long!

Germantown

Chock full of gorgeous, historic townhouses and tree-lined streets, Germantown has become known for its culinary scene. Boasting several critically acclaimed eateries, like Rolf and Daughters, City House, and Henrietta Red, residents of this beloved neighborhood will never go hungry.

Thanks to its location, only a few blocks from downtown Nashville, Germantown has prime access to the sports arenas, music venues, and other attractions in the city’s hub. This neighborhood manages to feel slower-paced and quieter than many other options and has a little something for everyone.

Sylvan Park

A young family looking to settle down should take a good look at Sylvan Park. Known by locals to be safe, quiet, and one of the best neighborhoods in Nashville to live, historic Sylvan Park is full of people who genuinely love their little community.

A quaint, walkable area, Sylvan Park boasts plenty of beloved, locally-owned restaurants, boutiques, and easy access to McCabe Park. Whether you’re raising little ones in Music City or simply enjoy a more residential feel, Sylvan Park is a growing neighborhood you shouldn’t overlook.

Make Your Move to Nashville with Apartment Search

Is there a Nashville neighborhood calling your name? Now that you’ve got an area picked out, explore available apartments on ApartmentSearch! Narrow your search by apartment size, rent amount, amenities, and more. Nashville can’t wait to have you home!

Source: blog.apartmentsearch.com

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

Working From Your Apartment? Top Amenities to Look For

Man sitting at office desk sipping from a mug and looking at a computerWorking from home was still considered a bit taboo and somewhat of a privilege for many people until recently. According to this Gartner survey, at least 80% of surveyed company leaders plan to allow employees to continue remote work — at least part-time. Research has shown us that employee happiness and productivity seem to be highest when workers are allowed to stay at home rather than commute to an office. This trend isn’t likely to disappear anytime soon.

Alongside this, many people are relocating since they now have the flexibility to work from almost anywhere. Apartment communities are paying close attention to this boom and have begun offering additional incentives to potential tenants for choosing to rent a space within their community. So, what are some of the most popular amenities being offered to those who find themselves working from an apartment?

Enhanced Concierge Services

These add-on services are not necessarily a new thing for some higher-end properties. But now that more people are working from home, concierge services are quickly becoming more of an essential rather than a luxury. Having a service dedicated to tenants for things like fetching food orders, laundry, dog walking, and package retrieval is a perk that apartment communities may offer to accommodate their WFH tenants further.

Built-in Nooks

Many apartment complexes now offer work areas or small alcoves within the apartments themselves that can be used for a dedicated home office setup. These nooks sometimes come already equipped with a built-in desktop space or a collapsible desk shelf. They’re usually furnished with power outlets and added extras like USB plug-ins so that you can keep your devices charged and ready to go at all times.

Co-Working Spaces

Apartments with coworking spaces are already pretty commonplace in most newer apartment complexes. Still, some are offering computers, printers, larger open areas with desks, comfy couches, and conference-style rooms for tenants to work privately. This trend started as a way to encourage human interaction between people who work from home. It may still be offered in some communities, taking into account social distancing and health guidelines.

Garden-Style Apartments

Working from home may be less stressful than going to an office every day, but we all need to take time out for relaxation. Garden apartments are unique compared to concrete highrise apartments and may allow for a more zen-like work from home experience. They’re typically surrounded by lush greenery and sometimes genuine gardens that can provide a sense of calm after a long day of work.

Pre-Furnished Apartments

If you’re looking for the ideal pad for a digital nomad-lifestyle, finding furnished apartments or temporary furniture for your next short-term destination is a must! After all, without quality furniture, you won’t be comfortable in your temporary space, and buying new furniture after each move is a quick way to put a dent in your savings account!

Turn to CORT for help decking out your new, temporary digs with whole-apartment furniture rental. We’ll turn any place into a furnished space, setting up your stuff before you move in and picking it up at the end of the lease.

Upgrade Your WFH Lifestyle

Whether you’re working from home in a small apartment part-time or full-time, it’s essential to have a relaxing and comfortable living space. From built-in office nooks to dedicated co-working spaces, apartment complexes are finding new ways to get remote workers’ business. Find available apartment units that fit your needs with ApartmentSearch. Check out our free search tool today!

Source: blog.apartmentsearch.com

Checklist: Everybody You Need to Notify When You’re Moving

Don’t let anyone slip through the cracks.

When you’re preoccupied with important relocation-related tasks, it’s easy to forget about informing relevant people and institutions of your upcoming residential move and subsequent change of address.

But notifying specific organizations and individuals of your relocation is essential for ensuring a smooth moving process and preventing various hassles and troubles with your mail and accounts.

Here’s a checklist of the people and institutions you need to contact when moving.

Family and friends

Naturally, your relatives and close friends should be the first to know that you are about to move house. Informing them of your imminent relocation as early as possible will not only give you the chance to ask them help you move, but, if you’re moving far away, will also provide you with enough time to say a proper goodbye and plan for different ways to stay in touch despite the distance between you.

Current employer

Unless you’re relocating to a different branch of your current company, you should inform your employer about your decision to move and leave your job as early as a month in advance.

This way, the company will have time to find a new person for your position, and you will be able to put all the relevant paperwork in order without any hassle.

Remember that your old boss will need your new address to send you tax documents and insurance information at the end of the year.

Landlord

If you live in a rental home, you should carefully review your tenant rights and responsibilities contained in the lease agreement. You will probably be required to notify your landlord of your intentions to move out at least 30 days in advance.

You need to prepare a written notice that clearly states your move-out date and your future address. It is also a good idea to include a brief statement about the excellent condition of the rented property and to request your security deposit back.

Postal services

Changing your address with the United States Postal Service should be among your top priorities when moving to a new house, as it will help you avoid many troubles and inconveniences.

To have your mail forwarded to your new place before you’ve updated your address with individual organizations and companies, you only need to fill out a change of address request at your local post office or at the USPS official website.

Online services such as 1StopMove can also help you complete this process.

Utilities

To prevent service lapses and past-due bills you need to inform your service providers about your relocation plans. Arrange for the utilities at your old home to be disconnected on moving day, and have them reconnected at your new residence by the time you move in.

The utility companies you should contact when moving include electricity, gas, water, telephone, cable, Internet, domestic waste collection and other municipal services you may need.

DMV

When you move out of state, you’ll have to transfer your driver’s license and update your vehicle’s registration and insurance within quite a short time frame (10 to 30 days, depending on your new state).

It’s a good idea to visit the local office of the Department of Motor Vehicles at the earliest opportunity, inform them of your new address, and request all the relevant information about putting the required paperwork in order.

Government agencies

A number of government agencies should be notified when you’re moving to another state. Be sure to update your address with the local office of the Social Security Administration, the electoral register, and other relevant institutions.

The IRS

The Internal Revenue Service will need your actual home address to mail your tax return, fiscal notes, and other documents. All you need to do is print out and mail in the IRS’ Change of Address form soon after your relocation.

Financial institutions

To keep your finances in order, you must update your bank accounts and inform credit card companies, stockbrokers, and other relevant financial institutions of your new address either shortly prior to or immediately after your move.

Insurance companies

The insurance agencies that provide your life, health, and homeowners insurance policies should have your current address on file, as should any other organizations and individuals (such as your family attorney) who have dealings with you and your family.

Medical and educational facilities

When moving to a new state, you will have to enroll your children in a new school, find a new family physician, and transfer all your academic records, medical records, and prescription medicines. To successfully complete these important tasks you need to tell your doctors, dentists, vets and other healthcare providers, as well as the educational facilities your kids are attending, about your relocation and your new address.

Subscription services and clubs

Last but not least, you need to update your address with any sports, professional, or social clubs you are involved with. You should also notify the subscriber services department of any magazines or newspapers you want to receive at your new home.

You may have to personally visit some companies or institutions to notify them of your relocation, but in most cases you will be able to change your mailing address online or with a simple phone call. Postcards, e-mails, text messages, and social network announcements are also viable methods to inform people of your new address.

Related:

Originally published December 2, 2015.

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Source: zillow.com

The Best Places to Live in Arizona in 2021

Are you moving to Arizona this year? Join the club.

The Grand Canyon State is booming now more than ever. As both young professionals and families decide to relocate to the Sonoran desert, many are wondering: Where are the best places to live in Arizona? While there are many great cities, a few stand out among the rest.

Read on to learn more about the following best cities in Arizona:

Aerial view of Chandler, AZ with blue skies.

  • Population: 244,410
  • Average age: 39.2
  • Median household income: $82,925
  • Average commute time: 29.4 minutes
  • Walk score: 38
  • Studio average rent: $1,068
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,211
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,480

Arizona has set out to become a new Silicon Valley, so many people have set their sights on Chandler. That’s because an influx of tech companies, like Intel, have moved here, attracting new families to this innovative, growing city.

With plenty of things to do in Chandler, the city is known throughout Arizona for art festivals, beautiful golf courses, exciting nightlife and baseball.

Chandler is home to Cactus League Spring Training, hosting 15 Major League Baseball teams every spring. If you’re seeking the perks of a big city but the prices and space of a suburb, Chandler is your dream destination. It’s also close to Phoenix and Scottsdale, making commuting a breeze.

Downtown square in Flagstaff, AZ, one of the best places to live in arizona

  • Population: 70,366
  • Average age: 34.9
  • Median household income: $58,748
  • Average commute time: 19.8 minutes
  • Walk score: 35
  • Studio average rent: $1,229
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,351
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,712

Do you love pine trees and skiing? Then Flagstaff is for you. This friendly town is just about two hours north of Phoenix, making it a desirable outdoor location.

Home to Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff is quaint enough to have a small-town feel without any of the downsides. It’s also unique for its local ski resort, Snowbowl, and for being one of the only cities on this list that experiences all four seasons.

Enjoy snow in the winter and flawless, cooler conditions in the summer — perfect for hiking. Flagstaff attracts hikers from all over the area to climb the highest point in Arizona, Humphreys Peak.

The city of Flagstaff is ideal for any outdoor enthusiast or someone seeking to get away from a big city.

Aerial of Gilbert, AZ at dusk.

  • Population: 231,942
  • Average age: 37.1
  • Median household income: $96,857
  • Average commute time: 33.7 minutes
  • Walk score: 32
  • Studio average rent: $1,388
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,111
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,350

According to a 2020 study from Wallethub, Gilbert is the fourth safest city in America — and it’s also one of the most scenic. The area attracts families with its highly-regarded schools. Plus, a higher household income ensures beautiful infrastructure, neighborhoods and low crime rates. The community is crawling with picturesque golf courses, hiking trails and plenty of other outdoor amenities.

Not moving with a family? No worries. Downtown Gilbert is thriving with nightlife, hot new bars and a live music scene. Eclectic, trendy restaurants are as common in Gilbert as in ritzy Scottsdale.

Gilbert brings the excitement of a big city but with modern planning and brilliant new communities.

Glendale, AZ, one of the best places to live in arizona

  • Population: 241,261
  • Average age: 39.3
  • Median household income: $55,020
  • Average commute time: 33.9 minutes
  • Walk score: 45
  • Studio average rent: $631
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,010
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,253

With some of the lowest rental prices on our list, Glendale isn’t just an economical place to live. This western city brings its own unique perks.

Originally an agricultural hub, Glendale has exploded with residential life over the past decade, attracting new shopping centers, elegant communities and businesses.

Glendale has both the State Farm Stadium, home to the National Football League’s Cardinals, and the Gila River Arena, where you can watch the National Hockey League’s Coyotes. This city’s residents don’t just get their fill of professional sports, but also some of the hottest concerts and traveling events.

Westgate Entertainment District is an open-air shopping center and nightlife hub surrounding these sporting stadiums bustling with entertainment 24/7.

Mesa, AZ mountains and city life.

  • Population: 478,314
  • Average age: 41.6
  • Median household income: $58,181
  • Average commute time: 30.0 minutes
  • Walk score: 42
  • Studio average rent: $862
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,030
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,215

Mesa is a city brimming with diversity and bursting with growth. With lower property taxes, many renters feel the savings trickle down to them and can enjoy reasonable rent prices and all the perks of a big city.

Mesa isn’t as suburban as other cities on our list, but it’s a sought-after destination for its notable public school system, exciting nightlife and regular events. The city of Mesa is also in the heart of the metropolitan area, making it a central and convenient place to live.

Families can enjoy attractions like multiple water parks or dinosaur bones at the Arizona Museum of Natural History. For those who love the outdoors, you can enjoy hiking or rock climbing the unique red landforms of Papago Park or take advantage of the nearby Salt River.

City of Phoenix, AZ, one of the best places to live in arizona

  • Population: 1,571,331
  • Average age: 38.4
  • Median household income: $57,459
  • Average commute time: 31.0 minutes
  • Walk score: 54
  • Studio average rent: $1,069
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,242
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,497

Whether you’re renting your first apartment or relocating your family, Phoenix has something for everyone.

It’s the capital of Arizona and the biggest city by far on our list. With a population of 1.6 million, Phoenix stretches to multiple well-populated neighborhoods, creating distinct, diverse pockets throughout the city. Each area has its own charm, from Arcadia to Downtown.

Phoenix’s population is exploding, and its amenities, entertainment and reputation are thriving as a result. Arizona State University also has multiple campuses across Phoenix, attracting young students and professionals.

Meanwhile, affordable but high-quality living lures in people from all over. Phoenix is at the center of all of the cities on this list, making it the heart of Arizona and a top contender to anyone moving to the state.

Aerial view of downtown square of Prescott, AZ.

  • Population: 41,866
  • Average age: 53.4
  • Median household income: $55,734
  • Average commute time: 22.6 minutes
  • Walk score: 33
  • Studio average rent: N/A
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,300
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $2,083

Hate the scorching desert heat? Prescott is a cooler option just outside big city borders.

Prescott has retained its old-world charm, particularly in the Downtown Historic Area. There, you’ll find Whiskey Row, a famous street bustling with nightlife and true cowboy bars.

Surrounded by hiking trails, multiple lakes and the Prescott National Forest, it’s also the perfect place for any outdoor-lover or dog owner looking for their new home.

Simply put, Prescott is an ideal place to live. Great weather, plenty of outdoor activities and affordable living make it an attractive option to anyone relocating to Arizona.

Aerial view of Scottsdale, AZ, one of the best places to live in arizona

  • Population: 239,941
  • Average age: 48.7
  • Median household income: $88,213
  • Average commute time: 26.7 minutes
  • Walk score: 49
  • Studio average rent: $1,462
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,636
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $2,153

There is no place quite like Scottsdale. One of the newer cities on our list, Scottsdale is synonymous with luxury.

The city is popular with families as the Scottsdale School District is one of the best in the state. Complement this with a low crime rate and plenty of parks and recreational facilities, and it’s a lovely place to raise a family.

From the historic Old Town area filled with fine art galleries and trendy restaurants to Fashion Square Mall, one of the largest, finest shopping centers in the state, Scottsdale is hard to beat (if you can afford it).

Some of the state’s best nightlife also resides in this city’s limits, not to mention famous events like the Waste Management Phoenix Open golf tournament, Barrett-Jackson Auction Company shows, the Culinary Festival, the International Film Festival and more.

Tucson, AZ — evening.

  • Population: 532,172
  • Average age: 40.4
  • Median household income: $43,425
  • Average commute time: 27.2 minutes
  • Walk score: 51
  • Studio average rent: $621
  • One-bedroom average rent: $786
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $987

If you’re looking for art, culture and a laid-back vibe, then Tucson is your city. The flourishing town is the most southern on our list, less than two hours from Phoenix and only one hour from the Mexico border.

Home to the University of Arizona, Tucson is continuously updating and innovating. This bike-friendly city is also known for its indie shops, hip restaurants and year-round activities like rodeos.

Despite hiked rent prices near the college campus, Tucson offers a reasonable cost of living. It’s a desirable place for any family looking for an interesting, quiet spot to settle.

Yuma, AZ, one of the best places to live in arizona

  • Population: 94,615
  • Average age: 39.1
  • Median household income: $47,998
  • Average commute time: 20.1 minutes
  • Walk score: 38
  • Studio average rent: $607
  • One-bedroom average rent: $787
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $852

Yuma is the most budget-friendly city on our list, but that doesn’t mean it has any less to offer. Some attractions within this city’s borders are like time capsules.

Visit the Castle Dome Mines Museum to see a real ghost town or the Colorado River State Historic Park to experience five centuries of Arizona history. Yuma also boasts the Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park, a preserved Wild-West prison.

Residents of Yuma admire the small-town feel and sense of community. It’s a melting pot of diversity and has above-average public schools.

The city overlooks the Colorado River, making it a beautiful desert landscape to enjoy the outdoors and year-round sunshine. For a lovely life and low overhead cost, Yuma is a southern treasure of a town.

Find your own best place to live in Arizona

Arizona is unlike any other state with year-round sunshine, scenic landscapes and endless activities. It’s an affordable state with plenty of thriving cities and apartments to match.

Rent prices are based on a rolling weighted average from Apartment Guide and Rent.com’s multifamily rental property inventory of one-bedroom apartments in March 2021. Our team uses a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each individual unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets.
Other demographic data comes from the U.S. Census Bureau.
The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.

Source: rent.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

How to Negotiate a Salary in 7 Steps and Get the Best Offer

After all the hard work you’ve put into designing your resume, crafting your cover letter and acing your job interview, you might be tempted to cash in on the first job offer a company gives you.

Most people do.

But putting in a little extra time to negotiate a higher salary might be the easiest and quickest way to earn more money at your new job.

Plus, hiring managers are often ready to negotiate. Are you?

What Are Salary Negotiations, and Why Are They Important?

Salary negotiations show that you’re confident in your skills, you’ve done your homework and that you’re not going to dart off to another better-paying position as soon as it’s available.

Salary negotiations are one of the last steps in the hunt for a new job. They aren’t exactly synonymous with asking for a raise, though the two share a lot of similarities.

The key distinction is that negotiations for a higher salary happen sometime after your interview and before you sign the employment contract — not during a performance review for a current job.

Salary negotiations are crucial for a few key reasons. They show the company that you’re confident in your skills, that you’ve done your homework and that you’re not going to dart off to another better-paying position as soon as it’s available (because you’ll have the better-paying position).

Negotiations are also a time for you to think about your financial needs and to use the tight labor market to your advantage to score a higher starting salary.

The moment you say yes to a job, your sway over your benefits package and starting salary drops. If you don’t negotiate, you’ll have to wait six to 12 months to ask for a raise — money you could have been pocketing all along.

Amid pandemic-related economic woes, companies are even more willing to negotiate for talent, according to a 2020 survey by staffing firm Robert Half. Among senior managers surveyed, 86% were as likely or more likely to negotiate salary with new hires compared to a year ago.

So don’t be afraid to speak up.. It’s free money.

How to Negotiate Salary

Here’s how to negotiate your salary: do your research, know your worth, respond to the original offer, plan your counteroffer, practice the conversation, negotiate and get it in writing.

Job interviews are nerve-racking as it is. When you add in salary negotiations, it’s enough to send most people into full-on panic mode.

Those anxieties could be enough to keep you from getting what you’re truly worth. Don’t let them.

Our step-by-step guide will help allay those initial fears and get you into the right frame of mind to not only ask for what you’re worth — but to emerge from those salary negotiations with a better offer.

Step 1: Research Salaries for Your Role

One of the best ways to calm yourself and to approach a salary negotiation with a level head is to do your homework about the company and your role. Don’t stress over manipulation tactics and strategies.

“If we go into a negotiation worrying about [that]… then we miss out on the most important feature of negotiation,” said Lisa Gates, cofounder of She Negotiates. “It’s a conversation. A human conversation.”

Gates, a leadership and negotiation coach for businesswomen and one of LinkedIn’s top 10 voices in the workplace, advises a good place to start is by searching what others in your position are earning. That could be by asking your colleagues (no, it’s not illegal, she said) or by looking up salary information on websites like Dice, Robert Half and Payscale.

With these tools you can establish what the national median income is for your position, what your local economy is paying and what your potential employer typically pays other people with the same title.

Consider where you’re located and where the company is located. For instance, if you are working in Nebraska, the local median income for copywriters is much lower than copywriter salaries in New York. But if you’re relocating to New York for the job, definitely use that salary range in negotiations. In that case, your salary history from Nebraska is irrelevant.

Likewise, this range is useful for establishing a fair salary for work-from-home jobs. Again, if you are a copywriter in Nebraska who is applying for a remote position in New York, you can negotiate a salary that’s in line with what New Yorkers earn, or at least you will have wiggle room to tap into national rates.

“Your salary should not be calibrated by your ZIP code,” Gates said. “It’s about the benefit you deliver to the company.”

People work in an office.
Getty Images

Step 2: Know Your Work’s Worth

Once you’ve established a healthy salary range based on your research, you then have to plot yourself somewhere on that line.

“If you are a median performer… shoot for the median,” said Gates. “But chances are you’re amazing at what you do, and you want to shoot for a salary between median and high.”

When asking for above-average salaries, it needs to be a matter of showing rather than telling. If you believe you deserve the top of that range, then you’re going to need to fall back on something more substantial than “I believe I’m worth $70,000.” Because the obvious follow-up question to that statement is “Why?”

To be able to answer that question confidently and convincingly, “you need to make a list of all your contributions and accomplishments — and quantify them,” said Gates. “For example, if you are a customer service manager and you revamped your new-hire onboarding, what impact did that effort have on the bottom line?”

In terms of negotiation, your argument will be much stronger when it’s based on research and numbers rather than emotion. If you really do need that extra $5,000 for child care costs or relocation costs or rent, that’s OK to mention. Just don’t let that be your whole argument.

So show them exactly why you’re worth that extra five grand.

Step 3: Respond to the Initial Offer — Politely

This stage is ripe for fumbling.

You just got the job offer (congratulations!) and your emotions are running high — good or bad. It could be that the company offered you exactly what you wanted and you’re ecstatic. Or it could’ve lowballed you by about $10,000.

In either situation, it’s easy to respond on impulse. Check yourself first.

Take a deep breath and do not give your decision immediately, even if it’s a great offer. Likewise, it may not be the best time to negotiate especially if you’re a bit offended at that lowball.

“Responding graciously is the most important action to take when you first receive an offer,” said Loren Margolis, CEO and founder of Training & Leadership Success. “I recommend you state that you are grateful and excited, and then take a pause.”

Margolis is a career-training expert and a member of Forbes’ Coaching Council who’s worked with several Fortune 500 companies. She said that even if you know your answer or are ready to negotiate immediately, it’s good to ask for some time to think over the offer.

“If you negotiate on the spot, you run the risk of being influenced by emotion,” she said. “And you want to be logical and clear-headed when you talk money.”

The amount of time to ask the employer to think over the job offer could be anywhere from 24 hours to a week. Between 24 and 48 hours is typical, but employers may be in a pinch to fill the job quickly.

If you negotiate on the spot, you run the risk of being influenced by emotion, and you want to be logical and clear-headed when you talk money.

You can also ask the hiring manager for a deadline. That way you won’t be caught in a guessing game and will have a clear amount of time to review your salary research and prepare.

Step 4: Plan Your Counteroffer

At this point, you’ve done quite a bit of legwork on salary research. Now you need to pore over the details of your offer and establish what are known as a reservation point, a target salary and an anchor salary.

In salary negotiations, it’s important to stay within a realistic range that’s based on your research. And think back to your application. Did it ask, “What are your salary requirements?” If so, how did you respond?

If you answered “$40,000 to $50,000,” you have to work within that range.

For example, let’s say your initial job offer includes: $40,000 starting salary, health insurance, a 401(k) plan and three weeks of paid time off. If you’re an early-career professional, this offer might sound pretty good, and it is technically within your range. Negotiate anyway.

“Always negotiate, if for no other reason than to demonstrate that you are capable of having a problem-solving conversation,” Gates advised. “That’s what a negotiation is.”

The only exception is if the company made a “firm” offer or has a “non-negotiable” salary policy. If that’s the case, you might not want to push your luck.

But those cases are rare, so unless it’s expressly stated, get to planning your counteroffer.

First, do the numbers.

  • Set a reservation point above the amount they initially offered, perhaps at $42,500. This number is the minimum salary you will accept.
  • Your target salary, aka the amount you foresee agreeing on after negotiations, will be higher than your reservation amount — somewhere around $45,000.
  • Your anchor salary will be much higher. It’s the number you use to start the conversation and could be as high as $50,000.

It’s very possible the company won’t meet your target salary even after negotiations. But don’t fret — and don’t just look at the salary. Review the entire compensation package, including paid time off and continuing education, plus expenses you’ll incur, like the cost of living and commute.

Be prepared to also negotiate elements of your benefits package, too. Do they have wiggle room on vacation time? What about a work-from-home policy? Learning stipends? Loan forgiveness?

Or, as Margolis put it, “Determine what perks would add some sparkle to your life.”

The important part in a counteroffer is to remain flexible and open-minded.

A woman smiles as she talks to her boss at her office job.
Getty Images

Step 5: Practice the Negotiation Conversation

You’ve come a long way. But now you have all of these numbers and nuggets of advice floating around in your head. Can you recall them on a moment’s notice while under pressure and probably sweating profusely?

Didn’t think so.

The conversation itself could happen in person or over the phone. But it does need to be a conversation. No email negotiations — do it over the phone, via video chat or in person so you can better interpret the hiring manager’s tone and response.

And if the conversation does happen to take place in person, you’ll have to take into consideration much more than your tone. According to research from Robert Half, hiring managers pay keen attention to several nonverbal cues, the most important being:

  • Eye contact
  • Posture
  • Handshake
  • Hand gestures
  • Facial expressions
  • Fidgeting and nervous movements

This is why feedback is crucial. For the most part, you won’t be able to address any of those cues without someone else’s help.

“Practice negotiating with someone you trust. And ask them to make it difficult for you,” Margolis said.  “Have them counter your assertions and challenge you so you can practice professionally pushing back.”

Margolis also recommended writing out the perks that mean the most to you in the negotiation. Then, write down three things that distinguish yourself from the other applicants — they could highlight your experience, skills or ways you will add unique value to the company.

Forcing yourself to write it out makes your argument more cohesive.

Similarly, Gates recommended crafting an opening statement that lays out exactly what you want. She’s created a specific formula to guide the conversation that should include:

  • Your strengths.
  • Quantified results of those strengths.
  • How you plan to produce those results in the future.
  • An anchor number to start off negotiations.

Then round off your opening statement with a question that sparks discussion. She recommended something along the lines of, ”How can you help me make this so?”

Following this formula, your opening statement could look like:

“I’m a creative and witty copywriter who has produced several award-winning advertisements for past clients, which raised their ad revenue by 20% in one quarter. I believe with the new resources and larger team in my new role here, I will deliver even better results. These achievements warrant a salary of $50,000. How can we come together on this?”

Your statement will obviously look different. Use language that’s natural to you and change it around as much as you like. Be sure to include your anchor salary and an open-ended question that invites the employer to speak.

When you’re practicing with a friend, try changing the question, especially if the response isn’t what you were expecting. Because you want to start a discussion, avoid yes-or-no questions in particular.

Practice as much as you can and ask for feedback along the way. When all is said and done, thank your practice partner profusely. Drinks are on you.

Step 6: Negotiate a Higher Salary

After all that preparation, it’s not so scary anymore, is it?

Give yourself a pep talk, take a deep breath, and go get yourself a higher salary.

If you’re conducting the salary talks in person, remember to mind your body language. And if they offer you a beverage, take it. Having something to sip on will help smooth over those awkward pauses and can buy you some time to think of a response if you’re stumped.

If you’re talking over the phone, throw all that advice about body language out the window. That’s not important here. You’ll be able to have your notes in front of you, too.

Remember that your tone is what’s important on the phone. Speak clearly and slowly, and you’ll have a better offer in no time.

Step 7: Get It in Writing

You don’t want all that effort to go to waste.

After you rock your salary negotiation and come out with your target salary (or higher), be sure to ask for it in writing.

Sometimes hiring processes are long and involve plenty of people at the company. Things get forgotten or lost in translation. Perhaps the negotiation was handled by a separate person in the HR department. Maybe that separate person only had your initial salary offer on file and not the renegotiated amount. Or there could be something more nefarious in the works. Let’s hope that’s not the case.

“Ask for them to at least send it in an email to ensure that you and the hiring company are both on the same page,” Margolis said.

And when you finally sign your name on the contract, ensure it reflects what was sent in the email.

Now all that’s left is to bask in the success of the single highest-earning conversation you’ve likely ever had.

Adam Hardy is a former staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.

Source: thepennyhoarder.com

Shortcuts for Long-Distance House Hunting

It’s never easy to find the perfect new home so looking for one when you’re not living in the same city is even harder.

But finding a home from afar is done every day by people changing jobs, retiring or just deciding life would be better elsewhere. Here’s how to find a great property when you’re looking long distance.

Hire a local agent

A local real estate agent can be an invaluable resource for out-of-towners looking for a home. Search for an agent who knows the neighborhoods that will fit your budget and your lifestyle. She can direct your online search and create a viewing tour of several properties for you to see.

Search online

Set up an online Zillow search of your target city. You can narrow your search by home type, price, number of bedrooms and more. If you know the area where you’d like to be, you can plug in a zip code and pull up current listings and recent area sales. You’ll also be able to see:
• How a property has appreciated or depreciated over 1, 5 or 10 years
• Price and tax history
• Neighborhood details like transit scores and school ratings

When a home peaks your interest, it’s easy to “share” the home with family and friends on Zillow; just click the “envelope” icon on for-sale home pages.

Google Earth gives you a street view of the home’s exterior, yard and other houses on the block. And Yelp is a source for info about nearby businesses which can provide clues about the neighborhood. You can check neighborhood blogs to get a feel for what current residents are thinking about. Pay particular attention to comments about crime and noise.

Tap social media

Alert your hundreds of Facebook and Snapchat friends that you’re looking for a home in (fill in the blank), and ask about must-see neighborhoods. If good schools are your priority, tell your social media contacts; if a rocking nightlife is a must, mention that, too.

Note which neighborhoods are recommended again and again, and which area are repeatedly slammed. That will help you move your search forward.

Get organized

Create a spreadsheet of potential neighborhoods and properties, complete with the address, price and agent selling each property you want to see. If you have kids, make a column listing schools and their ratings. You can also note nearby amenities like parks and pools, and include the distance from your new employer.

Plan a trip

You can’t get a real feel for a neighborhood until you visit in person. Plan a long weekend to check out homes and areas you think will be a good fit. If you give your local agent enough notice, she can create a tour of prospective properties that can include homes you’ve found online.

Before you arrive for your house-hunting tour, make the non-negotiable decisions like your price range, style of home, number of bedrooms and bathrooms. But stay flexible about other home details, like flooring or cabinet style — details that can changed or added later.

Ask for help

If you’re relocating for work, your company may have a relocation specialist who can provide a list of real estate agents and suggest neighborhoods where other employees live.

If you attend a house of worship, tell your congregation that you’re moving and would welcome advice and referrals.

Opt for short-term housing

If you’re not sure you’re ready to buy, consider a short-term rental or sublet to give you time to get to know the area. Many companies even will pay for temporary housing while you look for a home. It gives you a chance to meet neighbors who know the lay of the land.

Source: zillow.com

5 Inexpensive, DIY Security Tips for Apartment Renters

Staying safe regardless of where you live is important, and so is protecting your belongings. If living in a home that you own, you have the ability to install any type of security you want. Living in an apartment can present certain obstacles to creating a protected place.

Apartment security can be more than the locked doors to get into your building or the intercom system that requires you to buzz in guests. There are certain things you can do around your home — that don’t cost a lot — to protect you and your belongings while living in an apartment.

When your property is most at risk

“While today’s burglary statistics show an overall decrease in burglary rates, thousands of homes (roughly 325,000) are still being broken into every year — often in plain view, during the day,” according to alarms.org.

The most popular time for robberies is in the middle of the day, between noon and 4 p.m. This is because a stranger walking around during the day attracts less attention than someone prowling around at night. Robberies are more common in the summer months as well, when there are more daylight hours and warmer weather.

According to the FBI, burglaries of residential properties account for 67.2 percent of all burglary offenses. The average robber gets away with a little more than $2,000 worth of stuff when they successfully break into your home.

These statistics mean your home is most at risk when you’re the most distracted. Rushing out the door to get to the office, did you remember to lock it? Was the air still so pleasant when you headed out for the day that you forgot to close and lock your windows? Implementing a few easy security measures into your daily routine can help keep your belongings safe no matter where you are.

Affordable DIY home security options

It doesn’t take much to up the security of your apartment. While some of these options are a little more involved and need extra materials, most are possible with some reorganizing and smart thinking.

1. Have an apartment that’s less attractive to burglars

burglar taking a TVburglar taking a TV

Most burglars are opportunistic individuals. If they see something in an apartment they want, they may try to get it. If you cut the temptation, you have a better chance of keeping your property safe.

The best way to do this is to close your blinds when you’re not home. Looking through your windows, easy-to-grab electronics like video game consoles, laptops and tablets can catch the eye of a would-be burglar. It’s quicker to close your blinds than to remember to hide these items each time you leave your home.

Making your home harder to get into also decreases the attractiveness of your apartment. Make sure all windows and doors have working locks and keep things locked up tight when you’re away or asleep. If your apartment has sliding glass doors, add a dowel or board to the track so it can’t open even if unlocked.

2. Upgrade your locks

burglar breaking locksburglar breaking locks

Maintaining safety with the right apartment door security may mean having a conversation with your property manager. If your locks aren’t giving you that safe and secure feeling, you may want to try and upgrade things.

For more security, you can use a double-cylinder deadbolt or a mortise lock. This particular lock combines a sprung latch, deadbolt and lever handle. These are simple upgrades your property manager may pay for to make your apartment more attractive for the next renter.

If you want to try more technological options, see if your property manager has any interest in installing a digital or smart lock. Keyless entry has a lot of appeal for units with roommates since it makes it impossible to get locked out.

You may even end up with a lock that enables remote entry. Then, you can open your door with a cell phone. Other locks integrate with home devices like Alexa, who can lock the door for you if necessary.

3. Make valuables harder to find

safe in a homesafe in a home

During a break-in, burglars want to get in and out as fast as possible with as much stuff as possible. They’re looking for things of value that are easy to carry. Yet, they’re under a time crunch and can only spend so much time poking around.

Burglars will generally head for the bedrooms first since that’s where most people keep their valuables. Don’t follow the standard. Make your valuables harder to find as a deterrent should someone get into your home.

  • Invest in a portable safe that’s too bulky or heavy to easily carry. Find one that doesn’t look like something a regular person would be carrying around.
  • Use your freezer as an unlikely storage spot, placing items in a baggie in the way back so they’re hard to find
  • Consider hiding spots in disguise. Buy a hollow book or false container that looks like it belongs in the bathroom or kitchen.

Today, you can find almost any common object to double as a secret storage spot for valuables. There are hollow hairbrushes, wall clocks that double as a safe, wall plugs with a hidden compartment and faux canned goods, drink cans and batteries. These all make it hard for someone to tell what’s real and what isn’t.

Burglars don’t have the time to check everything if they want to make a quick getaway, so your stuff has a better chance of staying safe.

4. Secure a few extra sets of eyes

Male neighbor getting to know a young couple to help keep their apartment building safeMale neighbor getting to know a young couple to help keep their apartment building safe

There’s a reason neighborhoods create watch groups and then make sure a sign goes up to let anyone coming in know about it. The more eyes looking, the greater the chance someone will see something unusual going on and report it. In an apartment, the more people you know, the more eyes you have watching your back.

Get to know your neighbors. Not only will they help you feel safer, but knowing who lives around you makes it easier to spot someone who doesn’t belong in your building. Exchange phone numbers for easy communication should you suspect anything fishy. “If one doesn’t already exist,” says Hannah Whalen from the Home Alarm Report, “start a Facebook page for your apartment building and share anything suspicions.”

Let your neighbors know when you’re planning on going away for a longer than normal period of time. Tell those you trust when you’re going out of town so they can watch out for your place and help keep it safe.

5. Install an apartment alarm system

Woman entering her code on an alarm system keypad stuck to the wallWoman entering her code on an alarm system keypad stuck to the wall

For a little more surveillance than the watchful eyes of your neighbors, you can install an apartment alarm system. This may not be an automatic choice when thinking of inexpensive, DIY for apartments, but with technology today, it is.

The best security system for apartment living depends on your individual needs, what equipment you want to have and what you can afford. With limitations on drilling holes into walls and running wires through a rental property, your best bet for an alarm system is one that’s wireless.

Wireless alarm systems

Many wireless alarm systems come customized for apartment living and are often easy for anyone to install, which keeps the cost down. Installation can take minutes and you don’t have to be tech-savvy to get things set up.

With wireless systems, alarm panels are stuck onto the wall rather than hardwired. Your property manager will appreciate that there are no holes to drill and no wiring to run. The system is also easy to move should you find yourself relocating to a different apartment.

Each component of a wireless alarm connects to the main control panel using radio signals. When something gets triggered, the company monitoring your alarm is immediately notified. Using the system is pretty easy since many alarms tie into an app you can install on your phone, one that allows you to arm and disarm remotely.

If you do decide to buy a wireless alarm system, make sure to do some research on the quality of the system before you buy. Low-quality alarms or those that are running outdated software can get hacked easier so they stop working.

You also need to make sure you put sensors in the proper locations to ensure the radio signal can get from each component to the main hub. Radio frequencies can’t go through solid objects. You may need to consult with your alarm company to get everything set up right.

Motion sensors

An option with most wireless security systems, motion sensors fall on the less expensive end of alarm accessories. Install them over a window or door to alert you when they open.

Not only will you know someone is trying to get in, but often, the noise scares whoever it is away. Because installation can require drilling holes, make sure to check with your property owner first.

Motion detectors

Slightly different than sensors, detectors react to movement rather than physical contact with an object. You can pair motion detectors with security lights which will turn on when the detector gets triggered. Lights can scare off an intruder because they’ll think you’re home.

Protect your property without breaking the bank

Living in an apartment doesn’t mean you have to settle for feeling less safe than you would in a free-standing home. With simple, affordable, do-it-yourself strategies, you can keep yourself and your property safer no matter where you live.

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Source: apartmentguide.com