Apartment Living

Why I Love Wide Plank Hardwood Flooring and Why You Should Too

Why I Love Wide Plank Hardwood Flooring and Why You Should Too

Why I Love Wide Plank Hardwood Flooring and Why You Should Too on Apt34

I have long had a love affair with wide plank hardwood flooring. I can’t actually pinpoint when the look seeped into my consciousness. I suspect it began when I began voraciously collecting European design magazines, as wide plank hardwood flooring is a mainstay of European and specifically Scandinavian design. Yet for so long wide plank floors were only used in “rustic” design in the U.S. But I am the first to say that wide plank hardwood flooring is not only modern but timeless. I so firmly believe this, I made the decision from day one that I would put a wider plank hardwood throughout my own house!

Five years later, I only wish I’d know about Carlisle Wide Plank Floors when we were in the middle of our renovations. Going with a company like Carlisle Wide Plank Floors would have made my life so much simpler. They literally are your one-stop-shop for wide plank hardwood flooring – offering different wood species, various stains, and the ability to customize just about everything – you can find virtually any look you’re going for.

Why I Love Wide Plank Hardwood Flooring and Why You Should Too on Apt34

I’m particularly smitten with white oak. White oak wears incredibly well, can take a variety of stains, and will blend seamlessly with the look of any home. The typically lighter hue helps make spaces feel lighter, brighter and bigger. And while you think light floors would show dirt, dust, dander, pet hair and scratches, they show much more on dark floors.

A wonderful example of white oak wide plank flooring is in the stunning modern kitchen and dining space pictured above. I am obsessed with the idea of a floating kitchen – one that simply exists in the space – rather than being a room unto itself. The wide plank floors from Carlisle offer beautiful sweeping movement across the room without feeling busy or distracting.

I’m also often asked if you can / should mix wood tones in your home. The answer is a resounding yes and that space is another excellent example of why multiple wood tones work so well together. The darker woods used for the cabinetry and storage area add more warmth that plays off the white oak floor while the black accents throughout – chair backs, counters, light fixture, and the stove hood – serve to anchor it all.

Why I Love Wide Plank Hardwood Flooring and Why You Should Too on Apt34

In contrast, the wide plank floor used in this kitchen offers a more casual feel to what would otherwise be a very classic all-white kitchen. The floors selected here are quartersawn, meaning they’re cut to enhance the natural grain and showcase the knots and texture found in the wood. A minimal, matte stain was used, giving the wood a natural look. The wide plank floor is the perfect complement to the modern stools, stretches of classic marble and brass hardware used in the space.

Why I Love Wide Plank Hardwood Flooring and Why You Should Too on Apt34 Why I Love Wide Plank Hardwood Flooring and Why You Should Too on Apt34

If you’re looking to make an update to your home and want an elegant, timeless yet decidedly modern style, I strongly suggest considering wide plank hardwood flooring. I know I’ll put wide plank flooring in any home I do in the future (can you tell I’m itching for a new project!).

This post is in partnership with Carlisle Wide Plank Floors. Thanks for supporting posts that have kept Apartment 34’s doors open. If you’re interested in collaborating with us, please CLICK HERE.

photography courtesy of Carlisle Wide Plank Floors and by Seth Smoot for Apartment 34

Published at Wed, 05 Aug 2020 18:58:28 +0000

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Apartment Living

A Simply Delicious Summer Drink

A Simply Delicious Summer Drink

Even though summer months are beginning to wane, most of the tale-tell signs of a shift in seasons – namely schoolgoing back in session – doesn’t look to be happening any time soon. I don’t know about you, but I’ve decided to keep my summer cocktail game strong.

A Simply Delicious Summer Drink on Apartment 34

Thankfully I snagged a Skagerak Trolley to serve as our outdoor bar cart during our yard makeover and I’m definitely putting this pretty little baby to good use. I love the bar cart’s classic modern design, the use of warm (and durable!) teak mixed with powder-coated steel. This version is in this dark forest green but it also comes in white.

But my current go-to summer drink is crazy easy, refreshing, not overly strong. Most importantly it comes together in the few seconds you have before you have to chase a child around your house. If, like me, you need some fresh shelter in place inspiration I hope this helps. I’ll be diving into recipes in the next couple of weeks as well because no matter how much I love crispy rice and carmelized shallot pasta, it’s time to have some new tricks in the bag.

A Simply Delicious Summer Drink on Apartment 34A Simply Delicious Summer Drink on Apartment 34

RECIPE: Simple Summer G&T

85ml tonic
35 ml gin
lemon slices

Directions: Fill a double old fashioned or coupe glass with ice. Pour in the tonic. Top with gin, stir in 3-5 raspberries, and squeeze in a lemon slice to two. Enjoy!

Here are a few of my other go-to summer cocktails. Do you have a summer drink you’d add to the list? Share recipes in comments, please!

The Aperol Spritz

Cucumber Gin Fizz

Apartment 34 Fizz

Grapefruit Margarita 

Pineapple Mint Agua Fresca (virgin)

photography by seth smoot / styling kendra smoot

Published at Mon, 03 Aug 2020 21:42:39 +0000

Emmanuelle Simon Designs a Stunning Mini-Apartment in Paris

Emmanuelle Simon Designs a Stunning Mini-Apartment in Paris on Apartment 34

As we sit at home most days, one of my favorite pastimes is looking at other people’s spaces! I highly suspect it’s one of your favorite activities as well. That’s why I had to share this eye-catching petite Paris apartment with you.

Emmanuelle Simon Designs a Stunning Mini-Apartment in Paris on Apartment 34

This apartment might be tiny – it comes in at just 300sq ft, but it packs some major design punches. The space evokes the feeling of an idyllic hotel suite, but one you never have to check out of. Interior designer Emmanuelle Simon set out to optimize livable space and create a soothing respite from the outside world, without sacrificing functionality or beauty.

Simon outfitted the apartment with custom limestone colored waxed-concrete cabinetry that tucks away all essentials, creating a sleek, clean effect. Oak was used to create a custom banquette and sits atop a window seat that wraps one entire wall of the apartment, offering both seating, more storage and a place to display objet.

Emmanuelle Simon Designs a Stunning Mini-Apartment in Paris on Apartment 34 Emmanuelle Simon Designs a Stunning Mini-Apartment in Paris on Apartment 34 Emmanuelle Simon Designs a Stunning Mini-Apartment in Paris on Apartment 34

The varied texture between the wooly morrocan rug, travertine coffee table, small ceramic accessories and vintage Dutch rattan chair in the image above is a master class in mixing materials.

Emmanuelle Simon Designs a Stunning Mini-Apartment in Paris on Apartment 34

Of course, the pièce de résistance of the apartment is the beautiful mirror-polished brass counter and backsplash in the exposed area of the kitchen. The brass surface reflects not only light but also subtle reflections of the space itself, creating a unique illusion of additional depth.

The apartment’s clean, minimal look is further balanced and warmed with choice vintage pieces such as glass vessels clad in wicker, fuzzy throw pillows in soft creams and dusty rose, a large 1960’s ceramic table lamp from famed Marshall Studios, and a classic Gubi Multi-Lite Pendant.

I love how this apartment illustrates that you can pack elevated taste into even the tiniest of spaces. You just need to make smart, impactful design decisions to optimize every square inch you have. This apartment offers thoughtful details – I would certainly love to have a little piece of Paris like this to call my own!

For more inspiring home tours, CLICK HERE.

photography courtesy of Emmanuelle Simon

Published at Thu, 30 Jul 2020 20:28:48 +0000

Apartment Living

Survey: Pandemic Hinders Plans for 43% of Renters Ready to Buy a Home

Survey: Pandemic Hinders Plans for 43% of Renters Ready to Buy a Home

COVID-19 continues to impact the U.S., affecting not only our health, but also our financial and life decisions. For those who wanted to take the leap from renting to buying this year, their hopeful plans are quickly changing. At the start of 2020, 11% of renters said they were ready and planning to buy a home this year, according to a recent survey conducted on Conditions were looking up for Gen X renters, 15% of whom were making plans to buy a home this year, as well as for 14% of Older Millennials.

However, the pandemic has obstructed the path to homeownership for 43% of renters ready to buy, our survey results revealed. On top of high home prices, this is yet another deterrent forcing many renters to further delay or give up on the most important archetype of the American Dream. The survey, which ran at the end of May 2020, asked 7,000 renters about their housing plans before and after the coronavirus hit.

Of those who decided to continue renting, the largest share had plans to downgrade to a smaller apartment, driven by Gen Z-ers and Baby Boomers. However, Millennials and Gen Xers had bolder plans, a high percentage of whom expressed a wish to upgrade to a larger apartment in 2020.

Economic uncertainty causes 43% of would-be home buyers to change plans

Meanwhile, 43% of prospective home buyers who said they changed their plans quoted economic uncertainty as the top reason for doing so, followed by loss of income as the second most cited reason. Given the unprecedented times we’re living in, even the few renters who were determined to make the commitment to buy a home this year are now getting cold feet. Moreover, as many as 50% of Older Millennials, the most likely demographic to become homeowners, were forced by the pandemic to let go of their dream.

The least concerned were Baby Boomers, of whom only 37% reconsidered buying a home. As a generation that has already weathered financial uncertainty with previous economic crises, a considerable percentage of them are decided to find their footing amid financial uncertainty and not let current events stop them from owning a home.

Nearly one-quarter of renters now believe they will never buy a home

As part of the survey, we also asked renters about when they planned to buy a home. While most respondents, 56%, were optimistic about buying in the next 5 years, as many as 23% said that they’re never buying. Considering the current market conditions, renting appears to remain the lifestyle of choice for many. Half of Baby Boomer renters expressed no intention of ever buying again. The less costly, more convenient renting lifestyle may play a role. With renter households over 60 increasing considerably in the past decade, Boomers seem to be getting more and more comfortable with renting.

On the flip side, Millennials are most eager to buy a home in the near future, particularly the older cohort, with as many as 68%, or two-thirds of Older Millennials planning to become homeowners in the next 5 years. Long-considered renters-at-heart, Millennials have reached a point when they are set on making the transition.

Considering the survey results, it’s safe to say that the pandemic has had a real effect on the housing plans of most people. The general tendency is to avoid taking many risks during this period of uncertainty and to choose a more economically safer approach. This is clear across all generations, despite some of them showing more stoicism than others.

To get an expert’s opinion on important issues related to renters’ housing choices, we spoke with Doug Ressler, manager of business intelligence at Yardi Matrix:

Q: What one piece of advice would you give to Gen Zers and Younger Millennials who want to become homeowners sooner?

A: The buy vs. rent analysis is partially financial and partially emotional. The financial part of the analysis is difficult to work out because of future assumptions. However, one also needs to understand the level of risk and flexibility that come with each option as well as individual desires before making a purchase versus rental decision.

Q: There’s a large share of renters who think they’ll never become homeowners. Why is that?

A: When it comes to the complexities of real estate investment, personal finances, and future economic time horizons, the conventional wisdom of buying being better than renting does not always hold true.

Many renters don’t think that they’ll ever own a home because they might not afford additional expenses that come with this decision, such as interest, property taxes, insurance, and maintenance for the entire ownership period. On the other hand, renting consists only of monthly rent and a possible one-time deposit, therefore economically, renting might make more sense than buying a home.

Q: In your opinion, what is the number one reason Millennials, Gen Xers, and Boomers do not purchase a home and rent instead?

A: As more Millennials are moving up the earnings ladder, get married, and start families, housing is increasingly taking center stage. Although they have a higher number of graduates than Gen Xers and Baby Boomers, they are less likely to own a home. Some of the barriers to homeownership could be delayed marriage, student debt, and choosing to live in high-cost cities.

Q: Is it a good idea to buy a home now? In which cities?

A: This would depend on financial considerations and the targeted area of purchase. In more than half (59%) of housing markets nationwide — 442 of 755 U.S. counties — renting a three-bedroom property is now more affordable than buying a median-priced home.

The lowest median home prices would be in the Houston metro area, Orlando metro area, or Chicago metro area, all three boasting a high percentage of Millennials.

Doug Ressler is the director of business intelligence at Yardi Matrix, where he is responsible for the creation of business and statistical research models for the commercial real estate industry. Previously, he was an analyst at the multifamily market research company Pierce-Eislen. He holds a master’s degree in business administration from Arizona State University and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Pennsylvania State University.


RENTCafé is a nationwide apartment search website that enables renters to easily find apartments and houses for rent throughout the United States.

The survey data was collected through an online questionnaire posted on our website between May 20 and May 27, among a total number of 6,963 U.S. respondents. 

The respondents were asked individual questions about their housing choices and some demographic data such as age.

We used the following age ranges for each generation: Gen Zers: 18-25, Younger Millennials: 26-30, Older Millennials: 31-40, Gen Xers: 41-55, Baby Boomers: 56-75.

For customized data and other requests, please contact us at

Fair use and redistribution

We encourage you and freely grant you permission to reuse, host, or repost the images in this article. When doing so, we only ask that you kindly attribute the authors by linking to or this page, so that your readers can learn more about this project, the research behind it and its methodology. For more in-depth, customized data, please contact us at

Published at Thu, 23 Jul 2020 07:00:17 +0000

15 Awesome Kitchen Tools You Didn’t Know You Needed

Whether you’re a home chef or just getting started in the kitchen, you surely know the excitement of cooking with a new utensil. And while the basics are fun — testing that chef’s knife you always wanted, or seasoning a new cast iron skillet — sometimes you just want to buy something that will bring a little novelty to your food prep. If you’re looking for nifty tools to make your life easier and keep your kitchen cleaner, here’s the ultimate list of quirky kitchen gadgets you never knew you needed.

We all know the pain of throwing out half-eaten produce, but we can leave it in the past. Food huggers come in all shapes and sizes and will keep your cut produce fresh for much longer. Plus, they’re reusable, so you can ditch the aluminum and the plastic wrap and use them as lids for other kitchen items as well. 

Souper Cubes are the sturdiest freezing containers around. They were created especially for freezing stock, sauces and stews in perfect portions and with no spillage, but you can pretty much use them for everything — including as baking trays! Whether you want to save an opened bag of berries from freezer burn or make some delicious egg muffins, Souper Cubes are to help. 

If you have an eye for design and hate how messy it is to grate garlic, nutmeg, hard cheeses and other flavor powerhouses, the grate plate should be at the top of your shopping list. This handy utensil is beautifully designed, easy to use and clean, and will ensure you never mistakenly grate your fingers again. 

If you haven’t gotten on the vegetable noodle bandwagon, do your health a favor and get started as soon as you can. This handheld spiralizer will turn most vegetables into noodles in no time, so you can use them as you would use any type of pasta. It’s also made from stainless steel for durability and is dishwasher safe.

The era in which we had to use a colander or get dirty with a pot lid to strain pasta and veggies is over. The Snap’N Strain is a flexible, clip-on strainer that fits a wide range of pot sizes and allows you to strain anything directly. It’s compact, it keeps the mess to a minimum and will make your weeknight pasta dishes even easier. 

You don’t need a space-hogging juicer to make your own orange juice anymore. The FreshForce Orange Juicer has a two-gear mechanism that makes the process fast, easy, and yields 20% more juice than other devices. On top of that, it’s easy to store and comes with a modern design you’ll be delighted to use. 

If you regularly get annoyed at the number of lids you have to organize, you’re not alone. The universal lid will save you time and storage space and is extremely durable — it might be covered with silicone, but the core is made of stainless steel, so you can also use it as a trivet. 

With SpreadTHAT!, toasted bread got infinitely easier and a lot more delicious. This warming knife will help you cut and evenly spread hardened butter on your toast in no time. The best part about it is you don’t need to charge it since it conducts the heat in your hand. 

If you want to keep your hands smell-free while cooking or just want to chop garlic a lot faster, the GarlicZoom is for you. All you need to do is load it up with a couple of cloves, roll it on the counter a for a few seconds, and you’ll get perfectly chopped garlic every time. 

The awesome design alone would make any home chef want to get a Swanky. But this quirky kitchen tool also comes with great functionality: it floats! So next time you want to serve some soup or portion some pasta sauce, you can just let it swim around your pot and declutter both your prep and serving area. 

Yeah, we all know how to slice up an avocado. But with the OXO avocado slicer, you’ll be done faster than you can say “guacamole.” With this nifty tool, you can halve your avocados, remove their pits and get the perfect slice for your favorite avo toast recipe. 

Whether you’re a budding home baker or already a pro, the Whisk Wiper is a must. It’ll easily scrape all food off your whisk so you can reuse it immediately. The Whisk Wiper also protects your counter from spillage and has an ergonomic shape that can clean the corners of any bowl. 

The fry wall does exactly what its name says. This amazing splatter screen will ensure you can cook sauces, meats and anything else without getting your stove or counter dirty. Get ready to spend a lot more time cooking, and a lot less time cleaning. 

Cherries and olives might seem like a strange combo, but this ergonomic tool will make a huge difference in your kitchen if you’re a fan of either. The OXO Cherry & Olive Pitter will quickly remove the seeds in both, while its built-in splatter guard will direct any splash downwards.

Are you the type of person who needs to cut everything perfectly for any recipe? Or are you just getting started in the kitchen and need a bit of help when it comes to a julienne slice or a brunoise dice? The Obsessive Chef cutting board will help you prep your veggies like a pro, with exact measurements for any slice and dice operation.

If you’re looking for a new rental with a fantastic kitchen to try all these tools in, check out thousands of verified listings for apartments near you.

Published at Wed, 22 Jul 2020 10:32:41 +0000

Apartment Living

The Best Cities for Athletes

The Best Cities for Athletes

For the life of an athlete, you need places to be active.

Whether indoors or out, space is necessary for both playing your favorite sport and staying in shape. This means a combination of athletic fields, weight rooms and more to maintain an active lifestyle. From trails to run, walk and hike on to swimming pools and basketball courts, active people want access to the right facilities, and they want to live in one of the best cities for athletes.

Finding the best cities for athletes

Looking at the best cities for athletes, a few commonalities stick out. These are cities where you’ll find amenities like basketball courts, fitness centers, pools, tennis or racquetball, all within many apartment communities. Hiking, walking, biking or running trails are also close at hand. The city itself provides a lot of active opportunities. You won’t have to create a workout room in your apartment to get your fitness on.

Florida dominates this list, with five cities included. With so many beach bodies throughout the state, it makes sense that fitness is on locals’ minds. Almost all of the other top 10 best cities for athletes are also located in the lower half of the U.S. It makes sense. Weather is warmer, which makes it easier to engage in athletic activity, outside, all year long.

No matter your sport of choice or your preferred workout routine, having access to the right facilities and locations is a central reason these places rank high. Here are the top 10 best cities for athletes.


10. Tallahassee, FL

As the state capitol, Tallahassee has a lot to offer residents who like athletic activities. The weather also makes it easy to spend most of your time being active outside. With an average annual temperature of 67 degrees, every day is a good day for a little time outdoors.

The city itself is ideal for walkers and those who like to bike. Local parks offer all the usual suspects when it comes to sports, with the addition of sand volleyball. Parks also cater to your furry friends, who are most likely athletes themselves. Four different parks in the city have special areas for dogs.

Accompanying the parks system is a network of trails more than 700 miles long when all combined. With the unexpected backdrop of tree-dotted hills, the sights you see as you run, bike or even horseback ride aren’t typical for Florida. At $908, on average, for monthly rent, that’s well worth it.


9. Albuquerque, NM

As New Mexico’s largest city, Albuquerque sits in the desert just waiting for athletic rock climbers and hikers to check things out. While Old Town is the center for all the foodies and shoppers, active individuals may want to look elsewhere for fun. The Sandia Mountains are a mountain biker’s dream during the summer. In the winter, you can ski down from the peak.

Another option for active fun is the 16-mile Paseo Del Bosque Trail, which runs parallel to the Rio Grande. It’s an uninterrupted trail ideal for bikers, runners or those looking to take a truly scenic walk that gets the heart rate up. All of this activity comes at an average monthly rent of $891 for an apartment.


8. Jacksonville, FL

If you’re interested in encouraging the next generation of athletes, think about bringing the kids to Jacksonville. Even before they begin with an organized sport, the number of playgrounds throughout the city will keep any child active and happy. For adults, the city combines opportunities to both relax and get moving for a complete experience.

As the largest city, by area, in the entire U.S., you have 22 miles of beaches perfect for games of frisbee, badminton, beach volleyball and more. Don’t forget about surfing, kayaking and windsurfing, either. You also have an extensive network of parks, including Klutho Park and its disc golf course. Whether in the sand or on the grass, there are plenty of places to play your favorite sport here, at only $1,165 per month, on average.

mesa az

7. Mesa, AZ

For those athletes who like a sport that involves clubs, tees and a cart, Mesa is a good place to call home. As a city with a lot of golf courses, it’s not uncommon to spot a celebrity athlete heading out with their putters in tow.

You’ll also find more than 2,200 acres of parkland within the city limits. This includes Red Mountain Park, which has a lake, playgrounds, basketball court and cement volleyball court. Living close by this truly unique outdoor experience will cost you $1,067 on average, per month, in rent.

If you’re an athlete who likes watching other athletes, Mesa brings in Major League baseball players each year for spring training. You can catch a game featuring the Chicago Cubs or Oakland A’s, who both call this city home while preparing for regular season play.


6. Tampa, FL

Another Florida city full of beaches and parks, Tampa is a great place for people of all ages. Paddle down the Hillsborough River for a little active time that could put you face-to-face with some interesting wildlife. Stay in shape while under the sun with the fitness course at Lettuce Lake Park. Complete that, then go for a jog on the mile-and-a-quarter path.

Not only can you enjoy all this outdoor activity almost every day of the year for around $1,456 in monthly rent, but the city is a major hub for pro sports, too. Six Major League Baseball teams come down each year for spring training, while the city has its own professional football, hockey and baseball teams.


5. Tucson, AZ

Tucson combines natural beauty with a rich cultural heritage. Another scenic city perfect for climbers, it’s surrounded by mountains just waiting for extreme athletes. Five different mountain ranges encircle the city and feature rock climbing for every skill level. For those looking for a more level athletic activity, the Urban Loop lets you complete a bike ride along safe streets and off-road trails.

From deep caves to mountain peaks, the city and area around it offer ample opportunity to live an active lifestyle and stay in shape. And with more than 280 days of sunshine each year, no outdoor activity is ever off-limits for athletes. The sunshine and the access comes at a price though. The average monthly rent will cost you around $810.

irvine ca

4. Irvine, CA

Not only is Irvine one of the cities that make up the infamous Orange County, but it also has the most basketball hoops per capita of any city. This makes it an athlete’s dream, combining beautiful SoCal weather with plenty of places to shoot some hoops for around $2,554 per month in rent, on average.

See what else the city has to offer with a ride straight up in an anchored, helium balloon. You’ll find it waiting in Orange County Great Park. From up high, you’ll see winding trails and catch a glimpse of the Pacific. When you come back down to Earth, the park also contains a massive sports complex with athletic fields, courts and stadiums.

lincoln ne

3. Lincoln, NE

The only city not in one of the southernmost states of the U.S. on this top 10 list, Lincoln is the proud capital of Nebraska. Health is more than just living an active lifestyle for many local residents. Healthcare and medical jobs make up a large portion of the city’s employment, and Bryan Health is a top employer.

The city’s more than 131 individual parks connect through a system of recreational trails and bike lanes. Active locals can easily move about whether on a bike or on foot. You’ll also find a large number of rec centers, public pools and golf courses, all open to the public. All of this will cost you $1,031 on average, per month in rent.

orlando fl

2. Orlando, FL

While you may think of Orlando as a walking city, where you spend hours walking from attraction to attraction at theme parks like Disney World and Universal Studios, there’s more to this place. The city operates 11 public pools and even allows you to reserve one for a special event. Their youth athletic programs are robust for aspiring athletes, and they engage adults in some unconventional sports. You can sign up to play in a golf league but also get fencing or karate lessons.

More than 148 parks, gardens and recreation areas are also available for those who like more independent activity while outside in the perfect Florida weather. Big Tree Park even houses a tree between 350 to 400 years old. Blue Jacket Park is another option that features fields for baseball, soccer and softball. You may even catch a wedding while playing in a game.

Living here and getting access to all these perks will cost you $1,518 in monthly rent, on average.

gainesville fl

1. Gainesville, FL

With just the right combination of water- and land-based activities, Gainesville is a perfect athletic town. You’ll never run out of options when you’re in need of a break from your favorite sport either. Hit the water for some kayaking or canoeing, or bike and hike on land.

Even though you can’t see the ocean, the city offers some amazing clear water to paddle through in their state parks. If you skip the water and decide to travel down the more than 30 miles of trails, you may even spot bison, wild horses and alligators, all for $1,170 per month in rent, on average.

Home to the University of Florida, the city has no shortage of college sports to occupy young athletes and keep supportive fans engaged throughout the year. You may even find some students playing life-sized chess at Depot Park or snoozing in the shade while taking a break from all the activity.

The top 50 best cities for athletes

Interested in which other cities rank high for apartment buildings with all the athletic amenities? Check out our list to see if where you live qualifies.

Apartment amenities for athletes

For active people, finding the right amenities in an apartment is important — they’ll need more than just an exercise room. To narrow down the best apartments for you, consider checking amenities for pools, walking paths and basketball or tennis courts.

Additionally, look for specialty amenities like volleyball courts, racquetball courts and anything else that enables you to not have to join a separate gym to stay active.

Best cities for athletes methodology

To find the best cities for athletes we looked at all available inventory on Apartment Guide and in June 2020 and calculated the percentage of properties in every city with basketball courts, fitness centers, racquetball courts, swimming pools, tennis courts and walking trails. Cities with less than 50 properties were excluded from our survey.

Rent prices are based on a rolling weighted average from Apartment Guide and’s multifamily rental property inventory of one-bedroom units from June 2019 to June 2020. We use a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each individual unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets.

The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.

Published at Tue, 14 Jul 2020 12:06:22 +0000

House Leasing: What You Need to Know

Consider these things if you plan on renting a house.

When you aren’t quite ready to buy a home, you have a few options — you can rent an apartment, condo or home. Renting an apartment is a common choice for many people, but have you ever considered house leasing?

If you’re debating an apartment vs. a house, read on. We’ll walk you through the pros and cons of house leasing and answer all your questions.

What is leasing a house?

Before we look at the pros and cons of apartments vs. houses, let’s quickly define house leasing. A house lease agreement is a contract between a landlord and a renter that outlines the terms and conditions required to rent the space.

A house lease agreement is usually 12-months but the length of the lease can vary. The lease legally protects both the property owner and the renter — the property owner is guaranteed monthly payments and the renter is guaranteed a place to live for the duration of the lease.

Pros and cons to apartments vs. houses

If you’re in the market for a new place to rent and are deciding between an apartment or a house, here are some of the main differences between the two.


Typically, houses offer more space than an apartment. You’ll likely have your own yard, garage, basement and attic, in addition to more rooms in the home and more square footage.

If you have a family or are simply looking for a place to live that provides more room, house leasing is a good option to consider. Apartments are great for singles or small families, but they usually lack the space most houses have to offer.

Proximity to other people

Apartment buildings are typically multiple stories high and have lots of units in the same building. Therefore, you live within close proximity to other people. Houses, on the other hand, are located in neighborhoods where you have more physical distance between your family and the neighbors. No one lives above, beneath or to the side of you like in an apartment setting.


Houses offer the renter more indoor and outdoor space, storage and privacy. However, they usually don’t come with amenities like a community pool, gym, laundry facility or club house. If you like amenities built into your lease agreement, an apartment may be the better option. Some houses that are for lease include a pool, but they are few and far between.


Some apartments are pet-friendly, but they often come with size restrictions. Houses that are for lease, on the other hand, are usually more pet-friendly and accept any size or breed of pet. If you’re a pet-owner, house leasing is a good option because you’ll have a yard for your pet and more options to work with.


One of the perks of renting an apartment is access to the maintenance staff as part of your rental agreement. If you have a leak or an issues with you heater, the maintenance staff is readily available to help.

When leasing a home, you may be responsible for maintenance. The landlord may pay for it or reimburse you for the cost of fixing an issue, but it may be up to you to handle the problem yourself.

If you’re someone who is handy and willing to maintain upkeep on a home, leasing a house is a great option. However, if you want maintenance taken care of, an apartment may be a better option for you.

couple looking at house

Is leasing a house a good idea?

Now that we’ve gone over some pros and cons of house leasing, here are a few things that’ll help you determine if leasing a house is a good idea for you.

Check out the neighborhood

When people search for a home, they often scout the neighborhood first. You’ll want to check out the potential neighborhood you’d be living in and assess if it’s right for you. Look at things like the schools, parks, safety records and access to public transit if you commute. All of these things can help you make a decision about house leasing in a certain area.

Talk to the current renters

If you’re interested in leasing a specific house, get in touch with the previous renters. This is a great way to truly learn about the home and understand the experience with the landlord. You can ask what the previous tenants liked and didn’t like about the property, which can help inform your decision and answer your question, “Is house leasing a good idea?”

Meet the landlord

Once you’ve decided that you want to lease a house, it’s time to meet the landlord. Always meet the landlord or property owner in person. If you aren’t able to meet in person, be cautious as this could be a red flag or scam. Talk to the landlord, ask your questions, read through the lease together and you’re setting yourself up for a healthy relationship between renter and property owner.

How much is it to lease a house?

In addition to finding the right place to live, you need to consider how much it’ll cost to rent a house. Because you’re getting more space and living in a home instead of an apartment, you’re likely going to pay more than you would for an apartment.

The average cost of leasing a house ranges from $2,000 to $5,000, depending on how many bedrooms and the location of the home. When house leasing, you’ll need to put aside money for:

  • Application fees
  • First and last month’s rent
  • Security deposit
  • Pet fees (if applicable)

House leasing as your next step

House leasing is a great option for those who aren’t quite ready to buy but are ready to take the next step forward from renting an apartment. Leasing a home gives you more space, privacy and a taste of what home ownership may look like.

Published at Mon, 13 Jul 2020 14:35:10 +0000

Apartment Living

RentHop 2020 Subway Rent Map: Rents Are Dropping at Major MTA Stops

RentHop 2020 Subway Rent Map: Rents Are Dropping at Major MTA Stops

New York’s MTA subway system is an integral part of most New Yorkers’ lives. With as many as 5.5 million riders each weekday, it truly is the backbone of the city. It should be no surprise that it is one of the first things that people consider when looking to rent an apartment. Proximity to the right trains means shorter commutes and more time spent doing what you love. RentHop’s data scientists love maps and rental data, and so we’ve mapped out rental prices by subway stop to assist in your apartment hunting endeavors.

Our key findings this year include:
  • Rents remained the same around 28 MTA stops, increased at 257 stops, and fell at 159, or 36%, stops. This number is 10% higher than in 2019.
  • As landlords were pushed to offer more concessions in response to the lackluster market performance caused by the pandemic, more stops in Manhattan this year experienced price cuts, including 28 St ($3,635, -11.3%), 34 St – Herald Sq($3,600, -7.6%) , 86 St ($2,978, -6.7%) , and Times Square ($3,299, -5.1%).
  • Even with a significant YoY decrease, Union Square continued to be the most expensive stop in the NYC metro area. Median 1BR rent at this stop currently sits at $4,750, 6.8% lower than the same period in 2019.
  • New developments continue to be a key driver of rental rates. In Brooklyn, median 1BR went up at several stops, including 36 St ($3,050, +9.1%) , Hewes St ($3,050, +9.1%), and Marcy Av ($3,150, +5.0%).

The Interactive Map Below Shows All Rents, Stops, and YoY Price Fluctuations


Find our map useful? Check out the static map at the bottom for a quick snapshot of the data and for easy sharing.

Major subway hubs like Union Square, Fulton Street, and Atlantic Ave/Barclay’s Center give nearby residents flexibility and convenience when traveling or commuting to different places. They also make it easy to convene and get home from anywhere after a long day of work. It’s no wonder these subway stops ranked among the most expensive stops on the RentHop subway rent map.

Median 1BR Rents at Major NYC Subway Hubs
  • Union Square 14 St (4/5/6/L/N/Q/R/W) – $4,750, YoY -6.8%
  • Times Square 42 St (1/2/3/7/N/Q/R/S/W) – $3,173, -2.4%
  • Grand Central (4/5/6/7/S) – $3,500, -2.8%
  • West 4 St (A/B/C/D/E/F/M) – $3,556, +7.9%
  • Herald Square 34 St (B/D/F/M/N/Q/R/W) – $3,600, -7.6%
  • Fulton St (2/3) – $3,824, +2.9%
  • Fulton St (4/5) – $3,800, +2.8%
  • Fulton St (A/C/J/Z) – $3,805, +3.0%
  • Jay St – Metro Tech (A/C/F/N/R/W) – $3,523, +0.4%
  • Atlantic Ave – Barclay’s Center (2/3/4/5/B/Q) – $3,364, -2.4%
  • Atlantic Ave – Barclay’s Center (D/N/R) – $3,452, +0.1%
  • Broadway Junction (A/C/J/L/Z) – $2,000, +6.7%
  • Jackson Heights – Roosevelt Av / 74 St – Broadway (7/E/F/M/R) – $1,950, +2.6%

36% of MTA Stops Experienced Rent Drops, 10% More than Previous Year

2020 has been a rough year for New York. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the unemployment rate in the city skyrocketed 18.3% as of May, according to City Comptroller Scott Stringer. This inevitably had a severe impact on real estate, pushing down rental rates across the city. As people relocate to other metro areas and suburbs, landlords across the boroughs are having trouble filling up the vacant apartments, especially those who own and operate luxury rental buildings.

Compared to only 115 stops in 2019, this year, 159 stops, or 36%, saw price reductions, some of which are in the wealthier neighborhoods in the city. Median 1BR rent dipped 11.3% at 28 St (6 Train), as luxury rental buildings offered more concessions to attract new tenants, including Prism at 50 East 28 Street (YoY -5.2%) and Instrata Gramercy at 290 3rd Ave (YoY -9.3%), which doubled the concessions from one month’s free to two months. Similarly, buildings around 34 St – Herald Square also increased incentives, including EOS at 100 West 31 Street and Epic at 125 West 31 Street, which in turn drove down the rents by 7.6%. Stops in the Upper East Side also experienced notable price fluctuations, with median 1BR rent decreased 8.4% around 96 St (Q) and 6.7% at 86 St (4/5/6).

Gentrification remains a key driver of NYC rental rates. Median 1BR rent jumped 10.1% at 36 St stop (D/N/R Trains), from $1,998 to $2,200. This fluctuation is likely due to the Hyland, a new development launched early this year located at 194 21 St in Brooklyn that features bike storage, gym, parking, and a modern roof deck. Meanwhile, median 1BR rent rose 9.1% at Hewes St (J/M) and 5.0% at Marcy Ave (J/M/Z) respectively, mostly driven by the DIME, a 23-story, 177-unit high-end rental building located at 275 South 5 Street, Brooklyn.

These stops saw some of the largest rent drops on one-bedroom apartments
  • 28 St – 6 Train – $3,635, YoY -11.3%
  • 62 St – D/N – $1,550, YoY -8.8%
  • 96 St – Q – $2,839, YoY -8.4%
  • Fort Hamilton Parkway – D – $1,800, YoY -7.7%
  • 34 St – Herald Sq – B/D/F/M/N/Q/R/W – $3,600, YoY -7.6%
These subway stops saw some of the most drastic rent jumps
  • 36 St – D/N/R Trains – $2,200, YoY +10.1%
  • Hewes St – J/M – $3,050, YoY +9.1%
  • West 4 St – A/B/C/D/E/F/M – $3,556, YoY +7.9%
  • 161 St – Yankee Stadium – 4/B/D – $1,995, YoY +7.8%
  • Beverly Rd – Q – $2,041, YoY +7.4%


To calculate the median net effective rents for the map above, we used RentHop’s rental data for one-bedroom apartments from March 16 through June 15, 2019 & 2020, MTA Lines and Stops data, and GIS data for subway stops compiled by CUNY – Baruch College. To get accurate prices near the subway stops, we looked at least 50 non-duplicated rental listings within half a mile of a subway stop and then calculated the median rents. If there were less than 50 non-duplicated listings, we expanded the distance to 1 mile of a subway stop.

Condensed Map for Easy Sharing – Click on the image for the full map!

Click on the Map For High-Resolution Map

Published at Tue, 23 Jun 2020 16:30:25 +0000

RentHop NYC Market Report: Rents Are Going Down in New York City and Manhattan Is Losing Renters

The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically altered life in New York City. The MTA system grapples with billions of dollars of deficits with historically low ridership, and many people, who once called New York City home, are now breaking their leases and leaving the epicenter due to concerns over a potential second wave, burden of high living costs amplified by unemployment, and changes in company remote working policies.

After a few painful weeks with severe declines in leasing activities and high vacancy, the NYC rental market seems to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. While still slow compared to previous years, the rental market has shown some signs of recovery in the past month, including more inventory hitting the market. In this report, we will analyze the current state of the rental market and offer some insights for people who are looking to move in the coming weeks.

For the First Time in Years, Rents Are Dropping

Calculated using thousands of listings advertised in the past 30 days (May 12 to June 11), the median 1BR rent in New York City currently sits at $2,645.3, down 1.3% from $2,681 during the same period in 2019. This downward pressure is largely caused by reduced demand and an increasing amount of rental concessions offered by landlords grappling with tenant retention and high vacancies. The anemic demand and competition for tenants are forcing some landlords to double their incentives, going from 1 month free to 2 months free on certain units and lease terms.

We are also seeing a growing number of no-fee apartments on the market, whether advertised by rental agents or directly by landlords. Prior to the pandemic, around 58% of the listings on RentHop were no-fee. This number has since increased to 64%.

For those who are staying in the city with expiring leases, now might be a good time to start your apartment search. We expect that the rental trends will continue as New York City struggles with unprecedented job losses, an outflow of residents, and the economic turmoil due to the coronavirus lockdown.

Inventory Flows Back In, Approaching the Pre-Pandemic Level

While April has historically been the beginning of busy real estate sales and rental seasons, the market has been flat this year. Due to the COVID-19 lockdown and pause of real estate showings, the number of active listings on RentHop dropped dramatically within a week after the start of the stay-at-home order. By mid-April, the number of active listings on RentHop had lowered 20% to just around 20,000 on average each week.

Since then, inventory has been growing steadily. The number of active listings first peaked the week of May 4 to May 10 since COVID-19 and has generally been trending upward. This implies that inventory is now flowing back, and renters now have more options to choose from.

Renter Inquiries Recovered to the Pre-Pandemic Level

Unsurprisingly, the coronavirus outbreak exerted downward pressure on the rental market in the city of New York. Daily inquiry count started dropping exponentially in early March, and by March 20, the day when the PAUSE order was announced, the daily renter inquiry count had fallen over 60% below the pre-pandemic daily average.

But things quickly started to turnaround by early April. This upward trend continued through May, with May 12 being 26% higher than the daily average prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. And while the recent BLM protests have had an impact on market activities, generally speaking, the number of renter inquiries is reaching the pre-pandemic level. We expect this upward trend to continue in the coming months, driven by pent-up demand as people who have held off moving are now restarting their apartment search process.

Leads, however, seem to be shifting from Manhattan to Brooklyn. As shown in the chart below, the top 5 most inquired neighborhoods last year were all Manhattan neighborhoods, such as Hell’s Kitchen, FiDi, and the East Village. The rankings changed drastically this year. Four out of the top five neighborhoods are located in Brooklyn, and the fifth one is Astoria, Queens. This shift might be evidence that the city may be seeing an outflow of residents from Manhattan to more affordable and less populated neighborhoods in outer boroughs.

Published at Tue, 16 Jun 2020 14:00:37 +0000

Apartment Living

8 Summer Vacation TV Episodes to Stream

8 Summer Vacation TV Episodes to Stream

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Summer is here but it’s not quite the same. The novel coronavirus has not only changed the way people work, but it has also changed the way people vacation. Sure, countries are beginning to open to tourists and you could technically still travel, but it’s probably not wise to risk getting infected for a few short days of fun in the sun. I’ve put together a list of amazing television episodes that’ll make you feel like you’ve just stepped off the plane to a new destination without having to leave your couch. And the best part? It’s totally risk-free. 

So, grab your suitcase, fill it with snacks, and let’s stream some of the best vacation TV episodes available.

Destination: Summer camp

There’s nothing like a little nostalgia to improve your summer in quarantine. The “Wet Hot American Summer” canon includes the first day at Camp Firewood, the last day of camp (the original 2001 film), and a reunion, ten years later.

Insecure: Season 4, Episode 7 “Lowkey Trippin’”

Destination: Mexico

Season 4 of “Insecure” offered a little bit of everything, including a super sexy baecation for Andrew (Alexander Hodge) and Molly (Yvonne Orji). There was sun, sand, and hotel sex, which are the three key ingredients for the perfect romantic getaway. If you’d prefer a girl’s trip, revisit Season 3’s “High-Like.”

Friends: Season 9, Episode 23 “The One in Barbados”

Destination: Barbados

Follow everyone’s favorite non-ethnically diverse group of “Friends” on a trip to Barbados, where Monica (Courteney Cox) get cornrows, Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) and Joey (Matt LeBlanc) explore their feelings for each other, Charlie (Aisha Tyler) kisses Ross (David Schwimmer), Chandler (Matthew Perry) kicks butt in ping-pong, and Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) reunites with the love of her life.

Sex and the City: Season 3, Episode 13 “Escape from New York”

Destination: Los Angeles 

In this episode, Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) and the rest of the ladies decide to take a trip to the city of Angels, where they realize there’s nowhere like home. The episode features a host of hilarious cameos from Hugh Hefner, Matthew McConaughey, and Carrie Fisher.

Saved by the Bell: Hawaiian Style

Destination: Hawaii 

In this four-part miniseries, Zack (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) and the gang head to The Hawaiian Hideaway, a hotel run by Kelly’s (Tiffani Thiessen) grandfather. At the airport, they run into Mr. Belding (Dennis Haskins) and a group of principals and later convince them to stay at The Hawaiian Hideaway to increase revenue for Kelly’s family. There’s a rich businessman plotting to buy and demolish the Hideaway and Screech (Dustin Diamond) is believed to be a god to the natives.

If you’re a huge fan of the Bayside Bunch, you can also dive into season 4, which mostly takes place at the Malibu Sands Beach Resort. Remember when Zack fell in love with Leah Remini’s Stacey Carosi? 

The Brady Bunch: Season 4, Episodes 3 “The Tiki Caves”

Destination: Hawaii 

Here’s the story of a man named Brady, who took his family and their maid to Hawaii and got cursed by an ancient tiki. The family is forced to deal with surfing injuries, a hostage situation, and a bunch of other unexpected issues. Eventually, everything gets resolved in the three-part vacation special (the first two episodes don’t appear to be streaming), which also featured several famous cameos.

The Golden Girls: Season 4, Episode 16 “Two Rode Together”

Destination: Disney World 

Dorothy (Beatrice Arthur) and Sophia (Estelle Getty) take a much-needed trip to Disney World, but the two women have very different expectations for the trip. Dorothy is looking to reconnect with her mother by taking a stroll down memory lane, but Sophia just really wants to ride Space Mountain. 

90 Day Fiancé: The Other Way

Destination: All around the world

If you’re looking for a less touristy trip, then TLC’s “90 Day Fiancé: The Other Way” is for you. This season, you’ll travel to Jordan, Mexico, India, Colombia, and Ethiopia as you follow the stories of American citizens who’ve decided to relocate in the name of love. The series airs weekly but is also available to stream online.

Published at Tue, 07 Jul 2020 17:45:00 +0000

9 Ways to Repurpose Old Planters and Pots

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You have good intentions. You buy the plant (whether from your local nursery or  an online retailer like The Sill or Bloomscape). You try to take care of that plant. You water it, shift it to a sunnier spot for a few hours a day, maybe you even name your plant and talk to it. But despite your best efforts, it starts to droop, the leaves dry out, and then—it’s done. So you get rid of it and repeat the cycle.

But what if… you didn’t? Instead of constantly trying to prove your green thumb, what if you finally accepted that fiddle leaf figs are, well, fickle, or succulents just aren’t your cup of tea? Then your next pressing problem is what to do with the planter you had, especially if it was decorative and stylish. There’s no reason to lose out on a pretty ceramic or terracotta piece. Besides gifting them to loved ones that might be better at keeping certain kinds of greenery alive, here are nine other creative and virtually effortless ways to repurpose your old planters and pots.  

Store more in the bathroom

A smaller decorative pot is the perfect size for corralling things like extra soaps, bath bombs, and wash cloths or hand towels. Have a trio of old succulent planters? Try repurposing them to store cotton balls, cotton swabs, and cotton rounds. You can also use a small planter for makeup and hair brushes.

Make a backyard bird bath

Flip your pot, put the saucer on top, and fill it with water—it could not be easier. You can also a stack pots and make a taller option. Just be sure to use the proper adhesive to keep the pieces connected and stable. 

This idea’s similar to the above. Maybe you’re not great at tending somewhat larger plants but have it down pat with little guys. You can flip a bigger planter over and use it to create a plant stand for something that’s thriving.

Use it as an indoor (or outdoor) focal point

Fill your planter or pot with things that won’t die and are still natural. Think pine cones, pampas grass, and faux flowers. Use pot filler to elevate these elements so you can see them properly, if necessary.  

Storing entertaining and cooking essentials

Use a big planter as a makeshift cooler to chill bottles or cans of wine and champagne. This upcycle will work best for a style that has a saucer or doesn’t have a drainage hole, so the whole thing won’t leak when it’s filled. Smaller pots can be used more decoratively on a tabletop, for example, to hold utensils and napkins for dining alfresco. You could also use a wall planter to keep things like pastry brushes and wooden spoons at the ready in your kitchen.

Problem solve in an entryway

Even if you have a small entry, you can probably still sneak a planter somewhere into your setup. Try a large size to hold umbrellas, totes, and other outdoor gear. You could also make a smaller design into a valet tray of sorts for your keys and such. 

Hide your hose and gardening gear

Store your hose in a pot (make sure it has a drainage hole) and put other garden tools in smaller planters.

Candle vessels can often be upcycled into small planters after you’ve fully burned them and removed any wax residue. Why not try the reverse of this?  Buy a soy candle making kit and turn a pot into a fragrant accent for your coffee table or nightstand. Any planter that doesn’t have a drainage hole and is on the smaller size should work. 

Turn one into a trash can

Pretty wastebaskets can be weirdly pricy, especially if you don’t want something that’s plastic. An old planter can easily be turned into a trash can—up to you whether you want to use it with a liner bag or not.

Published at Tue, 07 Jul 2020 17:30:00 +0000

Apartment Living

Pros and Cons: Pets in an Apartment

Pros and Cons: Pets in an Apartment

In our Pros and Cons series, we weigh the advantages and disadvantages of important decisions that apartment dwellers are making every day.

For some people, apartment life might not quite feel complete without a pet. That said, the responsibilities involved in pet ownership can be daunting – and that’s before you factor in the many unique considerations that come with apartment life. Below, we weigh the pros and cons of having pets in an apartment.

pets apartment

Pros of pets in an apartment

Less lonely

People who live alone in an apartment may experience loneliness, especially during times when it’s best to stay at home. Pets may help to counter loneliness since their companionship, though not human, can take on the role of a best friend. Additionally, if you live in a pet-friendly building with many other pet owners or regularly walk your dog, you may find yourself meeting and befriending other pet owners in your area. Even just noticing that other residents in your apartment building have pets can make it easier to befriend these neighbors if you too have a pet.

More entertainment

If you can’t get out of your apartment much but find yourself easily bored, a pet can provide plentiful entertainment. Playing with your pets can help you pass the time when your other usual apartment activities just aren’t doing the trick. Pets can be just as entertaining for any guests who visit you too.

Get out (or stay in) and exercise

Some studies have correlated pet ownership with longer life expectancy, and others have shown that dog owners get more exercise than people who don’t own dogs since dogs must be walked several times per day. Pet ownership may thus prove especially healthy for you if you struggle to make the time to exercise or just find exercising in your apartment annoying. Additionally, if your apartment building has pet-friendly amenities or an outdoor area where pets are welcome, you may find that your pet helps you explore these common areas – and befriend your neighbors – more easily.

Cons of pets in an apartment

Lack of space

Pets require exercise and entertainment, and both of these needs may be hard to provide in small apartments where you struggle to make space for yourself. If you find it challenging to get proper exercise in your apartment, then you might find it just as tough to get a heart-racing game of fetch going for your dog (especially a large dog) or provide your cat with enough space to go chasing after toy mice or yarn balls. And if your apartment lacks outdoor space, you may not have the option of letting your dog out quickly for a bathroom break instead of committing to a full-on walk. A lack of indoor space can also make storing pet supplies, toys, and food more difficult.

Challenges with apartment hunting

With a pet in tow, finding a new apartment can become significantly more challenging. Not nearly all landlords will allow pets, and those who do may also charge you an extra one-time pet fee or monthly additional pet rent. Additionally, if you need an apartment with access to pet amenities such as dog-washing stations, your apartment hunting options may prove limited (and likely more expensive).

More expenses and responsibility

Owning a pet means taking care of it, and taking care of your pet means not just feeding it and caring for it, but paying for food, toys, pet furniture, vet bills, and other pet expenses you wouldn’t otherwise have to worry about (plus, for cats, cat litter). If you travel for extended periods and don’t have roommates to watch over your pets, you may also need to pay someone to take care of them in your absence. And if your pets experience medical emergencies, paying for their healthcare can make an instant, large dent in your budget. 

Do you have pets in your apartment? Why or why not? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Published at Mon, 29 Jun 2020 15:01:16 +0000

Five Space-Saving Dish Drying Options

Many apartment dwellers need to buy their own groceries and cook their own meals to maintain a feasible budget, but small kitchens can pose some challenges for making food at home. As though kitchenware and food storage obstacles aren’t limiting enough, there’s also the struggle of making space to dry your dishes when your countertop space is minimal and you don’t have a dishwasher. But people are nothing if not innovative, so there have long been plenty of space-savvy ways to dry dishes in your small kitchen – here are five space-saving dish drying options.

dry dishes small kitchen

1. Countertop dish rack

Perhaps the most common of all apartment dish drying options, a countertop dish rack easily allows you to dry dishes in a small kitchen. Place your countertop dish rack next to your sink so that, once you’ve washed your dishes, you can immediately place them in your dish rack to air dry for a few hours. Many countertop dish rack models take up only a modest amount of space, making them ideal fits for especially cramped kitchens. You can also find certain models with slots for drying utensils or two X-shaped rows for extra dish drying capacity.

2. Silicone dish mat

When you use a countertop dish rack to dry dishes in a small kitchen, the water that drips from your dishes collects on your countertop. If water accumulation concerns you, then you may prefer a silicone dish mat. These drying surfaces are lined with grooves that allow airflow for easier dish drying and serve as channels for water collection. 

Silicone is easy to clean with soapy water, and a silicone dish mat’s flat shape may be easier for cleaning than the varying shapes of a countertop dish rack might be. You may also want to use a silicone dish mat in conjunction with a countertop dish rack to maximize dish drying space while catching water drippings before they hit your countertop.

3. Over the sink dish rack

Over the sink dish racks are somewhat rarer than their countertop and silicone counterparts, but they may be ideal for kitchens especially lacking in countertop space. Over the sink dish rack options span a wide variety of shapes and possible kitchen placements that allow you to dry your dishes in a small kitchen, as some models literally stand well above your sink while others dip into it. No matter which type of over the sink dish rack you choose, you’ll be saving your countertop space for other purposes including storage and food prep.

4. Dish towels

If occupying more countertop space to dry dishes in your small kitchen or buying additional kitchen devices is infeasible for you, dish towels may work best for you. A clean dish towel can take your washed dishes from soaking wet to fully dry and ready to reuse in just seconds, saving you the wait and space involved with other drying options. Dish towels can be especially useful for your apartment if you have space to hang and dry your wet towels or in-unit laundry for quick cleaning and drying.

5. Dishwasher

If you’re lucky enough to have an apartment with a dishwasher in the kitchen, then your countertop drying woes may be somewhat relieved. That said, not all items can go in the dishwasher, but even for items that aren’t dishwasher safe, you can always use the dishwasher as a large post-cleaning drying rack. Of course, you’ll need to be sure to remove the non-dishwasher safe items before you run the dishwasher to prevent these items from warping, melting, or otherwise failing.

How do you dry dishes in your small apartment? Share your tips in the comments!

Published at Fri, 26 Jun 2020 13:26:39 +0000

Apartment Living

Top 10 Tips for Digital Nomads After the COVID-19 Pandemic

Top 10 Tips for Digital Nomads After the COVID-19 Pandemic

Digital nomads flit all around the world doing their online jobs wherever they can find a good internet connection. It’s an enviable lifestyle but the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic made it less easy for a while. However, with borders opening and flights taking off again, the dream of being a digital nomad is alive once more. In fact, because many people have now taken their work online to comply with personal distancing recommendations, they could continue doing that in the future — perhaps near a tropical beach and at a much lower cost of living!

RENTCafé’s sister division that focuses on responding to people’s self storage needs surveyed almost 200 digital nomads to find out more about the lifestyle and about their favorite places for working efficiently, enjoying the local attractions, and having the least worries; they then used 20 criteria to determine the best destinations for these workers right now, taking into account any re-arranging of priorities caused by the pandemic. As well as tropical beaches, many digital nomads are drawn to historic European cities or mountain hideaways in Southeast Asia, and there are even those who happily stay in the USA.

Vietnam’s Da Nang and Mexico’s Cancún and Mérida ranked highest for all the study’s 20 criteria combined, making them stand out as the top global destinations for digital nomads. These workers’ priorities extend beyond adventure to cultural delights and community atmosphere, while cost of living, internet connectivity and the weather are also undeniably important factors.

We present here 10 top tips for anyone thinking about becoming a digital nomad right now or returning to the lifestyle. As regarding where to start the journey, we’ve also identified a few amazing destinations — both popular and providing good quality of life — that are worth exploring even in the aftermath of COVID-19.

A beach in Bali, Indonesia
Bali, Indonesia

1. Embrace the Digital Nomad Life but Prepare for the Good and the Bad

Leaving home to start life as a digital nomad will mean lots of adventures, and plenty of stories to tell when you get back. There will be exciting new scenery, food and cultural experiences and a whole range of people to get to know. Popular travel blog writer Philip Weiss knows this well but he also sounds some notes of caution, saying that “the main challenge is the fear of unpredictability, which needs to be overcome.” He is certainly going to continue as a digital nomad, even though COVID-19 has added a new element to the mix, and believes that a positive attitude will win through. It is of course highly advisable to take out good insurance before leaving and to read up a bit about the healthcare provisions where you are going — the US and Europe do well in this regard but some other destinations also stand out. One more thing you can do before heading down this road is put your belongings in a self storage unit back home, saving the inconvenience of leaving them with family or friends but still knowing they are safe until you’ll need them again.

2. Traveling With Old Friends?

There are different styles of traveling and it’s not a case of one size fits all. Going as a group can give safety in numbers, which can be particularly important for inexperienced nomads. It can also be a good idea if you all have the same spare-time interest — for example rock climbing — for which certain destinations are renowned. Also, women travelers can come up against heightened risks and might be especially glad to have some old friends with them, and then there are the economic advantages of sharing accommodation and cooking facilities. But the frustrations of having to account for traveling companions’ differing tastes and needs can be significant, and many experienced digital nomads prefer to go it alone. Of course, traveling with a partner can be the best of all worlds and, with the coronavirus still lingering, it can be a relief that the one person you won’t be social distancing from is somebody you totally trust.

3. Making New Friends Is Part of the Fun

A community of like-minded people at a destination can ease the stress of being a digital nomad. Kate McCulley is an expert at helping women travel safely, and she confirms that “you can often find a fun group of expats wherever you end up on the road.” Established hotspots such as Bali and Thailand’s Chiang Mai had well-developed communities. For digital nomads, it will help if the ex-pats are also engaged in online work, so they can share advice and won’t be partying all the time while others need to work. Because these populations move around a lot — it’s often recommended that nomads spend 2-3 months in any one place, and visa restrictions may not permit more — such friendships can be short-lived. Alternatively, they might just last a lifetime.

4. Have Patience and Be Eager to Explore

With the discovery of new places and peoples comes the need to adapt to them. Megan Starr is a traveler who has explored some of the world’s most out-of-the-way places, and her advice is to be patient. While you may not like the first food you try in a new place, shop around until you find something you enjoy. Accommodation may not be quite what you are used to, and when asking for directions you might not get them in the same way as back home. But it’s surprising how quickly you can get used to new ways of doing things, so keep smiling, go with the flow, and listen and learn. As Megan says, “Don’t let something silly ruin your time and just have patience…. The world is a beautiful place if you do!” She stayed in Armenia during the coronavirus pandemic, so she can clearly speak with authority about adapting as well as about traveling.

5. You Will Want Good Accommodation

However short a period of time a nomad stays at a destination, accommodation will always be very important. Firstly, getting a good night’s sleep is vital — especially if there is work to be done in the morning — and this is not an insignificant consideration in hot temperatures or in big, noisy cities. Also, nomads will probably want to make their own food some of the time and not be dependent on restaurants. To make sure you get good accommodation, the advice is to ask experienced travelers for tips and to book in advance, whenever possible. Alternatively, an Airbnb can be rented for a short period until the ideal place is found. Savings can be made with longer-term rentals, and Malaysia’s George Town, Brazil’s Florianópolis and several Mexican resorts come highly recommended, among others, for their good value accommodation.

Mérida in particular stands out as a great place to start your digital nomad journey. “What I love about remote working in Mérida is that it’s an extremely safe city (often cited as the safest city in Mexico), the people are warm and friendly, there are tons of good restaurants, internet speed is very good, and there is a VERY low cost of living here,” explained Kate McCulley. “I think a frugal single person could live on less than $1,000 per month here.”

Moreover, “Mérida also has a rich expat community, and many people here have settled long-term, unlike places like Chiang Mai where expats pop in and out continuously. And Mérida is an outstanding base for exploring the surrounding region: for day trips, you can go to cenotes, ruins, and beaches; on a weekend getaway you can visit places as diverse as the Lake of Seven Colors in Bacalar, the pristine city of Campeche, the ruins of Chichén Itza, and the pink lakes of Las Coloradas,” she added.

Of course, there can be downsides to living somewhere as tropical as Mérida. As Kate explains, “It gets extremely hot and humid in the spring and summer (May is the worst month), there aren’t many coworking spaces, and there are only a handful of international flights (to places like Miami, Toronto, and Havana), it can often be loud (though that’s more of a Mexico thing), and while the city center is charming and beautiful, most of the amenities like gyms are outside the city center.”

6. You Will Want Good Internet

The sun is shining and the waves are lapping the beach, but a digital nomad still has lots of work that needs to be done. A reliable internet connection will therefore be vital — the faster the better. And if access to entertainment venues remains restricted due to the continued presence of the coronavirus, streaming movies at home might make nomads appreciate their broadbands even more. Asian and Latin American locations often don’t boast the same speeds as back home, but European destinations generally provide good connectivity. For nomads who find it easier to work in an office environment, a variety of coworking spaces can often be found at popular destinations — East European cities often combine great internet speeds with well-priced coworking facilities. One thing to be wary of is accommodation which advertises high-speed internet but doesn’t quite come up with the goods.

7. Big City, Small Town or Village?

Many nomads want to explore the world’s great cities, places like Bangkok, Buenos Aires, Lisbon or South Africa’s Cape Town, and these all often get recommendations from nomads. But while such places may offer a great buzz and exciting nightlife, they can be expensive and noisy to live in, and coronavirus social distancing might not be so easy there. Other nomads, understandably attracted to beach life, choose tourist resorts or even villages located by the sea which have developed as hubs for digital workers — Costa Rica’s Sámara, for example, has emerged as one such popular place. In the middle are the small towns, offering a more laid-back vibe but no inflated tourists’ prices. In the US, places which are generally underrated as tourist destinations can become excellent locations for enjoying both the sun and a carefree lifestyle. Albuquerque, NM, Colorado Springs, CO, and even rural Utah all come with a low cost of living than can be found in the US’s biggest cities, and they have the added advantage of easy access to the great outdoors.

Samara, Costa Rica with beach and horses
Samara, Costa Rica

8. Pick Your Time Zone

Digital nomad working can involve a surprising amount of that all too familiar office routine. You hoped you’d work on your project alone, to your own rules, and then email it back it to base before going to the beach. But it’s possible your company will want as much interaction as they ever did, meaning virtual meetings and last-minute conference calls, and these will take place during their office hours. This is one reason US digital nomads like Mexican destinations so much: Cancún and Playa del Carmen, for example, are in the same time zone as Texas and just an hour behind New York or Tampa — this Florida city proved to be the survey’s top-rated US nomad destination.

Marie Dominguez of search engine optimization firm Coalition Technologies is a seasoned digital nomad and worked from different locations around the globe. Although she’s quite happy with her current location in Kandy, Sri Lanka, she recalls having had to work nights to stay in touch with her employers.

“Before moving to Kandy, Sri Lanka, I lived in my hometown of Miami, FL,” Marie said. “Working remotely in Miami was a huge plus as I used to sit in traffic for 1 to 2 hours per day to commute. My remote work conditions are pretty similar in both countries — fast internet, reliable power, etc. The main difference is that in Kandy I work at 10:30 PM – 7:30 AM local time (to keep West Coast hours) whereas in Miami I would work 12:00 PM – 9:00 PM. Working overnight is quite challenging and took me the better part of a year to get completely used to it.”

As for other pros and cons of living in Sri Lanka, Marie says: “cost of living is about 80% less than my hometown. Although there are no coworking spaces in Kandy (as far as I’m aware), the internet speed is quite good (fibre optics is available), and power cuts are rare and usually brief. There are plenty of coworking spaces available in the country’s largest city — Colombo — however, the cost of living is higher there.”

9. Know All About the Weather

Nomads are often attracted by beaches, great scenery and a relaxed lifestyle. But this requires good weather, as nobody wants to spend months huddled up in a freezing apartment by a small electric fire or lying in bed 24/7 worrying if the monsoon rains will get through the roof. This can be especially true when a nomad has a lot of work to do and so comfortable conditions are even more appreciated. Some locations offer great weather all year round, with Tenerife in the Canary Islands and Colombia’s Medellín scoring well in this regard.

“I am originally from the US, born and raised near Chicago, Illinois,” explains Wendy Howarter of Coalition Technologies. “I lived in Northern Illinois in a small town called Oregon, Illinois (pop. 4,000) until I moved to Medellín, Colombia (pop. 3+ million) in 2014. Besides the population, the biggest difference is the weather. Medellín enjoys Spring/Summer climate year-round while Illinois has four distinct seasons including extreme heat and humidity in the Summer and extreme cold and snow/ice in the Winter. Also, the cost of living is dramatically less in Colombia than in the States.”

Similarly, Malaga is a great spot to enjoy life in the sun, all the while being well connected to the rest of the world.  It comes highly recommended by Patricia Palacios, co-founder of Euskoguide. “In Malaga, you have beautiful sunny weather, an immaculately restored old town that’s always abuzz, plus miles and miles of sandy beaches. You get all of that and you don’t even have to break the bank.”

Malaga skyline with sea
Malaga, Spain

“In Malaga, your money goes a long way,” she continues. “The cost of living is about as low as you can get while still being in a 1st world country. But you still have all of the benefits such as fast and reliable internet, good healthcare and safety. Even as a female, you can feel comfortable going out alone at night. In addition, the expat community along the coast is massive. This makes it extremely easy to navigate without really needing to know any Spanish. Because Malaga is such a loved destination, it has seen its airport grow to become Spain’s 4th largest. All of the European budget airlines have flights to Malaga which means it’s very well connected to the continent. With cheap airlines deals to be had, Malaga makes the perfect hub for exploring more European destinations.”

However, other famous nomad destinations, although consistently warm, may have rainy seasons that have even the most adventurous running for cover. For example, Bali’s rains last from November to March, while Vietnam’s Da Nang — which the survey rated as the best digital nomad destination right now — has its monsoon season between September and December.

10. Be Respectful

The world is certainly a beautiful and fascinating place, but it’s undeniable that the people you meet can seem very very different. In some cultures, they will invite you into their homes — perhaps even up to the point where it’s not so comfortable — while in others they are simply brusque. Cash is welcomed all around the world, but for some places you might like to hone your haggling skills before you arrive. In some countries macho attitudes thrive, while others are much gentler. The key is to always try to understand things from the perspective of the locals and their culture, and only make waves if you get into real problems. Follow the advice of our experts: be patient, be prepared, be friendly, and then you may find you have gained respect for things you didn’t understand before. Lastly, don’t be shy about spending your money wherever you end up — the locals need you there as much as you need a great digital nomad location.

Tampa, Florida: Beach and Hotels
Tampa, Florida

The digital nomads’ lifestyle always was rather exciting, and although the COVID-19 pandemic halted their activities for a while, there is no reason why they will not be back on the road again soon. Indeed, now many more workers and employers have found remote online working gets the job done without any need to commute to an office, this community may grow even more. And while the new recruits might lack the wanderlust of the true nomads, they will enjoy seeing new places and using the lower costs of living there to put a bit of money in the bank. Digital nomads are good problem solvers, and with caution, some good advice, and sensible selection of destinations and traveling companions, problems like the coronavirus — even if it continues a while longer — can be managed. Digital nomads may find themselves an even more important part of the global economy than ever before.

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Published at Thu, 18 Jun 2020 14:28:55 +0000

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The Ultimate College Apartment Checklist: From Finding a Place to Moving In

The Ultimate College Apartment Checklist: From Finding a Place to Moving In

If you’re getting ready to look for your first college apartment, you’re probably feeling a mix of joy, excitement and even a bit of stress at the task ahead of you. It’s only natural, as renting your first apartment will definitely require a little work. That’s why we put together the ultimate college apartment checklist, packed with everything you need to know to help you move into your first apartment quickly and easily. From establishing a budget to checking the place and watching out for scams, here’s how to find and lock in the perfect new home. 

Jump to:

What’s my moving and renting budget? 

College Apartment Checklist - Budget

The first step on your college apartment checklist is your budget, which you need to figure out before you begin your apartment search. That’s because most of the following steps will depend upon how much money you can and are willing to spend on your future rental. 

But, how do you establish a budget? First, consider all of the costs involved in securing and maintaining your new apartment, and separate your budget into two categories:

Upfront costs 

Upfront costs refer to one-time payments that you generally pay before you move into your new home. For example, landlords and property managers usually have:

  • Move-in fees: These fees cover the first and last month’s rents.
  • Security deposit: It covers any damage you may cause, and will be refunded if the apartment is in good condition when you move out.
  • Application fees: Some properties have an application fee to cover the cost of your background and credit checks. 
  • Holding fees: Landlords may charge this fee to hold your rental unit for a specific period of time prior to signing a lease.
  • Pet fees: Most properties will ask for a pet deposit to cover potential damage, while some will add an additional fee for pet rent.

At the same time, if you plan to use a moving company to transport your belongings to your new place, budget for these services, too.

Recurring costs

Recurring costs refer to the payments you will have to make on an ongoing basis, usually monthly. These largely depend on the amenities your building offers and the arrangement the property has in place regarding utilities. In this category, consider:

  • Rent: How much can you afford to spend on rent? If you have a regular income, establish your budget with a rent affordability calculator. If you don’t, you will also need a co-signer, like one of your parents. 
  • Utilities: Most likely, you’ll split these with the landlord. For instance, most buildings will include water, sewage and garbage in the cost of your rent, while you’ll be responsible for covering the electricity, gas and internet/cable bills. To get an idea of how much you should budget if you’re moving out of state, check out this utility cost breakdown by state
  • Amenities: While apartment buildings are offering an increasing number of amenities which are covered by rent, some buildings may also feature luxury services as add-ons. 

What are my needs as a renter? 

Once you’ve figured out your budget, it’s time to list your needs for your college apartment checklist. But, even before you consider your needs, do some research on the city you want to move to in order to see how much apartments usually go for and what amenities they include. For instance, on, you can find average rents for each city, as well as use the filtering options in the search bar to look into different types of apartments, amenities and neighborhoods. 

After you get an idea of what the rental market looks like, answer the following questions to guide you in your apartment hunt:

What size apartment am I looking for? 

If you’re renting alone, consider whether you want to rent a one-bedroom apartment — which offers more space — or a studio apartment, which is more budget-friendly. Alternatively, if you’re moving in with roommates, determine how many bedrooms you’ll need. 

Renting Small: Main Differences Between Studios and One-Bedroom Apartments

How long will I be renting? 

Rental apartments are typically leased for a fixed period (usually one year) or on a month-to-month basis, and there are pros and cons to both. For example, a yearly lease will get you the best deal on rent. Fixed-term leases also ensure you’ll pay the same amount throughout your lease. Conversely, in monthly contracts, the rent can change each time you renew. What’s more, a one-year contract will protect you from undue evictions, while a monthly lease means your landlord could decide to end your contract from one month to the next. However, a month-to-month lease does offer more flexibility by allowing you to move out whenever you want to without penalty. 

Where will I be renting?

Do you have a car or will you be using public transportation to get to school? With a car, you can move anywhere. But, if you’re planning to use public transit, make sure your apartment is located near a bus, subway or train station.

Meanwhile, consider the type of neighborhood you want to live in. Are you looking for a quiet, residential spot, or do you want to live in the heart of the action? Do some research on the neighborhoods in the area to find the right fit for your needs. Also, remember to check how safe these neighborhoods are. 

What amenities do I need?

Buildings and apartments offer different amenities, and it’s up to you to decide which ones you really want. Below are some of the perks to consider when you’re looking for an apartment. Establish which amenities you absolutely need on your college apartment checklist, and which aren’t necessary, but would be nice to have. This will enable you to be more flexible in your search and to stay on budget. 

  • Appliances: Do you need an in-unit washer and dryer or a laundry room? Are you looking for an apartment with a dishwasher? 
  • Furnishing: Do you need a pre-furnished apartment? These rentals are certainly easier to move into, but they also come with more expensive rents. 
  • Pet friendliness: Do you plan to take a pet with you to college? If so, you’ll need to search for pet-friendly apartments.
  • Air conditioning: While you likely won’t need this one in colder areas, if you’re moving to an apartment in L.A., for example, you’ll definitely need an A/C unit.
  • Parking: If you plan on taking a car with you, try to find a place with a parking space. Street parking isn’t always available and, in some cities, it’s notoriously difficult to find a free spot. 
  • Outdoor spaces & swimming pools: This largely depends on your lifestyle preferences and if you can spare the extra budget for a rooftop garden, a communal terrace or a swimming pool. 
  • Fitness centers: Do you need to have quick access to the gym? Apartment buildings are increasingly offering gyms as an amenity, so you might want to take advantage of this. 

How do I find and assess an apartment?

College Apartment Checklist - Apartment Search

Searching for the perfect apartment is no easy feat. But, if you follow the steps above, you’ll find a great place faster than you might think. 

Furthermore, one of the most important rules in apartment-hunting is considering multiple options. So, make sure you check out a few places before making a final decision. This way, you’ll get to know the market better and get the best possible deal. 

When to start your apartment search

While you can find an apartment at any time of year, you’re much more likely to get a better deal on rent and to tick all the boxes on your college apartment checklist if you start your search early. To get the best possible price for your future apartment, begin your search at least 60 days prior to your move-in date. Also, note that Google Search data shows that May, June and July are peak months for renting — which means you’ll have more competition and prices will be higher during this period. 

How to choose the right apartment

Once you find an apartment that fits your budget and your needs, it’s time to see it in person. When you arrive, ask your guide about the history of the property, the neighborhood and the neighbors. 

Then, during your walkthrough, make sure everything is in working order. Thoroughly inspecting the unit will ensure that you get what you’re paying for and that you’re not moving into a place that will need extra work after you move in. In particular:

  • Examine the walls and floors to see if they have any cracks, holes or leaks. If you find any, take note of or photograph them so you can let the landlord know they were there prior to your occupancy. 
  • Make sure all the lights and light switches work and that they don’t have any burn marks around them.
  • Check to see if the thermostat works. Turn on both the heat and the A/C to confirm that they’re in proper working condition.
  • Monitor the windows and doors to check for drafts.
  • Look for any signs of mold in the apartment.
  • Take note of any smells and investigate the source. 
  • Make sure everything in the bathroom is in working condition. Turn on the faucets and shower to check the water pressure and the drains. 
  • Turn on appliances to make sure they work correctly. 
  • Check the cabinets for any squeaky or wobbly doors. 

While you’re there, take a walk through and around the building to get to know the property and the neighborhood. After all, you won’t be living in a vacuum.

How do I review and sign a lease?

College Apartment Checklist - Lease

When you find the perfect apartment, lock it in as soon as possible. You can opt to hold it for a while (as explained earlier), but when you’re ready to move in, you’ll have to provide certain documents and sign a lease agreement. 

What documents do I need?

Normally when renting an apartment, landlords will expect you to provide your rental and credit history. However, real estate professionals are aware that they’re managing apartments in a student area, and typically, when you have no or very limited credit history, a co-signer will be required.

Additionally, be prepared to provide your landlord with the following information: 

  • Your social security number and birthdate
  • Pay stubs or bank statements to prove your income if you have a job
  • A co-signer’s information if you don’t have a credit or rental history  
  • Personal references 

How do I review the lease?

Even if you think you’ve found your dream apartment, scrutinize the lease agreement so you know what you’re legally committing yourself to. Specifically, check the terms of the lease carefully and ensure the things you talked about with the property manager or landlord are included. Then, discuss the questions below with the person you’re signing the agreement to make sure they’re in line with your college apartment checklist:

  • How do I make the payments?
  • Are there late fees? If so, how and when are they charged?
  • Which utilities are included in my rent? 
  • Are there any circumstances under which you can enter my apartment without notifying me first? 
  • How do you manage repairs? Is there a separate process for emergency repairs?
  • How much advance notice do you need if I decide to move out?
  • Under which circumstances would my security deposit not be refunded? How long does it take to refund a security deposit?
  • Do you have a guest policy? What are the terms? 
  • Can I sublet the apartment outside of the school year? 
  • If I move out in the middle of the month, will you prorate my rent? 

The Nitty-Gritty of Paying the Fair Amount – Prorated Rent Explained

How do I get a roommate?

College Apartment Checklist - Rommates

If you plan to share your apartment with a roommate, do everything you can to pick one who you’ll be happy living with. While there’s no exact science to choosing the perfect roommate, consider the following to make sure you’ll live in harmony:

What type of relationship are you looking for? 

Do you just want someone to pay half the rent, or are you looking for a person you can become friends with? If it’s the latter, you might want to talk about your goals and interests to see if you have things in common to bond over. 

Do your personalities match? 

Even if you’re both fantastic people, certain personalities just don’t work well together, so try to find someone with a temperament similar to yours. For example, if you don’t like to party, you’re probably better off with someone similar. On the other hand, if you’re a social butterfly, you might want to look for someone more extroverted and upbeat. 

Do you have similar cleaning habits? 

Some people are avid cleaners and organizers, while others care less about these things. You and your roommate should have similar expectations in this area. Otherwise, both of you might end up disgruntled. 

Do you have healthy communications with each other? 

We all have our quirks and anxieties, so it’s essential to find someone you can easily communicate with. Even if you end up being the best of friends, you still need to make sure you can talk about the good and the bad without fear or aggression. Because temperament defines communication more than your morals or values, this can be a problem even among the best of us. 

To find the perfect roommate, browse local Facebook groups and message boards. Or, check out these roommate apps, which can help you find your ideal match while taking the hassle out of the search. Then, once you’ve found a potential roommate, here are some questions to ask to see if you’re going to get along well.

How do I protect myself as a renter? 

Avoiding Scams

Unfortunately, as is the case with any housing option, you might run into scams or people who don’t have your best interests at heart. That’s why it’s important to learn how to avoid scams and protect yourself while renting.

Beware of scams

The first rule in avoiding scams is that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. That’s why you should always use reputable websites like, which has 100% verified listings. 

However, if you use websites that don’t verify their listings, get to know the area you’re renting in, especially when it comes to pricing. For instance, if the price of an apartment is much lower than you’d expect in a specific neighborhood, research it carefully. Below are a few scam-checking steps for your college apartment checklist:

  • Check the rental company and make sure it has a credible website. Google its name alongside keywords like “scam,” “review” or “complaint.” 
  • If you found the apartment on a listing website, make sure it’s also listed on the rental company’s website, if they have one. 
  • Ask for identification when touring to make sure you’re talking to a professional working at the company that manages the property. 
  • Never pay with cash or wire transfers. Only make payments to real entities that you can track and follow up with. 
  • Never give out your personal information to someone who hasn’t identified themselves.

If you come across a sketchy property or apartment and think it may be a scam, report it to the police to help others stay safe. 

Renter protection laws 

Know what your rights are so you can protect yourself in the event that anything happens. Each state has different rules regarding renter protections, so be sure to understand yours. 

On a federal level, you are protected against discrimination of any kind, and your landlord is obligated to make reasonable accommodations for you if you have a disability. You also have the right to safety. As such, your property manager or landlord must quickly make any repairs in the event that your home poses a danger to your health. 

When it comes to evictions, your landlord can only begin this process if you break the terms of the lease. In this scenario, they would have to inform you of your wrongdoing first and then offer you the opportunity to correct the issue. Only after you fail to do so can they file an eviction proceeding in court, while also giving you notice so you can participate. When you receive these notices depends upon the individual state laws. If your landlord wins the case, you will be evicted. You’ll also likely be ordered to pay any late fees and cover the costs to repair any damage you may have caused.  

Finally, your landlord cannot withhold your security deposit unless you break the terms of the lease and cause damage to the rental. Once again, each state has specific legislation as to how large this deposit can be and when it should be returned to you. 

How Not to Lose Your Deposit – The Superhero Edition

Renters insurance

Renters insurance is an added cost, but it should definitely go on your college apartment checklist. Just like any type of insurance, it will save you a lot of time and money if you need it. This is also why some buildings require you to have renters insurance before you move in. 

Renters insurance generally costs between $12 and $25 a month, but it compensates up to $30,000 in property damage and $100,000 in liability damage. Therefore, if disaster strikes, it will cover both your medical bills and the cost to replace your belongings. At the same time, if something happens to your apartment and you have to leave it, renters insurance typically covers a few nights in a hotel or the cost of a temporary rental. Finally, you’ll also be compensated even if you were responsible for the damage.

Next steps on your college apartment checklist  

Moving Out

Once you’ve found your new home and signed the lease agreement, it’s time to make a college apartment checklist for your move! To pack mindfully and have everything ready to go on moving day, follow the steps below:

  • Start getting the furniture and items your new apartment is missing. If you have one or more roommates, make sure you check with them first, so you don’t end up duplicating necessities.
  • Set up all the utilities you will manage — such as internet and cable — so you can use them as soon as you move in. 
  • If you have a car, ensure your insurance policy and check-ups are up-to-date, and change the oil if you haven’t in a while.  
  • Cancel any memberships and subscriptions you have in your old hometown, and look for alternatives near your new home.
  • Divide your belongings into essentials and nice-to-haves, and make a donation pile for the things you won’t need again. Pack up the essentials first, and then move on to the nice-to-haves. If you don’t have much space, consider leaving items that may be easily replaceable in your new town. 
  • Get packing supplies. To save time and money, buy these after you know what you’re taking with you.
  • Pack an essentials kit to get you through the first couple of days when you’re still unpacking your things. This should include any medications, personal care items, electronics and chargers you will need immediately. 
  • Get all the supplies you’ll need to clean your apartment and don’t forget trash bags and other home necessities. 
  • Make sure all of the important people in your life have your new address.

And, there you have it, the ultimate college apartment checklist to make your move a stress-free experience. Remember to carefully assess your needs, use reputable websites with verified listings and check out at least a few places before making a final decision. Now, go out there and find your new apartment!

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Published at Fri, 19 Jun 2020 09:30:02 +0000

Revolutionize Your Apartment with These Industrial Style Tips

Industrial chic has become trendy in recent years. And, chances are that you’re more familiar with it than you think. While some might associate this style with warehouse interiors, others might think of vintage factories with turn-of-the-century paraphernalia.

Initially thought to be a masculine and cold-looking home design ideal for big lofts in the big city, nowadays, industrial design is one of the most popular styles around. In fact, it’s being applied to homes across the country, as well as offices, restaurants, clubs and even your favorite café interior.

Although high ceilings work best, your apartment doesn’t have to have to be huge or have an open concept in order to successfully incorporate industrial decor. Surprisingly, industrial chic blends utilitarian design, minimalism and monochrome to achieve the coziest of results, no matter how small your apartment is. But, how does it work? Check out these easy industrial home design tips to find out:

1. Bring out the inside

Classic industrial style is all about exposed architecture, which includes stripping down the interior to see how everything works “on the inside.” For example, exposed architecture elements — such as wooden beams, cement floors, exposed piping and even ductwork — are key in giving your home that engineered look. If your apartment doesn’t have any of those, focus on imperfect finishes or metal reinforcement. You can even leave the walls completely exposed for a nod to the industrial revolution or paint them in a darker color. Plus, if your apartment boasts a classy, exposed brick wall, you already have the best canvas to work with.

If you’ve finished drawing inspiration from your city’s industrial buildings, you already know that raw, unfinished materials and simple, clean lines are the basis of industrial chic. The exposed architecture already mirrors the imperfect — yet organized — vibe you’re going for. Take it even further by incorporating furniture with clean lines and few, if any, unnecessary embellishments.

2. Play with metals

Metal is an essential of industrial style that cannot be overlooked. This particular element can be incorporated anywhere, from studios to huge condos. If metal desks and cabinets reminiscent of old factories don’t speak to you, make sure at least the legs of the furniture and hardware around the house are metal. The more metal around, the cooler the overall vibe of the interior.

As a general rule, choose brass, copper, wrought iron and good old stainless steel instead of gold tones and shiny finishes. Remember, you’re going for a used and battered look, which is the pillar of the industrial style. Incorporate as much metal decor as possible and, instead of replacing that old-school, cast iron radiator, just give it a fresh new coat of paint. And, for the pièce de résistance, see if you can add a steel ceiling lamp that looks like it’s straight out of your favorite steampunk novel.

3. Use neutral tones

Industrial style is generally associated with darker tones that create a moody atmosphere, so pay attention to the color scheme you’re about to use. Focus on simplicity, starting from the monochrome walls and minimalistic upholstery the minute you walk in.

Specifically, select earthy tones and metal hues like cooler blues and grays — a combination that offers the perfect aged and worn feel. Then, to warm it up and give the apartment a more refined touch, feel free to play with contrast and add plenty of brown and beige for the furniture or rugs. Keep bright colors to a minimum and only use them on small pieces of decor to increase their influence. Likewise, because you’re going for a dark and calm color scheme, try to stay away from statement colors like red or yellow. Side note: When painting, choose a tarnished or matte finish instead of a shiny one.

4. Bring new life into the old

If you can’t make any significant modifications to your rental, decorating is the way to go. And, when decorating your apartment in an industrial fashion, take inspiration from old-school warehouses, factories and even barns.

What was once a strictly utilitarian purpose can now serve as decor. For instance, mechanical clocks play into the industrial-chic, turn-of-the-century vibe, as do restored manufacturing elements. Think gas lanterns, blueprints, industrial mirrors, rotary dial phones and even tools. Additionally, while metal might be the “it” factor when giving your apartment an industrial makeover, don’t overlook reclaimed wood, leather and even stone to create a relaxed atmosphere.

Industrial style is perfect if you’re looking for contemporary comfort with a vintage twist. Plus, it can be mixed with other styles like cottagecore, vintage and even modern, while still keeping its individuality. Contrary to popular belief, this style can also be used to create a comfortable and cozy atmosphere. If you appreciate raw materials and see the beauty of unfinished design, give the industrial style a try!

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Published at Fri, 19 Jun 2020 07:00:06 +0000

Apartment Living




It looks as though social distancing will no longer be the new norm, but the way that we will now be living our lives. It was only 2 months ago that we had never heard of PPE, unless we worked in healthcare or unless you were a scientist, flattening the curve was about weigh loss. Mostly about flattening our stomachs. So here we are all settled at home wondering how to move forward. (Source: NAA)

But what about the folks who were thinking about moving or who were in the middle of a relocation? Any sort of housing transition is stressful enough without having to deal with a national health crisis. But during social distancing it could be additionally stressful.  Take heart, there are many technologies that can help us lease an apartment while keeping you and your apartment community staff safe.

There are many digital advertising sources that you can access from the safety of your living room or kitchen. You can search by typing the word “apartments” into any browser. This will give you a very broad search. After you feel comfortable with user experience with an Internet Listing Service provider, narrow your search by location, price, floorplan size, schools and amenities. Or you use a “long tail search”. For example, a “two-bedroom apartment in Richmond, Virginia with a pool”. This may be more time efficient than a more generic search such as “apartments”. It will provide a short and more refined list of apartment communities that fir those criteria.

Another new aspect to think about during physical and social distancing, is the systems that the community uses to communicate with their residents after you move in. Can you pay your rent on-line? How do they let you know about any community events or repairs? Many communities use Call Assist 24/7. It’s a way that you can send a video or photo of your emergency service request to the on-call maintenance technician.  This will keep you informed via text throughout every step of the process. You will even get a photo of the technician coming out late at night. How cool is that!

Most listings have virtual tours of generic units or their furnished model. Seeing a furnished apartment is always a good way to get a feel for what the space may look like with your own furnishings. (Source: Many leasing agents are happy to use zoom, skype and Facetime to show you the actual unit that is available if it is currently vacant. Ask the agent to walk through the community as well so you may see the location of your apartment home. Is it close to the pool or does it have a view that you like? Google maps is a great resource for information on shopping, parks and interstates. If you are moving locally, go drive through the apartment community at different times of day to see where the sun sets or where the bark park is located. So there a lot of great resources to help you navigate through finding the perfect new apartment home during Covid-19. Be safe and have fun!

Published at Thu, 23 Apr 2020 12:40:08 +0000

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