Apartment Living Information
Residents Lose Everything Without Renter's Insurance
PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 16 February 2011 18:12

From 11Alive.com


SMYRNA, GA -- An apartment blaze in an Atlanta Road complex Friday night was a grim reminder of the necessity for renters to have renters insurance.

Twelve apartments were destroyed. Nothing was left.

"I never imagined I would be someone that I see on television all the time losing all their things and having to start over like this," said Daphne Adams, a tenant who lost everything.

"Everything. Everything. My children have lost everything. My furniture. Pictures of my kids. Everything could be replaced." Adams said. "But we are starting from square one."

For Adams and her neighbors, renters insurance could have made all the difference.

It costs less than $1 a day and provides up to $20,000 in coverage. Pay a little more, and the coverage goes higher. It doesn't cover everything.

"It doesn't cover flood. It doesn't cover death. It's not a life policy. It doesn't cover earthquakes," said State Farm Agent John Martin.

But it does cover all of your personal property.

"Go through the house or apartment and just film everything and take pictures," Martin said.

Adams said she is taking his advice to heart.

"Don't think it would never happen to you, it could," she said. "I've never had anything happen. No break-ins, no fires, and no floods in my while life, and this period when I didn't have any, this one occurred."

"If you don't have a renters policy, that's all she wrote," Martin said. "It's done."

"I would recommend it to everyone, everyone," Adams said.

Original article:



Last Updated on Thursday, 05 May 2011 01:18
5 Tricks for Moving Furniture
PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Tuesday, 25 January 2011 13:41

From ApartmentTherapy.com


That's me. And that's my credenza. which probably weighs in somewhere around 300 pounds, maybe more. I'm not kidding — it's a monster. And I weigh about 105 wet. But I was able to move it from one end of the room to the other without breaking much of a sweat and without ending up in the hospital or with residual back pain. How'd I do it? I have a few tricks up my skinny arms.

  • Slide don't lift: Unless it's a small piece of furniture, slide it across the room. Most of us don't know how to lift things properly and though we may end up with a beautiful room, we also end up with a bad back. If you do have to lift something, use your legs not your arms and shoulders and keep your back relatively straight.
  • Use towels and cardboard: Try slipping something underneath your furniture's legs. Instead of lifting the piece to do this, rock your piece forward or backwards slightly to slide the material underneath the legs. The furniture will move easily across the room. On carpet, try smooth cardboard; on bare floors, towels or dishrags are a good bet.
  • Magic Sliders are my favorite go to product. I converted to these a few years ago at the suggestion of my friends at Koontz Hardware. Now I put them on all of my furniture as soon as I get it (instead of using felt pads). Though they're significantly more expensive than the felt pads, they have them beat by a mile for many reasons: they're durable and they make even the heaviest pieces of furniture slip across the room like the Three Stooges on a banana peel.
  • Push or Pull: While it seems natural to push a heavy piece, I've actually found pulling to be more effective than pushing on certain pieces of furniture. Place an arm on either side of a piece of furniture and, with your feet a few inches away and using your arms as a brace, lower your body as if you were going to sit, then scooch backwards.
  • Empty everything out of it first: Most of us forget to do this and try to move everything when it's all loaded up. Take the time to empty your furniture out. Not only will it make it lighter, it'll prevent something from falling out accidentally and creating a big mess.

Original article:


Last Updated on Thursday, 05 May 2011 01:18
Become a Local: Get to Know Your New City
PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Saturday, 22 January 2011 00:43

From Rent.com | The Shared Wall

Regardless of whether or not you’re new to a city, few renters truly consider themselves to be “locals.” Just think about it:  how often do you truly take the time to explore your city? It’s no secret that since so many of us are constantly in a rush to get from point A to point B, we sometimes overlook the excitement and wonder that our cities have to offer. So, why not pledge to take a “day-cation” this year – and truly get to know your stomping grounds? Here are a few great ways to get you acquainted with all your city has to offer!

Consider alternate forms of transportation. If you regularly travel the city via public transit, consider touring through town on a bike if your city is bike-friendly. In addition to providing exercise, a bike will allow you to navigate yourself through a different route, allowing you to take in new surroundings. If biking isn’t for you, walking is another reliable alternative to help discover hidden gems and explore with your senses! Smell the bread as you pass by bakeries, listen to talented street performers and view parts of the city that you might not have noticed before. From smaller paths that you never knew existed, to hole-in-the-wall restaurants, you might be surprised at where the city will take you!

As you probably know, one of the best ways to become a local is to actually learn from the locals themselves. Rather than visiting chain restaurants and shops, consider locally-owned boutiques and mom-and-pop restaurants, which will provide exposure to your city’s unique style. Purchasing items from the farmers market within your area will also allow you to connect with locals and introduce you to the food products that your city is best known for.

Although a city’s architecture and landmarks might make it attractive, the people of the city are what truly makes it one-of-a-kind. Therefore, get to know your neighbors! Consider joining local clubs, or volunteering at an organization. Not only will your community benefit, but doing so also presents an excellent opportunity to meet other locals who might share similar hobbies or interests. Attending block parties, street fairs, and festivals are other fantastic ways to participate in your city’s celebrations and get to know your neighbors.

Lastly, reading local newspapers will allow you to stay up-to-date with recent events in your neighborhood or city. Read local blogs and reviews about shops around you to get a better feel for what’s nearby! Local bloggers can also provide you with honest opinions in addition to reviews and feedback about places that you might be unsure of yourself. For all you know, the best places in town could possibly just be around the corner!

The cities that we live in are all filled with delicious culinary delights and fascinating people. However, it’s up to you to explore your city and see what it has to offer! So, the next time that you decide to take a stroll around town, consider the famous idiom: When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

Original article:


Last Updated on Thursday, 05 May 2011 01:19
What's Important to My Landlord?
PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Saturday, 22 January 2011 00:39

From Rent.com | The Shared Wall

Establishing a good relationship with a prospective landlord or your current landlord is easier than you might think. Just remember that you both have the same goal: For you to be happy in your home. The stronger your relationship with your landlord, the more consideration and support he or she is likely to give you which makes for a better overall rental experience. Here are a few tips to help you make the right impression and improve your landlord-tenant relations.

What Landlords Look for in a Renter

A good renter:

  • Pays rent on time and in the manner specified by the lease agreement.
  • Doesn’t alter the apartment (painting walls, replacing flooring) without requesting permission first.
  • Maintains the property in good condition and does not cause damage, aside from normal wear and tear.
  • Informs the landlord when repairs are necessary.
  • Does not cause or escalate problems with other neighbors.

Ace the Landlord Interview

Meeting with a landlord about an apartment for rent is not unlike a job interview. You want to dress and act professionally and show that you are trustworthy, responsible and concerned about maintaining good landlord tenant relations.

Want to show how organized and savvy you are? Come prepared with the following information, which you may be asked to provide in the interview or on the rental application:

  • Current and previous addresses, landlord’s name and contact information, length of time you lived in each place and the reason you moved
  • Current and previous employment, your boss’s name and contact information, length of time you worked at each place and your salary
  • 2-3 personal references, including phone numbers and email addresses
  • Car make, model, color and license plate number
  • Names of everyone who will be living in the apartment
  • Pet information (weight, breed, age)

Create a Home Sweet Home

Once you sign the lease and move in, the relationship with your landlord becomes more of a partnership. At this point, your landlord tenant relations revolve around mutual respect. If you fulfill your responsibilities as a good renter, as outlined above, you should be able to expect professional, respectful treatment in return.

What does that mean for you as a renter? That your landlord will be more likely to take care of your maintenance needs quickly, consider your requests to make cosmetic changes to the apartment and be understanding if you can’t pay rent on time.

Here are some guidelines for maintaining good landlord tenant relations:

  • Be reasonable. Limit late-night, early-morning and weekend calls to actual emergencies.
  • Be understanding. Just as you may have had bad landlords in the past, your landlord may have been burned by bad renters who trashed the property or left without paying rent.
  • Be proactive. Inform your landlord of any problems with your apartment as soon as they occur to minimize damages. You may not be the only tenant with the issue and the more a landlord knows, the faster he or she can get to the root cause to find a solution.
  • Be mature. Don’t escalate issues with difficult neighbors. Make an effort to resolve problems directly, but if that doesn’t work, get your landlord involved.
  • Be honest. Let them know in advance when people move in and out or if you’re going to be late with the rent. Don’t sneak in pets. Give the required notice, or more, when you move out.

Original article:


Last Updated on Thursday, 05 May 2011 01:19
Still Renting After All These Years
PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 19 January 2011 02:51

From The Wall Street Journal | Personal Finance

The Trend Toward Rentals Shows No Signs of Easing—Even Among Those Who Could Easily Afford to Buy a Home

Mortgage rates are near historic lows and homes are more affordable than they have been in memory. Yet some five years after the housing bust began, many people who could easily afford to buy are still choosing to rent.

David Walter Banks for The Wall Street Journal

Amanda Oberhausen of Alpharetta, Ga., looked at several homes for sale, but decided to keep renting.

Real-estate experts had been expecting a turnaround in the housing market by now, prompted by historically low mortgage rates, lower home prices and a broad, if tepid, economic recovery. In the fall of 2009 and spring of 2010 there were even minibursts of sales increases in many U.S. markets, thanks to temporary tax credits.

But now expectations for a broader housing recovery are being pushed to midyear or even 2012. Blame it on job insecurity, tougher lending requirements, fears of further housing price drops and stingier corporate relocation packages for new hires, say real-estate professionals and recruiters.

A Thriving Rental Market

If anything, the rental trend even may be accelerating: In the last quarter of 2010, apartment vacancies fell below 7% nationally for the first time since the last quarter of 2008. Nationally, apartment rents increased by 2.3% in the fourth quarter of 2010 over the same period a year earlier, according to data from Reis Inc., a national real-estate research firm based in New York. It was their fourth consecutive quarterly increase.

In Barrington, Ill., a suburb of Chicago, the number of homes rented increased 20% in 2010 over 2009, according to one local real-estate agent. In the Hancock Park area of Los Angeles, there is a shortage of three-bedroom, two-bathroom homes for rent, local agents say. And in New York, sales of apartments priced below $1 million—middle-class housing in that high-priced market—are slow, while the rental market is thriving and rents are rising again, local agents say.

Amanda Oberhausen of Alpharetta, Ga., near Atlanta, was enticed by low prices and incentives for first-time home buyers, and dipped her toe in the market last summer and fall. She looked at two-bedroom, 2½-bath townhouses—much like the one she was renting—selling for $100,000 to $150,000.

But as an account manager for a company that helps repossess printing equipment at defunct businesses, the 26-year-old couldn't shake her concerns about job security and whether she would be able to sell if she had to relocate. Ultimately, after looking at four or five homes, some of them foreclosures and short sales, she decided to keep her $925-a-month rental.

"I started thinking about buying because homes were so cheap, but I couldn't commit," Ms. Oberhausen says. "I was just too nervous."

Even affluent clients who have lots of cash on hand are renting instead of purchasing homes, say real-estate agents and brokers in markets such as Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Miami and Kansas City, Mo.

In New York, rents rose last year over 2009, and landlord concessions such as a free month's rent are disappearing for high-end rentals. About 22% of landlords offered concessions in December, compared to 60% a year earlier, according to Citi Habitats, a Manhattan real-estate brokerage.

Citi Habitats had a 25% increase in rentals of apartments costing at least $7,000 per month in 2010 over 2009. "There's definitely a portion of the buying population that is concerned whether this is a good time to buy or not," says Gary Malin, the firm's president.

There is a shortage of single-family homes for rent in Bronxville, N.Y., and other parts of upscale Westchester County, real-estate agents say. Rentals also are becoming more popular in markets traditionally associated with vacation homes and investment properties, such as Miami and the tony Hamptons on New York's Long Island.

About 57 homes priced above $5 million have sold in Southampton and East Hampton in 2010, compared to 128 in 2007, the peak selling year, says Diane Saatchi, senior vice president of Saunders & Associates Inc., a real-estate brokerage in Bridgehampton, N.Y.

"Buyers think if they wait the price will come down, and sellers think if they wait the price will go up," Ms. Saatchi says. Transactions occur mainly if one party has a pressing need to move.

In Miami Beach's South Beach district, strong demand for high-end waterfront condos is driving up rents, says Claudia Lewis, a real-estate agent in Coral Gables, Fla. Three-bedroom units range from $10,000 to $30,000 a month and can go for as much as $75,000 a month for certain oceanfront properties.

Financial advisers such as Matthew Tuttle, a wealth manager in White Plains, N.Y., say home buyers who want to purchase a house for their own comfort and enjoyment should not sit around trying to wait for the exact market bottom.

"I think you cannot time the market for real estate just like you cannot time the stock market," he says, "so if you are planning to buy anyway you could do a lot worse than buying now."

To be sure, rising interest rates have energized the market a little: Sales of existing homes rose a seasonally adjusted 5.6% last November to 4.6 million from 4.43 million in October—but still far below the 6.49 million in sales a year earlier and well off the long-term historical average of about 5.5 million, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Pushing the Trend

Other factors are pushing the rental trend. In Barrington, the Chicago suburb—where the median sales price of house is about $450,000—the ceiling of $417,000 for a government-backed conventional mortgage is helping suppress demand for higher-priced homes, says Paul Wells, a local real-estate broker.

Meanwhile, the weak job market means fewer people are moving. Paul Bishop, research director of the National Association of Realtors, says purchases of second, or trade-up homes in the age group of 45 to 54 tend to be driven by job relocations, but "fewer people are moving because the economy is weak."

And companies have cut back on relocation benefits, recruiters and real-estate agents say. Instead, they are offering a flat sum to offset expenses for all but the highest-echelon executives. Even candidates earning $200,000 to $500,000 may not get full packages, says Lisa Chenofsky Singer, an executive consultant in Millburn, N.J.

Many would-be purchasers, like Steven Weissman, 49, a chemist who works for a pharmaceutical start-up in the Boston area, are renting small apartments or other temporary quarters near their new jobs and commuting hundreds of miles every week.

Mr. Weissman, whose 18-year career at Merck & Co. in Whitehouse Station, N.J., ended in 2008, gets up at 4:30 a.m. every Monday to make the 225-mile trek, leaving his wife and two children behind in Millburn, N.J. He's part of a group of six extreme commuters from the New Jersey-Philadelphia area who get together for dinner once a week. One member of the group has been commuting from New Jersey to the Boston area for five years.

"I'm the newcomer at 11 months," Mr. Weissman says.

Original article:


Last Updated on Thursday, 05 May 2011 01:19
<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 Next > End >>

Page 2 of 3