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11 Things to Think About Before Renting Your First Apartment

Getting ready to move away from home and into your first apartment is super exciting. However, it can also be incredibly intimidating. After all, renting an apartment is a pretty big deal, and there are a lot of things to consider. Even people who have rented before can get caught up in the process of finding a new place – when it’s your first time, there can be enough new information to make your head spin.

Here are 11 things to think about during your apartment-hunting process that will, hopefully, make the whole thing much easier:

1. Upfront Costs

Even first-time renters know they’re going to be responsible for their monthly rent, but it’s easy to forget about the upfront costs of renting an apartment if you’ve never done it before. In addition to the monthly costs of apartment living, you’ll almost always have to pay up before you move in – often, before you can even sign the lease. Plan ahead to avoid new-place sticker shock.

Nearly all apartment companies will require that you pay a security deposit before you move in. This protects the landlord in case you trash your apartment and skip town. As long as you don’t do that, you should get it back once your lease is up. In addition to the deposit, you may have to pay application fees, or even one month’s rent, before you can get settled into your new place.

2. Long-Term Costs

Rent isn’t the only thing you’ll have to pay month-to-month, either. You’ll also have to pay for utilities like heat, gas and electricity. Different buildings have different rules about what you’re expected to pay and what is covered in your rent. If you need to pay for it, you’ll also need to set it up – be ready to reach out to utilities companies to get the services put in your name.

Don’t forget renter’s insurance! Some landlords actually require tenants to get a renter’s policy, but you should whether it’s mandated or not. Insurance policies protect you in the case of accidental damage, theft, and disaster. It usually doesn’t cost all that much per month, so you should definitely fit safety net into your budget.

3. What You Need

Furnishing a brand-new apartment is super exciting, and you’re probably full of ideas about how you want your new place to look. Before you go wild with your decoration schemes, however, you must make sure you have the basic furniture you’ll need to live. Eating take-out on the floor feels very cool and devil-may-care … for about a day. After that, you’ll wish you had a table.

Here’s a quick list of the basic furniture you’ll have to bring in: A bed, a couch, a table, and some chairs. In addition, there are little around the house items you probably won’t have, but will definitely want. These include things like towels, shower curtains, and utensils. Cookware is a must, as well, unless you want to be perpetually tied to delivery and carry-out food.

4. What You Don’t Need

You might be tempted to take every little knickknack and item you’ve ever collected with you to your new place. Although this might make your apartment feel well-stocked early on, you’re sure to regret it once you start actually decorating. All the junk you’re packing up now will feel like a complete pain when it gets in the way of having a tidy, put-together place.

Instead of moving everything from back home with you when you head into your first apartment, use moving as a chance to purge. Have an honest conversation with yourself about whether you’re holding on to items because they’re useful, or because you’re reluctant to let go. Donate, throw away, or recycle anything you don’t really need – you’ll be glad you did down the line.

5. Lease Terms

A lease is often the first legal document a young adult encounters. Although this does make the process a little bit stressful, it also makes it great practice for other contracts later on in life. Learning how to read complicated legal text is a valuable skill, and skimming your lease is an awful idea. Carefully read the entire document, and don’t be afraid to ask questions if there’s something you don’t understand.

If you want to be extra certain about the lease before you sign it, ask the landlord if you can have a few days to look it over. Then ask someone you trust, like a family member or experienced friend, if he or she can look it over with you. If anyone in your life is experienced with legal matters (particularly housing issues), they should be able to help you fully understand any confusing clauses.

6. Roommate Worries

If you’re moving in with roommates, make sure everyone you’re going to be living with is signing the lease. One or more roommates avoiding the lease spells out bad news later on – if they stop paying rent or decide to up and leave, there’s nothing you can do except pay on their behalf. If you’re thinking of living with someone who refuses to get on the lease, pick a different roommate.

7. Pets

Bringing a furry friend with you to your new place? Make sure you talk to your landlord about your pet – or pets – before you sign the lease or move in. Even if you know your building allows pets, it might have restrictions about weight or breed. In addition, most pet-friendly buildings require you to pay a pet deposit, or add an extra pet fee onto your rent.

In addition, make sure your apartment has plenty of room for Fido or Felix. If you’re bringing in a dog with lots of energy, it will need plenty of room to run around, and to be exercised outside regularly. Even cats call for extra space – have a plan for where you’ll put things like food, water, and the litter box before you decide on a unit.

8. Location, Location, Location

Before you pick an apartment building, make sure you’ve given real thought to where it’s located. Ideally, you’ll be close to all of the essential shops and services you’ll need, like grocery stores and restaurants. How close depends on your lifestyle. If you’re comfortable driving most places, within a couple of miles should do. If you’d rather walk, try to make sure you’re no more than a mile away from the important stuff.

9. Moving Plans

Moving is hard work, and you’re probably not going to be able to do it on your own. If you have a lot of friends who are free on your move-in date, ask them if they’d be willing to help you haul your stuff into your new place. This is going to be your cheapest option – traditional friend payment is pizza and beer, and the promise to help out next time they move.

If your friends are busy, you may want to look into hiring a moving company. The great thing about these services is that the movers are professionals who have done this a thousand times before, so they’ll know exactly how to load the truck and handle the boxes. These may seem like small details, but they’ll dramatically reduce the time it takes to pack up your stuff and get it into the new apartment.

10. Organization

Unless you’re moving into an apartment with an abundance of closet space, you’re probably going to need to come up with your own storage solutions. One of the very best things you can get is under-bed storage bins. As the name suggests, these slide neatly beneath your box springs and live totally out of sight. This is the perfect place to store out-of-season clothes and other small items.

If the storage can’t be hidden away, try to find things that look good. One cool way you can sneak storage into your decor is to use on old trunk for your coffee table. It will look totally cool, and you can use it to store away infrequently used items. Bookshelves work well for storing things that are decorative on their own, like figurines, ornaments, and, of course, books.

11. Decoration Scheme

The earlier you decide what you want to do, decoration-wise, the easier the process will be. There’s no better time to decorate an apartment than when you first move in – all of your stuff is already out of the way, and you still have all the freedom to sort your items the way you’d like. Unpacking things into their proper place is way easier than moving them later on.

Take a look at different design schemes to build some inspiration for your new place. Do you want something rustic and earthy, or sleek and modern? Make lease-friendly changes before you unpack all of your stuff, so you don’t have to deal with a bunch of little items while you’re decorating. This way, your place will look like home as soon as you’re done unpacking.


Dress Your Bed on a Dime: Thrifty Shopping & Design Tips

The bed is one of the most important spots in your home, and spending time making it look a bit more luxurious is a benefit to both your bedroom decor and your mental health. That said, buying beautiful sheets, comforters and pillows can add up and might feel like something you should skip when you are on a tight budget. But, your bed doesn’t have to be basic. Here are some thrifty shopping and design tricks to help you dress a bed on a dime.

Look for printed sheets and pillowcases when you thrift

I’ve always loved the retro patterns and floral prints that only an eagle-eyed vintage store shopper can find. Many thrift stores don’t often carry a lot of bedding, so you might have to take the time to dig in a little deeper, but you can sometimes stumble on some surprisingly cool designs that will be just the unique detail your bed needs. Or, you could find good quality secondhand plain sheets and pillow cases to experiment with the next suggestion.

Add a DIY detail

You don’t necessarily have to learn how to monogram to customize your bedding. There are a lot of creative small things you can do to make your bedding unique and luxurious. You can add ribbon or other trim to the edges and surfaces of sheets, blankets and pillow cases to give them a personal touch. Try your hand at simple embroidered motifs or stamped designs. Stitch on tassels or pompoms. No matter which style direction you take, you can add a lot without spending a lot.


Focus on the top layer while bulking up with basics

Sometimes when a bed feels a little naked and less than luxurious, it’s just too flat or skimpy. You can easily fix that by layering in more basic elements, some that you might already own. Use extra older or inexpensive filler pillows to prop up newer, fresher prettier pillows to add structure and better show off the attractive ones. Fold and layer less decorative blankets and comforters under the prettiest topper to give your bed some bulk.


Let the headboard be the show

Sometimes a well-dressed bed is one of simplicity when you’ve got a statement-making headboard, which is often just a quick, affordable DIY away.

Shop sales with an eye to alter

If you know how to sew, shop bedding sales online and in stores with an eye to potentially alter them. For example: two or three different color twin size clearance sale bargain blankets could be cut up and restitched together to create a custom, color-blocked cover for your king size bed.a


Cellphone Dead Zone? 3 Ways To Boost Reception At Home

Cell-Phone-Dead-Zone-3-Ways-To-Boost-Reception-In-Your-Apartment-2-9-HERO1“Can you hear me?” “Can you hear me now?” If most of your cellphone conversations begin this way — or if you’ve taken to hanging out a window just to get a signal — you’re not alone. Spotty cellphone service can be especially frustrating when you have full bars in your building’s lobby or hallway but one measly bar as soon as you set foot inside your home.

It turns out, there are good explanations for why this occurs (no, the cellphone gods aren’t trying to punish you for posting too many selfies) and solutions that renters can easily implement. Here’s how.

Cause #1: The position of your building’s cellphone antenna

“Cell carriers in all major cities position their cell sites close to the ground because that’s where most of the people are,” says Graham Caparulo, principal consultant for Diligex, a New York, NY–based managed IT services provider. “On the corners of buildings, you’ll see them 20 to 30 feet up, and they’re angled toward the street.” That doesn’t do you much good, especially if you live on the 30th floor of a high-rise.

Cause #2: Building materials can block radio signals

Tinted windows (especially the ones found on “green buildings”), concrete, and metal all interfere with cellphone reception — which is why you can often get more bars if you hold your phone out your window or step onto a balcony.

Cause #3: You live in a densely populated area

Have you ever noticed that your service is slower at night or on weekends, or when you attend a packed basketball game? The more people using a network, the slower it runs. (Kind of like the lines at your favorite coffee joint now that word about their croughnuts has gotten out.) “Each cell tower only has limited radio channels it can use,” says Caparulo. “When it’s full, you’ll have bars but can’t make a call or use data.”

Solution #1: Invest in a cellphone booster

“Invest” is the right word here, because a cell signal booster will typically set you back between $400 and $1,000. (WeBoost is a popular option.) “A traditional cell signal booster takes in a signal on one end, amplifies it, and spits it out on the other end,” says Caparulo, who cautions that you have to have a good signal to work with in the first place, which may mean putting the booster’s antenna outside your window — a no-no insome apartment buildings. Also, cellphone boosters need to be registered with your cellphone carrier, and the company has the right to withhold its consent for usage, especially if you live in a heavily populated area.

Solution #2: Enlist a femtocell

“A femtocell, also called a microcell, basically uses your Internet connection to back up your cellphone,” says Caparulo. The device plugs right into your modem or router and uses your Internet connection as a cell signal booster. The only drawback is that typically you have to buy the device directly from your cellular provider, and they cost around $150 to $200. (Note: Some consumers claim to have gotten one for free after lots of complaining.) Also, femtocells work only with your specific provider, so if you have AT&T and your roommate has Verizon, their phone may still struggle to get a signal in your apartment.

Solution #3: Enable Wi-Fi calling on your smartphone

This feature, available on the iPhone 6 series and many Android phones, allows your phone to use your in-home Wi-Fi connection to make calls. (On the iPhone 6, go to “Settings,” then “Phone,” and it should be the first option.) AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile all support Wi-Fi calling — and Verizon has recently begun rolling it out. Not all phones can use Wi-Fi calling, however, so you’ll need to check with your carrier to find out which devices are compatible.

Source: ~ By: Trulia

Understanding Renters’ Legal Rights

Renting a home can be highly beneficial for anyone seeking a short-term housing option or a lower commitment than a home purchase.

However, this option can lead to uncomfortable issues in the event a landlord is lax in following the terms of the lease agreement — or otherwise forgets that renters have legal rights.

Here are some of the more common issues that arise between renters and landlords. If you think your landlord is acting outside the bounds of state and federal housing laws, be sure you have a little legal ammo to make your argument.

Security deposits

Security deposits for leasers are highly regulated in most states, and lease agreements must clearly and unambiguously detail the specific instances in which a landlord may withhold all or some of a deposit.

First, the deposit must be in a sensible amount (such as the sum of two months’ rent).

Second, a landlord may only keep the deposit if there is a definitive reason that falls within the terms of the lease. Wrongful withholding is undoubtedly fodder for a claim against the landlord for the return of the money, as well as for costs and fees associated with bringing the issue to court.


All renters have a right to reasonable accommodations for a disability. In the context of apartment complexes, a landlord must set aside a certain number of units that are accessible to people with a physical handicap. This means rooms must be accessible from the ground floor, fitted with accommodating bathroom and/or kitchen fixtures, and generally compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Also, all landlords must accommodate renters who rely on specially trained service animals, even if the building as a whole maintains a no-pets policy.


Renters have the right to timely, competent repairs to major appliances and fixtures — provided the damage occurred as a result of normal wear and tear or other forces outside the renter’s control.

By contrast, damage that the renter causes is generally not the landlord’s responsibility to repair. If a landlord is taking an unreasonably long time to fix the problem, a renter may usually arrange for the repair himself and withhold rent in the amount of the repair. Be sure to save your receipts as proof.

Privacy and safety

Renters have a right to both privacy and safety in their leased unit. This means that a landlord is not permitted to enter a renter’s private unit unannounced.

Further, a landlord must contact the renter prior to sending repair technicians or inspectors — and must respect the renter’s schedule when scheduling maintenance.

With regard to safety, a landlord must maintain the premises to control known dangers or hazards — which may include extensive locks, deadbolts, or special entrance codes as well as the presence of security personnel and surveillance cameras.

Rent and eviction

Of course, renters are obligated to pay rent each month. However, as mentioned above, the payment of rent may be premised on the dwelling’s habitability — and renters may be within their rights to withhold rent if the landlord fails to attend to certain major repairs.

Additionally, renters have the right to fulfill the terms of the lease agreement, and may not be evicted arbitrarily without cause during the rental term.

If a landlord attempts to evict a tenant prior to the conclusion of the lease, the renter may initiate a lawsuit against the landlord for the costs — both direct and incidental — associated with finding a new place to live on unreasonably short notice.

Moreover, a landlord who is believed to be evicting tenants for discriminatory or fraudulent reasons could face criminal culpability in many jurisdictions, if proven guilty.

Renters enjoy a long list of rights pursuant to the lease agreement and state and federal laws. Any violations of these rights can lead to a lawsuit by the renter, as well as bad publicity for the landlord. So renters take heed: You’re covered.

Source: ~ By: Stephanie Reid

Habits of a Creative Renter

Renters often feel like their homes can never be as Pinterest-worthy as a space they own, but food stylist Hannah Messinger challenges that notion.

Messinger and her husband, Dan, live in East Nashville, where the front room of their 750-square-foot rental doubles as her food photography studio.

“Your home should be somewhere where you can relax and put your mind at ease,” Messinger said. “If your hobby is something that relaxes you, then it should be incorporated into your space.”

But making room for her love of food and photography wasn’t easy.

“When I first moved in I thought, this is never going to work,” she said. For photographing food, a house ideally would have a kitchen or dining room that faces north, with large windows on two adjacent walls. The lack of “ideal” light — not to mention a dining space — meant Messinger had to look at the entire space differently.

Nashville renter 3

“I got rid of our coffee table and couch and bought a table for the living room/dining room with leaves,” Messinger said. She also began to see the lighting situation in, well, a new light.

“Never tell yourself that your house has bad light. At the very least, believe that your home has interesting light, and I swear that you’ll find it. Move around and try new places and times of day and use what you have to your advantage instead of complaining — even if it’s to yourself — about what you don’t have.”

Messinger’s lemons-into-lemonade attitude is how she got into food photography in the first place. She graduated with a degree in photojournalism in 2009, but had trouble finding a job in the media. After a year of shooting festivals and events, she decided to give still life photography a try and worked hard cultivating her skills, going to blogger conferences and making Pinterest boards with styling that she liked.

Her first client, Olive & Sinclair Chocolate, hired her through Twitter. She quit her office job on a whim and then struggled with freelancing for two years until fellow stylist and friend Kyah Hillis helped her land a cookbook shoot, which sent Messinger’s career into the fast lane.

Nashville renter 4

While renting a home provides its challenges to cultivating a creative space, Messinger uses her Yaya’s condo in Florida as design inspiration.

“I keep everything really neutral being in a small space,” she said. “These days greens can be a really beautiful, almost organic look. They aren’t a pop of color — they feel grounded.”

Her home’s pale, muted seafoam and apricot tones are paired with big, bold, flora and fauna pieces. She also uses a mixture of family heirlooms, flea market pieces and even junkyard finds to make her rental feel more like home.

“[The junkyard is] where I bought a vintage mantle and Spanish hearth tiles for less than $100. Dan attached it to the wall in our living room with herringbone-patterned wood in the middle, and it makes the space feel so cozy,” Messinger said.

Nashville renter 2

Messinger says she could live in a small space forever because it has made her a conscious consumer who doesn’t buy a lot of junk.

“In a small space you have to be a minimalist. You can’t own 50 pairs of shoes. Embracing that has been good for me.”

A small space, however, is not without its caveats.

“My husband would tell you that I’m a terrible cleaner. I get all worked up and pour the entirety of my energy into a creative project and don’t leave myself any stamina for cleanup. Even the most minute mess looks enormous in a small space.”

Source: ~ By: Hannah Messinger


Everyone I run into lately has brought up their desire to slow things down this year. The always on, always connected, always sharing what’s new, what’s next, where I am right this second seems to be weighing on people. I think we’re hitting a tipping point to change our collective approach to the rat race and I’m all for it. Anything that makes the day’s pace slow is alright by me.

Luckily, there are pretty easy ways to bring some semblance of sanity into daily life. I’ve decided to try four things to add an air of calm to my world this year.


The art of tidying was all the rage in 2015 and it’s certainly not going anywhere. The concepts are pretty straight forward. Set a bar for what you surround yourself with.Keep things that bring you joy, that are useful or are just extra special. Things that don’t make the cut? Anything that’s sat in a drawer for a year, stuff that needs to be fixed, something you’re saving “just in case,” or anything you’re just sick of looking at.


I’m definitely taking a “out with the old” approach to decorating in 2016. Notice there was no “in with the new” at the end of that cliché. I’ve been having a ball getting rid of stuff and firmly believe if you purge the physical things clogging up your life, it will spill over to your mental and emotional life as well. You quite literally have space to breathe. Design books that I haven’t revisited in the last year? Buh-bye. The magazines I keep thinking I’ll reread? Oh no.

My coffee table is now a blissfully open expanse, punctuated by a tray to set my daily cup of blisscoffee – but nothing more. Thankfully, our pending move is going to help facilitate an even deeper mass exodus, but you don’t have to move to do your own version of decluttering. Here’s how I try to tackle it: take one hour per week to address a specific area in your house that feels stuck, but won’t overwhelm you. That might be the junk drawers, under the bathroom sink, the box of unsorted paperwork. Then you can block out an afternoon for major projects like the closet clean out. I promise, you’ll slowly but surely chip away at the overflow.



With all those things that do bring you joy – display them! Put them within arm’s reach. Set them out in high trafficked areas that you’ll see daily. I’m a big fan of using picture rails to not only display art or personal photos, but also books, magazines and even a candle or air plant for some texture. They add a ton of interest without taking up a lot of real estate. They’re perfect for small spaces or a hallway. Any time you need a mood booster – rearrange. It’s my form of meditation and I swear by it.



All too often I grab a coffee on the go, chugging it while I’m racing to from point A, 15 minutes late to the point B. This year I’m committing myself to sitting down and fully enjoying a cup of fresh coffee and a little time to myself everyday. Thankfully, I’ve fallen in love with my VertuoLine Evoluo from Nespresso. I’ve been partnering with Nespresso as part of their “A Cup Above” campaign. (You may have spied this post or this post).

Having a Nespresso at home makes taking a few minutes to myself really easy. A push of a button and I have a beautiful cup of coffee and a good ten minutes of sanity-returning quiet time. And the fact that Nespresso’s coffee capsules are made of 100% aluminum and recyclable means no additional clutter. I’m currently obsessed with the Limited Edition Swiss Chocolate variation that was available during the holiday season. That little whiff of chocolate makes mama very happy. You can also try the Intenso variation  that is a permanent addition.



There are just too many things coming at us all the time to remember them all. And we can all agree there aren’t enough hours in the day to get through your entire to-do list, so this year I’m committing myself to serious prioritization. And to hold myself accountable, I’m writing it all down. There’s something about putting pen to paper that adds a whole new level of gravitas to a goal. This is something you can do while enjoying said cup of Nespresso and revel in your tidy minimalized space.

There you have it. Just a few simple changes to your daily routine and updates to your environment will help you get 2016 off to a positive start. I’m going to do my best to keep the momentum going long after January has passed.

Who else is with me?!


5 Steps to Help You Actually Stick to Your New Year’s Resolutions

It’s December 31st and you have written goals for the upcoming year. You have ambition, plans, and so much motivation. It’s the day before the new year and there is no way you can fail with your list of goals happily tucked away in your jacket pocket as you clink champagne glasses with your friends, enjoying your last night before hitting the gym, eating healthier and reading more books. January 1st you feel great — you’ve got this — but a couple months later you’re starting to have doubts. Your grandiose plans and goals somehow seem much less attainable than they once were and eating nothing but carrots and waking up at 5 a.m. for morning yoga and shopping less have all become really difficult. Maybe you should just give up — there’s always next year, right? New Year’s Resolutions have their place, a new year is a fresh start, but it is actually possible to fail at your goals if you aren’t prepared for reality.


Here are five steps to help you actually stick to your New Year’s resolutions all year long:

1. Be realistic.

You know yourself better than anyone else. The last thing you need to do is set your expectations for yourself too high because then (unfortunately) you are destined to fail. Try to find a happy medium between the “new you” and the old you — somewhere that gets you closer to your version of ideal.

2. Be organized.

Organizing your goals into individual categories will help you determine how realistic they are and also what areas of your life you are focusing on. A good way to categorize your goals is: personal, professional, financial and fun / miscellaneous. Once you write all your goals into their categories take a moment to decide if you are satisfied with the amounts in each category. Is there an area that is getting too little or too much emphasis? This will also help you prioritize — if one of your goals is “personal” (to eat healthier, for example) and another is “fun” (to travel more) it’s easier to decide which is more important to you when they are split up.

3. Quantify.

The worst goal we can set is a general one without any tangible end point. A perfect example is the resolution to “get healthier”. What on earth does that even mean? Eating better? Exercising more? Drinking more water? Not smoking? It’s too vague and there are also no numbers. A better resolution might be: “Eat five healthy meals per week,” or “Exercise once a day.” Only you will know how to quantify your own goals but unless you do, you will have no actionable way to accomplish them.

4. Set milestones.

A year is a long time. 365 days to fail (if you want to think of it that way). Instead of trying to make it to the end of the year accomplishing one goal, break your resolution up into several mini-goals and track your progress throughout the year. Perhaps sit down once per month and determine how you have been working towards your overall goal or set something more concrete — “read one book by June.”

5. Be focused.

Everyday is a new day to work towards the resolutions you made at the beginning of the year. If you start off each day thinking about what you can do to accomplish your goals there is no way you can fail. In the same sense, don’t spread yourself too thin. It is tempting to make hundreds of goals and resolutions but it is much harder to actually stick to so many. Focus on the ones that are most important to you, and save the others as bonuses. If you zero in on those few must-do’s, you will succeed.

Source: ~ By: 

Boom: Older Renters Comprise Largest Share of Market


Your kids are off to college, and their bedrooms house nothing but the memories of days gone by. Your muscles may not be what they used to be, and you really, really don’t want to keep mowing the lawn or replacing shingles on the roof. And that commute to work just gets longer and longer.

You’re an empty-nester, and you wonder whether you should downsize – sell the suburban house and rent an apartment in one of those shiny, amenity-laden new properties near downtown.

You wouldn’t be the only one.

The younger generation may be poised to take over the apartment industry in the next 10-15 years, as my colleague KC Sanjay wrote in this space last week, but baby-boomers and older Generation Xers accounted for the largest share of renters as of 2014, according to Axiometrics’ analysis of U.S. Census data.

As the chart above shows, the age demographics of renters has changed from 10 years ago. Back then, renters ages 45-64 comprised 25.8% of the market. They’re 30.2% of the market today, and when you add in renters ages 65 and older, that percentage grows to 44.4%. Meanwhile, youngsters ages 25 and younger make up 9.1% of all renter householders today, compared to the 13.4% of 2005.

These older renters like the reduction of responsibilities that come with homeownership, and they enjoy the benefits of urban-core living. Being in town reduces their commute to work – they may not even have to drive if solid public transportation is nearby – and they can enjoy the nearby restaurants, shopping, sporting and cultural arts events.

Though apartment demographics have changed, the 2005 rental market was pretty healthy, especially coming just a few years after the tech-bust recession of the early 2000s. The table below shows some crucial data points related to the apartment market in 2005 and 2014.

Comparison of apartment metrics

The average effective rent may be $206 more today than in 2005 – a 21.4% increase that fits well with the 21.2% cumulative inflation rate from 2005-2014 — but the good news for renters is that an apartment is actually more affordable now when you look at the ratio of rent to household income.

Rent took a lower percentage of income in 2014 than in 2005.

Regardless of whether the age group itself is growing – or just its renter householder share – property owners, developers and investors still face the reality that a larger proportion of renters are now ages 45 and older than any other time in the past 10 years. How does that affect the apartment industry?

The number of renters in each age group.

Renters in their 20s, living on their own for the first time, likely have completely different demands than those in their late 40s or 50s who are downsizing. For example, millennials prefer one-bedroom apartments, and apartment developers are adding more of those units to their unit mix. But the boomers and Gen Xers are more likely to demand two-bedroom units: The second bedroom can be used as an office and double as an extra bedroom for when the kids and grandkids come over.

Of course, people in all age groups enjoy many of the same amenities: the pool, the fitness center, the high-speed wi-fi.

From the property owner/manager side, the 45- to 64-year-old who has worked for 20-40 years likely makes more money than a 20-something who recently entered the work market. Nearly 65% (64.9%) of renter householders in the 45-64 age bracket makes over $50,000 a year. That ratio for renter householders under the age of 25 is 26.1%. That could be one reason the apartment market has been so strong the past 18 months: Higher income means landlords can raise rents higher, and the 45-64 set still sees good value.

Renters ages 45-64 tend to have higher incomes.

If you’re one of those empty-nesters who might be ready to downsize, there’s plenty of urban-core apartments to choose from. You might even make some new friends in the clubhouse.

Source: ~ By: Sophie Zatterstrom Gore


christmas wreathThere are 18 sleeps until Christmas. Have you decorated yet?? I’ve had a hard time figuring out how to deck our halls with crawling 8-month old puttering around. Our oversized Christmas tree doesn’t really seem practical. It would eat up half of Carter’s crawling space. And since he’s discovered a love of cords I’m not really willing to add even more electrical hazards to the mix. So I’m considering an alternative this year – a modern update on the Christmas wreath!

Wall-mounted Christmas decor isn’t new. We actually shared an adorable Christmas Tree DIY last year, but I’m in the mood for something a little different. A little modern. I’ve been seeing a lot of different wreath options pop up all over Pinterest, but I’m loving this asymmetrical version. Its simplicity gives it a cool, chic feel, but the use of olive branches lend a rustic touch.


The steps to create something like this are actually pretty simple.

STEP ONE: Cut standard 18-inch wire wreath frame in half, creating a crescent shape

STEP TWO: Gather small bunches of olive branches and overlay them down the wreath frame, securing them with wire. Move along the wreath frame with the branches all going in the same direction.

STEP THREE: Reverse the direction of your olive branch bundles for the last third of the wreath frame that you have left

STEP FOUR: Take a piece of silky ribbon and tie a bow around the empty spot where your branch stems meet.

STEP FIVE: Tie a long piece of twine to each end of the wreath frame for hanging.

I think this is one project I can actually pull off before Christmas Eve rolls around!


Terrible Credit? Here’s How You Can Land A Great Apartment

A poor credit score can negatively impact how landlords view your application, but it doesn’t have to keep you from scoring a great apartment.

Your credit score is like your financial report card. It’s a measure of creditworthiness, and places such as banks or lenders associate this number with your level of financial responsibility. Just as a D in high school geometry had severe consequences on your TV time, a bad credit score can really come back to bite you.

Lenders won’t give you low interest rates, banks may turn you down for loans, and worst of all for renters, landlords may not allow you to rent. That all sounds pretty dire, but here’s the good news: You can get proactive about improving your credit score.

Paying off debt, keeping low balances on your cards, and establishing a history of paying your bills on time and in full will contribute to a better score.

But that all takes time, and you may need to sign a lease on that apartment for rent in Boston, MA, before your credit score has improved. Fear not: If you have terrible credit that you’re working to correct, you can still land a great apartment — you just need to try a few of these strategies.

Prepare a letter of explanation

If your financial situation looks bad on paper because of a terrible credit score, but in reality your finances are in good shape, you may be able to write a letter of explanation to the landlord. This document is just what it seems: a letter that explains why there’s a discrepancy between your credit score and the current health of your finances.

Provide as much detail as possible and include documentation for any claims that you make. In addition, plan to get letters from a past landlord or a current employer. Past landlords can vouch for you, attesting to the fact that you paid your rent on time and in full. Employers can verify your employment status and your income.

You can also ask for recommendations from others who understand your financial situation (such as a financial adviser) to further show you’re more financially responsible and capable than your credit score may suggest.

Prepare to offer more cash upfront (and other incentives)

Landlords may deny you if you apply with a poor credit score. Looking at it from their perspective, this harsh move makes sense: They’re simply trying to protect their own financial interests.

While it’s hard to judge someone by a single metric, credit scores can provide insight into whether you’ll be able to afford your rent — or how likely you are to pay each month. Considering this, putting down a larger cash deposit can help ease a landlord’s fears.

Besides cash, there are other ways to negotiate renting with bad credit: You can offer to move in immediately so a landlord doesn’t have to deal with vacancies. Or you can ask to sign a shorter lease, so their perceived time of risk is shorter.

Set up automatic payments

In addition to putting down a larger cash deposit, you can provide a landlord with peace of mind by offering to set up automatic rent payments each month. This way, there are no concerns about human error (such as forgetting to mail a paper check), and the landlord knows the rent payment will be made in full and on time, every month.

Terrible credit can hinder your ability to get the apartment you want — but it doesn’t have to be the final word on your search for a great apartment. By being proactive, you can ease a potential landlord’s concerns about your financial situation and show that you’re prepared to handle the rent payments and secure your ideal home. And best of all, paying monthly rent can actually build your credit history and help raise that less-than-ideal score.

Source: ~ By Kali Hawlk