Tips for Settling In: A Post-Move Checklist

Once the movers bring all of your belongings to your new apartment, you still have some important details to sort through before you can truly feel at home.

Here’s a motivating thought: when the work is done, you can really enjoy your new home!

Follow this post-move checklist for tips on how to settle in to your space. We’ve also created a downloadable checklist that you can print and reference as you go.

Move-in day

  • Check to make sure all your utilities are turned on:
    • Water
    • Power
    • Gas
    • Cable
  • Inspect your furniture to make sure that nothing has been damaged during the move.
  • Count your boxes to make sure none of your inventory has been lost.
  • If you have used professional movers and anything has been lost or damaged during the move, report it right away.
  • Inspect your apartment to see if there are any marks or broken items that were there before you moved in. Report these to your apartment management team so you are not on the hook for the damages when you move out.
  • Unpack your priority box or any box with items you will need right away.
  • If you have children, let them pick one box of theirs to open so they can have a favorite toy or security item to help them transition to their new apartment.
  • Unpack linens and towels so you can make beds and shower.
  • Unpack enough clothes to get you through the next few days.

The first week: Inside your apartment

  • Check the level of cleanliness in your apartment. It was likely cleaned thoroughly before you moved in, but if not, you might want to give the space a once-over before you unpack.
  • File all your moving paper work, including your bill of lading and any receipts.
  • Arrange your furniture to maximize the flow of your apartment.
  • Begin unpacking in earnest. Decide on a manageable amount to unpack each day so you don’t feel overwhelmed.
  • As you unpack, you can set up certain rooms in your apartment. The living room, your bedroom and the kitchen all have their own sets of stuff.
  • Remove boxes and trash from your apartment as you unpack so you don’t end up with a mass of clutter!

The first week: Outside your apartment

  • Check your mail to make sure that it is being forwarded correctly.
  • Visit the DMV to update your license or apply for a new one.
  • Register to vote with your new address.
  • Change your address/contact information with your bank.
  • Map out the best commute to work. Test out a few routes against morning traffic.
  • If you have not already, register your children at their new school.
  • Begin your search for a new primary care doctor (and a veterinarian, if you have pets.)

The first month in your new home

  • If at all possible, finish unpacking within the first month. You don’t want to be stuck a year later with a box you still haven’t opened!
  • Check in with your friends online and let them know about your move.
  • Moving into an apartment is a great time to think “new” and “different.” Decorate not only with items you have brought with you, but also new items you buy for your space. Here’s a chance to try a new decorating theme, for instance.
  • Celebrate your move with an apartment-warming party. You have done a lot of work, you deserve to have some fun! A get-together is a great way to get to know your new neighbors, as well.
Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

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Source: apartmentguide.com

Home improvement loans

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

Improving your home might be a goal for many reasons. It can increase the value of the property for more profit when you’re selling or renting it out. Improvements can also make life more enjoyable for you and your family. But they can be expensive—the average cost of a small kitchen renovation is between about $13,000 and $37,500 according to HomeAdvisor, for example.

Homeowners who want to update their homes often turn to financing as a way to pay for improvements. Find out about home improvement loans and whether they might be an option for you below.

How Do Home Improvement Loans Work?

The specific terms of home improvement loans depend on which type you apply for, but the general concept is that a lender agrees to give you a certain amount of money and you agree to pay it back with interest. In some cases, the lender might require that you use the money for a specific purpose that you stated beforehand. In other cases, the funds are provided as a personal loan for you to use as you see fit.

You can get money for home improvement from a variety of lenders, including banks, personal loan companies, mortgage companies and government agencies. You could also tap your credit lines or credit cards.

How much you can borrow and the rates you’ll pay on the debt depend on a variety of factors. Those include your credit history and whether or not you’re putting up collateral such as home equity.

Types of Loans You Can Use for Home Improvements

Personal Loans

Personal loans are unsecured signature loans. That means you don’t typically put up collateral, and with some exceptions, you can generally do what you want with the loan funds. You make monthly payments as agreed upon, usually for a period of a few years.

Pros: You may be able to get a personal loan that doesn’t require collateral such as home equity. That means you don’t put your homeownership on the line with the loan.

Cons: The lack of collateral makes the loan riskier for the lender, which usually means a higher interest rate and overall loan cost for you.

Credit score requirements: You may be able to find personal loan lenders willing to work with someone with little credit history or only fair credit. However, to get decent rates on a large loan, you may need a good or excellent credit score.

Government Loans

You might be eligible for government loans and assistance programs to modify or repair your home. For example, HUD offers information about home equity conversion mortgages for seniors as well as the Title I Property Improvement Loan Program. Some homeowners may be able to borrow up to $35,000 via the 203(k) Rehabilitation Mortgage Insurance Program, and the VA offers some home refinance options for eligible veterans.

Pros: The credit requirements for government programs and government-backed loans tend to be a bit laxer than when you’re dealing with banks.

Cons: These programs might have very specific eligibility requirements and terms that you have to follow closely. For example, you may be required to use the funds for specific purposes.

Credit score requirements: This varies according to program, but you may be able to access some options with less-than-stellar credit.

Home Equity Loans

A home equity loan (“HEL”) draws on the amount of equity in your home. For example, if your home is worth $100,000 and you only owe $70,000, you may be able to get a loan for close to $30,000 based on the equity.

Pros: Home equity loans are secured by the value in your home, which makes them a less risky investment for lenders than personal loans and credit cards. That helps you get a lower interest rate, making HELs typically less expensive than other home improvement loans.

Cons: The loan is tied to your home ownership. If you default on the loan, the lender can force the sale of your home to recoup its losses.

Credit score requirements: You don’t need a stellar score to refinance your mortgage, so you might not need a great score to take out a home equity loan.

Home Equity Lines of Credit (“HELOC”)

A home equity line of credit is a revolving line of credit based on the equity in your home. The terms work a bit more like a credit card than the terms of a home equity loan do. That means you draw on the credit line as needed to cover repairs and pay it back over time. You can draw again on the funds as you pay them back.

Pros: HELOCs can be a flexible source of income, making it easy to manage costs for renovations without running up excess debt. And because they’re secured by the value in your home, they may come with more favorable terms than credit card debt.

Cons: Again, the debt is tied to your home. If you default on the line of credit, the lender can force the sale of your home to get its money back.

Credit score requirements: Credit score requirements for HELOCs are similar to those for home equity loans.

Other Ways to Pay for Home Improvements

Credit Cards

If you have a credit card with a high enough balance, you can put goods and services on it. The downside is that you might pay high interest on that debt. Alternatively, if you have a strong credit score, you might be able to get approved for a new card with a zero percent introductory APR offer. That might let you pay off your home improvement expenses over a year or two without added interest expense.

Cash-Out Refinancing

If your home has equity, you can also consider a cash-out refinance. If you owe $70,000 and your home is worth $100,000, you may be able to refinance and borrow $95,000. (The other $5,000 If your credit is better than when you bought the home or conditions are more favorable, you might even get better rates.

The $70,000 you owe is paid to the bank holding the original mortgage. You cash out the roughly $25,000 left and can use it as you see fit, including repairing your home.

Tips for Getting a Home Improvement Loan

If you’ve decided to pursue a home improvement loan, use these tips to increase your odds of getting the deal that you want.

Have Specific Terms in Mind

Plan ahead rather than reaching for the loan and then deciding what you’ll do. Define your home improvement plan and budget, and consider whether you can get funding for that much money.

Get a Cosigner If Necessary

Consider whether you might need a cosigner. Depending on what type of loan you want to apply for, a cosigner might help if you don’t have great credit or if your income doesn’t meet the requirements of the lender. Keep in mind that the cosigner will also be taking on all the obligations of the debt.

Know Your Credit Score

Finally, check your credit score and credit reports before you apply. Understanding where you stand helps you choose the financial products you’re more likely to qualify for and avoid unpleasant surprises during the application process. Getting a good look at your credit reports also helps you understand whether there are inaccurate negative items bringing your score down. If that’s the case, consider working with Lexington Law to repair your credit and potentially open more home improvement loan doors in the future.


Reviewed by Cynthia Thaxton, Lexington Law Firm Attorney. Written by Lexington Law.

Cynthia Thaxton has been with Lexington Law Firm since 2014. She attended The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia where she graduated summa cum laude with a degree in International Relations and a minor in Arabic. Cynthia then attended law school at George Mason University School of Law, where she served as Senior Articles Editor of the George Mason Law Review and graduated cum laude. Cynthia is licensed to practice law in Utah and North Carolina.

Note: Articles have only been reviewed by the indicated attorney, not written by them. The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, act as legal, financial or credit advice; instead, it is for general informational purposes only. Use of, and access to, this website or any of the links or resources contained within the site do not create an attorney-client or fiduciary relationship between the reader, user, or browser and website owner, authors, reviewers, contributors, contributing firms, or their respective agents or employers.

Source: lexingtonlaw.com

[Live] Chase Extends Pay Yourself Back Until September 30, 2021

(Update 5/1/21: The extension is now showing in the Chase login)

Chase has announced that the Pay Yourself Back feature that was originally slated to end on April 30, 2021 will be extended until September 30, 2021. Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders get 1.5¢ in value and Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders get 1.25¢ in value when redeeming points against the following charges: grocery and home improvement stores, dining at restaurants, including takeout and delivery services and contributions to eligible charitable organizations.

Source: doctorofcredit.com

List of Credit Cards that Issue an Instant Card Number Upon Approval (2021 Update)

A big expense comes up, and you want to charge it on a credit card…but you haven’t applied for the card yet. Which credit card issuers will instantly issue the card number upon approval so that it can be used immediately for online purchases or at a vendor who is willing to accept the card number without a physical card?

Before breaking this issue down by card issuer, it’s important to bear in mind that getting the card number instantly will only happen if you get an automatic approval; if the application goes into pending and gets approved later, it’s unlikely that an agent will give you the card number over the phone.

Also, remember that many card issuers will expedite a new credit card, and it’s often possible to have the physical card at your doorstep in less than 48-hours, see Which Credit Card Issuers Offer Expedited Shipping? for more information.

Alliant

Alliant does not currently offer instant credit card numbers, it’s something they are currently looking into.

American Express

  • Any Amex card can get an instant card number immediately upon approval. They even email you a link where you can continuously view your instant card number if you request one (1). You can also login and go to this link to get the instant card number after the fact (1).
  • Business cards more often don’t get the instant card number. (1, 2) Personal cards usually do.
  • Some co-branded Amex cards will get the card number only to be used at the co-brand location.

The account number given out right away is the same number you’ll get in the mail, but the 4-digit code (and possibly expiration) is different. The system will ask you if you want a temporary number and will e-mail it to you on request (it e-mails a secure link where the card number can be viewed). American Express won’t give you the temporary card number over the phone.

Amex is the best about giving out card numbers instantly. In fact, they’ve even been known, occasionally, to give out hefty bonuses (automatically) if the system fails to offer the instant card number. However, not everyone always sees the instant card number option, likely based on various security factors.

Another trick for using an Amex card before receiving the physical card is this: if the card shows up in your Amex app, you can try adding it to Apple Pay without even knowing the card number. (Seems they rolled out a feature specifically to allow the card to be added to Apple Pay immediately – I assume it’s found at the time of card approval an option to add to Apple Pay.) Additionally, you can use Amex Checkout online at merchants who accept that form of payment.

Apple – Goldman Sachs

The Apple credit card issued by Goldman Sachs gives you instant ability to use the card for purchases from within Apple Pay.

Bank of America

  • Alaska Airlines card often gives an instant card number.

The only BofA card that’s commonly reported to get an instant card number is the Alaska Airlines card. Many have gotten an instant card number for Alaska while some have not. (One reader was told that the card can only be used on Alaska Airlines purchases. I haven’t heard others mention that.)

All other cards typically do not get access to an instant card number. Occasionally it might be possible to add the card to your mobile wallet from within the Bank of America mobile app; this works specifically when applying for a targeted promotion from within the Bank of America app (1).

Barclaycard

  • Barclaycard does not offer instant card numbers.

I’ve never seen a report for Barclaycard to offer an instant number and it probably does not exist. The only exception is the Barclaycard Uber card: when you get instantly approved with an in-app application, the card will immediately show up for use in the Uber app (it still won’t be usable elsewhere since you’ll only see the last 4 digits).

Also, Barclay airline cards offer an instant card number only for use within that airline.

BBVA

BBVA does not offer their card number instantly. However, I was told by a BBVA rep that it’s possible to get the card number by going into a physical branch and verifying your identity. In practice, it’s reported that the folks at the branch won’t necessarily be willing to give out the card number.

Capital One

After being approved you can see all of the card details in-app. However, some readers report only being able to see the last 4-digits which isn’t very too useful. Others are able to see the entire number and use the card immediately.

More recently, Capital One began displaying your card number permanently on the web and in the app (1), so it should now be available for everyone immediately. You can also connect your Capital One card to PayPal via the login and use it that way (1).

Chase

  • Chase generally does not offer instant card numbers.
  • You can add any Chase card to your mobile wallet like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, or Google Pay and use it instantly. (our original post on this)

A few specific cards:

  • The Chase Starbucks card instantly makes the new card available virtually, but only to load your Starbucks app, not for use elsewhere.
  • The Chase Amazon card becomes available instantly for use on Amazon only (1). Again, you should be able to add it to your mobile wallet for use outside Amazon as well (1).
  • Other cobrands such as Southwest, Marriott, United, British, Disney might work for that specific partner.

Citi

Based on my conversation with a Citi rep, they’ll sometimes offer an instant card number for two cards:

  • American Airlines
  • AT&T

Regarding the latter, I assume the logic is due to the fact that the AT&T card is especially aimed at online shoppers, making the card number more important than the physical card. (See also this comment.)

  • The Costco card can also get an instant card number, see Costco (below).

Costco Credit Card

The Costco credit card does get an instant card issued, only when you apply in a Costco store. They’ll print out a temporary card number/bar code right at the desk and you’ll be able to use that at checkout. (1)

Discover

  • Discover does not offer instant card numbers.

I’ve never seen a report for Discover to offer an instant number and it probably does not exist.

Final

Final is a company that specializes in offering unique card numbers under one account. They also issue a card number instantly upon approval so you don’t need to wait for the physical card to come in the mail to start using it.

FNBO

A report that the MGM Resorts M life MasterCard gets printed out and issued instantly upon approval when you apply inside an MGM resort at the M life counter.

HSBC

HSBC will give you a credit card number after approval, unfortunately they don’t give you a CVV2 number or the expiry date so it’s largely useless.

Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU)

Reader Jason reports getting a virtual credit card number via email around 24 hours after approval from NFCU. Not sure if they always send this or it’s YMMV.

SoFi

SoFi offers an instant credit card number upon approval. (1)

Synchrony

  • Ebates credit card
  • Paypal/eBay 3/2/1 credit card will give a small credit line of $250, which can be used for Paypal purchases only (IIRC)
  • Paypal 2% cash back credit card will give an instant line or credit (probably a smaller one)

These two cards are known to give an instant number, probably because both are meant especially for online purchases.

USAA

USAA gives you an instant card number to use (card number, expiration, and 3-digit code). This has a maximum credit limit of $1,000 (increased when physical card arrives).

US Bank

U.S. Bank does not typically offer instant card numbers; see this post for specific instances where they do.

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo does not offer the card number instantly.

How it Works with Store Cards

Many stores offer their own branded credit card; either as a Visa/MC/Amex-issued card which can be used anywhere and more often they are for in-store use only. When applying for a store credit card in-store or online, you’ll often be able to use them immediately upon approval for that day’s purchases.

For future purchases as well it may be possible to use, even before getting the physical card:

  • Some stores may offer you a temporary card number to use. Dick Sporting does this (heard from PF Digest), and I’ve heard Target does this with their REDcard.
  • Some stores may allow you to use the card whenever you wish by verifying your personal info at the POS. Best Buy does this – if you don’t have your Best Buy store card handy, you input your info into the POS and make the purchase that way. Same with Kohl’s.
  • Cabela’s issues instantly a physical card when getting approved for their credit card in store (1).
  • Walmart Capital One card is available instantly for use (1)
  • Also, check out this list from ProudMoney for a list of many store cards and whether they offer the ability to use instantly.

Conclusion

If you want to get a credit card number instantly, prominent options would be: any Amex card, Alaska from BofA, American or AT&T from Citi.

As with everything else in life, YMMV, you may not always have success getting the number instantly. As noted above, you’re only likely to get the card number right away when getting an instant approval. Also, a Citi rep told me, that there may be other security factors, such as IP address, which determine whether the system will offer the instant card number.

It’s worth noting that with the emergence of mobile wallets, once you have the card number, you can add it to your mobile wallet and use it in stores as well. Please let us know if you’ve had other experiences in this realm and we’ll add it to the post.

Further Reading: (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)

Source: doctorofcredit.com

5 Clever Ways to Get Your Post-Holiday Purge On

Renting an apartment doesn’t have to mean settling for bland decor. Our apartment decorating tips will help you update and improve both the interior and exterior of your apartment. From small space furniture layouts to balcony-friendly gardens, our team of experts can help you make your apartment feel like home.

Source: apartmentguide.com