Pros and Cons of Renting an Apartment

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While there are those who see renting as simply wasting money, there are certain benefits to renting an apartment versus purchasing a home, condo or townhome. And just as there are advantages, renting does have its disadvantages as well. If you’re looking at renting an apartment, take a look at this list of pros and cons to help you decide whether renting is right for you and your family.

Pros

  1. Amenities and other added features. Many renters of apartments enjoy such options as swimming pools, exercise facilities, tennis courts, game rooms and even movie theaters. If you’re searching for an apartment to rent, make sure to ask about what amenities the apartment complex or community has to offer, and whether usage of these facilities is included in the rent.
  2. Maintenance and repairs. Unlike homeowners, renters have the luxury of having someone else take care of all those pesky little things that can go wrong – from broken appliances, leaky faucets, clogged toilets, and major repairs like cracks in the wall, or a broken water or heat pump, renting means that the landlord has to take care of these repairs and also offer regular maintenance. Larger complexes and apartment communities even offer a special department just for repairs and maintenance. Those who rent apartments also don’t have to worry about snow removal or yard maintenance.
  3. Freedom and mobility. Many people who rent apartments do so because of relocation due to their jobs, to be closer to family (due to caring for a sick parent, etc.), or wanting to live in a better neighborhood than they can afford if they would have to purchase a home. Renting an apartment makes it a lot easier to move than if you owned a house; you would have to wait until the house sold before moving to wherever you need to go. However, with an apartment, you can give appropriate notice to the landlord and then move without too much hassle or long wait time.
  4. Lower initial costs and fees. Compared to the amount of money you have to dish out when you first purchase a home, renting is definitely less expensive in the beginning. Renters usually pay a few hundred dollars for a security deposit, whereas those who are buying a house can pay thousands of dollars upfront in a down payment.
  5. Save money. Especially in a down economy, renters can save money when home values are plummeting. Even though it would make sense to purchase a home when the prices are low, if you wait until the values are getting ready to rise, you can save money in the long run.
  6. Smaller space, less hassle. Many renters seek to rent an apartment due to downgrading from a larger home, and find that a smaller space is easier to maintain. Seniors, empty nesters, singles and college students can all benefit from renting a small- to medium-sized apartment, giving them the advantage of having to take care of less space.
  7. Location. Ultimately, many people who rent apartments do so because it’s located in a particular area or neighborhood where they can’t afford to buy a home (or there just aren’t many homes available for sale). Whether the area is close to a job, a good school, or near family, many people find that renting is just a better option, especially if the housing market or economy is in a downward slump.
  8. Taxes and insurance. Renters don’t have to worry about real estate taxes, and the only insurance they need is renter’s insurance, which is much cheaper than homeowner’s insurance. There are no taxes for renters, but homeowners sometimes have to pay thousands of dollars a year in different taxes (such as property taxes, state and county taxes, school taxes, and local taxes).

Cons

  1. Parking. Many renters have problems with parking, especially if their apartment is located in a busy area of the city. Paying to park is a perpetual expense, and if your landlord has no designated area for parking, then you have to find a spot on your own, often quite a distance away depending on the area and how busy it is. This is a definite con for many of those who are looking to rent an apartment, especially in major metro areas.
  2. Decorating. If you love to personalize your living space, especially with lots of bold paint colors, many renters find that they are not able to decorate to their liking, since many landlords will not let their renters paint walls, or do any heavy decorating projects like you can in your own home. Decide if this is a deal-breaker for you when choosing to rent or not. Even if you do have a lenient landlord, make sure you first ask for permission to make the changes you desire. If you thoroughly enjoy home renovation projects and prefer to spend your free time working on decorating your home, renting may not be the best option for you.
  3. Pets. There are numerous landlords and property managers out there that don’t allow pets of any kind, the majority of restrictions being on dogs and cats. Landlords are generally under the impression that these types of pets will destroy their property, no matter how well mannered they may seem. If you have pets, you might have a hard time finding a rental, therefore making your search a longer and more cumbersome one. Also, landlords who do allow pets always want a pet deposit upfront, making the expense of renting a bit higher.
  4. Noise. If you like a quiet environment, then renting an apartment may not be for you, since many apartments might have loud neighbors and/or thin walls. Many renters have to deal with noisy neighbors, barking dogs, parties, etc., while living in an apartment. You may want to think of an alternative if you really need peace and quiet where you live.
  5. Rule enforcements. One of the most disconcerting reasons that many tenants move out of their apartments is living in a complex where rules were not enforced as they should be. The landlord may have “special” or favored residents who break rules and get away with anything, while the other tenants are forced to maintain those rules or get in trouble. There really is no way to know if a landlord may favor certain residents over others, so you always run the risk of renting a property where you may be treated unfairly compared to other tenants.

Regardless of what the pros and cons may be, you may sometimes have no choice but to rent an apartment. You can make the best of any situation by searching for your perfect rental unit based on your own lifestyle – pet-friendly or kid-friendly or just in a fantastic neighborhood that suits all your wants and needs! To find your perfect rental, go here.

Quick and Easy Ways to Add Color to Your Home

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You don’t have to paint your walls a garish color or invest in a bright carpet to add pops of color to your apartment. There are many different ways to enhance your décor with a variety of pastel or primary color combinations.

Throw pillows. This inexpensive idea can add just enough color to a family room or den without breaking the budget or adding too much of one bold color to the room. Choosing a bright hue, like robin’s egg blue, orange, or royal purple, really increases the drama. Added bonus? You can easily change up the color schemes each season.

Vases. Mix and match vases with other colorful items for a dramatic vignette on a mantle or for a dining table centerpiece. Use one color but in a wide range of hues for a monochromatic look. For example, choose blue and then buy vases, candles, and other knick-knacks in different hues of blue

Rugs. Although you can certainly purchase an expensive Oriental area rug if you wish, there are other cheaper rug options available. Go to home stores and other department stores and look for a nice rug that has your home’s color scheme in it, or chose one that has the bold colors that you want to try in your apartment (yellow and blue is a great combination, or try red and purple).

Paintings. This idea is not only a great focal piece for a wall, but also a great investment if you know what to look for and where to buy. Opt for a large piece with lots of bright and muted colors, especially if you’re placing the artwork above a mantle, over a sofa, or perhaps over your bed. By choosing art that has both bright and muted colors, each of the colors will pop more because of the contrast.

Wallpaper. Create a focal wall in one room to showcase boldly patterned wallpaper. In your bedroom, opt for the wall against which your bed is located. In the den, try the wall opposite the TV or fireplace. Choose the longest or tallest wall in your dining room. Choose wallpaper with a large overall pattern, bold stripes, or a brightly hued all-over floral design. For added drama, try textured wallpaper, such as linen or bamboo.

The Top Five Apartment-Friendly Dog Breeds

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Living in an apartment doesn’t mean that you have to give up your dream of owning a dog. There are several dog breeds that do well in small spaces and thrive as long as you properly care for them, give them enough exercise, and show them lots of love and attention.

  1. Pugs. With their cute wrinkled faces, curled tails and short hair, pugs are a popular breed for apartment owners, especially because they only grow to be about 18 lbs. They are also kid-friendly, very affectionate, and get along well with other dogs and even with cats.
  2. Bichon Frise. With their curly hair, the Bichon Frise is not as high-maintenance as they may look, but is very gentle and sweet, and great with children and other dogs. Highly trainable, this little dog needs lots of exercise to get rid of his extra energy. However, he may suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for long periods of time.
  3. Chihuahua. Weighing in at just 2 to 6 lbs, these tiny dogs make wonderful pets for apartment dwellers. Though they can be a little yippy, their sweet nature and loyalty make up for their shrill barks. Make sure to let them know you’re the boss, and watch them around other dogs since they tend to forget how tiny they are and will challenge a larger dog entering their territory.
  4. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. This is one of the most gentle of any small dog breed and a wonderful family dog. Gentle, sweet natured, and laid-back, this breed is one of the best dogs for singles or families who live in an apartment.
  5. Boston terrier. Adorable sums up the Boston terrier in one word, with its large brown eyes, loving and affectionate manner, and playfulness. They’re pretty quiet dogs, but can be territorial if another dog invades their space.

Five Great Tips for New Landlords

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A landlord’s responsibilities run the gamut of planning, maintenance, safety, and legalities. Most new landlords just don’t realize how much really goes into renting their property. Safety is one of the most important priorities, but a new landlord should also be careful about choosing the right tenant, keeping the property safe and clean, following state laws and regulations, and even creating a solid lease agreement. Before you list your property on Rentalroost.com to find potential tenants, here are a few things to consider:

  1. Safety. Before even thinking of leasing out your property, bring in professionals to make sure it is safe and suitable for a tenant to live there. In particular, hire someone to look for bug infestations, electrical issues, gas leaks, plumbing problems, building code violations, and fire safety issues.
  2. The contract. This is another of the most important steps a new landlord can take. The lease agreement is a great way to specify your rules regarding rent payment, policies on pets, damage, and renter’s insurance. It is also good to outline the eviction process you have in place and any other specific details you have for your property.
  3. Insurance. Landlords must have special landlord insurance on all of their properties to cover the buildings and sometimes even the contents inside if the property is being rented furnished. You may need to check with your state, as most states have differing rules and regulations regarding landlord insurance.
  4. Repairs and renovations. As a new landlord, you must get the property for rent suitable and ready for habitation. This can mean making necessary repairs, changes, renovations, and improvements to the property before even beginning a tenant search. This could also potentially attract a lot more interested potential renters.
  5. Screen tenants correctly. Always be sure to check references (past landlords) and income information, and to run a credit and background check. If they’ve had any past bankruptcies or foreclosures, both should come up under the credit check.  This is one of the most crucial steps for new landlords, and many do not conduct a strenuous tenant screen like they should. Houserie.com can help landlords perform background checks quickly and easily, with minimal paperwork or time wasted! You’ll have peace of mind knowing that your tenant is reliable.

Why Affordable Rental Housing is Becoming Harder to Find

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According to a report from the Federal Center for Housing Policy, an astounding 10.6 million American families spend more than half of their income (pre-tax) on housing. Experts say that even this astonishing number is impossible to maintain. Due to population growth, low inventory, larger immigration numbers, an economy that is struggling, low investment cash available for investors, and a very high rental demand, affordable housing is extremely difficult to find. Rent is quickly becoming more expensive than mortgages in most areas, and because of recent supply and demand increases, the rent also rises.

Another reason for higher rental housing is the amount of foreclosures.  Those who have just gone through foreclosure or bank repossession must leave quickly and, considering their circumstances, are unable to buy another home to move into. Therefore, those people are forced to rent, and landlords are then able to increase their rates because of such a high demand for those living spaces. Higher demand creates higher rent, as does lower supply.

There hasn’t been an increase in units to equal the increase in the number of renters – another reason for lack of affordable housing. Time and money are needed to renovate old homes into apartments, condos, and townhomes, and landlords still need to have the renovations approved before renting the property. This lack of new housing makes the search even harder.

National vacancies are at their lowest level in more than 10 years. The National Low Income Housing Coalition states that for just a “basic apartment,” a person needs to earn at least $18/hour, whereas most individuals (such as those in Vermont) earn only $11.60 per hour. This indicates that a lot of people are unable to afford even a basic apartment. Rental Roost offers a solution for this problem by helping renters find the right homes within their budget, while still maximizing on the need for a great neighborhood and other amenities.

Five creative storage solutions for small apartments

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When you live in a tiny city apartment, smart storage solutions become even more important. Time to get creative!

1. Floating wall shelves
Ikea offers numerous float wall shelf options. This is a great way to store your books without the need for a bulky bookshelf. And if you do a clean white floating wall shelf against a dark accent wall, it’s also a simple way to add a modern accent to the room. You can design and build a floating wall shelf to your own specifications – it just takes a quick trip to Home Depot, some patience, and a free weekend.

2. Under-bed storage boxes
Bed, Bath & Beyond has fantastic under-the-bed rolling storage boxes that can help you maximize your closet space by storing out of season fabrics. So your sweaters can safely live under your bed all summer long, and your summer dresses can hibernate during the winter in these boxes. This effectively frees up your closet for in-season fabrics and styles!

3. Use magazine racks and bakeware organizers to free up kitchen cabinet space
Magazine racks nailed to the inside doors of kitchen cabinets can serve as a creative way to hold the lids for all your pots and pans. And you can find bakeware organizers at the Container Store. This can help you organize all your baking sheets and brownie pans in neat vertical slots, so that you won’t have a bakingware avalanche the next time you open that cabinet!

4. Hanging shoe organizers
This may not be the best way to display your $500 pair of Manolos, but if you can’t afford better real estate for your shoes, this is a great way to ensure that all your shoes are stored in pairs and easy to find. There are a couple of different options – over the door hangers that you can sling over your closet door or behind your master bedroom door, or a hanging one that you can store from a closet rod. By simply purchasing an additional shoe organizer, it can expand with your shoe collection, which (let’s admit it) is always growing.

5. Slim velvet hangers
Space-saving hangers, usually in an extremely thin plastic or metal coated with a velvet material, are a great way to get more room in your closet. By taking far less space than wooden or regular plastic hangers, this allows you to store almost twice as many clothes in the same space! And if you pack what you don’t regularly wear into space saver bags to be stored in the back of your closet, you will have a very neat and organized closet!