As the seasons change to spring and summer it marks the high season for moving and searching for a new apartment. Many view it as a time of excitement that they will find a better for the prefect apartment. Unfortunately many renters make crucial mistakes in their apartment hunt that doom them into a bad situation or miserable experience that they are locked into for the next year. Here are the 4 most common mistakes we see that renters make when choosing a new apartment.

1. Overlooking the inclusion of Washers and Dryers

506aea8074c5b64b0a0011fe._w.1500_s.fit_[1]While many amenities such as a pool or rec room can be a fun addition to the apartment building or community that you choose, they aren’t a huge concern. However, many new renters forget to take into consideration the inclusion of a washer and dryer in the apartment or at least hook-ups for these appliances. For fun I checked out the situation apartment wise in my hometown of Saratoga Springs for apartments that had a washer or dryer in the apartment. When it came to apartments in Saratoga, there were only 10 to choose from!

Choosing an apartment that has only a common area laundry solution can lead to many headaches, especially if you live an larger building where the number of tenants per washer/dryer is upwards of 10. This can lead to needing to visit a laundry mat to get your clothes washed when you want and frustration you did not plan for. Beyond this, even if the availability is not limited be sure to consider the cost to use a communal laundry as this can easily add $50 or more per month to your expenses that you may not have considered and put you over budget.

2. Not Reading the Lease

You may think you’ve found the perfect apartment, the location is great, price is in your range and you’re ready to sign on the dotted line. You sit down in the leasing office and in a fit of excitement fly through the lease to get your new great apartment! Problem is that in this excitement, nearly everyone completely overlooks their lease and simply signs immediately, which can lead to disaster. Getting out of a bad lease is possible, but its often a pain in the neck to say the least and can come with large financial penalties.

When presented with a lease be sure to review it for a few key items:

  • Length of the Lease
  • Date when rent is due
  • Security Deposit Amount
  • Rules for Subleasing
  • Financial Responsibility for Utilities

For more tips on understanding your apartments lease, check out this article on WikiHow.com

3. Not documenting Existing Damage in Detail

When moving in you may want to speed things up and get all your items into the apartment ASAP, however if you value your security deposit you may be making a huge mistake. Prior to moving anything into the apartment it’s highly imperative that any damage or blemishes in the apartment are documented. Be sure to thoroughly go over the apartment with the landlord or property manager and document all damage. Ensure that both the you and the landlord sign this document so that any existing damage can not be claimed against you. It can also be a good idea to go the extra mile and take photos to document the damage or problem areas in the unit. Ensure that these photos have a timestamp. This can be extra important if their is damage that the landlord agrees to repairs. If a landlord does make this claim be sure that these repairs are outlined in writing before signing the lease to legally be able to hold the landlord accountable if they refuse to make repairs in the future.

4. Getting over your Head

Far too many people don’t stick to their budget or even make once when choosing an apartment. It can be easy to visit an apartment and fall in love with it and end up trying to justify the monthly rent after the fact, which can lead you to making a poor decision financially. The general rule is to spend no more than 30% of your take home (after tax) income, however we recommend staying lower than this in nearly every situation. Be sure to take into account all of your fixed expenses and ensure that you have enough money to account for leisure spending as well as reserve cash in case of emergencies. Student Loan Hero has a great article on this topic that you can check out here: https://studentloanhero.com/featured/how-much-should-i-spend-on-rent-when-to-buy

General, Houses, Real Estate

Top 5 Things to Look for When House Hunting


Depending on your viewpoint, house hunting can be a fun activity or a pain in the behind. Looking for a house to live in is all about making sure that it is the right fit for you and your family. Don’t give in to an impulse buy because you might regret it later. After all, you will be living in this house for the foreseeable future.

When you go out to buy a house, there are many things to consider. You want to list your wants and your needs, and you want to know which factors you can compromise on and which factors are deal-breakers. You will also want to determine your budget and stick to it. Just because the bank has approved you for a certain loan amount does not mean that you need to find a house that costs that much. Sit down with the various members of your family and ask them for their opinions. After all, they will be living in this house too.

Here are five things to consider when house hunting.


1. Budget

Set your budget at the earliest possible time. Your budget should have a range, which includes your ideal price, as well as your ceiling price in the event that you find a house that you love but that is priced a little higher than you would like. Having a budget will help you to manage your expectations. Don’t waste your time and the realtor’s time by looking at houses that you cannot afford to buy. The wrong way to go about it is to look for your dream home and then find a way to be able to afford that. This will just lead to all sorts of problems. Instead, you should find a house that will fit your budget.

Do your research. Find out what kinds of homes are available within your price range. Know how to evaluate the fair market value of a home. You might be able to find some gems that have been undervalued, which will get you great value for your money.

2. Location, Location, Location

The old adage that location is everything is certainly true. You want to be able to buy a home in a good location. That means a location that it will fit your current lifestyle. Ideally you would position yourself in a great neighborhood where all the conveniences are present. The commute to and from work should also be manageable distance. If you have a young family, it should be in a good school district.

As part of considering the location, you should take a look at your neighbors and determine if this is a community where you want to live. Young professionals would want a hip and vibrant community while young families might enjoy a place where their kids can play with others.

3. Design

You should buy a home that you like and that appeals to you. Don’t just buy it because it’s the cheapest place that you can find. The design should appeal to you and to the other people who will be living in that house. It should also be functional. You don’t buy a townhouse that has four floors if you have problems with navigating stairs. In this situation a bungalow would be a better choice.

Unless you will be furnishing from the ground up, you should also match your home with the current style that you would have. The furniture and decors should complement the architecture.

4. Utilities and Maintenance

When you go house hunting, you basically just look at the home. Go beyond the façade and take a closer look at the total cost of owning that particular home. If it is an older house, you might need to remodel. You should add the cost of that remodeling to the total price of the house. Also take particular note on how much you would have to spend for the upkeep of your home. Larger houses will naturally cost more. Having a yard and a pool will entail additional maintenance costs.

Another thing you should pay particular attention to is the cost of the utilities. The price of utilities can quickly eat up your monthly budget. Older homes may not be as energy efficient as newer ones, and they will often cost more to heat or cool. Your location will also determine the rates that you will pay. Houses in residential neighborhoods will be charged residential rates but condos in commercial areas or converted warehouses might be charged commercial rates.

5. Resale Value


When you buy a house, it is usually with the notion that you will be living in it forever. For some, that is true, but you never know what will happen years from now. You might eventually end up selling it because you want to buy something newer or own a house that is different in size. You might be relocating to another city. Your financial circumstances change.You can come up with many reasons why you might end up selling your house in the future.

Think of your house an investment. You want to be able to sell it for more than you paid for it. You have to future proof it so that it doesn’t lose its value. Buy a house that has a great resale value so that your investment is protected. This generally means a house that is attractive to different kinds of buyers.

General, Houses, Real Estate

5 Ways To Prepare Your House For Sale


There will come a time that you might want to sell your house for various reasons. It could be because you want a newer one. The kids might have already flown the coop, and it’s now too big for you.  A change in jobs or retirement might cause you to relocate to another city. Maybe you find it difficult to make your mortgage payments and would like to go back to renting a more affordable place. Whatever the reason, you have to prepare your house before it can be sold. You do this because you want to maximize its resale value and get the best price for it. A little effort will go a long way.

Two generation family looking at a house for sale

Here are five tips to prepare your home for potential buyers.

Make it Look Up-to-Date

If your house looks old and dated, people will offer a lower price for it. The least you can do is to make it look as new as you can. If you can afford it, a fresh coat of paint is always the best way to make a house look like it had a recent facelift. Do some minor repairs. Mow the lawn and trim all the bushes. The pretty landscaping will set the tone that you take good care of the house. Make the inside of the house sparkle by doing an extensive cleaning. Buy tons of cleaning products and make sure that every surface gleams and passes the white glove test. If you can afford it, hire a cleaning service to come and clean the house regularly.

Depersonalize Your Home

While they may ask about the background of the house, they are not really interested in the kind of life that you and your family had in the house. All they will care about is that you took care of the house. They don’t want to hear about how your kids grew up and all that. They want to picture out the kind of life they will be living if they buy your house. Remove all signs of your personality and make the house as neutral as possible. Sort of like a hotel room or a magazine page. It‘s homey and inviting yet devoid of personality. Remove family pictures and framed kid’s art from the walls.  Take down all those cards and drawings on the refrigerator. Replace them with photographs of landscape and generic artwork. Some flowers might also look nice.

Organize Your Closets, Drawers, and Cabinets

People are snoopy by nature and will open closets and drawers as they tour around your home. Nothing is more unappealing that opening a cabinet and seeing all these dusty and dirty items haphazardly arrange. Take the time to clean out everything and organize them into boxes and neat piles. But some of those vacuum bags to keep bulky items from taking up too much space. Women pay particular attention to closets so you must be able to show that there is ample closet space for all her things.

Rent a Storage Unit


Most cities and towns in America offer storage rentals. You can choose the size you want and whether you require a climate control unit. Renting storage units have become so popular that there is even a reality show about auctioning of storage units where the owners have defaulted on their payments. Renting a storage unit is a strategic way to remove clutter from your home. It can even become a transition site if your new home isn’t ready yet. You can pack up early and store boxes of things that will be going with you on your move. You can also hide some decor and furniture that you do not want to be included in the sale your house. If a buyer doesn’t see them, then it won’t be part of negotiation.

Bake Something When a Buyer Comes To Visit

Studies have shown that smell is the sense that is most attached to your memories. A house smelling of cookies and apple pie will remind potential buyers of their happy childhood. By baking cookies, cake, or pie, you will allow that aroma to permeate the house and be the first aroma the buyer will smell. The buyer will appreciate that that this home can make them recall their younger years. It also doesn’t hurt to have some fresh baked goodies on hand while you talk things over with the buyer.

General, Houses, Real Estate

Real Estate Tips : Selling a House

If you have an old house that doesn’t look well any more, and you just want to sell it for some of the reasons; perhaps you just don’t want the property any more  or you perhaps have another one already or you’re just looking to move into a newer house, the “We Are Buying a Home” (“We  Buy Houses”) is something godsend to you in that case. Some people have an older house that they don’t have money to repair any more but you want to sell it.

Since you want to sell the house, you might want to repair it in order to get better price for it. But what if you are, like we said earlier want to sell it in order to get the money for the repair. Now there’s a magic circle that real estate tips will help you solve. What if real estate tips told you that there are companies that will buy a house with the needed repairs?

Home For Sale Sign in Front of New House.

Second conclusion is that this will enable you to find a new home. How is that? Well selling your home is one of the simplest ways to buy a house somewhere else, a real estate property that is easier to maintain. You don’t want to sell your home only to find out that you don’t have no other options buy a house. Asking a realtor that is helping you to sell a house about finding you a new home is a great way of selling a home and finding a new, one that fits your needs even better, at the same time. Even in selling a house doesn’t give you a whole amount of money you need to buy a house, you’ll still have a nice sum for the down payment which significantly lowers your mortgage rates.

To find a realtor that is willing to do this for you is easy, but here are quick real estate tips to know what to look for:

First of the real estate tips is to make sure the realtor is easy to contact. Being it hard to find someone who should be eager to sell your house might indicate that there could be a problem. Easy ways to contact a realtor are essential, but this doesn’t mean that they need to have more than few ways. Two, for instance is enough, they don’t have to list twenty numbers, nothing like that. Good thing is to make sure they are, at least to some degree, known. Local realtors are just as good as the branches that are more popular, but if they seem unknown you might need to look further for “We buy a house” sings.


Be patient when choosing. You need to understand that research is as always necessary. Try to get familiar with your realtor a bit if it will be possible. Let them know what is it that you’re looking for and outline your goals to them, as well as to yourself. Always be polite, but don’t let the realtor decide everything on your part when buy a house. Don’t let them pick just anything – it’s your house, so make sure you are involved as much as your obligations allow you to. You are the one that knows what you need and they will too, once you give them the info that they need to work with.

To conclude these real estate tips: it’s easy to find someone who want to buy a house, no matter of your conditions, just look carefully and happy real estate pursuit!