Looking for an apartment can be downright stressful, and living in one isn’t always a breeze either. There are those noisy neighbors to strict/horrible landlords and constricted spaces. Having these tricks up your sleeve will make it extraordinary.
Find the Perfect Pad
Of course, the first step is for you to find a good apartment. You need to do the research (and patience) and know what you really need in an apartment. This way, you should be able to find a nice apartment in the neighborhood you want. There are search tools you can use to get everything started, and make sure you have a checklist of the most important questions while you’re at it.
You can use the following search tools for your apartment hunting:
Cultivate a Good Relationship with your Landlord
You should consider the type of landlord you’ll be dealing with. Once you’ve picked a type that works best for your particular situation, it’s time to do a little research. The very best source of information on a particular property is other tenants. And make an effort to get to know your landlord before signing the lease. Ask questions about them and their philosophy on property management. This is for you to avoid any conflicts or future problems. Get everything in writing, documentation of the condition of the unit, and know your rights on the property. But if you’ve had a series of bad landlords, it’s worth considering that you might actually be the problem.
Save on Rent (and Moving Costs)
Many landlords are willing to negotiate on the price, as long as you’re not competing with a bunch of other tenants. You can try negotiating for the other fees like pets fees or parking fees since the actual rent cost is quite complicated. If you’re looking to save money on moving costs and your monthly rent, you might want to look for apartments during the winter months. Moving in winter sucks but this season is notoriously slow for apartment hunting, so landlords who are looking to fill units will be open to negotiating monthly rent amounts. The only downside of apartment hunting during this time is limited availability. But if you’re a little picky, it might be better for you to search in either spring or summer because you’ll have more options although you won’t be able to save that much money.
Upgrade It (Temporarily)
One of the major downsides of apartment living is that you can’t upgrade a lot of things as you’d like. You may not do much but you can create a lot of temporary upgrades that can make things look a little nicer and work better for you. Better talk to your landlord before working on a bigger upgrade because it may be okay for them especially if it could benefit them in the long run.
Ease Roommate Tension
Having a roommate to share with the rent is a good thing but there are also some whole new things to deal with. Like the dividing of expenses, and having to share close quarters of living space. There’s an application you can use like Splitwise, or maybe set some ground rules (phone, smoking, visitors and cleaning) that you both agree on. You need to be able to respect each other, try to be considerate, keep it all clean and don’t ever get your hands on each others stuffs (unless they’ve given you the go signal). If everything fails, it’s either you deal with it, have a sit down conversation with your roommate, or simply leave the room just to help keep the tensions from getting too high.
Deal with Noisy Neighbors
In an apartment, your walls are somewhat like “paper-thin”. A simple conversation of your neighbor may seem like they’re in your own apartment. Some neighbors are prone to loud music, lovemaking, or playing dance revolutions in the wee hours, you obviously have some problems. You need to have a conversation with them but first try to ask and talk with the management. Or simply fill out a complaint form and slip it under their door too. Just make sure that you’re not the noisy neighbor.
Avoid the Dreaded Rent Increase
Having a good rent at the start doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. Many landlords increase rent all the time, and if you’re not prepared, you’d end up paying more next year than you did this year. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid it. Make sure to check if it’s legal for them to do so. If you’re a good tenant and argue to that point, your landlord will be willing to negotiate so not to lose you. You could also offer to pay additional rent upfront (for maybe 3 months instead of just 1), or help repair or repaint the apartment, or volunteer to help with tasks that either the owner of the property would have to do or pay someone else to do. You can also offer to sign a longer lease which can get your landlord forget about the rent increase. Or just write a letter, explain your circumstances and be completely honest. Just be sure to be kind and polite when going about this.
Save on Energy Costs
There are simple tricks and minor adjustments to the way you operate your appliances for you to drive your energy costs down.
If you have a central air conditioning and/or heat, check the vents in your home. Some believe that closing vents can reduce energy consumption by preventing the need to cool or heat a particular room but it’s all wrong as this will actually raise your energy costs. These vents are also the air filters to keep dirt, dust, and other unwanted crap from blowing throughout your home. Filters should be replaced monthly or they’ll prevent ideal airflow.
Cutting costs on laundry just takes a little effort. You can simply stop using heat whenever possible, pack the right amount of clothing into the machines, and tackle the task at night (for non-peak hours discounted rate).
Dishwashers requires some heat to do a good job. Part of the cleaning process requires a bit of hot water. Reducing energy consumption with your dishwasher utilizes the same tactics as your laundry machines. Primarily, that means you need to reduce the amount of heat you use to load the machine as effectively as possible. The placement of the washables are also important.
Better watch out for the following appliances as this could have a significant impact than others: modern video game consoles (ex. Xbox 360, PS3), electric kettles, always-on desktop computers and television sets most especially those with plasma-based displays.
Just make sure you check with your landlord before you start tearing anything apart or sealing up the doors and windows.
Make it Feel Like Home
There are restrictions to repainting the apartment, installing a new carpet, or to making any other permanent changes but you can still try to customize it and make it feel like home without pissing off your landlord.
The easiest thing to do is make a wall more interesting by putting up some framed photos. You can make fun with it and put them up in different ways. You can create a photo collage where you just stick the photos on the wall with a wall-safe adhesive or tape for you not to damage the paint on the wall. You can also use cork bulletin boards and pin the photos to the wall or you can create your own cork board picture frames.
A great alternative is applying Vinyl Wall Stickers. They’re almost residue-free when you remove them, and they’re thin so they almost look like they’re painted on the wall. It’s easy to apply and there are plenty of great designs.
Use your Space Wisely
We hear this all the time. Sometimes, the solution is to get rid of things you don’t need, but other times you have to keep a bunch of stuff in a small space.
You can use command hooks to hang objects. This will allow you to hang things from your walls without creating any unnecessary holes, and they’re removed quite easily.
You can also use bed risers to boost under-the-bed storage. This could add several inches to the space underneath your bed. You can use the space to store things that you want to keep handy but don’t need regular access to.
Hang storage racks over doors can do too. You can use them for hanging cables, growing herbs, or even storing bathroom supplies. A shoe organizer is perfect for storing all the various lotions, creams, and bottles that would otherwise be sprawled across the counter.
Use tension rods to hang cleaning supplies. Tension rods add extra storage to cabinets and closets which can give you a place to store your spray bottles and wash cloths. This could also help in your closet. If you have space for it, you can create a second clothing rod to hang more clothing, or just belts, scarves, and anything light. Just make sure to leave room for any important clothes to hang loosely so they can de-wrinkle after the wash.
You could also buy a projector instead of a television. It can provide a high quality entertainment system while taking up comparatively little space. You can mount them to the ceiling while mounting the screen to the wall. This cuts down the space normally dedicated to an entertainment unit.
Use magnets on everything. You can use these to adhere nail clippers, hair clips, and other grooming tools inside of your medicine cabinet to save up space on the shelves.
Just remember to use your vertical space when you don’t have horizontal space, especially when it’s easily out of sight.
Source: lifehacker.com, slipstick.com.au, futonland.com, decoholic.org, forrent.com, telegraph.co.uk, suitcasestories.com, hercampus.com, buzzfeed.com, rent.com, pdlankovsky.com, rhtenergy.com, etsy.com, telegraphindia.com
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