Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Friday, February 28, 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Moving to an unfamiliar city is certainly a bold move, since you are faced with many more challenges than if you were moving locally. The most distinct challenge is finding a new place to live. You probably don’t know how to find the perfect apartment in a new city if this is your first time moving long distance. We’ve put together some essential tips to assist you before you begin your apartment search from a different city.
The cost of living obviously varies from city to city, so be realistic with your expectations and know what you can afford. You might be paying $1200/month for an upscale 2 bedroom, 2 bath apartment in Texas, but if you’re moving to New York City, you’ll be lucky to find a studio at that price. In fact, you might have better luck in a roommate situation.
Don’t search too early
It’s normal to feel eager and anxious to apartment hunt as soon as you can, but starting your search too far in advance before your scheduled move will drive you nuts. You don’t want to fall in love with an apartment, and while may be available now, the landlord needs it occupied before you can relocate. Your best bet is to start your search about 4-6 weeks before your actual move-in date.
Research every resource available
Since you don’t know your way around your new city, you have to research it first. Read local blogs, newspapers and community forums to see what areas are safe, within your budget and close to your job, school or venues related to your interests. Use your network of future co-workers, friends and family for recommendations or advice on how to find the perfect apartment in your prospective city. Narrow it down to no more than three or four zip codes, and check out reviews and experiences in apartment communities in that neighborhood.
Enlist the help a professional
Contact a real estate agent or apartment locator who specializes in relocation. They know how to find an apartment in their area that suits your needs, and they understand the services you require from a different city. They can tell you from the jump if the areas you desire are dangerous, outside your budget and any other unknowns that concern you. Landlords and apartment management companies typically contract the professionals, so their services won’t cost you a thing.
Monday, February 24, 2014
Here are some studio apartment design ideas to do just that!
1. Paint in bright, light colors
Light and neutral colors will give the illusion of space and airiness, so paint your walls whites, beige’s, or muted pastels. Painting the walls a dark color will make the walls stand out which is not good when you are working with small spaces. Light walls will trick the eye and make it seem as if the walls disappeared.
Tip: Use mirrors. The reflection will enlarge the space. Put a long mirror at the end of your hallway to give the illusion of length.
2. Find unconventional hidden storage solutions
Keeping everything in its place is key when living in a small apartment. Take advantage of space under your bed and under cabinets. An easy storage idea is to hang things on the inside of cabinet doors or closet doors, like in the image below.
3. Use room dividers
The best way to make your small apartment seem larger is to use dividers. This will create the illusion that the apartment has more rooms that it actually does. Use a large bookshelf to separate the space between your living room and your bedroom. It will make it seem as though your apartment has separate living spaces and will keep guests from using your bed as a couch!
4. Let in the light
Opening the drapes and investing in light fixtures and lamps will help your studio apartment feel larger, cleaner, and more welcoming. Most studio apartments don’t have more than one or two windows, so take advantage of the natural sunlight and use sheer curtains instead of heavy drapes.
5. Invest in Flexible furnishings
Pull-out couches, coffee tables with storage units, foldable chairs….these are all great furnishings that can be flexibly used for either storage space or for other purposes.
6. Use Walls for storage
Put shelves on the wall. It’s great for storage and for showing off your book collection, photos, or art collection.
7. Add artwork to the walls
Art on your walls can do pretty impressive things in a small space. It can anchor the furniture, provide color and texture, draw attention from the size of the room, and add personality and style to your studio apartment. A large print on one wall will make the room seem larger than it is.
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
I’ve been living with roommates ever since I moved into my first apartment in college. Although I’ve had my fair share of roommate problems, I’ve kept living with roommates because I like having people around to hang out with and to split the rent and utility bills with. Is the roommate route the best option for you? It’s best to figure that out before the horror that can come from a bad roommate experience. We’ve all been there and it’s not fun!
Here are some things to consider before you decide to move in with someone and the pros and cons of each.
Pro: You have someone to split costs with
Having a roommate can be a great way to cut down on apartment costs. Living in a big city, it’s much harder to find an affordable studio or one-bedroom. Having roommates allows me to live in a nice neighborhood and apartment at a reasonable price. Roommates are also great to split the cost of other things such as utility bills, groceries, furniture, and other apartment-related expenses.
Con: They’re not reliable when it comes to payments
While it may be nice to have someone to share costs with, a roommate can end up costing you. If your potential roommate is not reliable with money, you could end up paying in the long run. There are fees for late payments and if your roommate ends up not being able to pay rent, its possible you can even be evicted.
Pro: You have someone to split chores with
A roommate can be great to share the burden of cleaning and apartment chores with. If you’re living alone, the load falls all on you but with a roommate you can have someone to help clean, take out the garbage, walk the dog, or whatever other chores you may have.
Con: They treat the apartment like their own personal garbage can
On the flip side, your new roommate could turn your apartment into a disaster zone. I had one roommate who never washed any of his dishes until they piled up so high in the sink you couldn’t even use it anymore.
Pro: You have someone to hang out with
Having a roommate means that there’s always someone around. You never have to worry about getting lonely or coming home to an empty apartment.
Con: You never have any privacy
If you’re someone who likes his or her privacy, the roommate route may not be the best option for you. Some roommates can demand a lot of attention or time and if you’re not ready to give them, reconsider your living situation.
Moral of the story: If you’re going to live with someone, make sure they’re responsible and reliable when it comes to money and payments, they have the same respect for cleanliness as you do, and they respect your boundaries when it comes to privacy.
Monday, February 17, 2014
Picture this. Your roommate is getting serious with their significant other. He or she starts staying over at your apartment more and more, and eventually, they are living there full time, using up all the toilet paper, hanging around the common area, and just generally always being there.
Whether you get along with your roommate or not, someone else moving in can complicate matters and turn roommates against each other. You’re rapidly getting fed up with the situation. So, what do you do?
Talk to your roommate. We can’t stress this enough – this should always be the first resort. Tell your roommate how you’re feeling about the situation – then you’ll be able to work it out amongst yourselves. Set boundaries – work out a number of days a week where he/she can be in your apartment, or see if they can start chipping in on the rent payments or other bills, especially if they are eating all your food, or watching TV all day.
If your roommate is less than understanding about these suggestions, you do have other options. Review your lease, and see if it places restrictions on the number of people that can be living in the unit. If it does, you can inform your landlord and let them deal with the problem. However, be aware that this may cause tension between you and your roommate.
If you’re the one in the relationship, here are some tips to keep the peace between you and your roommates:
- Don’t give out your keys.
- Don’t take over common spaces.
- Discuss with your roommate to gage what they would be comfortable with.
- Be respectful of your roommate’s schedule i.e. don’t make loud noises at night when they have work the next morning.
- Switch off staying at your place or theirs, to limit the frequency of visits.
Posted by Jay K-S at 8:18 PM
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Hunting for an apartment is stressful. What’s important, though, is that you don’t let the stress ruin your decision-making. This can be harder than it sounds: When overwhelmed, some people settle on the first passable apartment they find simply so they can end the hunt (and the stress) as soon as possible. Other people get so jittery and analytical that they’re unable to pull the trigger — and they miss out on their dream place because of it.
While you may not be able to control your level of stress during your apartment hunt, there are a few rules to determine whether an apartment is right for you:
Is this the first place you’ve seen?If so, don’t take it just yet. See at least three other places. It’s too easy to make a rookie mistake if you don’t have any comparables.
Is this the neighborhood you wanted?Before you start looking at apartments, you should be scouting neighborhoods. Your neighborhood is going to be one of the primary reasons you like or don’t like your apartment, so it’s important that you stick to those neighborhoods you like. It’s easy to be swayed by a cheaper place a few miles away, or to look at a bargain one-off listing in a neighborhood you’re unfamiliar with. If the neighborhood’s not right, you’re not going to feel right.
Is the management company reputable?This is the company that will be responsible for fixing any apartment problems you may have, that will hold your security deposit and receive your monthly rent payments. Check it out with the Better Business Bureau, as well as online review sites such as Yelp. If your city has a listing of deadbeat landlords, check to see if the management company is on it. Why? A bad landlord will make your life miserable, no matter what else is right with the apartment. You should feel comfortable trusting them. If you don’t, you should pass.
How does this place stack up to others you’ve seen?This is a good litmus test, especially if you’ve been hunting for a while. Think of the two or three best places you’ve seen thus far, and compare them to the one you’re considering. Your final choice should be the best … or as good as the one you just missed out on, if you had a near-miss in your searching past.
Does the place match your top criteria?Before you head out, you should determine which things are most important to you in an apartment and rank them. Criteria can include price, amount of natural light, whether the place has a doorman, availability of parking — basically, anything that you need in a place to feel happy. You shouldn’t compromise on the top three things on your list. The rest, you should be more flexible with, but try to get as many as possible. If you find a place that hits it out of the park with your top three, with only minor compromises on the rest, then go for it.
Are you receiving a lot of pressure?While it’s true that in some rental markets you need to decide the same day, be wary of a broker or management company that wants you to decide immediately. Leasing an apartment is a big decision, and you should take some time to think on it (preferably at least a night to sleep on it). If you’re getting undue pressure, take a step back. Hard sales tactics are usually a sign that it’s in the salesperson’s best interest for you to say yes, not necessarily yours. So call a relative or friend and talk it over. Go through your checklist once more. Just don’t say yes simply because some broker is hounding you.
Does it feel right?Last, but not least, is the karma or feng shui — or whatever you call that feeling — right? When you walk into a place, it should click. You should be excited, and you shouldn’t have to spend much time talking yourself into it. The vibe will be right, and you’ll immediately be able to picture your couch over there, your dining room table in this nook, your framed photograph on that wall. If you picture yourself walking in after a hard day at work and just feeling at peace, you know you’ve found your place!