Before-renting-an-apartment

Before Renting an Apartment

Renting an apartment is a very serious decision which warrants a great deal of attention before a final decision is made. When choosing an apartment to rent, renters have a variety of factors to consider including, but not limited to, price, size, location, amenities, whether or not they want a roommate and how long they want to stay in the apartment. Those who plan to rent an apartment should consider all of their options before making a decision to ensure they are making the best possible decision. This article will discuss the importance of considering all of the possible options as well as the possibility of having roommates and the importance of reading contracts carefully.

Consider All of the Possible Options

When renting an apartment, the renter should first investigate all of the options available to him to ensure he is able to make an informed decision. This is important because the renter may not even be aware of all of the available options until he starts to for an apartment. The best way to find out what type of apartments are available is to do some research on the Internet and in newspapers and rental magazines and then start visiting apartments which seem interesting. In visiting the apartments the renter will get a better idea of the size and types of amenities which are available in his price range. He will also begin to learn more about the types of amenities available. This is important because not all apartments will offer the same amenities. Renters may not find what they are looking for unless they visit a few places before making a decision.

Consider the Possibility of Roommates

Deciding whether or not to have a roommate or multiple roommates is one of the important decisions a renter will have to make. This is an important decision because roommates can make a living situation either significantly better or significantly worse depending on a number of factors. These factors may include compatibility of the roommates, ability to pay the rent and ability to assist in the household activities.

Having roommates can make an apartment more affordable. Often larger apartments may be more affordable for two people than a smaller apartment would be for one renter. Additionally, apartments designed for two or more people often have a larger overall living space with a larger kitchen, dining room and family room. This makes the possibility of roommates very appealing to some renters.

However, there are some caveats to making the decision to live with a roommate. Care should be taken to carefully screen potential roommates to ensure they are not potentially harmful. Strangers do not present the only potential roommate problems. Problems may even occur when the roommate is a trusted friend. In these cases, compatible living styles may be the issue. For example, if one roommate likes to stay up late and listen to music or watch television and the other roommate likes to go to sleep early there can be some conflicts if compromises are not made. Also, if one of the roommates is particularly neat and the other rather messy, conflicts may arise.

Read the Contract Carefully

Whether a renter opts to have a roommate or not and regardless of the type of apartment they select, the renter should be careful to read the contract before signing it. This is important because a rental agreement is a legal document and the renter should understand this document before they sign the agreement. Many renters may never need to know the exact information in their contract document but if a dispute arises, the renter should be aware of his rights. Additionally, the renter should pay special attention to any sections of the contract which specify the landlord’s ability to evict the tenant. Contract sections specifying the requirements of the renter are also very important. This may include requirements for breaking the lease agreement in the event that the renter has to move before the lease period ends.

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Read Your Contract Carefully

Many renters barely even skim their rental agreement before signing their name at the bottom. Most renters are primarily concerned with the monthly charges, one time only fees, required deposits and other financial matters. Once they verify this information is accurate according to their conversations with the leasing agent, they often sign the agreement with no questions asked. This is a mistake because a rental agreement is a legal contract which may have a host of important information which the renter should be aware of before signing the document.

Considering a Roommate?

Those who are considering the possibility of a roommate may mistakenly believe this is possible because they are living alone and have two bedrooms and two bedrooms. These uninformed renters may see an opportunity to share their rent with another. However, some rental agreements strictly prohibit renters from soliciting their own roommates and allowing an additional person to move into the apartment after the lease is already signed. Renters who violate this agreement may face harsh penalties. These penalties may even include eviction.

Renters who want to have the option of a roommate should ideally make this decision before the contract is signed. This will enable the homeowner to put provisions into the contract to allow for the renter to add an additional resident at any time. The leasing agent may still require final approval of your roommate but this approval process will likely be dependent on the results of a background check as well as a check of the potential roommate’s finances.

Want to Adopt a Pet?

Renters who wish to adopt a pet in the near future should also familiarize themselves with the rental agreement. This is important because restrictions on the types, size and specific breed of pets apply not only when the renter moves in but throughout the terms of his rental agreement. This means a renter who has signed contractual documents stating they do not own any of the prohibited pets such as dogs or cats are not free to purchase or adopt additional pets during the course of the rental agreement. Therefore, renters who do not have pets but plan to adopt or purchase pets in the near future should read the contract documents as if they are already a pet owner and decide whether or not to sign based on the statements within the policy.

Plan on Having Visitors Regularly?

Even renters who have regular overnight guests should familiarize themselves with their rental agreement before signing the document. This is important because frequent guests may actually be considered residents in some situations. This will likely depend on the specific rental agreement but it is not entirely uncommon for leasing agents to specify that visitors who spend a specific number of nights on the property per month are considered to be residents of the apartment. This is important because the rental agreement may clearly identify how many people may reside in the apartment at any one time.

Visitors who are staying at the apartment too often may put the resident at risk of being accused of having additional persons living in the apartment. In some situations this might be considered cause for eviction. For this reason, the renter should be sure he is familiar with the terms of the agreement before allowing others to spend the night in the apartment on a regular basis.

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Tips for Finding a Rental Apartment

Finding a rental apartment is not always easy. Depending on occupancy rates in a particular area, it actually might be quite difficult to find available apartments that are also within your price range and meet all of your pre-determined requirements. However, even in areas where there is not a great deal of competition for the available apartments, renters may still have some difficulty finding the perfect apartment. This article will offer some tips for finding a rental apartment that suits all of your needs.

Figure Out Your Needs

The first step of any apartment search should begin with the potential renter carefully identifying all of their needs in an apartment. This list of needs will be different for every renter. While some renters are simply looking for a place to eat, bathe and sleep other renters may be looking for a living space which will serve a number of purposes including working, entertaining and participating in leisure activities or hobbies. When making this list of needs the renter should consider the options they cannot live without as well as the options they want to have but can live without. It is important to make this distinction because the renter will want to ensure the apartment they choose has all of the features they need and ideally a few features they want. However, an apartment which does not have all the required features may become an uncomfortable living situation very quickly.

Do Your Research

Once a renter has a good idea of the basic features he is looking for in an apartment, he should begin researching his options. Researching apartments can be done on the Internet, through the newspaper or through rental magazines. Renters may use one of these research methods exclusively or may combine a few of the methods to form a customized strategy for researching apartments. The research phase will give the renter an idea of the types of properties available for rent in the area.

Comparison Shop

The next step is the process of comparison shopping. This basically entails visiting several different rental properties and touring these facilities. During the tour the renter will get a good idea of available options as well as the costs associated with these options. This is helpful for two very important reasons. First it gives the renter a good idea of the types of apartments available within their budget. Second it gives the renter the ability to bargain regarding price. Renters who have proof of other apartment complexes offering more favorable rental terms, may be able to entice another complex to lower their prices slightly.

Ask for Recommendations

Renters can also help themselves in their search for an apartment by seeking recommendations from trusted friends and family members. These recommendations can be taken to be much more worthwhile than recommendations offered by the apartment complex from previously satisfied tenants. It is important to note the apartment complex is likely to only offer testimony from tenants who were happy with their rental agreement. For this reason, opinions offered by friends and family members are much more valuable because they do not have a vested interest in the rental property and simply offer their honest opinion. Friends or family members who share your interests and personality traits can be very helpful in offering recommendations for apartments because it is very likely you will be happy with the apartment they recommend.

Consult the Better Business Bureau

Finally, renters should consult the Better Business Bureau (BBB) before making a final decision and choosing an apartment complex. This can be very helpful especially if the renter finds a particular apartment complex has a number of unresolved complaints against them. While a lack of complaints is not necessarily an endorsement, it is a good sign if the complex has been in business for number of years without a slew of unresolved complaints.

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Renting with Dogs

Renters who have a dog or more than one dog may face additional challenges when renting an apartment or a house. One of the primary challenges the renters may face is finding a living situation which is acceptable to them and also willing to accept their pets. This can be difficult as many rental properties do not allow dogs at all. Those who do allow animals on the property may place certain restrictions on they size and breed of dog which may reside on the property.

Finding an Acceptable Living Situation

The first step in renting with dogs is to find an acceptable living situation. For those who wish to rent with dogs, the first question to be asked should be whether or not dogs are allowed to live on the property. This is important because it can save the renter a great deal of time. The renter may otherwise invest a great deal of time learning more about the property or even undergoing a credit check only to find out pet are not permitted.

For some dog owners, finding a rental situation which allows dogs is not the end of the search. The renter should also confirm the type of dog he owns will be allowed to live on the property. This may include both the size of the dog as well as the breed as some apartment complexes place limitations on the size of the dog and also prohibit certain breeds. Again confirming these facts early in the search for an apartment can be a tremendous time savings especially for those who own large or commonly banned breeds.

Renters should also consider the surrounding area when selecting a rental property. An ideal location would be one in which there is an adequate location to walk and exercise the dogs. Areas with large grassy areas may be ideal while areas which do not have a location to walk a dog may be problematic.

Read Contracts Carefully

Renters who have dogs should read their contract carefully before making a decision to rent a particular property. This is important because many landlords may impose restrictions on renters who own dogs. These restrictions may include, but are not limited to, requiring an additional security deposit for the renter, requiring specific cleaning methods on the carpets after the renter vacates the apartment and holding the renter responsible if the dog engages in nuisance barking. Nuisance barking can be a problem in apartment situations where the apartments are located close together and even share a common wall. Renters should be aware that in some situations, nuisance barking can be a cause for eviction. For these reasons, renters who own dogs should take the time to familiarize themselves with the rental contract.

Take Care of Your Rental Property

Finally, renters who have dogs may have to take additional efforts to maintain their apartment. This may include more diligent cleaning, especially of the carpets. Renters with dogs should respond quickly to accidents in the house to minimize the possibility of permanent staining and odors. Each accident should be addressed immediately and every effort should be made to clean the affected area completely.

Renters with dogs should also vacuum regularly especially if their dog is a heavy shedder. This will help to keep the living environment cleaner and will also minimize the amount of cleaning required when the renter vacates the property. Regularly vacuuming will prevent hair from being embedded into the carpet so deeply that it is difficult to remove.

Finally, renters with dogs should take care to pick up after their dogs while on walks and to keep their dogs leashed while in common areas. Many cities have leash laws and laws regarding picking up after dogs. Even if these laws are not in effect, renters should follow these policies as a courtesy to their neighbors. Additionally, keeping dogs on leashes during walks helps to ensure their safety by preventing them from running into the street.

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Breaking a Lease on a Rental Agreement

Most rental agreements have a section regarding the renter breaking the lease agreement. While there is also likely a section or several sections regarding when the leasing agent can evict the renter, the section on breaking the lease should be of particular interest to those who might be in a position to have to break the lease some day. Renters should understand these contract terms so they can make an informed decision. Additionally the renter should consider all costs associated with breaking the lease. This includes both financial costs as well as emotional costs.

Understand the Contract Terms

Renters should review their rental agreement carefully before signing this document. The rental agreement is a legally binding document which should be given proper consideration before entering into the agreement. This is important because understanding these terms will be essential if the need to break the lease becomes a reality.

Rental agreements typically do allow the renter to break the lease but not without some form of penalty. This penalty usually comes in the form of requiring the renter to give a specified amount of notice before the contract is up and also requires the renter to pay a sum of money to break the rental agreement. A notice of 30 days and a lease break amount equal to one month’s rent are common penalties associated with breaking a lease, however, individual leasing agents may impose penalties which are either harsher or less severe.

Consider the Costs of Breaking the Lease

As previously mentioned there is typically a fee associated with breaking a lease. This fee is often set equal to one month’s rent. While paying this fee may seem excessive there are some instances in which it is an economically good decision to break the contract even though there is a financial penalty imposed.

Consider the example of a homeowner who is the process or relocating due to a job change. The homeowner may opt to rent an apartment in the new state while the house is put up for sale in the previous state. If the renter enters into a 12 month contract under the supposition that it will take this long to sell the old house and purchase a new house, he may be surprised if his other house sells quickly and he finds a home in his new state rather quickly. This may all occur within a matter of 2-3 months.

The renter has the option to stay in the apartment until the rental agreement nears expiration and then start looking for a home. However, this option runs the risk that the home he previously found will not likely be available. The renters other option is to place a bid on the new house and plan on breaking the lease if he is able to close on the new house. In this case, the renter would be saddled with both a rent and a mortgage for 9-10 months. This will likely be significantly more expensive than the price the renter would pay to break the lease.

Breaking the Lease is Not Always a Financial Decision

The decision to break a lease is not always completely a financial decision. There are sometimes emotional components which factor into the equation. For example a renter may have only 1-2 months remaining on his rental agreement when he is offered a dream job which will require him to relocate immediately. Although breaking the lease that late in the agreement is usually not financially wise, the renter may make this decision to avoid missing out on a dream job.

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Saving Money by Renting

For many renters the possibility of using a rental situation to save money is a foreign idea. These renters often bemoan the fact that they have to rent a property rather than purchase a property because they feel as though not owning the property is basically throwing money away each month. However, this is not entirely true. While there are certainly benefits to homeownership and building equity homeowners can also benefit financially by renting an apartment rather than purchasing a home.

While it is certainly true that money spent each month on rent does not get the renter any closer to homeownership while each monthly mortgage payment makes the homeowner one step closer to owning the property completely. However, this is not the whole story. Renters should also consider the amount of money they will be able to save annually for the purpose of purchasing a home by living in a rental property right now.

A Smaller Apartment Can Lead to a Bigger House

Some would be homeowners find renting a small apartment can allow them to start saving for the purpose of purchasing a house in the future. Renters who are willing to sacrifice comfort now and stay in the smallest apartment possible will likely be able to save the most money towards purchasing a home.

In general the monthly rent for an apartment is based on a value per square foot. This value may vary slightly from one property to the next but is likely to be very similar in properties in the same general area. This means apartments which are smaller in terms of square footage are likely to be less expensive overall. Therefore renters who would normally feel more comfortable and able to spread out might opt for a smaller apartment just so they can begin saving more money for their home purchase.

Budget Wisely to Save Money

Renters who want to save money for the purchase of a home while renting an apartment should understand their monthly rent is not the only factor which may prevent them from saving money while they rent. For example entertainment costs should carefully be considered when a renter is trying to save money. Most rental properties have a fully equipped kitchen making it ideal for the renter to prepare meals at home as opposed to going out to eat. Renters who cut down on eating dinner out may find they are able to save quite a bit of money each year.

Likewise renters who are spending an excess amount of money on superfluous items may have difficulty saving for a house while renting an apartment. Examining all current monthly expenditures can help the renter to determine where there is the potential for financial savings. Making changes such as debt consolidation may be one way to decrease monthly bills but this is certainly not the only solution. Renters can make other changes such as canceling subscriptions to premium movie channels, minimizing cell phone plans to include only the amount of minutes used each month and making changes to insurance plans to result in an overall savings. Changes to insurance plans may include having your car and renter’s insurance covered by the same carrier. Many carriers offer discounted services to renters who are willing to bundle their services. All of these slight changes can help to enable a renter to save money for a home purchase in the future.

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Benefits of Renting

While there are some renters who view renting an apartment or a house as a failure, there are others who see the benefits there are to be gained from renting a property as opposed to purchasing a property. Some of the benefits of renting include the ability to save money while renting for the purpose of purchasing a home, few maintenance requirements and the inclusion of amenities which the renter would not likely be able to afford if they were to purchase a home instead of renting. Although there are some negative aspects to renting an apartment, this article will focus exclusively on the benefits of renting a property.

The Ability to Save Money

Being able to save up a great deal of money for the purpose of making a down payment on a dream home is just one of the many great advantages to renting a property. Many homeowners were able to realize their dream of homeownership only after living in a rental property for a certain amount of time. Although renting is often criticized as throwing money away because it does not result in equity, the ability to save money while renting is unparalleled

Rent for an apartment is usually considerably less expensive than the monthly mortgage on a home. The home is also typically much bigger than the rental property but in cases where the renter is renting for the sole purpose of saving money, the value of renting cannot be denied. Depending on how long the renter stays in the apartment, they may save hundreds or even thousands of dollars during the course of the rental agreement.

No Maintenance Properties

Another advantage to renting a property is there is typically little or no maintenance required by the renter. This is especially true in an apartment situation. The renter may be responsible for small items such as changing light bulbs but more extensive repairs such as leaks in plumbing or clogs in drains are typically handled by the maintenance staff of the rental property.

Additionally common areas such as grassy areas or gardens are maintained by the maintenance staff. The exception is usually when the renter rents a home as opposed to the apartment. In these cases the renter may still not be responsible for small repairs but might be obligated to take care of items such as maintaining the grass.

Worthwhile Amenities

Another advantage to apartment living is often the amenities offered to residence. Such amenities might include usage of the pool, an exercise room, meeting spaces and a theater room. In most cases these amenities are offered free of charge to resident and their guests. Many renters who might be able to purchase a home would not likely be able to purchase a home with amenities such as a pool, fully equipped exercise room and a home theater.

These items are often considered luxurious and are not available in the majority of homes which are on the market at any particular time. In fact searching for homes which specifically have these features may severely limit the number of search results and may result in no search results at all when these features are searched in conjunction with a typical price range. However, those who rent can enjoy access to these amenities. They may pay more in rent than those in a comparable apartment complex without these amenities but they are also still likely saving a considerable amount of money each month as long as they are budgeting wisely and have chosen a rental property within their price range.

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Maintenance on a Rental Property

Maintenance on a rental property can be a confusing issue. Renters may mistakenly assume all maintenance is the responsibility of the leasing agent and maintenance staff but this is usually not true. In many cases the leasing agent and maintenance staff are responsible for maintaining the common areas and performing major repairs on the apartments but the renters do typically have some responsibilities. These responsibilities are often defined in the rental agreement and the renter should familiarize himself with this document to verify his rights if a dispute arises.

Renter Responsibilities

Typically renters have the responsibility of maintaining their apartment and the surrounding area. This may include the interior of the apartment as well as deck or patio space. However, maintenance of these areas applies to generally cleanliness only and not issues such as painting or repairs to the exterior or the interior of the apartment structure or the appliances within the apartment.

Additionally, renters are responsible for small repairs in their home. This may include plunging a clogged toilet or changing a light bulb. However, if there are any duties a renter feels uncomfortable performing such as changing a light bulb in a high location, the renter should contact the maintenance staff for assistance.

Renters also have a responsibility to show common courtesy to other renters by not intentionally damaging or otherwise marring public areas. This includes vandalism, littering and even failure to pick up after dogs. Renters who fail to follow these rules of common courtesy may be subject to fines or other penalties according to the rental agreement.

Leasing Agent Responsibilities

The leasing agent and maintenance staff are generally held responsible for major items such as repairs to the exterior of the building, fixing appliances which are malfunctioning and dealing with plumbing issues such as leaky pipes. Additionally, the maintenance staff is responsible for intervening if the renter is having trouble with public utilities. Problem such as no hot water or heat to the apartment should be addressed by the maintenance staff in conjunction with the public utilities entity.

The leasing agent and maintenance staff is also responsible for maintaining the common areas. This may include keeping grassy areas manicured and other common areas looking clean and attractive.

When the Leasing Agent is Not Taking Responsibility

As previously discussed, the leasing agent has certain responsibilities to perform tasks and address concerns and complaints by the renters. However, when the leasing agent is not fulfilling these responsibilities it could create a harmful living environment for the renter. For example hot water is required to adequately clean dishes. This is why there should always be hot water to the apartment. Additionally, in severely cold weather the inability to heat the apartment due to faulty utilities or windows which are not properly sealed can create a hazardous condition for the renter.

Both of the examples mentioned above are situations in which the renter may put in a hazardous condition by the leasing agent’s negligence. In these situations the renter should contact the Department of Housing to determine the proper cause of action to take in this situation.

In some cases the renter may be informed the alleged transgression by the leasing agent is not actually his responsibility. However, in other situations the renter may be informed that the actions of the leasing agent are a serious violation of the rental agreement. In either case, the representative can provide information on how to proceed to achieve the desired results.

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Decorating a Rental House

Those who opt to rent a house as opposed to an apartment may still be held to certain restrictions regarding the type of decorating which can be done on the property. These restrictions may be stricter or more lenient than those typically enforced when a renter is renting an apartment property. This will largely depend on the preferences of the homeowners. Homeowners who do not want to see major modifications done to the property may place strict restrictions while those who want to see the property improved may allow the renter a great deal of freedom in their decorating options.

How Much is Too Much?

This can be a difficult question to answer when used in reference to how much decorating is permissible in a rental house. Many renters opt for a situation where they are renting a house as opposed to an apartment strictly because they are looking for more freedom in their decorating options. However, the renter may find this desired freedom is not available to them.

Some homeowners may allow the renter to make minor decorating changes such as painting the walls, hanging up pictures or installing decorative shelving. However, more extensive decorating items such as new flooring, knocking down walls or putting in windows might not be considered acceptable by some homeowners while others may allow the renter to perform such actions. Still others may require this type of work to be done but may place restrictions which specify all improvement work shall be done by a qualified professional.

Check with the Homeowner

When considering doing some decorating in a rental house, the renter should first carefully review all of their contract documents. This is important because the contract may clearly prohibit certain items. In this case the renter would know for sure that they are not allowed to perform these actions. However, the renter should not count on the contract documents to spell out every possible scenario. Therefore if a renter is considering making modifications to the rental house they should consult the owner before performing any work. They should also ask the homeowner to provide a written statement expressing their approval of the work to be completed.

The homeowner is the renters best resource of these types of questions because the homeowner has the best understanding of their intentions when they wrote the rental contract. They might have specified that no renter can alter the appearance of the apartment without the consent of the homeowner but they may have meant for this statement to only apply to certain situations. In these cases, seeking clarification and written approval can be very beneficial to the renter.

When in Doubt; Leave it Out

If renters are in doubt about whether or not to perform a specific decorating action and are unable to reach the homeowner for clarification, they should opt not to make the changes. This can save the renter a great deal of time and money in the long run by preventing them from incurring excess charges for repair of the apartment and wasting a great deal of time making an improvement which the homeowner may ask to have reversed in a short period of time. This is why renters should assume an action is prohibited unless they have concrete proof otherwise.

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Caring For a Rental Property

Those who live in a rental property may have questions regarding how they should care for their domicile. While treating the property with respect and not intentionally doing damage to the property should be understood there are other gray areas where renters may not be sure what their rights and responsibilities are in the rental situation. In most of these cases, these questions can be resolved by carefully reviewing the rental agreement. This can provide the renter a great deal of insight regarding which items will be corrected by the leasing agent and which items are the responsibilities of the renter.

Treat the Property Like it Is Your Home

The heading to this subsection is certainly appropriate in theory but in reality it may not be true. The theory behind treating a rental property like it is your home is that you should treat the rental property in the same way you would treat your own home. This means the renter should not intentionally damage or otherwise neglect the rental property. It also implies that the renter should care for the rental property by making necessary repairs as they arise.

However, the reality of this heading is not true because renters are often not free to treat a rental property like it was their home. Homeowners are free to make modifications at any time to their property. Renters do not have this option and are only allowed to make modifications which are permitted by the contract agreement. These permissible modifications are usually rather insignificant in nature.

Seek Assistance from the Property Manager When Warranted

Renters should also seek assistance from the property manager when there are repairs which fall under the jurisdiction of the property owner or manager. Such repairs might include items such as unclogging drains, fixing appliances and making modifications to the residence such as installing lighting features. Although the renter may be capable of performing some or all of these actions, the rental agreement may specify these items are the responsibility of the property owner or manager. Renters who attempt to fix these items may be held liable for damages which occur during these attempts.

Similarly, the rental agreement may imply, by omission, that certain items are the responsibility of the renter. These may be small items such as changing light bulbs or similar items. In these cases the renter is free to make the adjustments. However, in other situations where the rental agreement specifies the apartment manager will handle certain complaints, these complaints should be called to the attention of management.

When the Property Manager Isn’t Doing His Job

Renters may encounter a problem where the apartment manager is not being responsive to his complaints and is not addressing situations which are brought to his attention. When this occurs the renter may have no choice but to bring this to the attention of the property manager’s supervisor. When a property manager is required to make certain repairs and address certain issues and fails to do so, he is creating a hazard for the members of the community. This is why the renter should not allow these transgressions to occur. The renter should also not be fearful of retaliation by the property manager because the contract will likely specify the renter’s rights to complain to a higher authority about the quality of service they are receiving.

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Dealing with Neighbors in an Apartment

One of the major disadvantages to renting an apartment is the potential for conflict with the neighbors. While some renters may foster incredible relationships with all of their neighbors and never once have a disagreement with a neighbor this is not a likely scenario. Most renters experience at least one instance of dissatisfaction with their neighbors. They may or may not confront the neighbor about this issue but it is likely to cause at least some tension in the living situation. In some cases avoiding the issue can cause the problem to worsen. In other situations, discussing the issue can make the situation worse.

Paper Thin Walls

Although most modern apartment buildings are built with a fair amount of insulation, there is still the real possibility of neighbors in an apartment building hearing music, television, conversation or other noises emanating from a neighbor’s apartment on a regular basis. This is due to the close proximity of the apartments to each other as well as the common practice of having at least one shared wall among neighbors in an apartment complex. Renters should be aware of this and make an effort to avoid noises which will likely be heard through the walls during nights or early in the morning when others are likely to be sleeping.

Being Considerate of Others

Consideration for others is one of the key elements which can make apartment living more bearable and less prone to conflict. For example, while renters are free to listen to music in their own apartment, they should limit listening to music at a loud decibel to daylight hours when it is not likely that other residents are trying to sleep.

Residents in an apartment complex should also be conscientious when throwing parties. This is important because the renter is responsible for the actions of his guests. Therefore the renter should ensure his guests are not causing discomfort for residents of the apartment complex.

When Your Schedule is Unusual

Finally renters who have an unusual schedule may have a great deal of difficulty functioning in an apartment complex. This includes, but is not limited to, renters who work a night shift and sleep during the day. The unusual schedule kept by these renters makes them more prone to being disturbed by other renters who assume everyone residing in the complex sleeps at roughly the same time.

Unfortunately renters in this situation may have to make an effort to make their living situation bearable. While discussing the situation with the neighbors is certainly worthwhile, it is unrealistic to expect the neighbors to remain exceedingly quite during the daytime hours. Many residents do chores such as vacuuming during this time which can resonate in the apartment of another renter. However, asking the neighbor to do these types of activities in the evening is not feasible because the neighbor would likely be disturbing a number of other neighbors by doing so.

This is why the renter with the unusual schedule is often required to make changes to make the living situation workable. This may include purchasing and using earplugs while sleeping or investing in a white noise machine which can help to drowned out ambient noise and make the environment more conducive to sleeping. Additionally, the renter with the unusual schedule should make an effort to be quite during hours in which they are awake but the majority of neighbors are likely sleeping.

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Consider the Amenities

The amenities on a rental property can often be the deciding factor for many renters. The available amenities may make a less affordable property seem more appealing. Conversely a property which is more expensive may be considered worthwhile if the amenities offered are considered valuable enough to compensate for the higher price. When making this decision, homeowners should consider their own personal preferences as well as their budgetary constraints to make an informed decision. Before making a decision to rent a property, the renter should carefully consider which amenities are necessary, which amenities are optional but highly desired and how much the renter is willing to pay for these amenities.

What Amenities Do You Really Need?

Although many of the amenities offered by rental properties are not exactly necessary to live, there are some amenities which some renters would not consider renting a property without. An exercise room is one such example. While this is certainly not necessary, many renters prefer having this option. Without an onsite exercise facility, many renters would have to consider joining a gym for their exercise needs. This will likely increase the monthly expenses significantly and, depending on the location, may also make it inconvenient for the renter to visit the gym. An onsite exercise is significantly more convenient than traveling to a gym in another location. For this reason many renters consider the added expense associated with an onsite exercise facility to be worthwhile.

Some renters may even consider only renting an apartment in a facility that has a pool. Although this is not a necessity some renters, especially in warm climates, might only consider living in a rental property where there is access to a pool especially if the majority of rental properties include this amenity.

What Amenities Do You Really Want?

In addition to the amenities a renter feels he needs, there are some amenities which may be desired as opposed to necessary. A movie theater may be an example of this type of amenity. Renters may not decide against a rental property which does not have this feature but may be more inclined to select a property that has this feature as opposed to one that does not as long as the price is comparable.

A meeting space may be another example of an amenity which may not be required but that many renters are willing to pay extra to have. Renters who entertain frequently may enjoy this type of amenity because it affords them extra space for entertaining. They may be able to easily invite eight or more people over for a dinner party if there is meeting space available but this might not be possible if the renter were confined to their apartment.

Are You Paying Too Much for Amenities?

While some amenities may be viewed as necessary and others may merely be viewed as worthwhile and still others may be viewed as superfluous, the most important decision renters will have to make is how much they are willing to pay for these amenities. Comparison shopping may be the best way to determine whether or not certain amenities are financially worthwhile.

Renters who are considering apartments of similar size in the same geographic region should consider the amenities offered as well as the price of the apartment. Apartments of similar size in the same area should be fairly close in price. However, an apartment which offers more advanced amenities might be significantly higher in price. Renters should list the available amenities and use this information in making cost comparisons. This information can be used to determine whether or not the renter is willing to pay a higher price for such amenities. Renters who conclude the additional cost is not warranted have determined that the prices of the amenities are not worthwhile to them and they are likely to choose the more affordable apartment which features fewer amenities.

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Vacation-rentals

Vacation Rentals

Many vacationers opt to rent a home in their vacation destination rather than staying in a hotel. For these vacationers, this is a worthwhile option because it gives the vacationer a more comfortable place to stay with features such as cooking facilities which are not typically offered in commercial hotels. Finding these vacation rentals can be significantly more difficult than simply making hotel reservations but many vacationers report this to be a worthwhile effort. However, some care should be taken when renting a vacation home to ensure the quality of the home meets the expectations of the vacationers.

Finding Vacation Rentals

Finding a vacation rental property can obviously be much more difficult than simply renting a hotel during the vacation. Of course some vacationers will be lucky and have a friend or family member who owns a home in a particular vacation destination and is willing to rent it out to others. Those who do not have this type of fortunate situation have other options for finding a vacation rental property.

Many homeowners in popular vacation destinations rent out their home during the peak season. These homeowners may allow a realtor to handle the transactions. Contacting realtors in the area of the vacation destination and inquiring about available rental properties in the area is one way to start the search. The realtor will likely be able to assist you in finding a home for rent.

There are also many popular websites where homes for rent are listed directly by the owner of the home. Searching the Internet can lead you to a reliable source of homes for rent. These homes are usually divided into categories by region and will likely provide you instant access to available dates. It will likely give useful information such as whether or not pets are allowed, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms as well as the size of the home and the proximity to nearby attraction. The listing may also provide useful information regarding the furnishings of the home. Some rental properties may include items such as bedding and cookware while some may not.

Ask Questions before Renting a Vacation Home

Vacationers who wish to rent a vacation home as opposed to spending their vacation in a hotel should exercise a certain amount of caution in selecting a property to rent. Being cautious will not only enable the vacationer to ensure his rental property meets his expectations but will also help to avoid potentially dangerous situations. One way to avoid these potential problems is by asking a great deal of questions during the process.

Renting a vacation home through a rental agency is ideal for safety purposes. In these situations the agency handles the entire rental giving the renter the security of knowing they are not walking into a potentially dangerous situation. However, even in this situation the renter should ask some important questions. These questions will be explained in the subsequent paragraphs.

How old is the property? Potential renters should ask questions about the age of the property and whether or not appliances, plumbing and electricity have been updated. This is important because this type of information can mean the difference between a comfortable stay in the property and dealing with problems related to the age of the home.

What is included in the rental? While most rentals include the basic necessities, there are some rental agreements which only include the use of the house and furniture. Renters may be required to bring along bedding, towels and even cookware.

How often is the property rented and how is it maintained? These two questions are inter-related because properties which are rented often see significantly more wear and tear than properties which are only rented a couple of times per year. Properties which are rented often should employ a maid service to clean the property thoroughly between each rental and possibly during longer rental periods.

What is the exact location of the property? Asking this question will enable the vacationer to determine whether or not the property is ideally situated for the purposes of the vacation. For example a vacationer on a ski trip would want to be situated close to the mountains while a vacationer more interested in a cultural vacation might be interested in a downtown location which will likely be closer to museums and other locations of interest.

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Getting Your Security Deposit Back

For many renters the subject of the security deposit is somewhat of a touchy subject. Most renters assume they should receive their security deposit back in its entirety as long as there is no significant damage done to the apartment. However, this is rarely true as there are number of factors which contribute to whether or not the security deposit or a portion of the deposit will be returned to the renter when they vacate the premises.

Did You Do Any Major Damage?

Certainly doing major damage to the apartment such as putting holes in the walls, breaking appliances or tearing up the flooring may warrant the security deposit being kept but even in these cases the leasing agent must justify these costs. In other words the leasing agent cannot use one damaged item to justify keeping the whole security deposit. Rather the leasing agent is obliged to determine a cost to repair the item. If this estimate is large enough to justify not returning the security deposit the renter should be informed of the estimated cost of repairing the apartment.

Is Your Apartment Clean Enough?

All apartments should be cleaned thoroughly before the tenant vacates the property. This should include extensive cleaning of all rooms of the apartment including the bedrooms, bathrooms and any common areas. A cleaning should also include cleaning of all of the blinds in the apartment. Blinds can be rather difficult to clean and many leasing agents charge approximately $10 per blind if they deem there is a need to clean these items. This can add up rather quickly if there are a number of windows in the apartment.

Many leasing agents also perform a number of standard cleaning functions when any resident vacates the property. This may include items such as cleaning out the refrigerator, shampooing the carpet or repainting the walls. When these items are required, there is typically a fee associated with each item. In many cases, adding up these required fees results in a number which is likely already approaching the sum of the security deposit. Additionally, leasing agents often only allow for one hour of cleaning services to prepare an apartment for the next residents. This is rarely enough time to complete the work and therefore renters wind up being charged an additional fee at an hourly rate.

Have You Read Your Contract Documents?

Renters who want to have the greatest chance of having a large portion of their security deposit refunded to them should be very familiar with their contract documents. This is important while living in the apartment as well as while getting ready to vacate the apartment. It is important to be familiar with the contract terms while living in the apartment because it can prevent the renter from making decorating choices which are explicitly prohibited by the rental agreement. These types of decisions can be costly in the long run because they may result in the renter being assessed for perceived damages by the leasing agent.

Renters should also carefully review the contract documents as they are preparing to vacate the property. This is important because it may help the renter to clean and make repairs to the apartment in accordance to guidelines set forth by the leasing agent. Doing this will make it much more likely the renter will not be assessed exorbitant fees at the conclusion of the rental agreement.

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Do Not Let the Furnishings Fool You

Renters who are viewing apartment complexes are often led to furnished models which have been tastefully decorated. Although the furnishings in these model apartments are usually very aesthetically appealing they also usually serve another purpose as well. This other purpose is to make the room appear larger than it is. There are decorator and furnishing techniques which can make a room in an apartment appear considerably larger than it really is. The size of the bed, the amount of furniture and the layout of the furniture are all items which should be carefully considered when viewing model apartments. This article will cover these three items and will provide useful information for renters who are trying to evaluate furnished apartments.

The Size of the Bed

Determining the size of the bed in a model apartment is important for the purposes of evaluating the apartment. If you are unsure of the size of the bed used in the model, ask the leasing agent for clarification. This is important because if the bed used in the model is a full size bed and your own bed is a king size bed, it will be difficult to make assumptions about the size of the bedroom. The differences in a full size bed and a queen size bed may not be as noticeable but renters should be aware a queen bed will result in less free space in the room. If the bed used in the model is not the same size as your own bed, take measurements to determine how well your own bed will fit in the room.

Is There Enough Furniture?

When viewing a furnished, model important it is important to note whether or not there is enough furniture in the room. For example there may be a kitchen table and only two chairs instead of four. This may make the room appear larger to those who are viewing the apartment but they are likely going to be disappointed when they move in.

Consider the furniture in other rooms as well. For example a bedroom which only has a bed and a nightstand will be decidedly less crowded than a bedroom which has a bed, two nightstands and a dresser. Your furniture may not be exactly the same size as the model furniture but there should be comparable items in each room.

Does the Layout Make Sense?

Renters should also carefully consider the layout of the furniture when visiting a furnished apartment. An apartment may feature all of the pieces of furniture the renter expects to see in the room but may position these pieces of furniture in a way that is not logical. Consider the family room as an example. There may be a couch, an entertainment center, a television set, a coffee table and two end tables but if these items are positioned strangely it can be deceiving. Most renters arrange their living room furniture in a manner which makes the area conducive to conversations as well as viewing of the television. If the television is positioned where it is not viewable from any of the seating options, the layout of the room is somewhat unnatural. It is not likely to be similar to the layout used by the renter and therefore does not offer an accurate representation of how the space will likely be used.

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What Does the Rent Include?

There is no simple answer to the question of what is included in the rent. This is because the answer will likely vary from one apartment complex to the next. Some apartment complexes may include a variety of items within their rent while others may charge renters additional fees as needed and still others may require the renters to register directly with individual public utilities and handle these expenses on their own.

Likewise some apartment complexes may include additional features with the price of the rent while others may charge additional fees for these features. A pool, exercise room, meeting room or theater are just a few examples which may be offered by an apartment complex. In most cases the use of these amenities are included in the price of the rent but there are exceptions where the renter is charged an additional fee for the privilege of using these amenities.

Consider the Price of Utilities

When considering the price or a rental property, the renter should first determine whether or not utilities are included in the cost of the rent. This is significant because depending on the size of the property and the climate of the area, heating and cooling costs can be rather expensive. In most cases, the renter is responsible for the cost of their own utilities and their apartment is individually monitored for usage and the renter is billed monthly by the utility company. However, in the case of an individual renting an apartment in a private home as opposed to an apartment complex, the homeowner may collect money for utility uses in another way. Depending on the agreement between the homeowner and the renter the monthly rent may be set at a rate which includes a contribution to the utility costs or the renter may be assessed a pre-determined percentage of each utility bill on a monthly basis.

It is important to consider the price of utilities when they are not included in the rent because failure to do so can lead to unpleasant surprises in the future. For example a renter in a particularly cold climate may rent a spacious apartment for a great rate only to find out later that the cost of heating the apartment makes it difficult for the renter to afford to live in the apartment.

Consider Amenities which are “Free”

When renters are selecting an apartment, they should consider the amenities which are “free” as opposed to the amenities for which the renter is charged an additional fee. The word free is used in quotations in the heading of this section to indicate these amenities do not always come without a price. A renter may not pay a usage fee for some amenities but it is very likely the privilege of using these amenities is factored into the monthly rent.

As an example consider two 800 square foot apartments in the same geographical area. Each apartment may have a similar layout and comparable square footage but the monthly rents associated with these two apartments might be quite different. In examining the amenities you might notice the higher prices apartment has access to a pool, an exercise room and a theater all for the use of residents while the lower priced apartment offers no such amenities. In this case the residents of the more expensive apartments are actually paying a higher monthly rent as a result of the amenities offered.

In a case such as the example above, renters should weight their options carefully. If they can afford to pay the more expensive rent, they should carefully consider whether or not they wish to pay a higher fee for use of the amenities. A renter who doesn’t like to swim, belongs to a gym and does not have a great deal of free time to watch movies may decide they would be better off selecting the lower priced apartment without amenities.

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Sharing a Rental with a Roommate

Sharing a rental property, whether it is an apartment or a house, can be either a dream come true or a living nightmare. There are many advantages to having a roommate; however, there are also disadvantages. When these disadvantages are severe they can result in an uncomfortable living environment in some situations and even a dangerous living environment in other situations. There are a couple of ways a renter can protect themselves when sharing their rental property with a roommate. This includes screening the potential roommate carefully and including the roommate on the rental agreement.

The Advantages and Disadvantages to Having a Roommate

Having a roommate can certainly be advantageous in some situations. The primary advantage is financial. Renters who opt to have a roommate, essentially cut their rent in half if they opt to have one roommate or in thirds if they opt to have two roommates. This is ideal for renters who would like to have a larger apartment but would not be able to afford such an apartment without the assistance of a roommate.

Another advantage to having a roommate is the opportunity to share household responsibilities with the roommate. Of course this is only an advantage when the roommate is willing to do his share of the work on a regular basis. If this is not the case, it may result in a huge disadvantage which will be covered briefly in the section on disadvantages.

One of the most significant disadvantages to having a roommate is a lack of privacy. Those who live alone do not ever have to worry about not having time to themselves while they are in their apartment. However, when a renter has a roommate, there is no guarantee the renter will ever have any time to himself while he is in the apartment.

Another disadvantage to having a roommate is the distribution of household responsibilities may not always be even. Roommates should have a discussion regarding the household responsibilities such as cleaning the common areas but there is always the possibility that one roommate may not do his share of the work. When this happens it can create conflict and resentment among the roommates. This conflict can make the living situation quite uncomfortable.

Select a Compatible Roommate

When selecting a roommate, the renter should be careful to select a compatible roommate. In the previous section we discussed how conflicts can arise when one roommate does not do his share of the cleaning. However, incompatible cleaning styles are only a small portion of the compatibility issues roommates may face. One important issue is entertaining. If one roommate has visitors at the apartment often, it can cause problems if the other roommate is not comfortable with this.

Even the times in which the roommates normally sleep can cause problems. If one roommate goes to bed early and wakes up at 4:00 am, it can be problematic if the other roommate likes to stay up late and not wake up until 9:00 am. In this case the roommates may not only begin to get on each other’s nerves but they may also begin to adversely affect the other’s job or social life.

Include the Roommate on the Rental Agreement

Finally, renters should be sure to include their roommate or roommates on the rental agreement. This is very important because it helps to protect all of the roommates. Inclusion of all of the roommates prevents one roommate from being able to ask another to leave unjustly. This may occur when conflicts arise but inclusion on the rental agreement ensures each of the roommates has a right to live on the property. Placing each of the roommates’ names on the rental agreement also prevents one roommate from not making their rent payments in a timely manner. It will also help to prevent one roommate from being held legally responsible for not paying the rent on time by the leasing agent.

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Rent to Own

Some potential homeowners who are not able to purchase a home right away consider rent to own options instead. A rent to own option, often referred to as a lease, is essentially a rental contract for the rental of a property which includes the stipulation that the renter will be given the option of purchasing the property at the conclusion of the lease. This type of rental agreement may not be worthwhile for all renters but there are some who will find this type of agreement to suit their needs quite well. In particular renters with bad credit who might be unable to buy a home otherwise and renters who aren’t quite sure they really want to buy a home. It can also be a worthwhile agreement for homeowners who are planning to sell their home buy may not want to sell it immediately.

When Your Credit is Bad

Potential homeowners with bad credit may find a rent to own situation may be just what they are looking for to help them purchase their dream home. There are a variety of financing options currently available and it is likely even homeowners with poor credit can find a financing option but it is not likely this option will be favorable. Homeowners with poor credit are often shackled with unfavorable loan terms such as higher interest rates, requirements to pay points and adjustable rate mortgages instead of fixed rate mortgages. In these situations, it might be worthwhile for the renter to repair his credit before attempting to purchase a home.

One of the best ways to repair credit is to maintain good credit in the present and into the future. Most blemishes on credit reports are erased after a certain period of time. Renters who have poor credit can work on repaying their current debts in a timely fashion and with time their credit score will improve. During this time participating in a rent to own program allows the renter additional time to repair his credit and may also allow the renter to accumulate financial resources which will enable him to purchase the home when the lease period is over.

When You Just Aren’t Ready to Buy a Home

Some renters opt for a rent to own program when they aren’t quite sure they really want to own a home. In these types of agreements, renters are given the option of purchasing the home at the end of the agreement period but they are not obligated to purchase this home. This allows the renter to see what it is like to own a home without having to commit to homeownership.

Renters who are renting a home may learn a great deal about homeownership during the rental period. This may include information about maintaining the landscaping of the property and dealing with conflicts with neighbors. It may also entail caring for and maintaining a significantly larger domicile than most apartment renters have to maintain. Some renters are not quite sure they are ready to handle all of these issues and may use a rent to own agreement as a trial period to determine whether or not homeownership suits them.

When the Homeowner Just Isn’t Ready to Sell

Some homeowners offer a rent to own option when they plan to sell their home but do not want to do so immediately. Some homeowners may be hoping for property values to rise before they sell their home so they can either regain the amount they have invested in the house or profit from the purchase price of the home. These homeowners might choose to rent out their home during this time and offer the renter the option of purchasing the house after a set time period. This enables the seller to earn an income from rent while they are no longer living in the home. The rent they charge to the renter is often enough to cover the mortgage and yield a profit making it a financially wise decision for the seller.

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Rental-swaps

Rental Swaps

Some vacationers find a rental swap to be an ideal situation when they are traveling. Homeowners, especially in desired locations, may find there is a great deal of interest from others who would like to rent their home for a short period of time. Typically this is about one to three weeks although it may be longer or shorter in some cases. A rental swap is essentially where a homeowner in one location offers the use of their home to another homeowner in exchange for use of the other homeowners home. Ideally these swaps will take place concurrently but in some situations swaps are organized at different times of the year.

A Rental Swap Saves You Money

For many a rental swap is worth considering because it can result in a tremendous financial savings. Lodging often accounts for a large portion of a vacationers travel expenses. By eliminating these costs the vacationer may find they are able to add additional aspects to their vacation. For example, by eliminating lodging costs, a vacationer may have money left over in the travel budget to see a few plays, eat dinner at extravagant restaurants or purchase tickets to sporting events.

A rental swap, however, does not always automatically translate to a financial savings. Consider the cost of staying in a hotel within walking distance to major attractions as opposed to participating in a rental swap 10-20 miles away from most major attractions. In the case of the rental swap, the vacationer will most likely have to rent a car during their stay but might not have to do so when staying in a hotel. The need for a car, whether or not the kitchen in a rental swap will be utilized to cook meals and other factors should be considered in determining whether a rental swap or hotel stay is more financially logical.

A Rental Swap is More Comfortable than a Hotel

In most cases a rental swap usually results in a more comfortable stay than a visit to a hotel. Of course there will always be situations in which the quality and even the size of the hotel may be superior to the conditions of the rental shop but for the most part, vacationers usually feel more comfortable in a rental swap situation. Staying in a home typically provides the vacationer with more privacy as well as the ability to spread out a little more. This can be very beneficial for keeping the peace especially for large families who may quickly feel overcrowded in a hotel situation.

There are Risks to a Rental Swap

While a rental swap may certainly seem appealing, there are some inherent risks to this type of lodging situation. First of all the possibility of the rental property not being exactly as described is a very real risk. Homeowners may exaggerate the appeal of their property either intentionally or unintentionally. Regardless of the intent of the homeowner, the vacationer may still find themselves in a situation where they are disappointed with the accommodations. This may be because the house is not as large or well appointed as described or because the house is older and less well maintained than depicted.

Another risk to a rental shop is the possibility of the other homeowner not noting the correct dates. Although this is also a possibility with a hotel, it can be more troubling when the vacationer was counting on the rental swap for their accommodations during the stay. While a hotel might make every effort to accommodate the hotel guests when there is a mistake, homeowners in a rental swap may not have the available resources to find an alternate place for the vacationers to stay.

One final risk which exists in a rental swap, is potential damage to your own property when you allow others to use the property. Homeowners can work to minimize the trouble in these situations by screening those who they are considering for a rental swap carefully. Additionally, homeowners can take security measures by alerting the police as well as neighbors that a stranger will be staying in the home. This will help everyone to be more vigilant and aware of the potential for problems.

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Decorating a Rental Apartment

Those who live in a rental apartment are usually quite limited in the amount of decorating they are able to do. This can have the impact of making a rental apartment not quite feel like a real home. In many cases the rental apartment is painted a bright white and residents often feel as though this color is somewhat impersonal but are not able to repaint the walls to a more appealing color. This is just one example of the decorating restrictions which may be placed on an individual renting an apartment. There may be other restrictions and reading the contract carefully will help the renter to determine what is allowed and what is not allowed.

Review the Contract Carefully

Renters who are living in an apartment should review their contract documents carefully before they begin decorating their apartment. This is important because there may be some common decorating items such as painting or installation of shelving which may not be allowed by the contract documents. Decorating in any manner which is strictly prohibited may result in harsh penalties. These penalties might involve the assessment of fees at the conclusion of the rental period or possibly even eviction.

Most standard decorating items such as hanging pictures are usually acceptable but some particularly strict policies may either prohibit this completely or place restrictions on the type of nails which may be used or the methods of patching the holes. Renters who have questions regarding whether or not specific decorating actions are permissible or prohibited should contact their leasing agent before taking action. This will help to ensure the renter is not penalized in the future for their actions.

Additionally, if the leasing agent tells the renter it is acceptable to perform an action prohibited by the rental agreement, the renter should always ask for a signed, written document stating the exception to the contract. This is helpful because the leasing agent may not remember making an exception to the rule or may not even still be working at the property when the renter’s lease expires.

Consider Whether or Not Modifications are Reversible

When renters in an apartment living situation are making decorating decisions, one of the most important factors to consider is whether or not a modification to the apartment is reversible. In most cases, the action is likely to be permissible as long as it is easily reversible. However, the case of painting the apartment is a common exception to this rule. Although painting can easily be reversed, most apartment complexes due not allow residents to pain the apartment in which they reside. This is because although painting is often reversible, the process of returning the wall to the original color is not always easy.

Irreversible modifications such as removing walls or adding permanent fixtures to the apartment are typically not considered acceptable when decorating a rental apartment. Although even major modifications are typically not completely irreversible, most leasing agents would consider modifications which require the assistance of a general contract to be permanent in nature. Conversely, small modifications such as nail holes to hang pictures are considered reversible because they can easily be corrected. Again, if the renter is unsure of whether or not an action is permissible, they should seek clarification from the leasing agent.

Consider the Security Deposit

Most renters pay a security deposit before they take possession of the apartment. This security deposit is collected to protect against damages which may be caused by the renter during the course of the rental agreement. The leasing agent may expect to need to do some minor cleaning or a few small repairs after the renter vacates the premises. However, a deposit large enough to cover the cost of more significant repairs is often collected to provide the leasing agent with some protection in case the renter damages the apartment and leaves it in need of considerable repair.

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Apartment Hunting Tips

Apartment hunting can be very daunting for some potential renters. Often the variety of options available to these renters is a source of overwhelming frustration for the renters. With so many appealing options it can be difficult to choose just one. However, there are some tips which can help to ease the process of apartment hunting. The process of finding the perfect apartment can be broken down into three simple steps. The first step is to set a budget. Next the renter should research their available options and then comparison shop to determine which option is the best.

Set a Budget First

For many renters the most important consideration is how much they are willing to spend on an apartment per month. For this reason it should come as no surprise that the first step in the apartment hunting process should include establishing a budget. Renters should consider their monthly income and subtract out all of their monthly expenses from this amount. Monthly expenses should include all bills which are paid regularly as well as money spent on food, entertainment and miscellaneous items each month. The renter may also wish to subtract out an additional amount to allow for some savings each month as well as emergencies. The total left after these subtractions is the amount the renter is able to spend on an apartment per month. Once this amount is established the renter will have a better understanding of the type of apartment they are able to afford.

Research Available Properties

Once a budget has been established, the renter should begin researching the properties which fall within his budget range. It is likely to consider properties which are slightly above the range as well as properties which are slightly below the range. Doing this will allow the renter to see if there is an opportunity to either make improvements on the amount of monthly spending to allow for the renting of a more expensive property. The renter can also determine whether or not they feel there is the opportunity to negotiate a lower rental rate on a particular property.

When initially researching properties, the renter does not necessarily have to visit each property. Most of the pricing information can be obtained from resources such as Internet websites, newspapers and rental magazines. Since pricing is the primary concern at this point, the initial research will enable the renter to eliminate properties which are too far out of their price range.

Comparison Shop

Once the renter has narrowed down his list of possible apartment complexes to a more manageable number it is time to start visiting these properties. It is during this step that the renter will really get a feel for the quality of the apartment as well as the amount and quality of amenities offered by the complex. This is very important because this information can be used to decide between properties which are otherwise very similar.

The comparison shopping process is also worthwhile because it gives the renter some bargaining power in negotiating more favorable rent rates. Renters who have visited a number of apartments likely have a good idea of the going rate in a particular area for a particular size apartment. These renters can use this information to potentially convince some leasing agents to lower their prices at least a little bit. There will not likely be huge drops in price from these negotiations but it will likely be enough to be considered worthwhile.

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Furnished or Unfurnished?

Renters will often be faced with the decision of whether to opt for a furnished apartment or an unfurnished apartment. The majority of apartments available for rent are likely to be unfurnished apartments but there are some apartments which are available with furnishings. There are some situations in which it makes sense to choose a furnished apartment. Likewise there are situations in which a furnished apartment is not a good idea. This article will discuss these situations in an effort to assist the reader in determining whether or not it is better to rent a furnished apartment or an unfurnished apartment.

What Does Furnished Mean?

A furnished apartment may mean different things to different people. Some renters may expect a furnished apartment to have each and every room completely furnished with every possible piece of furniture. Typical furnishings may include a bed, a dresser, nightstands, alarm clock with built in radio, a television, stereo equipment, DVD player, an entertainment center, couch, coffee table, end tables, kitchen table and kitchen chairs. It may also include dining room furniture such as a dining room table, chairs and a curial cabinet. Others may assume a furnished apartment includes only the necessary furnishings such as a bed, couch, kitchen table and chairs. This essentially eliminates all electrical equipment as well as furniture deemed to be decorative in nature such as a coffee table, end tables or nightstands.

When is a Furnished Apartment a Good Idea?

A furnished apartment is a good idea for recent college graduates who lived on campus in a dorm room prior to graduation. These students likely have very little furniture of their own. In this case, renting a furnished apartment may be more economical than purchasing enough furniture to live comfortably in the apartment.

The overall cost of a furnished apartment may be higher in the long run because the renter may pay more but those who are unable to pay a great deal of money upfront to furnish an apartment might not mind paying this additional amount. For these renters, they are not likely to notice the impact of a slightly higher monthly rent payment but they would definitely feel the impact of significant purchases such as a bed, couch or dining room set.

When is an Unfurnished Apartment a Good Idea?

There are certain situations in which an unfurnished apartment is a good idea. This includes a situation where the renter has already accumulated enough furniture to furnish the entire apartment. In this case, selecting a furnished apartment would not make sense because the renter would have to find a location to store either his own furniture or the furniture supplied by the apartment complex. The cost of storage can add up very quickly. Additionally, the renter probably pays a higher rent to stay in a furnished apartment.

An unfurnished apartment is also a good idea when the renter currently does not have any furniture but is looking forward to purchasing furniture and has already saved up enough money to make these purchases. In this situation the renter will likely select an unfurnished apartment and plan on shopping for furniture almost immediately after taking possession of the rental property.

Storing Extra Furniture

Renters who opt for a fully furnished apartment when they already have a sufficient amount of furniture have to determine what they will do with their furniture while they are staying in the rental apartment. The options are basically as follows:

* Sell or give away all currently owned furniture

* Store your own furniture

* Store the furniture which comes with the apartment

While each of the above options is certainly valid, the renter should seriously consider whether or not they want to pay additional storage fees just to rent a furnished apartment. Renters who plan to sell or donate their current furniture do not face this dilemma but those who plan to store one set of furniture should carefully consider the price of storage. They should also consult with the leasing agent to determine if there are any contract items which prohibit placing furniture owned by the apartment complex in an offsite storage facility. There may be provisions which allow for these items to be stored but require them to be stored onsite.

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Should You Rent A House Or An Apartment?

Deciding whether to rent an apartment or a house can be a very difficult decision for some renters. There are certain advantages and disadvantages to each option. The renter should carefully consider these points when making his decision. Whether or not an apartment rental or a home rental is ideal for a particular renter will largely depend on his personal preference as well as his current needs in a living situation. For some renting an apartment is perfect while others find a home rental meets their needs best. This article will examine the advantages and disadvantages of each situation to help readers make a more informed decision regarding the type of rental situation which may be beneficial to them.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Renting a House

There are many advantages to renting a house as opposed to an apartment. One of the primary advantages is this situation affords renters who would normally be unable to afford to purchase a house the opportunity to live in a house for a much more affordable price. Another advantage to renting a house is it may offer the renter many more options. Apartments are usually pretty standard in terms of size, number of bedrooms and number of bathrooms. Renters who have specific needs such as five bathrooms and three bedrooms may have a difficult time finding an apartment with these specifications but may find rental homes which offer these options.

Location is often another advantage associated with renting a house. Apartments are usually situated in more commercial areas while houses available for rent can usually be found in more residential areas. Many renters favor this situation because it makes their rental property feel more secluded. Many house rentals also include a backyard which is desirable for renters with children or pets.

One of the major disadvantages to renting a house, is there may not be a great deal of certainty regarding the amount of time the renter will be allowed to rent the house. While a contract may protect the rights of the renter for a certain period of time, there are no guarantees the homeowner will extend the contract beyond the existing terms. This means as the contract is due to expire; the renter may be given notice that the house would not be available for rent in the future. Conversely, this situation is rare in apartments and most renters are confident there will be the opportunity to renew their lease each time it expires.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Renting an Apartment

Perhaps one of the most significant advantages of renting an apartment is the amenities which are often available when renting an apartment in an apartment complex as opposed to renting a home or even renting an apartment in a private home. Amenities such as pools, hot tubs, exercise rooms, saunas, meeting rooms and theaters are just a few of the amenities often offered when renting an apartment.

Affordability is another advantage to renting an apartment. Rent for an apartment is usually significantly lower than rent for a house. Although the apartment may be significantly smaller than the house, many renters find they are only able to afford these options.

A lack of privacy may be one of the most significant disadvantages to renting an apartment. Apartments are usually situated fairly closely together and most apartments usually share a common wall with one of their neighbors. Renters may find their neighbors end up knowing a great deal more about them than they had intended simply because the living situation makes it difficult to keep one’s life private.

Having to contend with noisy neighbors is another downfall to renting an apartment. As previously, mentioned apartments often share a common wall with a neighbor. As a result renters may run the risk of having noisy neighbors who listen to loud music or have boisterous friends visiting late at night.

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How Much Apartment Can You Afford?

Deciding how much apartment they can afford is one of the most important decisions a renter will have to make. This decision will help to determine a number of factors include the size and location of the potential apartment as well as the types of amenities offered. Those who are interested in renting an apartment will have to consider all of their current expenses in comparison to their monthly cash flow. They will also have to determine whether or not there are changes they can make to their current budget to make a larger or more well situated apartment affordable.

Consider All of Your Expenses

When deciding how much apartment they can afford, renters should carefully consider all of their monthly expenses in relation to their monthly income. Expenses may include, but are not limited to, utilities such as gas, water and electric, telephone, cell phone, Internet services, cable television, car insurance, renter’s insurance, gas for car, cost of commuting to work, groceries and other incidental charges. Subtracting these costs from the monthly income will give the renter a good idea of how much money they can afford to spend on rent each month. Renters might also consider subtracting an additional amount out of their monthly income to give them the opportunity to save some money each month.

Expenses to be considered should also include expenses for entertainment purposes such as dining in restaurants, going to movie theaters or cultural events. Even movie rentals should be considered in this category. Considering these expenses is necessary because otherwise the renter may not allot a portion of their budget for such purposes and may find themselves unable to participate in some previously enjoyed leisure activities.

Is There Room for Improvement?

When examining the monthly budget, renter should take the opportunity to determine whether or not there is room for improvement in their current financial situation. For example a renter may find they are able to minimize their monthly bills by obtaining their car insurance and renter’s insurance from the same insurance carrier. The carrier may be willing to offer a discount to a customer who utilizes their services for more than one type of insurance. Likewise there may be the opportunity to minimize expenses by bundling services such as telephone, Internet and possibly even cable television.

Also, consider entertainment expenses as an opportunity for financial improvement. If a renter currently eats out in restaurants for dinner on both Friday and Saturday of every week, they could consider limiting these dining experiences to only one night a week or even only one night every other week. This can result in a significant cost savings which may enable the renter to afford a more expensive apartment.

Other areas where renters can sometimes cut expenses are on cell phone bills and cable television bills. Examine your cell phone bill carefully. If you are not using all of your minutes each month, it might be worthwhile to switch to a plan with fewer minutes. This would lower your monthly bill without causing you to make any sacrifices. One area where sacrificing might contribute to more monthly cash flow is with cable television. Renters who pay higher fees for premium channels can consider eliminating these channels. All of these small changes to monthly spending can contribute to the renter being able to afford a more expensive apartment which may be larger or in a better location than the apartment they would be able to afford without making changes.

Is There a Need for Improvement?

Although trimming superfluous expenses is always a good financial strategy, renters should determine if this is necessary in terms of their rental situation before making drastic changes. Once a renter has established the amount of money they can afford to spend in rent, they can start to look for available apartments in that price range. If the renter is happy with the choices available to them at this time, there may not be a need to make financial adjustments at this time. However, if the renter is not happy with the options available, financial changes and stricter budgeting are warranted.

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Finding a Rental Apartment

Those who do not wish to purchase a home may find that renting an apartment is an ideal solution for their situation. An apartment can offer many of the conveniences of home ownership such as a functional living space offering the renter the opportunity to eat, sleep and entertain in their domicile. Renting can also offer additional amenities such as meeting spaces, pools, weight rooms or exercise equipment. These types of amenities are optional and may not be available in all rental situations. This article will discuss the art of finding a rental apartment that will suit all of your needs.

Renters who are interested in finding an apartment should consider a number of factors. These factors might include their budget, location, requirements and desires. The key to finding an ideal apartment to rent is to strike a balance of these factors. For example a renter may desire amenities such as a pool, hot tub, sauna, steam room and onsite theater but these options may not be available in his budget range. In this scenario, the renter will likely have to make some compromises which may include realizing not all of the desired amenities are feasible within the current budget or making the decision to allot additional funds for rent.

Set a Budget First

Budget is one of the primary concerns for those looking to rent an apartment. For these individuals, the search for an apartment should begin with the process of narrowing down the search for apartments to those that are within the set budget. It might be worthwhile to look at a few apartments which are priced slightly above the budget. This is because, depending on the vacancy rate, there may be an opportunity to negotiate a slightly lower rate which can bring the rent of the apartment to within the renter’s budgetary constraints. Alternately the renter may decide he is willing to pay a little more for certain features such as a larger living space, more desirable amenities or a choice location.

Choose a Location

Location is a very important factor for renters to consider when searching for an apartment. An ideal location is one which is not to far from family, work or leisure activities. Again this is a matter of personal preference and will depend largely on the desires of the renter. Some renters may favor a shorter commute to work because it affords them more time to spend with their families. Other renters may not have family close by and may opt to rent an apartment further from work if it is near access to an activity they enjoy such as skiing in the mountains or surfing in the ocean.

Renters should also consider the surrounding areas when choosing an apartment. Some renters may enjoy being near social activities such as movie theaters and shopping centers while others may prefer to rent an apartment in an established neighborhood apart from the commercial areas. Likewise some renters may prefer living in an apartment where there is nearby access to public transportation while others may not favor this option.

Consider the Requirements and Amenities

Finally, renters should consider their requirements and preferred amenities when searching for an apartment. Requirements might include criteria such as two or more bedrooms, two or more bathrooms or a minimum square footage. These are criteria which the renter feels they must have in order to function in the apartment. For example a family with two children might need 2-3 bedrooms while a single person may be able to function with only one bedroom. However, a single person who works from home may require an additional bedroom to use as an office.

Renters should also consider the features they would like to have in an apartment complex. This may include access to a pool or exercise equipment, the use of a home theater for residents or meeting facilities which are only available to residents. Renters should carefully consider these options and determine which are most important to them.

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