Hi! This blog is a life saver haha! I have a little question; I'm going to be looking for apartments soon and it's my first time ever being away from home,,, is there anything I should look out for in general? Thank you!
Hey I’m so glad I’m helping! I have been meaning to write a post of this nature for a long time, so thank you for asking. Here. We. Go.
Apartment Hunting 101
Overview: There’s no getting around it, apartment hunting is a stressful process. The waiting and wondering gets the best of everyone, so give yourself a break and remember not to be too hard on yourself. The more prepared and decisive you are, the better off you’ll be!
1. Step One: The most important step in this entire process is coming up with your list of “Need and Won’t”. This list can always be adjusted in the spur of the moment, but will act as a baseline to help you easily disregard impractical apartments. Before you even start your search, sit down with any roommates (SO or otherwise) and come up with a list. Here is my list:
Need: Dishwasher, pet friendly, heat included.
Won’t: First floor apartment, all or mostly carpeted apartment, no closet space.
2. Step Two: Decide your price range. The paycheck to paycheck life is not a great one to live, so try to find an apartment that still allows you to put anywhere from $100-$500 into savings every month. Figure out how much you make monthly, with taxes taken out. If you’re paid every other week, this is two paychecks. If you’re paid every week, this is four paychecks. Start with your total monthly income, and subtract the following expenses. Let’s say you make $1,000 with taxes taken out:
Rent - Let’s say you’re living with a roommate, and your rent is only $500 per month.
Electric - My electric expense is $60 a month for a one bedroom. Once again, you’re living with a roommate so let’s say that you pay half of that. $30.
Internet - $30 a month internet only. Please don’t waste your money on cable. Just use your mom’s Netflix account.
Travel expenses - I spend about $85 a month on gas. Let’s say you use public transportation and spend around $100.
Food - Figure you’ll be spending $100 per person each month. So that’s another $100.
Misc expense: Let’s just add an additional $50 worth of expenses on. Because you never know what’ll happen.
That leaves you $130 a month extra to put in savings or to use in the event of an emergency! That’s awesome. Substitute your own numbers in, and figure out how much you can afford for rent. Immediately disregard any apartments that do not fit in this budget.
3. Step Three: The best way to find dependable apartments is to consult with your fellow apartment renters. Consult with coworkers, friends, family- anyone who is currently renting in the area that you would like to rent in. Get the inside scoop on potential apartments, both their advantages and their pitfalls. If you don’t know anyone who is renting where you’d like to rent, here are some other apartment hunting options:
Drive-bys: Literally drive around until you find a cool looking apartment complex. Find their rental office and go right in, this is how I found my first apartment.
Your college: The Dean’s Office will have a list of apartment offerings to give kids who don’t qualify for on-campus housing.
This Site: A list of the top ranked apartment hunting sites.
4. Set up an appointment: After finding a potential apartment, consult with the landlord or apartment representative to set up a date and time to see the apartment. Respond promptly to any email or phone call they leave for you. On the flip side, if they aren’t prompt in their response to you RUN.
The first apartment I ever looked at, my boyfriend and I showed up on time and the landlord wasn’t there. We called her and she said that she was running late, and told us that the apartment was open and we could show ourselves inside. Serious red flag, but we gave it the benefit of the doubt and went in. Long story short, she never showed up. She gave us a tour of the apartment over the phone and kept saying that she was five minutes away, but never came. We later found out that her rental office was two minutes from the apartment we looked at. Talk about flakey! We told her we weren’t interested, if she can’t even show up to show us the apartment, how the hell can we depend on her to fix any problems we might have? Because you’re young and inexperienced, some landlords will try to give you the run around. Your age is no concern of their’s, and has no bearing on how you will act as a tenant. Here are some red flags for flaky landlords:
Not contacting you within one day of leaving them a message. Disregarding the weekends.
Not showing up when they say they will.
Repeatedly telling you that you’re “young” or “inexperienced”.
Telling you that the apartment “is good for college kids” or “a good first apartment” (that just means it’s a shit hole).
If they tell you that the apartment has a large turnover (people are leaving for a reason).
If you speak with one person on the phone, and meet a different person who shows you the apartment.
If they can’t or refuse to give you the exact rent amount.
If they tell you that have to “run some numbers” based on your history. An apartment’s rent should be the same for everybody.
If they can’t answer basic questions about service providers for the apartment.
If you get a weird vibe from them. Listen to your intuition! This is the person who is going to be responsible for fixing all your apartment related problems, you will be dealing with them every month at least. If they seem unreliable, don’t sign the lease!
5. Step Five: Find your appointment buddy! Never, ever, EVER go to look at a potential apartment by yourself. I don’t care how friendly Wendy seems online, she may be a serial killer. There’s no way to tell. Here’s a list of people who can accompany you:
Your older brother
Your Aunt Meredith
Your second cousin
Your friend who can scream really loudly
Your Step Mother
Your old nosey neighbor who smells like cats
Literally anyone you can trust
Bribe them with chocolate, I don’t care. Take someone with you! If you absolutely cannot find anyone to go with you, then you need to take additional precautions. Here are some options:
Posting to Facebook the address you are going to and when you are expected to arrive and leave.
Rescheduling your appointment to a date and time when you can be accompanied
A mental checklist is good in theory, but will you remember it when you’re actually at the prospective apartment with your Aunt Meredith? I think not! Make a physical list of some of the following points, and feel free to add your own. my list is super extensive, but that’s just who I am. I am detail oriented.
Tuck this list in your back pocket and consult it when the person showing you the apartment is not looking.
How much is the rent?
Is the rent just the rent, or are there any amenities included? Some apartments include heat, hot water, or electric expenses.
Is hot water included (if the apartment has a washer/dryer in it, then the water is probably a separate expense)?
What Internet service providers are available?
What electric service providers are available?
Do I have to pay for garbage removal?
What is the average electric expense that other renters deal with?
Ask when rent is due. Find out what the rent check procedure is.
What type of heating/cooling is provided?
What appliances are in the kitchen? *If there is no oven or fridge and you are required to buy your own then run*
What is the apartment complex turnover rate?
Do you have a choice of carpet vs. hard wood floors?
Will window blinds be provided? *If the apartment complex won’t pay for something as simple as window blinds then the landlord is a cheapskate and can’t be trusted*
Is there a “curfew”? Most apartments have a time of night when all the tenants are supposed to be quiet. This is generally not enforced.
What will your address be?
Is any furniture included?
Is there a Laundromat in the complex? If not where is the closest one?
Similarly, is the Laundromat in the complex card operated or quarter operated? Do you have to pay a fee for the card? Is there a quarter dispensing machine?
Will you be given a free parking permit? *If parking is not free then run*
Ask about local shopping and gas stations.
Ask where your mailbox will be.
Ask what their pet policy is. (some apartment complexes charge an fee)
Ask what their policy on repainting/decorating is.
Ask what their maintenance request policy is.
Ask where the nearest dumpster is.
How often does the complex loose power?
Is there a nearby police station or fire department?
Check all cabinets (for bug infestations or mouse droppings or that they open properly).
Open all the windows and check to see that there are screens installed. Especially important for us cat owners! If there are no screens- are they going to install screens before you move in?
Check that all the light switches work.
Check that the water turns on.
Flush the toilet.
Check all the closet space (for size, mold, and water damage).
Check how all the doors are set (some apartments will put doors in incorrectly and they’ll never close properly).
Check the outlets (bring a phone chord and plug it in).
Check any balcony access.
Take a look at the paint- is it chipped? Is it stained? Will they be repainting?
Knock on the walls to see how hollow they are (hollow walls require studs if you want to hang anything up).
Open up the oven and make sure it’s clean. If it’s not clean make it clear that it should be cleaned if you want to move into the apartment. It’s not your job to clean up after the previous tenant.
Check that none of the floorboards are sticking up/creaking.
Check for nails and screws in between hardwood floor, tile and carpet (I’m not even kidding).
Check your phone to see how much cell service you have.
Can you hear any neighbors? Could you hear them in the hallway?
If the apartment you visited fits all your criteria, feel free to tell the landlord that you’re interested in pursuing this apartment. This way they can advise you of the next steps. Before you sign ANYTHING, visit the apartment complex twice more to make sure that everything is kosher. Do NOT tell the landlord that you will be coming by.
During the day: Do a drive-by of your prospective apartment to see what it looks like during the day. Is it safe? Are there lots of people standing around outside? Is it loud?
During the night: Come back another night to check the safety of your apartment. Ask yourself- would I feel comfortable taking the trash out late at night? Having friends over? If the answer is “no” then run…
Apartment Setup: My post that briefly outlines locating, checking out, and setting up a new apartment. Also has some next steps that I’m not going over in this post. It’s pretty good if I do say so myself!
Apartment Hunting 101: A list of helpful resources all relating to locating and checking out potential apartments. Some of the links aren’t set up correctly, so you will need to copy and paste them into a new browser.
NYC Renters: This post is designed for NYC Renters, but the points are still valid even if you’re not renting in NYC. A must read!
Stuff Nobody Tells You: I love love LOVE @hipdomestic so much! They haven’t posted anything recently, but this blog is an incredible resource. Check out this post that really goes into depth about apartments.
If you are having issues with your foundation separating, moving or rubbing off of your nose, chin, or forehead then watch this tutorial and check your products to see if you are using them correctly.
This is the first aspect to address when having foundation application issues as it’s a quick and simple way to determined whether it’s the underlying cause of the patchiness. If you are using your products correctly the next thing to look at is your skincare; if your moisturiser is too oily it could be causing a premature breakdown of your base makeup, if you’re of an oily skin-type then you may need to change your skincare routine to specifically target excess oil.
Using a liquid exfoliant that contains Salicylic Acid (BHA) in will help to remove any dead skin cells that build up (particularly on oily skin) and prevent pores from clogging. Using an Oil Control Primer over the skin prior to makeup will help to absorb excess oil, minimise the appearance of pores and aid the longevity of your makeup. Paula’s Choice is a favourite skincare brand of mine - I’ve not been sponsored to mention them in anyway, shape, or form, my personal experience purchasing their products has always been positive, and I would highly recommend them.
Gift season approaches, and I’ve been struggling on how best to spend what little money I have on all the people in my life who I want to give holiday presents to. I’m sure I’m not the only one with this problem… so I thought I’d share some ideas.
1. Mix CDs - make your friends/family a mix CD with handmade cover artwork. If you can’t afford a stack of CDs, make a virtual CD and share the mp3s with them over Dropbox.
2. Homemade Cookies - Spending $7 on baking ingredients allows you to make a large batch of simple cookies. Divide them and use as gifts for multiple people. Throw on a handmade card and WHAM you got yourself a spiffy gift.
3. Cooking supplies - I’m not talking top of the line Kitchen Aid shit. Go to your local dollar store and buy things like wooden spoons, platters, funny mugs for under $5. Everyone needs at least some cooking supplies!
4. Cacti - Don’t go to a nursery, go to a grocery or department store with a plant section. Cacti are some of the cheapest and easiest to maintain plants, they only really need to be watered once or twice a week. And they look awesome. If the person you had in mind likes to cook, you might want to consider buying them some sort of herb like rosemary or thyme.
5. Bulk food - This might not work for everybody, but I’m sure your broke roommate wouldn’t object to a bulk package of ramen or mac and cheese. They sell 12 packs of ramen at my local dollar store for $1 each. ONE DOLLAR FOR TWELVE MEALS.
6. Unused Books - I’m betting that there’s a book in your apartment/dorm room that’s in perfect condition, but for whatever reason that you will never use again. Wrap it in some gift wrap and scrape off the price tag.
7. Spa Day - For those of you in relationships (or who feel safe touching your close friends/family in that way) make mock “spa coupons”. Offer services such as manicures/pedicures, hair stylings, massages, etc.
8. Use your talents - Are you an artist or musician of any sort? Make a piece of artwork or write a song. Buy a large piece of poster paper at Home Depot for $5 and make a funny collage full of inside jokes that only your friends will understand. Are you a knitter? Make mittens for people.
9. Weird clothing - Go to your local Salvation Army or Goodwill and spend a couple hours combing the shelves for weird items. Funny t-shirts, strange hats, etc. Don’t go to department stores looking for clothing, it’ll be too expensive.
10. “Fancy” Meal - Spend $20 and invite several friends/family members over for a fancy dinner. You don’t need to be a chef or to spend lots of money to make something “fancy”, just make the atmosphere “fancy”. Make pasta with some sort of red sauce and possibly meat. Insist that everyone dresses up, light candles, play jazz standards, take pictures- make a real night of it.
ALSO! If you can’t afford gift wrap use newspaper.
Bringing healthy food to the table, especially for the growing children, has never been this easy. We soak the seeds the first day for 24 hours. Then every morning and evening we fill the jars with water to do a shake and rinse. So, simply fill the jars, shake and pour the water out. once you’ve shaken the water out of the jars simply lay the jars on their side next to the sink. Keep them close and convenient. In six days you’ll have jars full of clean and organic sprouts for salads and sides. The nutritional value is exponentially higher when the beans open and the taproot grows. This is a great solution for anybody who feels they are too busy to grow their own healthy foods. With simple old-school methods no one has excuses and there is no light required. Moreover, the sweet and crunchy experience usually wins over the children.
From our experience, if you have an active lifestyle and need easily digestible foods that translate into quick and clean energy, this is definitely a route for you guys to explore.
I hope this message finds you guys excited about getting ready for the spring time.
1. Automatic payments. Don’t enroll in automatic bill payments unless you’re extremely comfortable with the company. This will prevent companies from charing your bank account or credit card extra without your consent. For example, I’m confident that Birchbox won’t overcharge me, but have less faith in Verizon.
2. First aid kit. Purchasing a first aid kit should be one of the first things you do when moving out. They generally cost around $25 and include items such as cold compresses, burn cream, and more bandaids then you will ever need. I purchased one when I first moved out and it lasted me 2 and ½ years before I needed to replenish it.
3. Dishwasher wanted. Real talk- having a dishwasher has changed my life. I used to spend forty-five minutes to an hour doing dishes every day, sometimes twice a day. Now I spend fifteen minutes.
4. Pee after sex! Ladies, UTIs are no joke. Get in the habit of peeing or showering after sex to minimize your risk. 50% of women will get them in their lifetime, and the medication will fuck with your birth control. Guys can get UTIs too!
5. Milk. More expensive doesn’t always mean higher quality, but in the case of milk it makes a huge difference. Organic milk lasts significantly longer than any milk you can purchase for under $2. Like, over a week longer.
6. Winter-proof. Is your apartment freezing? Winter-proof your windows! You can buy sheets of “window plastic” to seal off gaps, cracks, etc. These will make a huge difference in your apartment’s temperature.
7. Scented trash bags. Are literally the same price as regular trash bags, but help keep your trash smelling manageable.
8. Chalkboard paint. This is a wonderful invention that turns your boring walls into one continuous canvas. Get your landlord’s permission and know that you will be required to repaint before moving out.
9. Shopping list. Keep a piece of scrap paper in your kitchen and jot down any items/produce you may run out of during the week. When it’s time to go shopping, you’ll already have most of your list completed.
10. Food hygiene. Rewrap/repackage your deli meats and cheeses a few days after purchasing them. Wrapping paper has a shorter shelf life than the products themselves and will cause them to spoil early.
I was on tumblr a while ago and saw a post about making your own tarot cards. I thought that i saw you reblog it but looking back through your blog i cant seem to find it. I was wondering if you happen to remember it/know of the post i am talking about? Thank you so much, i hope you have a fantastic day! ^.^
I made my own post about this [here] that has some links and tips; a more recent version can be found here [here].
1. Cactus decor. Cacti are super easy to maintain (most only need to be watered once a week) and look great anywhere you put them. Buy them from a supermarket that also sells plants as opposed to a nursery because they will be cheaper.
2. Buy Febreze. Unexpected visitors are lovely, but not when your apartment smells like a baboon’s armpit. Febreze is affordable and lasts a long time, I use it on a weekly basis because I have two cats that love pooping when I have guests.
3. Baking Soda and vinegar are your one-stop cleaning solution for everything. Clogged drains, shower heads, cat pee stains, etc.
4. Ladies. Have sex while on you’re period. I can’t explain why, but it will be the best sex you ever had. Science side of Tumblr please explain.
5. First floor apartments suck. I lived in a first floor apartment for a year and a half and literally will never live in one again. They’re freezing in the winter and damp in the summer. Don’t waste your time!
6. Can’t pay your electric? I was in serious to debt to my local apartment (after living in a first floor apartment) and told them that I was unable to pay my $850 debt because it was more than my month’s rent. They worked with me and put me on a special program called POP where they paid off my debt for me, so long as I continued my regular monthly payments. There are options, you just need to ask and be persistent.
7. Don’t by olive oil. It’s sometimes three times as expensive as other oils like canola or vegetable oil. High quality olive oil can run you up to $25, if you’re buying olive oil for $4 then chances are it’s heavily diluted.
8. Swiffer. Swiffer mops take up very little space in your closet, and you can buy store brand mop pads for a fraction of the Swiffer brand price. I’m especially partial to Shoprites pads, they smell so damn good.
9. Beaded curtain. Small apartment? Throw a beaded curtain in the hallway to make your apartment seem larger.
10. File your taxes as an Independent. Your parents are receiving a tax break if you’re filing as a dependent under them, but that tax break hurts you. You will end up paying more taxes in the long run, because the government thinks that your parents still support you. File as an independent if you are no longer living with them and supporting yourself, they loose the tax break but you (the starving college student) will not be charged as much by the state.
I had all the good intentions of posting this yesterday, but I got sick and spent the entire day blowing my nose into an assortment of paper products. I love you guys and hope your week has been productive and positive.
1. Reuse containers. Get takeout often? Takeout containers are microwave and dishwasher safe, and are often durable enough to substitute as tupperware. Wash and reuse them!
2. Kick the soda habit. Switch to seltzer! Zero calories, carbonated, and they come in so many different flavors. I’m partial to Polar and Schweppes seltzer, but you can buy store brands for a fraction of the price (the Stop & Shop brand is particularly good).
3. Electric budget. Stop what you’re doing and get on a budget with your electric company. Instead of paying for how much electricity you actually use each month, you will pay a monthly flat fee. If you use more, they cannot charge you for it. Electric companies say that people use more electricity in the winter and less in the summer, so the difference evens out. At the end of the year they will issue you a check if they owe you money or credit it to your account. Last year I ended up overpaying and my electric company credited the difference to my account, and I had free electric for two months.
4. Check your screens. This applies to pets in general, but especially to cats. Before allowing your pet to sit on the window ledge or by the screen door, make sure that the screen is secure. Rental units are notorious for their cheap craftsmanship, I secure my screens with duct tape because they’re so poorly made.
5. Laundry. Doing laundry in a communal area? Always check to make sure that the lint drawer has been properly cleaned before starting your dryer. Not only is it dangerous (I personally know someone whose house burned down because of a rogue dryer) but it will prevent your clothes from drying properly.
6. Soak it. Hard to scrub pot? Fill it with water and soap and let it sit for five minutes- I guarantee you it will be easier to clean. If something is really scorched and difficult to clean, let it soak overnight.
7. Foaming hand soap. Lasts about three times as long as liquid hand soap, and is roughly the same price.
8. Invest in a multi-functional printer. As a college student, this may seem like a daunting expense, but it’s a necessary one. You can always use a college or library to print or copy at, but some places charge up to 50 cents per copy. If you need a reliable source for printing homework, make the investment.
9. Skip the mixed salad. Instead of a buying a container of mixed salad greens, purchase only one type of leaf. Each lettuce has its own expiration date, and greens that have a shorter shelf life will go bad and take everything else in the container with them.
10. Check your blinds. Here’s something I didn’t know before living on my own- there is a right and a wrong way to face blinds. Close your blinds and stand in front of them. Can you see out of them? If you can’t then flip your blinds around the other way. People will be able to see you through the slits in your blinds if they aren’t hung properly.