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Staying a Little Longer: Negotiating Your Lease Renewal

Many residential leasing companies offer a lease agreement for a specified period of time. After the expiration of the original lease term, you might anticipate changes in rental rates. Fortunately, it is possible to satisfy both parties, as long as you have some room to negotiate. Landlords usually want renters to stay longer, although they may want more money and to not have to find a new tenant. When the landlord asks for an increase in rent, suggest what you can afford and what’s fair. Here are some tips on negotiation the renewal of your lease agreement.

Start negotiations with the landlord. A good opener is, ‘I received the lease renewal, I’d love to stay in the apartment but the suggested increase is more than I can comfortably afford. I’d like to discuss terms and find something we’re both happy with.’ Depending on the accessibility of your landlord you may need to call or email to schedule a good time to discuss the situation.

You should know beforehand what your apartment is worth, research similar properties in the neighborhood. Learn something about the market that works in your favor. Find out if the values of real estate went up or down in your neighborhood, and how that compares to the city or national average. You can mention that your apartment isn’t worth what the landlord is asking, or maybe you could easily find a similar place but cheaper. Another thing to know more about is vacancy rates – an increasing vacancy rate in the area means a major vulnerability to apartment owners. Adversely, a decrease in vacancy creates value and increases rent.

Show your landlord that you are a great tenant. Note that you haven’t bounced a check, disturbed the neighbors, broke a window or snuck a pet in, missed any rental payments or even paid late. However, if you don’t actually meet these standards, skip this in the negotiation.

Most renters want to extend their lease. Often, large leasing companies don’t offer multi-year leases because vacancy and replacing tenants isn’t a big threat for them. But for smaller apartment owners, guaranteeing that you’ll stick with them might be worth more than increased rent.

Offering money up-front may be appealing to some landlords if you want to extend the lease. This tactic may not help if your landlord is a large company, but for small apartment owners, several hundred dollars is worth more than a grand spread out over a year. Offer to pay your first 3 months up-front in exchange for a lower rent increase.

Most importantly, be sensible. Weigh the actual costs versus the alternative costs. Although $25-$50 increase per month may seem like a lot if you’re on a tight budget, the up-front costs of moving far outweigh the monthly increase. Think about the physical act of moving, new security deposit, transfer of utilities, etc. The increased rate the landlord is requesting may pale in comparison.

Ideas on How to Make Your Rental Feel like a Home!

Even though you don’t own your rental you can still add some personal touches to make it feel like home.

Before you start any kind of decorating, always check with the owner of the property or property manager to make sure the changes are allowed.

Personalize with Friends

One way to personalize your rental is to put up a lot of photos of your friends and family. Hang some framed artwork, or simply create a memory wall. I’m sure both you and your guests will enjoy reminiscing through the old photos. Try different framing technique or having the pictures printed on a canvas. Painting parties are a great way to get help and an excuse to get together with your friends.

Stenciling a Wall

While most landlords cringe at the idea of tenants painting the rental, some of them usually don’t mind some painting projects, such as a wall stencil. Your landlord may ask you to paint the walls back to the original color, so don’t forget to ask for the brand and name of the original paint color.

Temporary Wallpaper

Do you have the same old plain white walls? If you’re wanting to liven up your walls and you’re willing to do the work, use removable wallpaper to create your sense of style on the walls. Removable wallpaper is easy to install (just peel and stick) and it’s available in a wide variety of patterns. Removable wallpaper won’t damage your walls when you peel it off.

Plants

Try adding plants to your home, it will make it feel homier inside but don’t forget about the outside as well.  Fresh plants inside will not only add color to your space but also help improve your air quality. Consider adding plants to your porch and/or your patio with some colorful containers.

Camouflage

What if you find and an area in your home that is not as attractive? Don’t panic, let’s just cover it up with something that you do like. If there is a countertop that may have a burn spot on it, cover it up with a cutting board as an example.  If there are areas on the walls that you don’t like try adding a disguise with panel curtains.  You don’t have to actually have a window to put up the curtains, panel curtains solve a lot of problems.  Another option would be removable wall decals considering these decals are not permanent.

Area Rugs

Not every homeowner will have beautiful hardwood floors for each new renter.  Just start thinking of ways to spruce things up. You might be thinking of an area rug to put down to cover up the ugly floors. A bold area rug will help in covering those unsightly floors but it will also bring color and pop out to spruce everything up.

Little things

Last but not least, if you want to add more of your personalized style add a doormat.  Make it personal, funny or a positive quote that will make a person smile when they cross the threshold.

So, what are you waiting for? Personalize your rental and call it your own even if it isn’t 100% yours. Most important make sure if you add anything to the home that is permanent that you get permission first.

If you would like to explore our other articles that would help you organize and brighten your home visit our site and read our other blog posts.  If you need help you can browse our vacancy list to see what we have available or call a leasing agent at (417) 337-RENT (7368).

 

 

Important Things You Should Have in Your New Apartment

 

To make your first day more comfortable and convenient, don’t forget to collect the essential things that you should bring to your new apartment.

One of the most useful things that can immediately be used once you set foot in your new apartment is the command hooks. They can be used as a replacement for nails, tacks, and other hanging solutions that leave holes in your walls.  Command Hooks will add to your hanging storage where you need it for potholders, dish towels, and many other things that need to hang.

The next essential thing that you should not forget is a trash can.  You may need a good heavy-duty can for the kitchen since it will be used more often. You will need others to place in a bathroom, bedroom and other areas of your choice.

Another good idea is to make sure you have a spare set of keys so you’ll never be locked out. Of course, you also need to have spare keys for other doors and your car because anything can happen and realizing you’re locked out is frustrating.

Extension cords can be very useful when setting up your décor in your new home.  You might need extra light in your bedroom but you find that the outlets are on the other side of the wall, how frustrating that can be.  You will be grateful that you have the extension cord.

Other essential things you might consider bringing would be a flashlight, cordless drill and a fire extinguisher. Consider putting the flashlight in an easy-to-reach place such as next to your bed.

This is just a few ideas that will help you settle into your new apartment and get ready for the new chapter of your life.

If you would like more tips and ideas on how to make your home a clutter-free zone, visit our site and read our other blog posts.  If you need help you can browse our vacancy list to see what we have available or call a leasing agent at (417) 337-RENT (7368).

 

A Guide to Renting Your First Apartment

 

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Finding your first home is an exciting time in a person’s life. You will have a space all your own to do whatever you need – whether it’s enjoying peace and quiet to hosting dinner parties. This can be a long, stressful process but this guide might be able to shed some light on your search.

  1. Set up a budget. The last thing you want to do is live in a home where you struggle financially every month to make the payment. Don’t even look at homes that are more than your budget will allow, you will only tempt yourself. A dependable guide to follow is to not pay more than 30 percent of your take home salary on rent, including utilities, internet and cable.  If this guide shows you that you can’t afford to handle all the expenses on your own then you might think about a roommate.
  2. Figure out which neighborhoods work best for you. You have the right to feel safe in your neighborhood. Consider what you require (for instance, supermarket, exercise center, open transportation) and how far you’re willing to go for it. In case you’re not working close-by, you’ll likewise need to consider your drive to and from the workplace.
  3. List your must-have amenities. Before you begin your search, figure out which amenities are absolutely necessary and which you ones you can live without. Remember that you may need to make a few adjustments to remain inside your financial budget. Some basic must-haves can be a washer and dryer hook up, dishwasher, a large front porch, central heating and air, or a community pool.
  4. Time to start looking. When you realize what you’re searching for and the amount you can manage each month, begin looking for your home. Contact the owners or managers of the property to set up an appointment to see the homes.
  5. The tour of the home. This could be your potential home, so treat your first visit like an investigation. Turn on every one of the fixtures to ensure they are working and the pressure is good. Check the locks on the entryways and windows of the home to guarantee they work appropriately. Bring along a phone charger this way you can check every outlets to ensure they are all working.

Remember, you only have one chance to make a first impression on a potential landlord, so be sure you look presentable and show up on time.

  1. Be prepared to complete a rental application and pay the fee. When you go to view homes, you should be prepared to bring your checkbook for the application charge, a check stub to show proof of your salary and a picture ID.
  1. Read the lease before you sign it. When you find an awesome home, don’t just sign the lease,make sure you understand it completely to avoid issues down the road.

As you read through your apartment lease, make sure it answers the following questions:

  • Are pets allowed, and if so, is there a pet deposit required?
  • Are there restrictions on the number of people that can be on the lease?
  • What is the maintenance process?
  • Are you allowed to hang shelves or paint walls?
  • What are the consequences for breaking your lease?

Ask your new landlord to put the answers to these questions in writing prior to you signing anything.   Make sure there is a move in inspection and that everything is documented so that when you move out you won’t be charged for the damage prior to you moving in. Take pictures of any and all damage prior to moving in. Take the extra step and check to see if you’re able to have the pictures date stamped.  Good luck on your hunt for your perfect home.

By following these simple tips the process of finding your perfect home will be a much smoother transaction.  If you need more help you can browse our vacancy list to see what we have available or call a leasing agent at (417) 337-RENT (7368).

Tips to encourage you with your New Year’s Resolutions

The beginning of another year is the ideal time to evaluate your present way of life and choosing which areas require some change.

The tricky part of the bargain comes when you actually have to live up to your New Year’s resolutions. Enhancing your body’s fitness may sound simple enough but the temptations of junk food, computer games and your favorite TV show are all things that could have you back sitting on the couch by mid-February, munching pizza and flipping between channels. So, how can you stay true to your best intentions? Well here are just a few suggestions.

  1. Keep your resolutions straightforward. Now and again individuals end up going for an upgrade of their whole way of life, and this is just a formula for disaster. The best approach is to focus on one or two of your most important goals.
  2. Which one to pick? All things considered, you may get a kick out of the chance to focus on those that will have the greatest impact and satisfaction for your life.
  3. Try to be sensible. Try not to point too high and overlook reality – consider last years’ resolutions. What happened to that goal, did you achieve it?
  4. Short term goals. Making short term goals will keep you motivated. Make the goal reasonable, and attainable. Set clear, practical objectives, for example, losing 5 pounds, saving $30 a month, or going for a run once every week.
  5. Arrange a time allotment. Truth be told, the time allotment is imperative for you in obtaining your goal. For example, if you say you’re going to work out for an hour a day and that’s impossible for you to do so, then don’t set yourself up to fail.
  6. Keep notes. Every day try and take just 10 minutes to write down something about your goal. Write things like your struggles, your accomplishments and how you felt, this will go a long way in helping you accomplish each goal. You will be able to look back and see how far you have come.
  7. Treat yourself. Don’t set yourself up – it’s too simple for a health food nut to state “I’ve been so great, I deserve a couple of treats,” be very careful because one slip, and it could all be over. Choose wisely on how and what to treat yourself with.
  8. Get Support. Have people around you that will hold you accountable for your actions. Tell them of ways they can help when hard times arise.
  9. Don’t give up! You’re worth it, just because you fail at times doesn’t mean you’re a failure, we all fail. Pick yourself up and keep going, don’t stop. Your future goals are counting on you.
  10. You’re in Control. Your accomplishments are just that yours! The future can be frightening, however, without a doubt, you control the outcome.

These are just a few tips to consider when you are planning to enhance your life this New Year. Your satisfaction is justified regardless of the time, so begin, and good luck!

 

 

Five Ways to Save this Season Without Feeling like a Scrooge

Christmas season is in full bloom, however, what happens when you’re attempting to remain concentrated on your money related objectives as opposed to overspending around the occasions? Obviously, you need to get your friends and family something that they’ll cherish, yet you would prefer not to lose focus and throw your dreams out the window like homeownership or that addition to your home you’ve been planning and setting aside money all year for.

Try not to stress and remain calm; you don’t need to be a Scrooge to hold on to your money at Christmas! Here are five simple approaches to save money during Christmas.

  1. Make a List

Santa isn’t the only one that needs to make a list this Christmas season.  Do you even know how many individuals you’re buying for? You may need to just purchase presents for the children this year! Painstakingly look at your Christmas giving rundown before you go on a spending spree this season.

  1. Stick to your List

Set yourself a spending limit. Setting a reasonable limit is an incredible approach to control your spending around the Christmas season.  Setting a $40 limit is a great way to control spending around the holidays.

  1. Pick a name from the Hat

In the event that you have a big family, picking a name from a hat can add some fun. By drawing names of relatives, you get the chance to play Secret Santa, as well as get the opportunity to purchase and get one decent present, rather than spending a lot on a few little presents just to ensure you have everybody secured.

  1. Use Cashback site or Apps

When you are prepared to make a few buys, you’ll unquestionably be searching for the best bargains. Yet, what about getting paid to purchase your Christmas presents?! Cashback websites like Mr. Discounts, Ebates and BeFrugal will give you some money back on what you’re shopping for! That is an awesome way to shop!

  1. Give the gift of Time

Rather than spending your well-deserved money to make your friends and family glad this Christmas season, give them your time.  Design a card for a free night out by offering to look after their children.

Keep Spirits High and Utility Bills Low this Holiday Season

Festive cristmas lights

On the off-chance that you haven’t as of now decked out your home for the Christmas season, you might plan to get a little crazy in decorating at this point. So far this season, the climate has been quite mellow; along these lines, the time is now to get the lights hung, string the garland and add other holiday decorations.

In any case, what happens when the climate outside turns much colder?  Obviously, you’ll keep your Christmas lights a blazing brilliant, yet you may keep your indoor regulator turned up to the detriment of your service bills. Rather, give yourself a little blessing this season and take a couple of straightforward tips for keeping the heating bill low and not detouring your spirits.

Christmas lights are beautiful to admire but they can be a huge expense when it comes to your utility bill.

Here are a few tips for keeping your electric bill low while your cheer is sparkling bright:

Update Your Christmas Lights

With all the Christmas deals that are going on, maybe it’s time to upgrade your old light for more efficient lights. Invest your money in LED lights to make your home shinning and bright.

Turn Off the Lights

We all love the way our homes are decorated and lit up at this time of the year. In any case, don’t let the Christmas spirit get to your pocket book. Rather than leaving your trees, and other festive lights on, put them on timers and save your money.

Turn down the Thermostat for a Full House

When you’re hosting a get together with family or friends do your pocket book a favor and turn your thermostat down.  There is no compelling reason to raise your thermostat when your home is full of family and friend’s; allow everyone’s body heat to warm your home.

Give Christmas Décor the Attention it Deserves

Once you’ve persuaded yourself that it is OK to turn your Christmas lights off once in a while, bear in mind to sparkle the focus on them when they are lit. Keep the other lights to a minimum so that when you do illuminate your Christmas lights you can save on your energy bill.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

Since it ‘tis the shopping season anyway, if your home is not already equipped with a programmable thermostat, take advantage of a holiday sale now! Some of today’s smart technology will even program itself based on your routine behavior. As a general rule of thumb, lower the thermostat while you’re sleeping or just away from home.

Prevent Drafts from Turning You to a Grinch

Keep your home cozy and warm by weatherizing your windows. Include caulking along creases around the windows to keep the cold air out and warm air inside your home. Think about hanging insulated drapes.

Make Maintenance a Priority

When it comes to heating your home, our first thought is “don’t fix it till it’s broke,” that saying sometimes is not very beneficial when we are trying to keep our energy bill down. Before things hit in the middle of winter, try and get your HVAC system inspected to make sure its running at its potential.  Make sure you are very diligent is checking your filter and changing it at least every 3 months. Try not to give winter a chance to wreak devastation on your energy bills during this Christmas season.

Easy Home Preparation Tips for the Holidays

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Easy Home Preparation Tips for the Upcoming Holidays

As the holiday season is fast approaching, many of us are now planning to make preparations for the upcoming holidays such as thinking of adding new décor, replacing old furniture, or getting rid of clutter. Whether you’re into throwing a cocktail party for 50 or you just need a place to put all the things you’re going to receive, no doubt you’ll need to clean some of the areas in your home in the coming weeks. If you want to make your home preparation comes easy, you need to learn practical tips and effective ways to help you get ahead before the holiday rush. By following them, it will make you organized, energized and ready to enjoy the joyous season.

The first easy home preparation to do before the holiday season begins is to declutter every corner of your house. Declutter guest rooms and public areas such as living room, dining room, kitchen, foyer, den, and other areas where you always hide non-essential items. Find unnecessary things and remove them such as those placed on countertops, coffee tables, and ottomans; keep them out of sight or hide somewhere for now.

Home safety is another way to prepare your home for the holidays. Add some lights to places you think that aren’t well-lighted, even though you can navigate in those areas blindfolded. Install motion-activated night lights in hallways, bathrooms, and bedrooms to ensure safe passage at night.

It is also important to make a to-do list for some of the things you want to prepare for the upcoming holidays. Schedule a date and time as to when the items on the list will be taken care of, otherwise, it will just become a wish list. Try to avoid handling it at the last minute as it will only give you a stressful day.

Plan an appropriate time for your gift buying budget and stick to your ideas. This way, it will keep your purchases easier and won’t hurt your wallet. Make your to-do lists before shopping and remember to allow more time than you think it will take. Most people don’t think much of the traffic they will encounter, so always allow more time when traveling.

Avoid overscheduling during your time when it comes to Christmas parties and invitations. Remember that you always have the choice not to accept an invitation that is conflicting your time schedule. What’s important is how you say it without hurting feelings such as providing an alternative date.

Don’t forget to enjoy free time for yourself, workouts or going for a leisurely walk regularly, reading, napping, bubble bath or visiting a hair salon. Because you too want to become fit during the holidays and enjoy the festivities instead of sitting exhausted and looking stressful at the dinner table.

So, if you want to make home preparation for the upcoming holidays, just follow some practical tips to help make you organized and ready to enjoy the holiday season.

Thanksgiving Day Planning for Apartment Living

Thanksgiving is a time where many of us will be celebrating with friends and family, celebrating without your family can be lonely and even depressing. Often, spending Thanksgiving Day alone     can’t be avoided for college students. Be it time or distance, regardless of the reason, here’s a how-to for creating your own Thanksgiving celebration.

Thanksgiving Day has long been a tradition bringing loved ones together to enjoy food, fun, and laughter. Even if you are living alone, you can host a memorable Thanksgiving party. It can be stressful at times deciding who to invite. Depending on the size of your apartment, you may want to stick with inviting close friends, and your girlfriend or boyfriend.

You’re not alone in wanting to make your Thanksgiving dinner party a perfect, enjoyable, and memorable occasion. Creating a dinner party in your apartment can be tricky, especially if it’s your first time hosting such an event. Advance party planning is best to assure an easy and stress free day for you to enjoy along with your invited guests.

Preparing Thanksgiving dinner is all about pre-planning. For an easy, stress-free day you’ll want to make sure everything is prepared on time without forgetting anything you need to complement your meal. A good recommendation is to decide on your menu a week in advance so you have ample time to create a shopping list. Establish a time line when and how to prepare each dish for proper meal timing.

Two or three days before Thanksgiving you need to clean out your refrigerator to make room for the meal you’re planning to prepare. Food items that don’t need refrigeration can be purchased well in advance. If cooking a fresh turkey, purchasing two days before is recommended. Frozen turkeys can be purchased in advance if you have freezer space to store it. Don’t forget the time it takes to thaw – follow packaging directions for this step. Be sure that you have all the necessary tools and equipment to prepare your meal; adequate number of stove burners, roasting pan large enough for a turkey, crock pots, etc.

fall-basket

Decorating for your Thanksgiving dinner party is not only a good idea, but can be fun as well! The first thing to do is to focus on your table. Replace table linens, napkins, place mats, plates and silverware if you have the ability to do so, or keep it simple by purchasing cheap table linens with turkeys on them to make it look more festive. You could also try solid fall colors for the table and place settings. Red, yellow, orange, or maroon look great and can create a dramatic but classic look. Use matching linens, napkins, place mats, and plates. Place flowers or other fall décor in a vase or bowl in the middle of the table to add ambiance.

Organize your furniture in a manner to make best use of your space. If your apartment is small, arrange in a circle and allow the dinner table to extend into your living room. Most importantly, make sure your seating arrangement is set up so that everyone has a place to sit. Keep in mind when you rearrange your furniture if you will want a view of the television.

These tips provide for a traditional Thanksgiving meal, but you can host a dinner of your choosing. Enjoying the day is what’s important whether you prepare an elaborate meal, have pot-luck, or order in pizza. Living alone doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a memorable Thanksgiving Day!

PET ETIQUETTE

To accept pets or to not accept pets, that is the question. As a property manager this is a constant dilemma. Some pets are well behaved, others are not. However, the latter seems to ruin it for all. Poor pet manners have caused not only home owners to ban pets, but also home/condo owner associations as well. Regardless of whether you rent or own, pet etiquette remains the same, especially if you live where there are shared common areas such as sidewalks, parking lots, grassy / landscaped areas. I don’t want to step in your dogs poo, and I don’t want the guy mowing to sling it on the buildings and cars. Yes, this really happens.
Here are some basic rules of etiquette for renters who have pets:pets
1. Make sure your pets have their vaccinations, regular veterinary care, and are spayed or neutered.
Most property management companies require pet owners to provide documentation their pets have had rabies and other vaccinations. Additionally, they will typically ask what kind of flea and tick preventative regime is used for the pet. In the event the dog or cat starts to act ill, it is not only in their pets best interest to seek veterinary treatment as soon as possible, it is also good etiquette because a sick pet is likely to be less tolerant of people.
2. Inform the property manager of your intent to have a pet.
While most people know to ask their property manager for permission before bringing a dog or cat into the rental home, some forget to check with their property management company before bringing a bird, reptile, fish, or small mammals. These pets have the potential to cause damage to the property just like a dog or cat and a property owner might not want to have a 6-foot boa constrictor in the rental home.

3. Housebreak and crate train your pet.
While all pets have an occasional accident inside the home, those who do so regularly can cause significant damage to the property, as well as make the home environment unhealthy. Crate training can help reduce the risk of accidents when the renter is at work and helps prevent the pet from chewing on blinds or moldings. When walking your dog, make sure to pick up the droppings. Cat owners need to make sure the litter box is cleaned on a regular basis.
4. Crate or kennel your pet on inspection days.
If your property manager performs routing inspections, please kennel or crate your pets for their protection, as well as the safety of the inspector. This is an important rule of thumb to follow if you’ve requested and are expecting maintenance personnel in your rental home. If you elect to leave your animal in a crate leave a note on the door or notify the property management company. A bark from behind a closed door may prevent services from being rendered.
5. Make sure the pet has regular exercise.
Just as a person is likely to become restless when they spend too much time inside, the same goes for your pet. By taking a dog on regular walks and trips to the dog park, the dog is less likely to have accidents inside, bark excessively, and chew on things. By taking good care for your pet, both you and your animal companion will enjoy your time in your rental home.

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