Should I File a Home Insurance Claim? Pros, Cons, When It Makes Sense

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You love the big cherry tree in your home’s front yard. Each spring, it explodes in a riot of bright pink flowers. Each summer, it drops sour fruit that perks up nicely in a sugary pie. 

Until it doesn’t. One summer day, your family comes home to find one of the cherry tree’s limbs in your living room, felled by a strong thunderstorm. The damage is extensive: two broken windows, a caved-in window sill, and serious water and impact damage to the living room floor and furniture.  

Once the initial shock wears off, you prepare to file a home insurance claim. But then, you start to ask questions. What if your insurance company denies the water damage portion of the claim? What if my home insurance premiums spike? How much will I have to pay out of pocket due to your policy’s high deductible? Should I even file this claim? 


Should I File a Home Insurance Claim?

The fact that a seemingly serious event like a tree falling through your house is such a close call teaches us an important lesson about homeowners insurance: It’s not always in your best interest to file a claim. Even when they cause short-term financial pain, some incidents aren’t worth filing over. 


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Plus, standard homeowners insurance policies exclude certain types of incidents that can cause serious financial stress for homeowners, such as floods and earthquakes. You need separate insurance policies if your home is at risk of these uncovered perils.

Pros & Cons of Filing a Homeowners Insurance Claim

If you’re considering filing a homeowners insurance claim, you’re probably facing a hefty bill for cleanup and repairs or a long list of damaged items to replace. Or perhaps you’re staring down a lawsuit brought by a guest or worker who sustained serious injuries on your property.  

In any case, you need to figure out whether it makes sense to go through with your claim — and fast. That means objectively assessing the pros and cons of doing so.

Pros of Filing a Home Insurance Claim

Depending on the circumstances, filing a home insurance claim has significant financial benefits.

  1. It Helps You Pay for Repairs. If your claim is approved, you can use the payout to offset the cost of repairs and restore your home to its previous condition. Without this financial assistance, you might find yourself cutting corners or making ill-advised financial moves to cover the cost, such as dipping into your 401(k). 
  2. It Helps You Replace Damaged or Stolen Goods. Your homeowners insurance policy could help offset the cost of replacing possessions damaged in a naturally occurring incident like a storm or fire. If your home was burglarized or vandalized, the proceeds could cover the cost of replacing stolen property as well. Depending on your policy, you could receive the items’ actual cash value or replacement cost, which is the cost of buying them new.
  3. Repairs Help Maintain Your Home’s Value. Homebuyers don’t pay top dollar for properties with fire-damaged siding, broken windows, or gaping holes in the roof. Your home insurance payout helps restore your home’s value with minimal out-of-pocket cost.

Cons of Filing a Home Insurance Claim

Filing a claim on your homeowners insurance policy isn’t always a slam dunk. The claims process has some hidden and not-so-hidden pitfalls that could leave you worse off than when you began.

  1. Your Insurance Premium May Go Up. Although this isn’t guaranteed, your homeowners insurance rates could rise after you file your claim. Exactly how much depends on the type of claim you file, the size of the claim, and your previous claims history. Generally, liability claims bump premiums more than claims related to fire, vandalism, or natural disasters.
  2. Too Many Claims Mean Your Policy May Not Be Renewed. A rate increase is unwelcome but manageable. A canceled policy is far more serious. If insurers see you as riskier than the typical homeowner, you could have trouble getting coverage on your own. Your lender might need to step in and take out a policy on your behalf — often at a much higher premium than your old policy.
  3. If You Get a Claim-Free Discount, You Could Lose It. Once you file a home insurance claim, your claims history is no longer spotless. That matters because many home insurance companies offer claim-free discounts for homeowners who never file claims.

When You SHOULD File a Home Insurance Claim

So, you’re thinking about filing a home insurance claim. How can you be sure you’re making the right call?

Use these tests to assess your would-be claim. The more that apply to you, the stronger your position.

Repair or Replacement Costs More Than Your Deductible

This is the first test your would-be claim must pass. If it doesn’t, there’s no point in filing a claim.

Your deductible is the amount you must pay out of pocket before your home insurance kicks in. Your policy documents should clearly specify this amount. It’s either expressed as a flat dollar amount or a percentage of the policy’s total coverage amount.

Dollar amount deductibles typically range from $500 to $2,500, with $1,000 being a common value. Some policies have more than one deductible, depending on the type of property damage. Separate “wind and hail” deductibles are common, for example — and often higher than the standard deductible.

If your home sustained significant damage or loss, your claim value should easily exceed your deductible. For example, if you expect repairs to cost $20,000 and your deductible is $2,000, your insurance company covers $18,000 — 90% of the total cost.

On the other hand, if you expect repairs to cost $3,000, your insurance company only covers $1,000 — 33% of the total cost. That’s a closer call because filing a claim could result in higher home insurance premiums that eventually offset your payout. 

The Event Is Covered by Your Policy

Your homeowners insurance company isn’t obligated to provide reimbursement for every type of damage or loss to your home. In fact, while your policy covers a lot, it probably excludes specific events, known as exclusions.

Common exclusions include but aren’t limited to:

  • Earthquake
  • Flood
  • Damage and liability issues caused by poor maintenance 
  • Insect infestations
  • Mold
  • Personal property losses and liability issues caused by power outages or power surges
  • Intentional damage caused by a resident
  • Damage caused by war or nuclear fallout
  • Injuries caused by aggressive dogs
  • Issues related to or caused by home-based businesses
  • Costs related to building code violations

You may need to purchase separate insurance policies to cover some of these perils. For example, your lender may require you to carry flood insurance if you live in a recognized flood zone. 

Other add-on policies are optional but often a good idea. For example, if you run a business out of your home, you should consider carrying business insurance to protect against inventory or equipment losses or damage to your workspace.

You’ve Suffered Significant Loss or Damage

Often, it’s not a close call. If your home is seriously damaged or destroyed in an event that’s covered by your policy, you absolutely should file a homeowners insurance claim. Otherwise, you’ll be on the hook for tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in repair or replacement costs.

If you have any doubts about the extent of the damage to your home, get a few repair quotes from building contractors in your area. You can also talk to your insurance agent or ask your home insurance company to send out an insurance claims adjuster before you file.

You Haven’t Made a Claim in the Past 5 Years

Approved homeowners insurance claims typically remain on your insurance record for five years after they’re made. 

This record is known as the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE) database. When you make a claim, your insurer checks its own records and the CLUE database to see whether you’ve made any other claims in the past five years.

If you have made a claim in the past five years, expect your insurance premiums to spike after your second claim is approved. 

For fire, theft, and general liability claims, the increase could amount to 50% or more of your previous premium. A weather-related claim won’t increase your premium quite as much, but you’ll still notice a jump.


When You Should NOT File a Home Insurance Claim

It’s not always worth it to file a home insurance claim. 

Certain situations, such as minor damage that costs less to repair than your insurance deductible, all but rule out a claim. Others, such as an active claim history, bring an elevated risk of a denied claim.

If any of these situations apply to you, think twice about filing a home insurance claim.

Repair or Replacement Costs Less Than Your Deductible

If the damage or loss is relatively minor, your deductible could be too high to bother filing a claim. There’s no point in filing a claim — and potentially increasing your policy premiums — if you won’t even receive a payout.

Even if it’s a close call, be mindful of the potential for your premiums to go up after a successful claim. A claim worth $20,000 probably makes sense, but a claim worth $3,000 or $4,000 might actually set you back.

Damage Was Caused by Lack of Maintenance or Normal Wear & Tear

An event that appears to be covered by your policy might not be if the insurance adjuster can argue that it was caused by neglect, poor maintenance, or even normal wear and tear.

For example, let’s say your home loses heat during the winter, causing a water pipe to burst in your ceiling. Homeowners insurance policies generally cover this type of event — if the burst pipe was in good condition to begin with. If the pipe was already heavily corroded, your insurer might blame you for not replacing it sooner. They could deny the claim altogether.

The Event Isn’t Covered by Your Policy

It’s often quite easy to figure out whether a particular event is eligible for home insurance coverage. If your home collapses in an earthquake and your policy specifically rules out claims for earthquake damage, you’re out of luck. Hopefully, you have earthquake insurance.

But closer calls are more common than you’d think. If your resident termite colony worsens an existing foundation issue that eventually spurs a costly repair, your insurer could argue that the entire claim falls under the insect damage exclusion. 

When in doubt, it’s worthwhile to begin the claims process anyway. If you don’t like what the insurance adjuster has to say, you can drop the claim without increasing your insurance rates. 

Or you can hire a public adjuster — an independent insurance adjuster who can make a stronger case to your insurance company. Public adjusters usually work on contingency, so they only get paid if your claim is successful.

You’ve Made Multiple Claims in the Past 5 Years

The more homeowners insurance claims you make in a five-year period, the more your insurance rates increase after a successful new claim. 

Make too many claims in too short a period, and your insurance company could drop you altogether. If you’re unable to find replacement coverage, your lender could take out a policy on your behalf. Expect this lender policy to cost a lot more than your old policy.

All that said, you shouldn’t automatically rule out a new homeowners insurance claim just because you recently got an insurance payout or two. If your home is seriously damaged or destroyed by a covered event, it’s probably still worth it to file. Just be ready to pay higher premiums on the back end.


Final Word

Some say the best way to save money on homeowners insurance is not to file a claim at all. There’s a grain of truth to that, but don’t take it too literally. 

If your home is seriously damaged in an event that’s covered by your policy, a home insurance claim is absolutely warranted. Taking the time to file could save you tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses, keeping you on track to reach your long-term financial goals.

Still, it’s always a good idea to take stock of the situation before filing a claim. If your home sustains damage due to an event not covered by your policy or the cost of repairs doesn’t exceed your policy’s deductible, a claim isn’t in the cards. And even if filing a claim would be profitable on paper, it’s worth considering the long-term costs — in the form of higher premiums for years to come.

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GME is so 2021. Fine art is forever. And its 5-year returns are a heck of a lot better than this week’s meme stock. Invest in something real. Invest with Masterworks.

Brian Martucci writes about credit cards, banking, insurance, travel, and more. When he’s not investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, you can find him exploring his favorite trails or sampling a new cuisine. Reach him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.

Source: moneycrashers.com

Marilyn Monroe’s Former Penthouse in West Hollywood Lists for $2.49 Million

Here’s a slice of old Hollywood charm at its finest: a West Hollywood penthouse that was once home to Marilyn Monroe has just resurfaced on the market.

The actress, who rose to fame playing comedic “blonde bombshell” characters — which propelled her to become one of the most popular sex symbols of the 1950s and early 1960s — moved into the two-story penthouse in the mid-50s, at the height of her success.

Marilyn called many places home over the years. In fact, sources say that Monroe lived in over 43 separate residences over the years.

From high-end hotels to small apartments and sprawling Spanish-style mansions, to a brief stint living in Frank Sinatra’s guest house, or taking an extended (and somewhat controversial) stay at Bing Crosby’s Rancho Mirage estate, Marilyn Monroe moved around quite a few times before settling on a place of her own.

In 1954, the Monkey Business actress moved into a two-level penthouse at the Granville Towers, which sources say was her final apartment before she bought her Brentwood estate — which was the only property Marilyn ever owned.

After splitting from her second husband, New York Yankees star Joe DiMaggio, Monroe moved into her seventh (and last) apartment in West Hollywood. For about a year, the model-actress set up residence in the luxurious condo that has just been listed for $2.49 million. 

Image credit: The Luxury Level courtesy of The Agency
Image credit: The Luxury Level courtesy of The Agency
Image credit: The Luxury Level courtesy of The Agency

And Monroe may have not been the only famous “blonde bombshell” to live in the two-story apartment. A Los Angeles Times story from three years ago also identified Portia de Rossi as a former resident.

A stylish residence set in a star-studded building

Oozing old Hollywood charm, the posh penthouse is located in one of the most spectacular buildings in West Hollywood.

Image credit: The Luxury Level courtesy of The Agency

Set on the top floor of Granville Towers, a 1930s French Normandy-style Hollywood classic, Monroe’s former abode boasts gorgeous architectural elements such as vaulted ceilings and floor-to-ceiling skylight windows.

Located at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Crescent Heights, the 2,032-square-foot apartment offers sweeping views of the city and mountains.

Featuring two bedrooms and two bathrooms, a stunning circular staircase connects the two levels of luxurious living space. 

circular staircase in Marilyn Monroe's former West Hollywood condo
Image credit: The Luxury Level courtesy of The Agency
Image credit: The Luxury Level courtesy of The Agency
Image credit: The Luxury Level courtesy of The Agency
Image credit: The Luxury Level courtesy of The Agency
Image credit: The Luxury Level courtesy of The Agency
Image credit: The Luxury Level courtesy of The Agency

The elegant interiors include glistening hardwood floors, spa-like bathrooms and built-in window seats.

The kitchen boasts Venetian plaster, steel cabinetry and Viking appliances, and the formal dining room includes a jaw-dropping chandelier.

While the location is prime, the amenities are just as impressive. With a 24-hour doorman always on duty, the old Hollywood building includes a beautiful courtyard and garden, a clubhouse, outdoor pool and spa. 

Image credit: The Luxury Level courtesy of The Agency

Marilyn was by no means to only high-profile celebrity to call the West Hollywood building home.

A celebrity favorite, Granville Towers has attracted many A-listers in its almost century-long existence. In recent years, celebrities like Nicole Scherzinger, Ashley Greene, Mickey Rourke, Brendan Fraser, or David Bowie have all lived in the posh building.

Listed by Amanda Lynn, Gina Michelle and George Ouzounian of The Agency, Marilyn Monroe’s former home is almost a collectible for die-hard fans of old Hollywood. 

More celebrity homes you might like

Frank Sinatra’s Famous Byrdview Estate Is Back on the Market Asking $21.5 MillionHistoric Old Hollywood Charm: See Inside Vanessa Hudgens’ Luxurious Los Feliz Estate
The Story of Taylor Swift’s Holiday House — Home to “the Last Great American Dynasty”
The Iconic Beverly House: where Jackie O & JFK Honeymooned, ‘The Bodyguard’ was Filmed, and where Beyonce Shot ‘Black is King’

Source: fancypantshomes.com

Can You Actually Buy an Apartment?

Find out the differences between renting an apartment and buying a condominium or co-op to decide which option is right for you.

Would you like to own your apartment rather than shell out rent on a monthly basis? That’s possible, but only if you own the building in which the apartment is. You can’t buy an apartment, but if real estate ownership is important to you, there are other alternatives to purchasing an apartment building, including a condominium or a co-op.

Each of those three options offers plusses and minuses, and it’s wise to weigh them against one another before deciding where to live next.

What is a condominium?

A condominium, also known as a condo, is a residential living community featuring separate units owned by individual owners. Major similarities between owning a condo and a house include:

  • The right to change the interior décor, including remodeling and updating
  • The responsibility for maintenance and repairs
  • The duty to pay real estate taxes on the property

As for the maintenance and care of shared areas, building amenities and the exterior of the complex, condominium owners pay regular fees to a condo association responsible for those matters.

In a condo, “you own the space within your unit and an undivided percentage interest of the entire complex,” explains Daniel Homick, a Raleigh, NC, real estate and finance specialist with Axiom and an attorney licensed in Ohio. Moreover, condo residents must follow by-laws enacted by the condo association.

Owning a condo is similar to homeownership, overall, but with condo fees and by-laws as two major differences. A third is owners of either also pay taxes on their real property.

You can buy and sell a condominium, and its value can appreciate or depreciate. If condo by-laws permit it, an owner may also rent their condo to a tenant. Doing so, however, does not relieve the condo owner from their duty to pay the mortgage on their property. That’s because renting to another person does not alter or impact the financial obligation incurred by the condo owner when they secured a mortgage.

A co-op has a board you

A co-op has a board you

What is a co-op?

Primarily found in populous metropolitan cities like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, a co-op does not convey ownership of property directly but rather through a share in the structure. Says Homick, a co-op share offers “the right use the space the co-op occupies. You own the wallpaper but not the walls, the carpet but not the floor. The cooperative owns everything.”

In other words, when a person buys into a co-op, they become a shareholder that grants certain rights. “You’re a shareholder in the cooperative which owns the real estate. As a shareholder in the cooperative, you are entitled to occupy a specific unit represented by the shares,” he says.

Therefore, a co-op shareholder agreement does not convey real estate. Instead, Homick explains, the structure itself belongs to the co-operative. A co-op unit owner is must pay fees assessed by a co-op association for the maintenance of common areas of the structure, just like a condo.

Co-ops also have their own rules and regulations as to what can and can’t do in the living space, says Keith Martin, a Realtor based in Cincinnati, OH.

In addition, some laws apply to condominiums that do not pertain to cooperative ownership. Among them, says Homick, is that “co-ops may prevent the sale of shares to those they disapprove.” While certainly there are state and federal laws prohibiting discrimination in mortgage loan approvals for homes and condos,” cooperative-laws are not as airtight as condo laws” when it comes to that, he says.

Pros of owning a condominium

There are several benefits to owning a condominium. Among them is the right to remodel the living area according to the owner’s taste and needs. Of course, those alterations must abide by the condo’s by-laws.

Other advantages include:

  • No responsibility for outside maintenance, such as grass cutting and snow removal
  • Sharing the financial burden of the maintenance of common areas of the development with the other condo owners
  • Tax benefits of owning real property
  • Owning an asset to distribute to heirs

Benefits of apartment living

When deciding what type of abode is best for you, it’s wise to consider your needs.

If you prefer to pay rent and not be responsible for the physical maintenance of your apartment or its exterior, an apartment is your best option.

Another benefit of renting is flexibility. Whereas an apartment lease is for a specific length of time, usually a year, a condominium or co-op is for much longer typically. That’s because the latter two grant different levels of ownership, whereas renting an abode offers none.

Decisions, decisions, decision

When deciding whether to buy a condo, purchase a co-op title or rent an apartment, you must consider many factors, such as your income, lifestyle and needs so you make the best possible decision for your situation.

Source: rent.com

How To Start a Wedding DJ Business in 9 Essential Steps

Want to hone your DJ skills? Or maybe show them off?

Wedding DJs are in high demand these days.

Industry experts expect 2022 to be the busiest wedding season in 40 years, thanks to lockdown romances and postponed ceremonies during the pandemic.

A wedding DJ is the focal point of great wedding receptions. They set the mood, engage with the crowd and keep the couple happy.

They make good money, too. Wedding DJs make $1,000 per gig on average, according to WeddingWire, with experienced pros fetching upward of $2,000 or more.

But it takes a lot of hard work and planning to DJ a wedding. To start a successful wedding DJ business, you’ll need seed money for gear, reliable transportation — and great people skills.

How to Start a Wedding DJ Business in 9 Steps

Nick Smith started DJing weddings in southwest Indiana when he was 20 years old. His first set of speakers and audio equipment came from a bar that was going out of business.

Sixteen years later, Smith’s business has booked over 200 weddings.

“It’s a great gig if you love people and music,” he said.

Ready to spin up your own side hustle? Follow these nine steps to start a wedding DJ business.

1. Research and Talk to Other DJs

Before you invest major money into gear and advertising, make sure you’re comfortable with this type of gig.

Talk to other wedding DJs and ask what challenges they faced in the beginning — and how they overcame those hurdles.

If you’re new to DJing in general, it’s a good idea to shadow a professional wedding DJ. Search Google, Yelp or the Knot to find some in your area.

Send a friendly email asking if you can help them out at an event or two because you’re interested in being a wedding DJ.

On the day of the wedding, show up early and stay for the entire event. Observe how the wedding DJ interacts with the crowd and the type of music they play. Take notes.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How do they make announcements?
  • What do they do when the dance floor thins out?
  • How do they handle requests?
  • What equipment do they have?

In exchange for the experience, offer to help the other DJ by unloading gear from the car and setting up the speakers.

2. Hone Your Skills

Practice makes perfect. You need to be comfortable behind the booth before you’re ready to book gigs.

Play for family and friends first. You can also book other, smaller events — like birthday parties and company parties — to get your feet wet. Online classes are another way to grow your knowledge base.

Practice playing songs, using a microphone and flowing from one song to another.

If you’re not ready to start your own wedding DJ business quite yet, consider working for a multi-op — a mobile DJ company that employs several disc jockeys.

3. Create a Business Plan

Creating a business plan is important if you plan to invest time and money into becoming a wedding DJ.

Your business plan should include:

  • Your business name and location
  • Customer demographics and target audience
  • Price points
  • Suppliers for your equipment
  • Initial start-up costs and how long until you’re profitable
  • Competitors

You can use one of these templates from the U.S. Small Business Administration to create a more detailed business plan.

Looking for more tips? Check out these 10 things you should know before you start a business. 

Setting Your Rate

The best way to set your initial rates is by researching prices for wedding DJs in your area, then offering a lower price.

How much you charge also depends on where you live: A wedding DJ in a big city earns more money than a wedding DJ in a small town.

Still, a good starting rate for a novice wedding DJ is roughly $500. You can raise your rates as you gain more experience. According to The Knot’s Real Weddings Study, couples spent an average of $1,400 on a DJ in 2021.

Wedding DJs usually pick one or more of the following pricing structures:

  • Flat fee or hourly rate
  • Packages
  • A la carte services
  • Custom quote

You should also be open to negotiating when you first start out.

Decide What DJ Services to Offer

Smith said offering additional services to clients is one of the best ways to make extra money as a wedding DJ.

“Additional services can really help add value,” Smith said. “You can offer things like uplighting, or doing sound for both the ceremony and the reception.”

Consider add-ons that earn you extra money with minimal effort. For example, some DJs offer photo booth services for guests, but Smith said photo booths are labor intensive to transport and set up.

“Unless you have someone else helping you, you want to keep things simple,” he said.

4. Buy Your DJ Gear

A big hurdle for many new DJs is acquiring equipment. It can cost a couple thousand dollars to purchase all your DJ gear.

“It’s a big cost up front for sure,” Nick said, “but you’ll earn it back quickly with gigs.”

While you don’t need state-of-the-art equipment to be a great wedding DJ, you do need a solid foundation to get started.

Wedding DJ gear checklist:

  • Laptop with at least 6 GB of internal memory and three USB inputs
  • DJ software, like Serato or Traktor
  • PA system (amplifier and speakers)
  • DJ controller / mixer
  • Over-the-ear headphones
  • Cables
  • MP3 music files

On a budget? Smith recommends looking for deals on sites like eBay and Craigslist. Check out sales at your local music store, too.

You could even borrow equipment from a friend or neighborhood church for your first couple gigs.

“You can start with a cheaper set-up, then upgrade it up over time,” Smith said.

You’ll also need to be comfortable setting up and tearing down your own DJ equipment. Figuring out how to efficiently store and transport your gear is also important if you want to be a mobile DJ.

Buy the Music

Buying music is important if you want to run a successful wedding DJ business.

Professionals caution against using streaming services like Spotify or YouTube. It isn’t technically legal and you shouldn’t rely on anything that requires Internet access anyway.

You have several options to legally purchase music for your wedding DJ business:

  • Buy mp3s through Amazon or iTunes/Apple Music.
  • Subscribe to a DJ pool like Promo City. This is a paid service that gives you access to volumes of modern music for download.
  • DJ subscription service like Virtual DJ or Pulselocker.
  • Buy used CDs and rip them to your laptop.

Set aside a little money from each gig to buy more music, and it won’t take long to compile a competitive professional DJ library.

5. Market Yourself

You have the gear. You have a plan. Now it’s time to get some customers.

You’ll need to create a DJ website and social media accounts to attract potential customers. Look at websites for other wedding DJ businesses to get ideas.

At the bare minimum, your website should include:

  • Your rates
  • Where you’re located (and how far you’re willing to travel)
  • A contact email address and phone number
  • What makes you unique from other DJs in the wedding industry
  • Testimonials and positive reviews

You can use a service like Wix or Weebly for free, or hire a professional to design a website for you.

Word of mouth is huge in the wedding business, Smith said. It’s about who you know and who knows you.

“Recommendations are everything,” Smith emphasized.

Give discounts for referrals. Make it easy for the bride and groom to leave glowing reviews about your wedding DJ business on Google and Facebook.

You’ll want to create some business cards and maybe some flyers, too.

Leave a space in your budget for marketing costs. Advertising on sites like The Knot and WeddingWire can really help pull in new customers because couples often visit these sites to find venues and vendors.

6. Meet the Couple for a Consultation

Meet up with the wedding couple several weeks before the event to discuss the playlist.

Ask about their favorite genres and bands, then create a short list of must-have songs, including their pick for the first dance and other important dances.

Perhaps more importantly, get a list of songs they don’t want played. The Chicken Dance, for instance.

“Get an idea of what they’re looking for,” Smith said, “then execute that to the best of your abilities.”

Print a questionnaire for the couple to fill out at the consultation with a timeline of the wedding, names of important people in the wedding party and other key details you should know.

You’ll also want to create contracts you can customize for each couple.

Your business contract should cover things like cancellation fees and damaged equipment policies. Make sure to discuss these policies with clients during the initial consultation.

Finally, prepare to spend several hours communicating back and forth with the couple before the wedding. Smith said he usually spends about 10 hours total preparing for the big day.

Two brides dance at their wedding reception.
Getty Images

7. Create the Playlist

Your goal as a wedding DJ is to create a memorable experience for the couple and keep the party going.

Don’t slide your original deep house remix into the wedding playlist. Remember, focus on the bride and groom — not your personal taste in music.

Play music to match the festivities. Break your songs into different blocks for the ceremony, cocktail hour, introductions, dinner and dance floor.

Each block should have different music to the atmosphere: Classical music at the ceremony, light jazz for the cocktail hour and soulful tunes for dinner, for example.

You can flex more creativity and play new music for the dance floor. But remember: You’re playing for a diverse audience. Don’t be afraid to bust out crowd favorites like “Don’t Stop Believin’” and “Livin’ On A Prayer.”

“People are at a wedding to have a good time,” Smith said. “Your job is to play the right music and create a fun atmosphere for everyone.”

8. Be On Time and Professional

You can’t be late to the party when you’re the DJ. Get there early, set up on time and prepare for a late night.

Before the wedding, write out a script of everything you plan to say. Practice pronouncing names. You don’t want to butcher the best man’s last name on stage.

Make sure to bring backup chargers, cables and other necessary gear. Things go wrong, break and run out of battery. Don’t let something unexpected (but easily preventable) ruin your wedding gig.

9. Work the Crowd and Keep the Party Going

Successful wedding DJs set the tone and vibe for the entire reception.

Be friendly, energetic and don’t forget to smile!

It’s not all about the music, though: You’ll be in charge of making announcements, calling for special dances and fielding song requests from (often intoxicated) guests.

You’ll need to communicate with other vendors at the wedding, too. You don’t want to start playing music for a special dance, for example, without the photographers and videographers in place.

Be observant, flexible and keep the party going.

It’s a lot to manage but pulling off your first successful gig can be the start of a rewarding and lucrative wedding DJ business.

Rachel Christian is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance and a senior writer for The Penny Hoarder

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Source: thepennyhoarder.com

How Taxes Impact Your Wealth Gap

Imagine you’re standing on the bank of a river. The bank you’re standing on represents your current financial status, and the opposite bank is the amount of wealth you need for retirement. The river itself is the difference between how much wealth you currently have and what must be accumulated to reach your retirement goals.

When we look at bridging this wealth gap, it’s important to factor in anything that could get in the way of reaching our goals. That’s why taxes are so important. You can’t have an accurate calculation without understanding how taxes impact your wealth gap. You see, taxation plays a significant role in our ability to accumulate wealth. If you went through your whole life without utilizing any of the tax breaks available to you, you would have built substantially less wealth than someone who understood the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) and took advantage of its many tax-saving benefits.

In fact, one of my colleagues often calls the Internal Revenue Code “the greatest wealth creation tool in the United States.” He’s not wrong. The IRC is a tool for wealth creation. As such, it can be the difference in whether taxes impact your wealth gap in a negative way. You see, much of the IRC is pages and pages of information on how you can legally minimize taxes. 

Let me be absolutely clear, I am not offering tax advice. Nor am I advocating for illegal or unethical means of avoiding the payment of taxes. You should always consult a professional before employing any of the strategies found within the IRC to ensure that you are compliant with the law.

By the Numbers

The top marginal income tax rate of 37% affects taxpayers with a taxable income of $539,900 or more for single filers. Likewise, it impacts married couples filing jointly, with a taxable income of $647,850 and above. But what does that mean for you? Will taxes increase? Will tax brackets expand, or decrease? The only way to truly opine the answers to these questions is to look back at historical tax brackets. 

In 1984, the lowest bracket was up to $3,400 for married couples. The highest tax bracket began at $162,400 (the 1984 values are the base upon which inflation indexing began). However, the brackets began to spread in the 1990s. In fact, the highest bracket floor in 1994 rose to $250,000 while the lowest bracket ceiling remained around $38,000. So, there began to be a “spread” between the tax rates of high-income earners and those with less income. That spread has become an albatross in the modern era.

Historical Tax Data

To better put into context how taxes impact your wealth gap, let’s look at some of these numbers through a tax rate calculator. Using this calculator, if you were making $50,000 (in today’s dollars) in 1913 you would have paid around 1% in taxes. However, that same $50,000 earnings in 1942 would have landed you in a 20% tax bracket. So, what happened? Well, that would have been about the time that the government needed to fund the war effort for WWII. Since that time, there hasn’t really been a whole lot of movement. If you’re a single filer earning $50K today, you’re going to be taxed at about 22%.

However, most of the clients I work with earn much more taxable income than $50K. So, let’s go with a more realistic figure. We will enter $500K into the calculator. Keep in mind, the effective tax rate made a considerable change between 1937 and 1942. In 1944, a person earning $500K (in today’s dollars) would be taxed at the bracket rate of 51%. That number rose to as high as 58.9% in the early 1980s.

What History Tells Us

Famed historian and co-documentarian of the PBS series Prohibition, Lynn Novick attributes the creation of the federal income tax to Prohibition in the United States. Novick states, “I had no idea how important liquor was to the federal government. It started in the Civil War with the levy on beer and whiskey to help fund the war, and it never really went away. Some 30% to 40% of the government’s income came from the tax on alcohol. So, Prohibitionists realized that the only way they’re going to have a ban was through income tax, which was a progressive cause and was really supposed to distribute wealth and to make things equitable during the robber baron era, where the wealth was being accumulated in a very small segment of the population.”

In 1913, the top tax bracket was 7% on any income over $500,000 ($11 million in today’s dollars). The lowest tax bracket was 1%. But so much has happened since then. We’ve experienced WWI, WWII, the Great Depression and so much more. Each of these events has played a major role in how we are taxed. For instance, the New Deal carried an inflation-adjusted price tag of $856.1 billion in 1933. Then from 1943 to 1982, the average tax bracket for the taxpayer earning $500,000 jumped from 14% to an average of 50% +/-.

Similarly, the Great Recession saw an economic stimulus that totaled $1.8 trillion. As a result, the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 maintained the 35% tax rate through 2012. And recently, we saw the largest stimulus package in our nation’s history, with the CARES Act, which checked in at a staggering $3.6 trillion. As we have seen in the past, we could reasonably anticipate another increase in federal income taxes because of this.

Putting It All Together: How Taxes Impact Your Wealth Gap

According to the old adage, there are two certainties in this life: death and taxes. With that in mind, I wanted to get you thinking about how taxes will likely impact your wealth gap. I want you to be confident in your personal plans and direction. You know what you want out of retirement and how long you have to build the wealth that will fund it. Don’t let something like taxes throw off your calculation. 

To ensure that you’re not overpaying on taxes, you should have a CPA helping with your annual tax filings. But that’s not all. You should also be meeting with your CPA and CFP® about proactive strategies to mitigate your tax burden. The less you pay in taxes, the more you can save for retirement. Both will help you to close your retirement wealth gap sooner than later.

Chief Strategy Officer, WealthSource Partners

Justin A. Goodbread is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner and an adviser with WealthSource® Knoxville. After years of working in a large firm, he ventured out on his own in 2009, starting Heritage Investors, and eventually joining WealthSource® Partners LLC in 2022. As a serial small-business owner, Goodbread has bought and sold multiple businesses. He uses this experience, along with his continuing education, to help business owners grow and sell what is often their largest asset. 

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. (CFP Board) owns the CFP® certification mark, the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification mark, and the CFP® certification mark (with plaque design) logo in the United States, which it authorizes use of by individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.

Source: kiplinger.com

How to Navigate an Apartment Lease Takeover Like a Pro

If you’ve got to leave your apartment mid-lease, finding a qualified person to step in and take over your lease goes a long way to making the process go smoothly.

You gone.

Or, at least you need or want to go. But you’ve got this lease on your apartment that’s not up yet. You don’t want to break your lease because that’s got some consequences that may linger. You’ve got some other options, such as a lease takeover or a sublet. Here’s how you go about getting out in the best way possible.

What’s the difference between a sublet and a lease takeover?

In a sublet, a new person comes in to finish up your lease. They pay you and you continue to pay rent to the landlord. Three things to remember: Make sure your lease agreement allows you to sublet your apartment, let your landlord know you’ll sublet and you’re on the hook if the subletter doesn’t pay the rent.

An apartment lease takeover (a.k.a. lease transfer or lease assignment) is when a new renter agrees to take over your lease and has a separate, formal agreement with the landlord. That person would then be the lessee (the person taking over the lease). You still have to find out of your lease allows this, but a lease takeover is more of a clean break than a sublet.

Lease agreement

Lease agreement

Getting started

Transferring your lease may seem like traffic has parted and you’re ready to hit the gas, but first, you’re going to adjust your mirrors and check that you’ve got a full tank. Full stop on the driving metaphors, but you’ve got work to do.

Read your lease agreement

The lease may state you can’t sublet or otherwise transfer your lease to anyone else. And, if you’re allowed to sublet or do a lease transfer, you may have to pay a processing or transfer fee. You might have to let go of your security deposit or your last month’s payment.

Contact your landlord

Get it in writing that your landlord or property manager is on board with a lease takeover. Find out what your responsibilities will be. For example, do you have to find the lessee? Will you still be on the hook for rent if the lessee doesn’t pay? You may have to get your landlord to specify in writing that unpaid rent is not your burden.

Ready to do the lease takeover

You’re not done yet. The easier you make life for your landlord or property manager, the smoother your lease takeover process will be.

Find someone to take over the lease

You may not have to do this, but it will help your case.

It should go without saying that the person should have good credit and be able to pay the rent on time. The potential lessee will have to fill out a rental application and provide all the documents and background information you had to do when you began renting the apartment. Be prepared for your landlord to say no to your candidate. Have a backup person. And then another one just in case.

If you’ve made your case for your lessee candidate and your landlord is being difficult or unreasonable, you may need to find a lawyer. Look for someone who specializes in your state’s landlord-tenant laws.

Start your lessee search early

Just because it seems like everyone you know is looking for a place to live doesn’t mean they’re actually ready to find a place or put down money on something. Remember the months of scrimping, saving and organizing you had to do before you rented your place?

Word of mouth is great, particularly among friends, family, co-workers and others that you may already know. But you can also use social media to find someone. If you’re having trouble, you might think about offering to cover the first month’s rent or paying the utility bill for a couple of months.

Take good photos of your apartment

Take good photos of your apartment

Create an apartment listing

Write a description and take some great photos of your apartment. (A picture is worth a thousand words, they say.) Three to five images (kitchen, living room, bathroom, bedroom, common space) are probably enough. You don’t need a fancy camera to take them. Make the rooms look cozy and inviting. Clear the clutter, let in as much natural light as possible and add some flowers.

Done deal

Once you’ve got your landlord’s approval, you’ll need to create an official document of the lease transfer outlining everything you all agreed to. (You can find a lease takeover template at wonder.legal.) You, your landlord and the new tenant will all have to sign the document.

You’re free to go now

Once you’ve found the perfect person to take over your lease, and they’ve signed on all the dotted lines, you are good to go.

Now, you can floor the gas and head into your new adventure.

Source: rent.com

4 Steps to Build a Resilient Financial Life

Life can throw you curveballs, bringing unexpected events and expenses. That’s why building financial resilience in your life can be so powerful — and it starts with learning to have a basic sense of how your finances work and what you can do to make them work better for you.

If you’re feeling a bit uncertain or overwhelmed about how to get your finances in order, the first place to start is to define your goals. What is it that you want to achieve? It may be sticking to a budget, paying down debt, saving for retirement, building an emergency fund or saving for a big expense like a car, a home or a child’s education.

 Let’s walk through four basics for building a more resilient financial life.

Step 1: Be SMART with your goals

Whatever your goals, I encourage you to put pen to paper to write them down. I like to use something called the SMART goal-setting method, which stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Action-oriented
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound

For example, if you want to pay off debt, start with the actual dollar amount of how much you want to pay down. That makes it Specific and Measurable. Then, get Action-oriented by defining the steps you’re going to take. If it’s paying down debt, maybe you can cut back on eating out or put your tax refund toward your credit card bill.

By making your goal Specific, Measurable and Action-oriented, you’ll be able to see if your goal is Realistic — and if not, you can adjust, like by extending the time frame. Speaking of time, the T in SMART stands for Time-bound: Give your goal an expiration date so you have a target in mind. Once you reach that deadline, you’re encouraged to make the next goal, and then the next — and that’s how we make progress in our financial lives.

Step 2: Be organized

I like to use the analogy of building a house. It’s fun to dream about your floor plan and decorations, but building the house doesn’t truly begin until you break ground and lay the foundation. Creating a more formal budget is the foundation of our financial lives, helping us see exactly where money is flowing so we can better allocate it to our many needs, wants and goals. Calculate every dollar coming in, including earnings from your job or any other sources, such as a rental property or side hustle. Next, track your expenses — everything from rent and gas to coffee and birthday gifts. Once you list all those expenses, separate them into two columns for needs and wants.

This part is going to be different for everybody. For example, we all need to wear clothes, but do you really need new clothes every month? Maybe you do if have a growing child or need a new coat — but maybe not, and maybe you can put new clothes in the “want” column instead of the “need” column.

Another helpful tip is what’s called the 50-30-20 rule: Think about 50% of your budget going to cover needs like bills, food, housing, insurance and utilities; then the next 30% to wants like streaming services, vacations or new gadgets; and then the remaining 20% to savings — like your retirement account, stock portfolio and emergency fund.

Step 3: Be realistic

Practice makes perfect, so think of your financial life like playing a game of darts, where each triangle on that dart board is a different aspect of what you said you were going to spend or save to reach your goals. The more you practice throwing that dart, the better you’re going to be at hitting the mark consistently.

Of course, many of us live paycheck to paycheck or rack up debt to make ends meet. If that’s where you are today, it still helps to get a clearer picture of your goals, income, spending, needs and wants. Write it all down and try to identify places where you can potentially cut back. For example, you probably need your cellphone, but is there a less expensive plan that could work? If there’s really no wiggle room, look for ways to bring in additional income — maybe turning that passion project into a side hustle or picking up a flexible part-time job.

Making ends meet can be tough, so it’s important to put energy into building a financial cushion when you have the chance. You may have also heard that it’s a good idea to have three to six months of essential expenses saved up as an emergency fund, but for many of us, that’s easier said than done. Just keep in mind that savings don’t appear overnight. Start small, figure out what works for your lifestyle, and save — even if it’s $5 at a time.

Step 4: Get support

Financial literacy is simple, but not necessarily easy. The sooner you start budgeting, saving and investing, the more time you have for your money to potentially grow and help you reach your goals. Even small amounts of invested money can add up over time, thanks to the power of compounding interest. So make sure that you’re working to build up your financial resilience today so that when you retire, you can live the kind of life that you’ve always envisioned. If you feel behind, don’t panic — just start today, and start as small as you need to.

Our finances are such a significant area of our lives, which is why I personally find it very reassuring to know that there are many types of professionals out there who can offer support as you assess your options, prepare your next steps, and work to achieve your goals. Maybe you’re ready to build out a financial support team with help from attorneys, accountants or financial advisers and coaches. Many companies offer their employees access to financial education, advice and resources as a part of their benefits package, so check out whether your company offers any additional support that can help you take control of your financial journey today.

This article has been prepared for informational purposes only. The information and data in the article have been obtained from sources outside of Morgan Stanley. Morgan Stanley makes no representations or guarantees as to the accuracy or completeness of the information or data from sources outside of Morgan Stanley. It does not provide individually tailored investment advice and has been prepared without regard to the individual financial circumstances and objectives of persons who receive it. The strategies and/or investments discussed in this article may not be appropriate for all investors. Morgan Stanley recommends that investors independently evaluate particular investments and strategies, and encourages investors to seek the advice of a financial adviser. The appropriateness of a particular investment or strategy will depend on an investor’s individual circumstances and objectives.

Head of Financial Wellness, Morgan Stanley

Krystal Barker Buissereth, CFA®, is a Managing Director and the Head of Financial Wellness for Morgan Stanley at Work. In this role, she is responsible for working with corporate clients and organizations on creating, implementing and managing financial wellness programs that meet the needs of their employees.

Source: kiplinger.com

The Best Apartments in Miami in 2022

It’s tough to tell what’s a resort and what’s not in Miami, so equipped are the apartment communities with amenities most people expect only on vacation.

Any renter who wants every regular day to feel like they’re at a Sandals resort should make haste to Miami, where crystal-clear rooftop pools, maxed-out fitness centers, beach access and such are the norm in many communities. Of course, some of these properties come with pretty steep price tags, as there’s a wide cost of living range in Miami, not to mention many neighborhoods to choose from. However, it’s still totally possible to compromise here and there to get the unit of your dreams, even if it means a rental further away from the action.

This list of the 25 best apartment communities is a great way to begin any search for the perfect rental in Magic City. Get those flip-flops and bikinis ready — Bienvenido a Miami!

Source: Rent.com/850 Living

Kicking off our list of the best apartments in Miami is the swank community of 850 Living, a brand-new “urban development” designed as an oasis right in the heart of Miami’s hustle and bustle. The property’s 70-foot, zero-entry pool is a stunner for sure, as is the fitness center complete with a spin room. Quartz countertops grace the kitchens and bathrooms of each luxe unit.

The neighborhood is also a serious perk to life in 850 Living, as it’s steps away from all types of restaurants, shopping, green spaces, entertainment and so on. The airport is also a scant two miles away, so it’s perfect for frequent travelers! The Magic City Casino, Grapeland Water Park and the University of Miami are also just around the corner.

Source: Rent.com/Sunset Apartments

Smack in the heart of Kendall, a hot suburb only minutes from Miami, is the community of Sunset Apartments. Many Miami locals choose to settle here because it’s close to everything at a fraction of the cost, plus, it boasts excellent schools and proximity to all the major roadways.

The community also has a decidedly Floridian feel to it with its architecture, lush tropical greenery and sparkling pool on site.

Source: Rent.com/Gio Midtown

Arguably the most dog-friendly community on our list, Gio Midtown has a full spate of pooch-related amenities. Furry friends enjoy the dog lounge, dog spa and outdoor dog turf run, all on-site! Gio Midtown also has electric car charging stations, keyless entry, a “salt room,” and even a meditation garden. Points for creativity, right?

Since the design of the overall property is “mid-century modern,” the sleek aesthetic of the spaces is fresh, clean and updated to the -nth degree. This is so appropriate, given the fact that it’s located in Midtown, arguably one of the hottest neighborhoods in Miami right now.

Source: Rent.com/Vista Verde at Deerwood

Found in suburban Miami right near the Miami Zoo, Vista Verde at Deerwood welcomes people of all cultures and persuasions. This community is particularly great for families, thanks to the on-site “tot lot,” pool and picnic area. Pets are also welcome at this attractive property, which is fabulous for dog-lovers because that’s not the case everywhere!

Renters also enjoy a volleyball court, tennis court, fitness center and balconies/patios in every unit. The community also hosts monthly events so that tenants can mix and mingle with each other.

Source: Rent.com/Waterford Point

The totally updated property at Waterford Point has all types of unit options, including studios, townhomes and standard apartments. The property has the amenities one would expect of a Miami apartment, including two pools and spas, a fitness center and even a steam room! Select units even have dual master suites, for those roomies who need a little extra breathing room.

Located in the quaint suburb of Kendall, Waterford Point nonetheless offers enviable access to Miami’s businesses and nightlife, but at a more affordable price point.

Source: Rent.com/Waterford Landing

Waterford Landing is an excellent option for the budget-conscious renter who still wants to enjoy some pretty sweet amenities. The homey property features two lighted tennis courts, an indoor racquetball court, two swimming pools and two spas. The beautifully landscaped community is also ideally situated near the Florida Turnpike, a serious bonus for commuters. Full-sized washers and dryers in each unit (except studios, but they have access to a free laundry facility) are much appreciated by residents. Units have been recently remodeled and renovated, so they’re practically brand-new!

Source: Rent.com/Kings Colony Apartments

Just west of Miami near the Florida Everglades, Kings Colony has an impressive array of amenities not found in many other properties. For example, the car wash area and door-to-door valet trash service alone are reasons enough to sign a lease! This smoke-free living community is also equipped with smart home technology and attractive white shaker cabinets.

There are plenty of fun things to do on the property, as well, with two indoor racquetball courts and two swimming pools available to residents and guests. Although they allow cats and dogs on the property, certain dogs with “aggressive tendencies” aren’t allowed, so look into that before moving in with your German Shepherd or Rottweiler.

Source: Rent.com/Biscayne Bay

Next on our list of the best apartments in Miami is the perfect community for people who long for bay views. Look no further, as 22 Biscayne Bay offers this amenity in every unit. This 14-floor tower is conveniently situated only 10 minutes from South Beach and 5 minutes from Downtown.

Like most high-rises in the area, it sports a luxe pool, total fitness center and luxury appliances in all units. Covered parking for residents is another major bonus, although virtually everything a renter needs is within walking distance!

Source: Rent.com/CORE

Created with aesthetics top of mind, CORE is the sister tower to nearby CASCADE. Both buildings are architectural knockouts, with “architectural elements running diagonally down the facade,” per the property’s site. The units have a decidedly modern, urban vibe, and the entire property is liberally sprinkled with unconventional, fresh touches like modern art, designer lighting features and attractive patterns laid into the floor.

The rooftop pool, complete with cabanas, grilling stations and ridiculous views, is a chill way to spend the days and nights. Many locals also hop on over to any of the area’s numerous greenspaces to picnic or stretch their legs. Back at the property, there’s even an on-site family grocer for residents to stock up on mouth-watering fresh fruits and vegetables!

Source: Rent.com/Terrazas River Park Village Apartments

The stunning pool surrounded by tanning chairs isn’t the very best thing at Terrazas River Park Village Apartments, but it’s close. Located on a property with gorgeous, mature trees, this community offers leases that range from seven to 12 months in duration and is pet-friendly. Each tenant gets a parking space, so a place to park the car is never an issue. Access to the hot tub, as well as in-unit balconies and washer/dryer, make it an ultra-convenient place to call home. Although slightly inland and thus, a bit further from South Beach, this community is just a short walk from the Miami River.

Source: Rent.com/Skyview

Stunning views of the waterfront are virtually everywhere on this property, located on 22nd Street in the desirable Edgewater neighborhood of Miami. Skyview tenants often move there to get in the mix of everything related to Miami, as it’s close to so many local attractions. Each unit comes with brand-name appliances in a fully-equipped kitchen. Residents love to work up a sweat in an up-to-date fitness center, followed by time in the lap pool or Jacuzzi on-site.

Source: Rent.com/Oak Plaza

With 156 units, Oak Plaza is just the right size for those who want to avoid mega-Miami living. This pet-friendly property is ideal for people who work at or otherwise require access to the local healthcare facilities. In fact, it’s very close to the Miami Health System campus, the VA hospital and Jackson Memorial Hospital.

Residents also enjoy super close proximity to LoanDepot Park, home of the Miami Marlins baseball team. The sparkling pool, up-to-date fitness center and stunning views are the icings on the cake of this community.

Source: Rent.com/Pinnacle Square

A smidge further inland, this colorful community is affordable living at its finest. Practically new, residents appreciate the clean and modern feel of this property. Complete with everything a person or family really needs to get by, Pinnacle Square does have some nice extras, like a playground, business center and fitness center. There’s even a community clubhouse and library! Beloved restaurants, like The Citadel and La Santa Taqueria, are just around the corner, perfect for happy hour and such.

Source: Rent.com/Pinnacle Place

Lush with palm trees, Pinnacle Place is a new high-rise community that prides itself on affordability. Renters who’re lucky enough to find an open unit here appreciate its proximity to the Design and Arts District, not to mention all of the local shopping and entertainment.

Although the apartment community doesn’t allow pets, it does offer residents access to 24-hour maintenance, a parking garage, energy-efficient appliances, a fitness center and a children’s playground, among other amenities. Restaurants like CHICA Miami and Sullivan Street Bakery are popular spots for locals to Pinnacle Place.

Source: Rent.com/Centre Lake

Slightly further inland, this Centre Lake is conveniently found near the I-95 expressway. Although this community has something of a fancy name, it has fewer frills than a lot of other apartments on our list. This shows in the rental rates, however, making it one of the more affordable options in the Miami area.

A pet-friendly neighborhood (maximum allowed, two), renters in Centre Lake enjoy a beautifully landscaped courtyard, their own private patio and private unit entry. These ranch-style, single-story apartments also come equipped with standard utilities, and renters have access to additional attic storage.

Source: Rent.com/Residences at the Falls

Renters with children flock to Residences At the Falls because it’s zoned for one of the area’s best school districts. There’s also plenty for kid and adult residents alike to enjoy on the property, including a basketball court, community garden, four tennis courts, plenty of green space and two Olympic-size swimming pools. The community also has 24-hour security on-site, as well as a gated and monitored entrance.

Source: Rent.com/Design Place

Located in the Buena Vista neighborhood of Miami, Design Place oozes charm in all the best ways possible. The carefully tended grounds, colorfully painted buildings and white picket fences lend extra whimsy to this suburban neighborhood. It’s also just a short drive to Miami hotspots like South Beach, Downtown, Brickell and Midtown, but there’s still plenty of entertainment, dining and shopping to enjoy within walking distance.

Units with backyards are available for rent, plus the property has a community garden, cabana-style sundeck, picnic area, sand volleyball court, expansive pool and a poolside cafe.

Source: Rent.com/Gibraltar Apartments

This community is the perfect balance of not too big, but not too small. Located in the Coconut Grove area of Miami, Gibraltar Apartments is relatively new, having started taking occupants only in 2015. It’s delightfully close to Miracle Mile and Coco Walk, as well as the Miami Metro Rail and international airport. The area’s walk score is an impressive 84, making it a pedestrian paradise. No pets here, though, so don’t sign on the dotted line if Fido or Fluffy will pay the price.

Source: Rent.com/Hampton Village Apartments

The last non-high-rise on our list, Hampton Village Apartments are nonetheless just as cute as can be. These units are ideal for people who don’t want to spend a ton of time going up and down in an elevator. Complete with a clubhouse, common area, fitness center and playground, Hampton Village is perfect for renters who don’t want to pay a ton more in rent for amenities they won’t use. With a walk score of 60, the area is not ultra-walkable, but some people do get around on foot when they’re really motivated.

Source: Rent.com/Melody Tower

No doubt Melody Tower gets its name from residents who whistle a happy tune as they come and go from this conveniently located, relatively affordable property. Although it’s not right on the water, it’s only a short walk from beach access. It’s also within walking distance to major Miami attractions, like the Midtown shops, Design District, Brickell City Center and the Adrianne Arsht Center.

Close proximity to major roadways makes it a no-brainer for commuters who don’t want to spend all their time in traffic. The fitness center has everything a gym rat could possibly want, plus the pool and Jacuzzi are the perfect finishing touches.

Source: Rent.com/Miami Plaza

This pet-friendly community boasts 425 units among its 36 stories, not to mention 8,000 square feet of commercial space. Miami Plaza’s crown jewel is likely the stunning lap pool, but residents also take advantage of a state-of-the-art fitness center, business center and multi-level garage with security.

Units also come with oversized formal dining rooms and living rooms, making it extra easy to stretch out at the end of the day. “Fine European cabinetry” adds an extra-special touch to these apartments.

Source: Rent.com/Art Plaza

Apartment living feels more like resort living in this Miami high-rise apartment community. The practically new units have gorgeous hardwood flooring, a balcony/deck, stainless steel appliances and much more. The smoke-free community also includes a picturesque pool, hot tub, game room, gated access and on-site patrol. Plus, it’s close to just about everything Miami has to offer, whether on foot, by car or on a bicycle.

Source: Rent.com/Downtown 5th

Smack in the city center are the units of Downtown 5th, billed as “brand new luxury rental apartments.” This area of Miami is especially known for being extremely walkable, close to public transit options and bikeable, to boot! It’s also surrounded on all sides by amazing entertainment options and arts/culture opportunities. Not to mention, of course, the fact that it’s a hop, skip and a bike ride from the sandy white beaches that Miami is known for. It also butts right up to the Wolfson Campus of Miami Dade College, giving the area a decidedly youthful vibe.

Source: Rent.com/Square Station

Location is what makes the community of Square Station extra special. Only a 10-minute drive from both Miami Beach and Miami International Airport, Square Station is ideal for people who don’t like to waste a lot of time in the car. It’s also within walking distance of major local attractions, like American Airlines Arena, the Perez Art Museum Miami (The PAMM) and the local science museum.

While resting on the property, residents enjoy the onsite 80-foot lap pool, fitness center and panoramic views of the coast. This gated community also features covered parking, always a plus during those hot Miami summers.

Source: Rent.com/Panorama Tower

It doesn’t get much more Miami than Panorama Tower! This stunning high-rise is pricey, but worth it if what you’re after is Miami-luxe. With ocean views and sunset pools to take it all in from, this property boasts the most impressive spate of amenities in Miami, possibly the world. Among other high-end amenities, Panorama Tower residents and their guests can enjoy the billiards room, children’s playroom, onsite dry cleaner, high-tech fitness center, interactive splash pool, interactive golf simulator, pet spa, pet hotel, three private movie theaters, two social lounges and much more without ever leaving the property.

The best apartments in Miami

Miami, when done right, feels like a permanent vacation. If this sounds like a good fit for you, check out our search tool to find apartments for rent in Miami. There’s something out there to suit the budget, location and amenity needs of even the choosiest would-be resident!

We looked at all available multifamily rental property inventory from January to June 2021 on Rent.com to determine which properties with a [city] mailing address are most viewed by organic internet searches. The information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein does not constitute financial advice, availability or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.

Source: rent.com

14 Uses for WD-40 That Save Money, Time or Headaches

Ismail Sadiron / Shutterstock.com

WD-40 is marketed as a “multiuse product.”

The spray is known for the capabilities for which it’s usually enlisted — such as lubricating squeaky hinges, loosening rusted parts and driving out moisture. In fact, “WD” stands for “water displacement.”

But WD-40’s uses extend well beyond those tasks.

The San Diego-based WD-40 Co. offers thousands of uses for its namesake product on the WD-40 website, including 2,000-plus uses contributed by the product’s devotees.

Folks have been discovering more uses since the original WD-40 product was developed in 1953 after 39 failed attempts. (Thus, the “40” in its name.)

We’ve rounded up some of the least known but most helpful uses.

If you try a new use for WD-40, test it in a small inconspicuous area first. WD-40’s list of fan-submitted uses notes that the company has not tested those suggestions and that “customers should exercise common sense whenever using WD-40” and read the label.

1. Remove dead bugs and bird droppings

couple taking a road trip in a convertible
AlessandroBiascioli / Shutterstock.com

Is a summertime road trip in your recent past or near future? When the fun is done, remember that WD-40 has been used to remove dead bugs plastered onto everything from car radiators to boat windshields and golf carts.

You can also reach for that familiar blue can the next time you find bird poop peppering the hood or roof of your car.

Just don’t store the can in your car if it’s one of WD-40’s aerosol products. As we explain in “Never Leave These 9 Things in a Car“:

“Aerosol cans — such as those containing spray paint, sunblock or deodorant — shouldn’t be kept in your car, since they are sensitive to heat. The contents of pressurized cans may expand, possibly causing them to explode.”

2. Remove adhesive

Stickers on window
InnervisionArt / Shutterstock.com

Give your fingernails a break. Whether you’re trying to peel off a stubborn sticker, decal, price tag or tape, WD-40 can help. It also works on adhesive residue that has been left behind by stickers.

If you don’t have WD-40 on hand, vinegar, baby oil and baking soda can work for this purpose, too, as we’ve reported.

3. Remove coffee stains

couple eating breakfast in bed
Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock.com

Examples of successful removal listed on WD-40’s website include coffee stains on cups, tables, counters and floor tiles. Just be sure to wipe up all fluid after cleaning floors so no one slips.

Baking soda can also remove stains from coffee mugs, as we explain in “7 Household Uses for Baking Soda.”

4. Clean shoes

shoes
Natalia Deriabina / Shutterstock.com

Paint or grass stains on your favorite sneakers? Dog poop or salt in the crevices of your boot soles? WD-40 has been used to tackle it all.

Tip: Enlist an old toothbrush for the job. They’re good for cleaning various nooks and crannies, including those in the soles of your shoes, as we report in “7 Ways to Use Old Toothbrushes.”

5. Unstick gum and glue

Tennis shoe with gum on the heel.
Africa Studio / Shutterstock.com

WD-40 has been used to remove chewing gum that was stuck to hair, shoes, concrete and lunch trays.

It’s also been used to remove glue from carpet, leather and other surfaces; remove hair-extension glue from hair; and remove glue stains from jeans.

6. Keep squirrels at bay

squirrel
Malachi Ives / Shutterstock.com

WD-40 Co. CEO Garry Ridge told the Los Angeles Times that his favorite story about an unusual use for WD-40 involves a woman who sprayed it on her backyard bird feeder pole because squirrels were filching bird food.

Petroleum jelly works for this purpose as well, as we detail in “9 Everyday Problems You Can Solve With Vaseline.”

7. Wipe away permanent marker

professor using a whiteboard
Rido / Shutterstock.com

Did you or the kids unwittingly pick up a Sharpie and go to town on the dry-erase board? The damage need not be permanent, thanks to WD-40.

8. Prevent car parts from freezing

vehicle key
Brian A Jackson / Shutterstock.com

A frozen-shut door lock or ice-clogged windshield wiper spray nozzle is the last thing you need when you’re running late to work. Lubricating locks with a squirt of WD-40 before winter can keep them from locking up when icy times return.

For more handy driver’s aids, check out “26 Things Everyone Should Keep in Their Car.”

9. Keep lawn mower blades clean

Teenage boy mowing lawn.
By Suzanne Tucker / Shutterstock.com

Spray your lawn mower blades with WD-40 to prevent grass clippings from collecting on the blades.

10. Banish barnacles

Boating
freevideophotoagency / Shutterstock.com

If you’re using a boat, hopefully it’s one that you rent or share rather than own — Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson cites boats in “8 Things Rich People Buy That Make Them Look Dumb.”

But in any case, know that WD-40 has been used to remove even barnacles from the undersides of boats.

11. Fend off wasps

bugs
schankz / Shutterstock.com

For evicting the buggers from a nest or preventing them from building one, users of Reddit’s LifeProTips message board agree on WD-40’s effectiveness. Just don’t spray a nest while wasps are around. As one commenter who made this mistake put it, “They do not like it, and will attack.”

12. Separate stubborn Legos

Kid with Legos
KPG Ivary / Shutterstock.com

Did Junior stick those blasted bricks together a little too well? Use WD-40 to spare your fingertips and nails for a slicker way to pry them apart.

13. Open iced mailboxes

cold
juade2000 / Shutterstock.com

Put the ice pick down. WD-40 is a safer “open sesame” when you find your mailbox door frozen shut.

14. Prevent snow from sticking

Shoveling snow
Chiyaca / Shutterstock.com

Spray your shovel and your snowplow blades with WD-40 to stop snow from sticking to them as you clear the walk.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Source: moneytalksnews.com