Important Things to Remember When Landing Your Next Apartment

May 8th, 2013

Now that you have made the choice to further your education, you need the perfect home away from home. There are a few things to consider when you are looking for your own place.

Location

Choosing the right location is an important factor for anyone that is looking for an apartment or house to rent. Depending on personal preference, one might want their home or apartment close to their school. This is a good choice for people that plan on spending a lot of time on campus, or want to be close to the amenities such as study centers or the library.

For those that want to escape the hectic campus life, living further away is a wise idea. One of the benefits of living away from campus is that the travel time can be used for getting your mind ready for classes in the morning, or for unwinding after a stressful day of study. Take a moment to see if there is alternative transportation available if needed.

Choose Wisely

When choosing a house or apartment that you plan to rent, avoid renting the first home that you view. To find the best home, make three or four appointments to view a variety of choices. By looking at a few selections, you have a better chance of finding a place that perfectly meets your needs.

Read the Fine Print

After a rental is selected, it is important to read the rental stipulations carefully. It is a good idea to brainstorm a list of questions or situations that might occur during your rental period. Carefully create a list of possible situations and read the contract to see if the issues are covered. If you cannot find an answer to a question, you should ask the landlord directly and have the questions and answers recorded in the contract. A few things to consider are the length of contract, eviction procedures, repairs and liability, cohabitation issues and the rights of the tenant.

Keep a Rental with Good Roommates

For some, the thought of growing up and having a place to call their own is exciting. Many times students realize that the cost of renting is more than they can afford; or they might become lonely. When this happens, often a roommate is brought into the residence. Reading your contract carefully should reveal whether or not a roommate is allowed.

Remember when looking for a roommate to find an individual that you are compatible with. Look for someone you feel is responsible and avoid those that prefer a party over responsibility. Be aware that the primary renter is normally held liable for all damages and unpaid rent in the event that a roommate decides to move out. Some landlords will add an additional fee to the rent if a roommate moves in, which remains in effect if the roommate moves out. Reading the contract and maintaining open communication with the property owner prevents problems for both the owner and the landlord.

Furnishing On a Budget

For the college bound individual, finances are tight. Along with finding the perfect apartment or home to rent, you still need money to furnish the residence. Locate furniture and appliances by searching garage sales, craigslist, the community buy, sell and trade and by looking through online classifieds. Attractive, affordable furniture is easily found by searching on a daily basis.

College students have a lot to think about. When they search smart and explore options, the process of finding the perfect home is easier than they might think.

Author Bio: Kristen is a mother of three who is seasoned in seeking out the best ways to solve problematic situations. When she’s not contributing to education sites like DegreeJungle, Kristen enjoys writing about topics that make life a little bit easier, and strongly believes in holistic medicines.

The Benefits of Fitted Bathroom Furniture

February 24th, 2013

fitted_furniture_1Guest post by Jackie Cannon & Myke Thomas

Some bathrooms are suited to a mixture of furniture, perhaps on a theme or chosen to complement existing pieces such as a period bathtub. However, a fitted bathroom is a great way to introduce consistency of style and a sense of continuity into a bathroom if you want to bring everything together. You can choose from a variety of colours and styles, from traditional to contemporary and choose pieces that will complement your existing décor or inspire a new colour scheme.

When you choose fitted bathroom furniture, it’s easy to ensure that you are really making the most of whatever space you have, which is particularly important in a small bathroom where maximising storage is a crucial consideration. You can select units to meet specific storage needs, so if your bathroom is home to something bulky or unsightly which you would love to be able to store out of the way, you can choose a fitted unit that will accommodate even the most unwieldy items. This means you no longer have to fight to keep your bathroom looking clear and clutter free. You can also choose units that allow for every nook and cranny to be utilised, so no more awkward gaps or unused spaces with things crammed in any which way, just perfectly co-ordinated furniture that fits perfectly.

A fitted bathroom is also a really easy way to furnish your whole bathroom in one go; no having to keep your eye open everywhere you go for that perfect chest of drawers to fit in an unused space or spending ages online comparing colours on the screen to see if everything will match. Simply take the relevant measurements, decide on the style and layout and your bathroom will come together before you know it, so your bathroom redesign doesn’t drag on for months whilst you try to track down an elusive item. Many stores offer such a wide range of bathroom products that you can get everything in one place, such as Better Bathrooms furniture which can be accessorized with a number of complementary items that you can pick at the same time to be sure they look great together.

A fitted bathroom is also a good idea if you have a non-standard shaped room; an L-shaped bathroom could mean a lot of wasted space or awkward angles if you try to fit in separate items, but a fitted bathroom can incorporate a number of space-saving and storage solutions to ensure that you make the most of the room you have. When it comes to an otherwise empty alcove, an odd sized space between WC and basin or just a hot water tank, everything can be incorporated seamlessly when you have a fitted bathroom and you will benefit from extra space to store everything.

Jackie Cannon is an experienced handy woman and interior designer who has fitted hundreds of bathrooms in her career. She is always looking for ways to create designs which are practical and aesthetically pleasing and often recommends Better Bathrooms furniture to her clients.

Myke Thomas is a freelance writer, professional blogger, and social media enthusiast. His blog focuses on home decor bloggers and bathroom decor bloggers.

Taking A Career Break – Why You Should Consider Renting?

January 31st, 2013

career-breakHigh levels of unemployment, mass redundancies and changing trends in careers are all contributing to an increasing social trend – taking a career break. People who choose to take a break in their career do so for a variety of reasons. Many of those who grabbed a job right after university or college may feel like they need to reassess their career path a few years down the line; someone who has just been made redundant may be forced to take another look at their career; and many people may feel like that they simply need to take a break. Whatever the reason may be, taking a break from a long standing career involves making some important practical decisions.

There is no prescription for how long a career break should last. How much time one is likely to need depends very much on what one hopes to achieve in that time. Someone who wants to do a foreign language course, say, will have different needs from someone who wants to spend some years volunteering abroad. No matter what you want to do, the fact is that if you’re going to spend a considerable length of time not working, you will need to think about how to cope with any existing commitments you may have.

When thinking of taking sustained time off work, mortgage payments are somewhere at the top of most homeowners’ list of concerns. For those who only need a short time off, a mortgage payment holiday may be the answer. But firstly, not all mortgage companies offer this, and secondly, this is not an interest free holiday! Plus if your career break is going to be longer than a few weeks or months, as career breaks often tend to be, this is not really an option.

Apart from mortgage payments, a vacant property also has other associated costs like council tax, providing the home is furnished. Another factor to consider is whether you can keep insurance on your home if it is left unoccupied. For those who are going away during a career break, renting their home can be the perfect solution. Even if you intend to take a break without going away, making mortgage payments while being out of work is a problem for most people, and downsizing to a smaller rental property and renting their home often proves to be more viable.

Different mortgage companies have different policies when it comes to renting, so it is advisable to speak your company. Most mortgage companies are fine with it, providing the property is not let as an office or a commercial venue. Some companies may be happy with you renting, but may need to make changes to your existing contract. If you’re considering renting, it is important to speak to your mortgage company about their policy.

So, how much rent can you get on your home? How much rent a property is worth depends on the property itself, and it is easy enough to find out on property websites by doing a simple search for similar homes in your area. Renting your home out to strangers, especially if it is furnished and decorated, and especially if you have lived in it for long, is not easy. But by investing in a good letting agency they can help you make sure you find reliable tenants who can look after your property while you’re away, and also ensure that you meet your financial obligations.

About the Author
Richard McMunn is the director and founder of How2become.com; a career and recruitment specialist. Richard spent 4 years in the Royal Navy and 17 years as a Fire Officer and now provides recruitment training for those looking to join the army, navy and RAF. Find How2become on Twitter

Fun Patriotic Ways to Make Your Home the Star

January 3rd, 2013
patriotic craftIf you are one of “those” who love to decorate your home for each holiday, there are many patriotic things you can do to decorate for Independence Day. One doesn’t have to spend a lot of time or go to a lot of expense to decorate.

In fact, I keep my favorite things I’ve made to decorate for Independence Day (and can be used for other patriotic holidays too) and just add fresh, easy things that are needed each year.

patriotic flowersOutdoor Spirit
We spend a lot of time outdoors in the summer and many of us celebrate the 4th of July in the front or backyard with family, friends and neighbors. Some strategically placed flags and some colorful flowers can do wonders to bring great curb appeal and add color. Flags can either be stored or bought fresh to be used in flower pots, flowers beds and on your porch to welcome visitors.

Quick and Easy Crafts
If you have kids, this is a great project for them to help get done. I’ve used my patriotic holders for multiple years or just update with new, fun craft things I find on clearance throughout the year. These can even be fun crafts  to do during those winter months and just store away until it’s time to show them off! When it’s time to display your holders, simply fill them with welcome mints to put in the entryway, in the kitchen to hold salt & pepper shakers, napkins or even utensils for easy reach when serving food.

More Elaborate Décor
Those more formal dinner parties need a touch of patriotism too! You can use pre-purchased chair covers and add a patriotic ties or napkin to the back of the chair. All it takes is a little creativity, some focus on the elements and some colorful plateware and you can make a Patriotic setting that will put anyone in the mood to celebrate!

It is always fun to decorate and entertain during each holiday. However, if you have an outdated kitchen or limited counterspace, it can become more of a chore than a celebration. If your kitchen needs a remodel, be sure to get an expert opinion so they can help develop a plan that will help you best utilize your kitchen and turn your space into your dream kitchen just in time for the next holiday!

Friends as Roommates

December 17th, 2012

roommateAt some point or another people sometimes find themselves with the option of moving in with friends or moving in with strangers. There’s no denying it – rent is expensive, and it’s often much more appealing to move in with somebody you know than it is to move in with somebody that you don’t know to share the burden of the cost.

We assume that living with our friends is probably a safe bet. After all, you’re friends, right? Well, believe it or not, living with a friend is often not what you might expect it to be like.

Depending on the situation you might be renting out to a friend, you might sign a lease with a friend, or you might move in with and pay rent to a friend. You might move in with one friend, or many friends. The question is, how do relationships change when you make the transition from friends to roommates?

Conflicting Schedules

Conflicting schedules can be a cause for concern. For example, a couple of young friends who say… go to school or work at opposite times might also require sleep at opposite times. What does that mean for your lifestyle at home? You might not see much of each other, but the two of you would be expected to keep noise at reasonable levels while the other sleeps. This might have an impact on your social life. And if you’re the type that enjoys watching a movie with an awesome sound system, or blasting that great new hit that just came out… well, you’re out of luck!

Conflicting Goals

What happens if one roommate is a responsible student, and the other is party-fanatic? Sure, things were great when you were just friends. You partied when you were together, but the rest of the time the two of you did your own things. But what happens if one roommate treats his new home as the bachelor pad of the century while the other, more introverted individual, finds happiness in a more quiet and relaxed environment?

Things aren’t as they seem

Sure, your friends are great. You have the most fun when you’re with them, but right now, you’re not always with them. The fact of the matter is that over time you get bored of people, and the longer you live with them the more you learn about them.

It’s possible that you really don’t know your friends that well. You don’t really get to know somebody until you live with them. What are their habits like? Do they like to keep things neat and tidy, or are they big procrastinators? Do their habits conflict with yours? Those are the types of questions you need to ask yourself, and they are key in determining if the your friend would make a good roommate.

It’s about compatibility.

At the end of the day, it’s not wrong to move in with a friend. You just have to be aware of the fact that living with somebody can have an effect on your relationship with that person. The trick is to select a roommate whose company you enjoy, who has a schedule similar to yours, and who also has similar goals. Live with somebody that respects your goals and encourages your growth. After all, if you’re living with somebody that’s detrimental to your goals in life, then you have a problem. Don’t make the mistake of slowing your progress because of the person you chose to live with.

——
Cristobal Ravazzano is a developer and web strategist for LoansCanada.ca, an online mortgage, loan and financial services provider.

Negotiating with your lender for loan modification – Is this possible?

October 9th, 2012

renegotiateIf you are facing financial problems and difficulty to make the mortgage payments, then you may opt for a loan modification. A loan modification is the process with which the terms and conditions of your mortgage loan gets modified so that you can afford to repay the loan with ease. The rate of interest and the term period of the loan are some important factors that change in a loan modification program. Thus, it can be said that this program makes the loan payments affordable for you and, at the same time, prevents you from facing foreclosure.

Negotiating with your mortgage lender for modifying the home loan

Read on to know how you can negotiate with your lender for modifying the home loan.

  • Request your lender for loan modification– While talking with your lender and requesting for a mortgage modification, you’ll have to be very polite. If you think that your financial condition will improve soon, then you may ask your lender to postpone the loan payments for the time being. Also, request him to change the terms of the loan modification so that the payments may become affordable for you.
  • Speak with your lender – It is important that you speak with your lender as soon as you can so that the mortgage payments may become within your means. You need to know that the lenders will not want to foreclose your home since foreclosure is very expensive even for them. So, once you call up your lender, try to explain him/her your financial condition and the reason why you cannot manage to make the payments on time.
  • Be ready with the right answers – After you have contact your lender and tell him/her about the financial problems you’re facing, your lender may ask you several questions as to how you are planning to pay off the loan. It is essential that you get ready with the right answers from before hand that you’ll have to give to your lender. However, from your point of view, you can always tell your lender how you’re planning to make the loan payments.
  • Check your finances carefully – It is advisable that before you contact your lender and ask for a mortgage loan modification, check your finances properly. You should make it a point to find out your total income and how much you can afford towards repaying your mortgage loan. Try to reduce at least some of your extra expenses so that you can put some more money on your mortgage payments.

It is advisable that you talk with your mortgage lender about the financial problems that you are facing so that you can get an affordable amount that you will have to pay them against your mortgage loan. You should also try to make your lender understand that you will repay your loan amount on time once your loan gets modified. This will enable your lender to realize about your monetary problems and they will work out to give you an affordable loan payment that you will be able to repay against your mortgage loan.

      - Contributed by Mortgagefit Community Member

      Drones: Coming to Real Estate in 2015

      October 1st, 2012

      A newly passed bill — FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act — will be providing more opportunity for the private and commercial use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) by September 2015. Los Angeles area realtors have shown us in the past that UAVs–or drones–can be a valuable resource for real estate agencies and property management companies. Using the flying apparatuses allowed for high-resolution aerial photography of California estates–without the expense of hiring a manned aircraft.

      The act will provide more than $60 billion in funding to the Federal Aviation Administration, and require that restrictions be loosened which’ll provide more U.S. airspace access to both individuals and commercial organizations–like real estate agencies and property management groups.

      Aside from aerial photography opportunities, David Record, CEO of Advanced Unmanned, suggests these new laws will impact satellite imagery–and its impact on property maintenance, for example.

      “These UAVs allow the end-user to have imagery that is fresher and more relevant; thus the imagery itself becomes a party of the decision-making process,” he says. “The expansion of accessible, relevant data allows property owners, planners, and other entities to make decisions from a desktop rather than having to travel on-site to acquire the same information.”

      However, residents and citizens also express privacy concerns, stating that these contraptions will give visibility into their otherwise private lives. However, Fourth Amendment rights don’t provide the same protections from aerial perspectives in comparison to regular on-ground regulations.

      In an article I recently wrote for Software Advice, I interviewed several industry experts to find out how they perceive the future of commercial real estate drone usage–and what they think about the negative implications as well.

      Meanwhile, feel free to leave your thoughts below. How do you feel about these impending changes to the law? How do you perceive the changing laws in terms of both conveniences and potential problems. We look forward to hearing your thoughts.

      Listing your property for rent – A good option when you can’t pay your mortgage

      July 12th, 2012

      for-rentWhen you’re struggling to make your monthly mortgage payments and you seek help of a housing counselor, you’ll certainly be advised to go for a refinance or a loan modification. But before you negotiate with your mortgage lender or take out a new mortgage with favorable interest rates, you should consider the option of renting your home in order to get money to make payments. Are you aware of the fact that you can list your property on the online rental listings so that you may invite the visitors to check out your property? If answered no, here are some steps that you should take in order to put up your home on the online rental listings.

      • Click the best pictures of your property: The foremost job that you need to do is to click the best pictures of the entire property including the kitchen and the bathrooms so that you can attract women who mostly check out the aforementioned portions of a property. A few clicks of the exterior with a photo of each room should be attached online for people to check out. Don’t go with attaching a small picture as people will certainly wish to get the best view of the place where they’re about to stay and also pay for it.
      • Try creating a video tour: The latest trend is creating a video tour of the house or the apartment and attaching it online. People who are interested in the property will love to take a virtual tour or a video tour of the entire place and get a clear picture of their living room and bedroom and kitchen. You can do it with your digital camera or even use the camera in your phone.
      • Write effective descriptions of the property: Avoid writing a long description of the text in the descriptions of the property. Use a short-, bulleted style description that will invite people simply because it is easy to read. Highlight the USP or the Unique Selling Proposition of the property and let it stand out in the crowd.
      • Give details of the surroundings: While you’re giving the description of the property, you should make sure that you write it like a person who isn’t familiar with the area. If the rental property is in the suburb, you should mention how far this place is from the major business districts and the biggest companies. This will help them take a better decision regarding renting the property.

      If you can come up with a successful plan regarding putting up your home on the online rental listings, you can certainly get people who will like your idea. Let them stay on your home so that you can earn the money and repay your home mortgage loan on time.

      - Contributed by Mortgagefit Community Member

      When you’re struggling to make your monthly mortgage payments and you seek help of a housing counselor, you’ll certainly be advised to go for a refinance or a loan modification. But before you negotiate with your mortgage lender or take out a new mortgage with favorable interest rates, you should consider the option of renting your home in order to get money to make payments. Are you aware of the fact that you can list your property on the online rental listings so that you may invite the visitors to check out your property? If answered no, here are some steps that you should take in order to put up your home on the online rental listings.

      · Click the best pictures of your property: The foremost job that you need to do is to click the best pictures of the entire property including the kitchen and the bathrooms so that you can attract women who mostly check out the aforementioned portions of a property. A few clicks of the exterior with a photo of each room should be attached online for people to check out. Don’t go with attaching a small picture as people will certainly wish to get the best view of the place where they’re about to stay and also pay for it.

      · Try creating a video tour: The latest trend is creating a video tour of the house or the apartment and attaching it online. People who are interested in the property will love to take a virtual tour or a video tour of the entire place and get a clear picture of their living room and bedroom and kitchen. You can do it with your digital camera or even use the camera in your phone.

      · Write effective descriptions of the property: Avoid writing a long description of the text in the descriptions of the property. Use a short-, bulleted style description that will invite people simply because it is easy to read. Highlight the USP or the Unique Selling Proposition of the property and let it stand out in the crowd.

      · Give details of the surroundings: While you’re giving the description of the property, you should make sure that you write it like a person who isn’t familiar with the area. If the rental property is in the suburb, you should mention how far this place is from the major business districts and the biggest companies. This will help them take a better decision regarding renting the property.

      If you can come up with a successful plan regarding putting up your home on the online rental listings, you can certainly get people who will like your idea. Let them stay on your home so that you can earn the money and repay your home mortgage loan on time.

      - Contributed by Mortgagefit Community Member

      Winning vs. Losing Craigslist Ads

      April 19th, 2012

      In a story written by Ashley Halligan, an analyst at a Web-based software comparison company, she interviewed property managers to assess what makes a successful Craigslist. Titled “Winning & Losing Craigslist Ads,” Halligan outlines three strategies to both win and fail.

      Winning Ads include: writing effective and valuable titles, writing honest and adjective-rich copy, and including real photos and multimedia for the available properties.

      Losing Ads typically include: mass-posted spam listings, are often generic or include no images, and often include rules that are unreasonable to the average prospective renter.

      Read the full story here.

      The Best Free Real Estate Apps

      February 17th, 2012

      realtor com iphone appThese days it seems like there’s an app for everything. That’s probably because there is an app for everything. While some developers are content to make the Fart Machine app and Angry Birds 4, there are a few apps that still have some real life applications for consumers.

      In fact, there are quite a few apps that will help users explore the caverns of the real estate market. If you want an app that can show you where the best 3 bed/2 bath rental houses are, all it takes is a couple of deft finger movements and you’ve got it. If you’re interested in bay window prices, just download one of the many real estate pricing apps that give in-depth details about houses on the market and search for those with bay windows. Here are a few of the best:

      Zillow – Android and iPhone – free

      Zillow has become the standard for real estate apps. The app provides users access to a huge database with info for just about every dwelling in the United State. Users can access information about home values, homes for sale and homes for rent. The app also allows users to calculate a certain home’s Zestimate, which uses a unique formula that Zillow developed. While it is not a binding estimate by any means, it gives users a great starting point for finding a home’s true value.

      Realtor.com Real Estate Search – Android and iPhone– free

      Realtor.com Real Estate Search is great because it allows users to search by area on a map. You can select an area on the map using your fingers and pull up information about homes and the best news, the information is updated every 15 minutes. You can make and store notes and observations about each listing so you will recall each open house you visit.

      Trulia Real Estate – Android and iPhone – free

      Trulia is the ideal app for real estate agents, real estate enthusiasts or prospective buyers on the go. The app allows you to search for listings within a given area and a given criteria (number of beds and baths, price, etc), puts you in touch with real estate professionals around you, shows houses and apartments for rent and can help organize open houses. You can also find homes that have recently had price reductions so you can be the first to jump on a good deal.

      Ryan is a guest blogger who enjoys writing about Austin real estate listings, East Lake Travis homes for sale and real estate technology.