apartments http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/7749/all en-US The Easy Way to Sublet Your Apartment http://www.wisebread.com/the-easy-way-to-sublet-your-apartment <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-easy-way-to-sublet-your-apartment" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/getting_sorted_the_new_apartment.jpg" alt="Getting sorted the new apartment" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Breaking a lease is usually an expensive proposition, but it's a situation that may be necessary for a number of reasons. A new job, moving in with a partner or spouse, or the need for more space are all scenarios where you might need to break a lease. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-moves-to-make-if-you-need-to-break-your-lease?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Moves to Make If You Need to Break Your Lease</a>)</p> <p>If you find yourself in any of these situations, the best option may be to sublet the apartment. Someone else gets a much-needed place to live without committing to a full-term lease, you don't waste money paying a penalty to your landlord, and your landlord doesn't have to scramble to get the apartment filled before the end of your lease. Everyone wins.</p> <h2>First things first</h2> <p>Check your lease. Is subletting specifically prohibited? If so, approach your landlord. How you approach your landlord will depend upon your existing relationship with him or her. If you can just be honest and explain what you want to do, great!</p> <p>Assuming that you decide to proceed with subletting, here are a few steps to make the process as smooth as possible.</p> <h2>1. Ask friends and family members first</h2> <p>Before putting the apartment on a listing site, check with your friends and family members. Would one of them be interested in subletting from you, or do they know someone who would? A personal connection and referral almost always beats a random subletter, provided your friends and family members are responsible and respectful of the space.</p> <h2>2. Set boundaries</h2> <p>Are there certain rules that someone who sublets your apartment needs to follow? These could include no smoking, sorting the trash, collecting your mail, pet policies, or taking care of your belongings for an extended period of time. Make sure you're clear and upfront about these types of expectations so there are no gray areas down the road.</p> <h2>3. Have a proper sublease in place</h2> <p>Subletting an apartment shouldn't be done on a handshake, even if it is between friends or family members. To protect both parties, draft up a simple lease. There are a number of free templates available online. <a href="https://www.rocketlawyer.com/form/sublease-agreement.rl#/" target="_blank">Rocketlawyer</a> is a popular option for this, as is <a href="https://www.lawdepot.com/contracts/sublet-agreement/?loc=US#.WXJY_9PysY0" target="_blank">LawDepot</a>. The lease should include the monthly (or weekly) rate for the sublease, the beginning and ending dates of the lease, the name of the person (or people) who are going to be living in your apartment, and any of those boundary specifics mentioned above.</p> <h2>4. Collect a security deposit</h2> <p>It's a smart idea to collect a security deposit from the person or people who sublet your place. This can be helpful if the renters need to break their sublease or if there is damage done to the apartment. Remember, even though you're subletting, you are still legally responsible for the condition of the apartment when the lease is up, and if there are damages, your landlord may charge you for the repairs.</p> <h2>5. If subletting isn't an option, consider a swap</h2> <p>A few years ago, I wanted to try living in California for the summer. Rather than sublet my place in New York and find a sublet in California, I arranged a swap. A mother and daughter stayed in my apartment while I lived in their condo in Santa Monica. We followed all of the same steps above that I outlined for a sublease and we both got a summer experience we would never forget.</p> <p>In my situation, I wrote a post on my blog and someone found the post. It all worked out in a pretty magical way. If I tried this again, I would work through my network first to see if I had any friends, family members, or friends of friends who would be interested. If that didn't work out, I would try one of the new housing swap services that have popped up since I did my home exchange.</p> <p><a href="https://www.homeexchange.com/en/" target="_blank">HomeExchange.com</a> has more than 65,000 homes in 150 countries. Members pay $9.95 per month to list their property with the service. They facilitate over 120,000 swaps per year.</p> <p><a href="https://www.lovehomeswap.com/how-it-works" target="_blank">Love Home Swap</a> is another site with a few different swap models. You can do what they call a &quot;Classic Swap&quot; in which you go to someone else's home and they go to yours for a specific amount of time. They also have a &quot;Points Swap.&quot; Rather than having to agree on dates and location, you rent out your place whenever it's available for points instead of money. Then you can use those points to make a reservation for an available property on the site when you want to travel.</p> <p>Before you use a service to facilitate a swap, make sure the site is secure, that it verifies each user's identification, and the service has legitimate reviews on sites like Yelp. With any swap, have a legal agreement in place between you and the other party to make sure there are no surprises and that all terms are clear.</p> <p>If life leads you in a direction away from your current lease, don't resist that call. There are numerous ways to manage a lease rather than have it manage you.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easy-way-to-sublet-your-apartment">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-moves-to-make-if-you-need-to-break-your-lease">8 Moves to Make If You Need to Break Your Lease</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-questions-landlords-cant-ask">10 Questions Landlords Can&#039;t Ask</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-11-best-websites-for-renting-your-extra-space">The 11 Best Websites for Renting Your Extra Space</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-rent-an-apartment-with-bad-credit">7 Ways to Rent An Apartment With Bad Credit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-smart-ways-to-get-your-apartment-deposit-back">7 Smart Ways to Get Your Apartment Deposit Back</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing agreements apartments contracts house swap landlords renting sublease subletting Fri, 08 Sep 2017 08:30:10 +0000 Christa Avampato 2016671 at http://www.wisebread.com Why I Choose to Rent Instead of Buy http://www.wisebread.com/why-i-choose-to-rent-instead-of-buy <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-i-choose-to-rent-instead-of-buy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/new_beginnings.jpg" alt="New beginnings" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Conventional wisdom says that buying a home is a smarter financial decision that renting. However, homeownership is a huge decision, and it can be an expensive option. Owning a home is not for everyone, and for some, renting can actually be the more cost-effective choice.</p> <p>That's certainly the case for me. Despite earning a good income, my husband and I have decided to rent for the foreseeable future. Here's why it makes sense for us.</p> <h2>1. Affordable housing is hard to find</h2> <p>We live in one of the most highly-desired towns in the Central Florida region. A single-family, 1,200 square foot home in our neighborhood starts at $350,000. Even if you do find a home at that price, they often need significant improvements to be livable. Typically, houses in that price range need new roofs or foundation work.</p> <p>If we put 20 percent down on a home &mdash; a whopping $70,000 &mdash; our monthly payment for the mortgage, insurance, and taxes would be about $1,600 a month. Besides coming up with a huge down payment, that's a high monthly bill.</p> <p>While the housing market is extremely competitive in our neighborhood, rentals are much more affordable. We rent a large two-bedroom apartment with granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, hardwood floors, and resort-like amenities for just $1,300. And we didn't have to come up with a large payment to move in.</p> <p>The lack of affordable housing is a nationwide issue. Particularly in areas like New York City or San Francisco, buying a home can be out of reach for most Americans. In those cases, it can make more sense to rent than buy.</p> <h2>2. Maintenance isn't my problem</h2> <p>If we were to buy that $350,000 home, the down payment and monthly mortgage payment would be only a small portion of our home expenses. We'd have to budget to prepare for other expenses, like emergencies. If the roof needs repairs, or if the appliances break, we'd have to cover the cost of the replacement.</p> <p>With renting, all I need to do if there's a problem is call my landlord. Within 24 hours, they'll have the problem fixed. Not having to worry about the extra cost is helpful and gives me peace of mind. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-it-really-costs-to-own-a-home?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What It Really Costs to Own a Home</a>)</p> <h2>3. Homes are not an investment</h2> <p>Houses are often touted as a good investment. However, the recession of 2008 showed how flawed that idea was. There's no guarantee that a home's value will increase over time, and there is a chance it could decrease.</p> <p>The homes that go for $350,000 in our area sold for $500,000 pre-recession. But in 2008&ndash;2010, those same homes plummeted to under $180,000. For homeowners who took the plunge to buy, they lost a lot of money and either saw their bank foreclose on their homes or are still underwater.</p> <p>To me, homes are a place to live, not an investment. My goal is to have a safe place to live, not to earn money. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-your-house-is-not-an-investment?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Stop Thinking of Your House as an Investment</a>)</p> <h2>4. Flexibility is key</h2> <p>Homeownership scares me because it feels permanent. Of course, you could sell the home if you need to move, but that process can be long and complex. And you can end up losing money on the deal.</p> <p>Renting gives me more flexibility. If an opportunity pops up on the other side of the country, I just have to pay to break my lease and am free to leave. Having that option is reassuring in a sometimes tough job market.</p> <h2>5. We have other priorities</h2> <p>If homeownership is your goal, you may have to sacrifice other things to make it possible. To save for a down payment, you may have to cancel your retirement contributions, or take money out of your emergency fund.</p> <p>Contributing the maximum to my 401(k) and building my emergency fund are important to me. Because buying a home would mean postponing those goals, home searching just isn't in the cards.</p> <h2>Buying a home</h2> <p>Whether or not to buy a home is a very personal decision. While many say that homeownership is essential for financial security, it's not the only option available to you. Depending on your circumstances, renting can give you more disposable income each month and more freedom to pursue your other goals.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fwhy-i-choose-to-rent-instead-of-buy&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FWhy%2520I%2520Choose%2520to%2520Rent%2520Instead%2520of%2520Buy.jpg&amp;description=Why%20I%20Choose%20to%20Rent%20Instead%20of%20Buy"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Why%20I%20Choose%20to%20Rent%20Instead%20of%20Buy.jpg" alt="Why I Choose to Rent Instead of Buy" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kat-tretina">Kat Tretina</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-i-choose-to-rent-instead-of-buy">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-questions-to-ask-before-signing-a-lease">10 Questions to Ask Before Signing a Lease</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-way-to-decide-how-much-rent-you-can-really-afford">The Simple Way to Decide How Much Rent You Can Really Afford</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-questions-landlords-cant-ask">10 Questions Landlords Can&#039;t Ask</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easy-way-to-sublet-your-apartment">The Easy Way to Sublet Your Apartment</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-apartment-hunt-on-craigslist-without-getting-scammed">6 Ways to Apartment Hunt on Craigslist Without Getting Scammed</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing affordable housing apartments buying a home flexibility housing markets maintenance mortgage renting Mon, 10 Jul 2017 08:00:08 +0000 Kat Tretina 1977387 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Home-Buying Habits We Can Learn From Millennials http://www.wisebread.com/4-home-buying-habits-we-can-learn-from-millennials <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-home-buying-habits-we-can-learn-from-millennials" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/new_home_owners_with_key.jpg" alt="New homeowners with key" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Millennials entered the housing market later than their baby boomer and Generation X predecessors. They chose to rent for longer, and are just now starting to flood the housing market.</p> <p>But just because millennials have been slow to embrace homeownership doesn't mean that they don't have anything to teach others about buying a home. In fact, despite their late jump into the housing market, millennials have demonstrated plenty of smart home-buying behaviors. Here are a few smart homeownership habits we can all learn from this younger generation.</p> <h2>Don't rush</h2> <p>Ellie Mae, a software company that works with mortgage data, says that millennials &mdash; young adults from the ages of 18 to 34 &mdash; are currently the largest group of homebuyers in the housing market. According to the company, in January of 2017, these young buyers took out about 45 percent of all the mortgage loans used to buy homes. But homebuying is a recent trend for this age group.</p> <p>Economists have long observed that millennials waited longer than older generations to jump into the housing market, just as they have also waited longer to get married and have families.</p> <p>This isn't necessarily a bad thing. Buying a home is expensive. You'll need money for a down payment and the closing costs on your mortgage loan. This will run you thousands of dollars.</p> <p>As millennials show, there's nothing wrong with waiting until you have a more established job and reliable income to buy a home. Having that economic stability will eliminate some of the stress of covering that mortgage payment each month.</p> <h2>Don't break your budget</h2> <p>You don't want to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-ends-meet-when-youre-house-poor?ref=internal" target="_blank">overspend on a home</a>. And today, that's getting easier to do because housing prices continue to rise. The National Association of Realtors says that the median price for a home sold in March of 2017 hit $236,400. That's an increase of 6.8 percent from March of 2016, when the median price was $221,400. This March also marked the 61st consecutive month in which home prices rose on a year-over-year basis.</p> <p>One of the most often-cited reasons for millennials' slow entry into the housing market is the student loan debt they face. According to Student Loan Hero, the average college graduate of the class of 2016 has $37,172 in student loan debt, up 6 percent from the previous year. Taking on the added debt burden of a mortgage can be intimidating when you already owe tens of thousands of dollars in student loans.</p> <p>Millennials know about debt. It's why so many of them are cautious about overspending. And this wariness is a good habit to acquire. Just because a mortgage lender approves you for a mortgage loan of $250,000, doesn't mean you must buy a home costing that much. It's OK &mdash; and is, in fact, fiscally smart &mdash; to buy a home that costs less. This will leave you with money leftover and an easier time making those housing payments each month.</p> <h2>Be realistic about the American dream</h2> <p>Buying a home has long been a part of the American dream. But millennials understand that this American dream can easily turn into a nightmare.</p> <p>Many millennials saw their parents lose their jobs and struggle to make their mortgage payments during the Great Recession. Some saw their parents lose their homes to foreclosure. Others watched as their parents' homes steadily lost value, leaving them underwater &mdash; owing more on their mortgage loans than what their homes were worth.</p> <p>Millennials learned that buying a home wasn't the only way to be happy in America. They learned that it could, in fact, be one way to be unhappy in America.</p> <p>The good habit here is that you should never jump into owning a home just because everyone else seems to be doing it. Owning a home isn't the right choice for everyone, which brings us to one last habit.</p> <h2>Don't think that renting comes with a stigma</h2> <p>Millennials are less averse to renting apartments later in life than both baby boomers and Gen Xers. In fact, the apartment market around the country is in the middle of a boom, with more people of all ages choosing to rent instead of owning a home.</p> <p>Renting has become a preferred way of living for a growing number of people. Need proof? Landlords keep increasing monthly rents to historic levels, something they'd struggle to do if the renters weren't coming. Apartment company Abodo said that in March of this year, the median monthly rent of a one-bedroom apartment across the United States stood at $1,005.</p> <p>In major cities, where many prefer to rent, monthly rents are especially high. Abodo reported that in San Francisco the median monthly rent stood at $3,415 in March 2017, while it hit $2,705 in New York City and $2,549 in San Jose, California. Other markets with high monthly rents include Boston ($2,398); Washington, D.C. ($2,097); Los Angeles ($2,030); and Oakland ($2,009).</p> <p>If you prefer to rent &mdash; and you aren't interested in the yard work and upkeep that come with owning a home &mdash; don't feel pressured to make the move to owning. You'll have plenty of company when it comes to renting an apartment.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F4-home-buying-habits-we-can-learn-from-millennials&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F4%2520Home-Buying%2520Habits%2520We%2520Can%2520Learn%2520From%2520Millennials.jpg&amp;description=4%20Home-Buying%20Habits%20We%20Can%20Learn%20From%20Millennials"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/4%20Home-Buying%20Habits%20We%20Can%20Learn%20From%20Millennials.jpg" alt="4 Home-Buying Habits We Can Learn From Millennials" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-home-buying-habits-we-can-learn-from-millennials">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rent-your-home-or-buy-heres-how-to-decide">Rent Your Home or Buy? Here&#039;s How to Decide</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-whats-included-in-a-homes-closing-costs">Here&#039;s What&#039;s Included in a Home&#039;s Closing Costs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-that-will-ruin-your-mortgage-application">5 Money Moves That Will Ruin Your Mortgage Application</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-build-equity-in-your-home">How to Build Equity in Your Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-mortgage-details-you-should-know-before-you-sign">5 Mortgage Details You Should Know Before You Sign</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing American Dream apartments home buying homeownership lessons loans millennials mortgages renting Wed, 28 Jun 2017 09:00:12 +0000 Dan Rafter 1970390 at http://www.wisebread.com Rent Your Home or Buy? Here's How to Decide http://www.wisebread.com/rent-your-home-or-buy-heres-how-to-decide <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/rent-your-home-or-buy-heres-how-to-decide" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/hands_small_house_71818037.jpg" alt="Deciding if you should rent or buy your home" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are plenty of advantages to renting an apartment, and just as many to buying a home, instead. But what about financially? Is renting or buying the smarter money move?</p> <p>Not surprisingly, the answer is complicated, and depends on where you live, what kind of home you want to buy or apartment you want to rent, and how long you plan on staying in one place. Here's a look at the numbers that might help you solve the rent-vs.-buy puzzle.</p> <h2>Prices Are Rising for Buyers and Renters</h2> <p>Renting an apartment is more expensive today than it was even a year ago. But the same is true of buying a home.</p> <p>Consider the cost of buying a home. The National Association of Realtors reported that in September of this year, the median price of existing homes stood at $234,200.</p> <p>You won't necessarily have to pay $234,200 or more, depending on where you buy. But the median sales price continues to increase, meaning that home prices overall are on the rise. The median price in September was up 5.6% from the same month one year earlier, when it was $221,700. And don't expect median prices to fall anytime soon. The association says that September's price increase represents the 55th consecutive month of year-over-year gains.</p> <p>And what about renting? Apartment rents continue to rise, too. ApartmentList reported that in November of this year, the median national rent for one-bedroom apartments was $1,110 a month. For two-bedroom apartments that figure was $1,270. The good news is that median rents actually fell in 55 out of the country's 100 biggest cities from October to November, according to ApartmentList.</p> <p>The bad news? Rents are still higher today than they were one, two, or three years ago. According to ApartmentList, the median national rent was 2% higher in November of this year compared with the same month one year earlier.</p> <p>So no matter if you rent or buy, know that prices are generally rising.</p> <h2>Which Is More Affordable?</h2> <p>That leads to the big question: Given that both buying a home and renting an apartment are getting more expensive, which option is most affordable?</p> <p>The answer to this question includes plenty of variables. For instance, owning a home provides a tax benefit: You can deduct the interest you pay on your mortgage loan each year up to $1 million, resulting in a lower tax bill. But even this isn't a crystal-clear financial plus for all owners. You can only claim your mortgage interest deduction if you itemize your taxes. And if that interest deduction isn't higher than the IRS' standard deduction &mdash; which stood at $12,600 for married couples filing jointly and $6,300 for singles in 2016 &mdash; there is no real reason for you to itemize your taxes and claim the deduction.</p> <p>Then consider the variables of going the apartment route: You might be able to find an apartment with low rent. But that apartment might not be located where you actually want to live, especially if you want to live in the center of a large city. Apartments in urban areas tend to come with higher rents today.</p> <p>And if you do find a cheaper apartment, it will almost certainly not be a newer one. RENTCafe found that in 2015, 75% of all large new apartment properties built across the country were high-end luxury properties, buildings that charge far higher monthly rents. Most of these new apartments are being built in the center of big cities, too, according to RENTCafe.</p> <p>So if you want to rent an apartment in San Francisco? ApartmentList says that a two-bedroom apartment here had a median price of $4,700 a month in November, while a one-bedroom had a median monthly rent of $3,440. In Boston, two-bedrooms rented for a median price of $2,350 a month, while in Seattle it cost a median of $1,720 for a one-bedroom unit and $2,300 for two bedrooms.</p> <p>Given this jumble of numbers, is it cheaper to rent or buy? According to real estate website Trulia, buying a home is cheaper on a national basis. Though, not surprisingly, there are some caveats.</p> <h2>Nationally, Buying Is Cheaper</h2> <p>Trulia reported in October that buying a home was 37.7% cheaper than renting on a national basis. But that 37.7% figure only holds true for those who live in their homes for at least seven years and can afford to come up with a down payment of 20% on their homes.</p> <p>Given that standard, Trulia reports that buying is cheaper than renting in each of the 100 largest metropolitan areas of the country. According to Trulia, for example, it is 50% cheaper to buy in Miami and just under 20% cheaper to buy in San Francisco and Honolulu.</p> <p>Part of the reason that buying is more affordable comes down to mortgage interest rates. Rates are still at historically low levels, with the Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey reporting that as of Nov. 10, the average interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage loan stood at 3.57%. This makes borrowing money for a mortgage loan more affordable.</p> <p>Want to see what Trulia thinks of the rent-vs.-buy decision in your community? Visit the site&rsquo;s <a href="https://www.trulia.com/rent_vs_buy/">rent-vs.-buy calculator</a>, punch in your metropolitan area and wait for the results.</p> <h2>What Should You Do?</h2> <p>These numbers, and Trulia&rsquo;s rent-vs.-buy calculator, should serve as a general guide. But they alone can't tell you whether you should rent or buy. That's because everyone's situation is unique.</p> <p>Say you only plan to live in an area for three or four years before moving. Renting is almost always the better financial move. Say you hate the thought of mowing a lawn for 15 years. Again, renting might be the better choice, even if it is more expensive than owning a home. If you dream of gardening in your own backyard? Then buying might make you happier.</p> <p>Your best bet is to carefully analyze what you want out of a home, whether it's the stability of owning and building equity or the freedom that comes with renting. Then make your decision based on what type of home will best meet your needs.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rent-your-home-or-buy-heres-how-to-decide">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-home-buying-habits-we-can-learn-from-millennials">4 Home-Buying Habits We Can Learn From Millennials</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-best-cities-with-rent-control">The 3 Best Cities With Rent Control</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-your-house-is-not-an-investment">Stop Thinking of Your House as an Investment</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-way-to-decide-how-much-rent-you-can-really-afford">The Simple Way to Decide How Much Rent You Can Really Afford</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-whats-included-in-a-homes-closing-costs">Here&#039;s What&#039;s Included in a Home&#039;s Closing Costs</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing apartments cost of living homeownership mortgages rent vs buy renting Tue, 22 Nov 2016 11:00:15 +0000 Dan Rafter 1835351 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Best Tools for Finding an Apartment on the Cheap http://www.wisebread.com/10-best-tools-for-finding-an-apartment-on-the-cheap <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-best-tools-for-finding-an-apartment-on-the-cheap" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_laptop_boxes_11897386.jpg" alt="Woman using best tools for finding an apartment on the cheap" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Depending on where you live, finding a new apartment can be tough &hellip; or downright overwhelming. Seinfeld once joked that in New York, the obituaries section should be coupled with the property section in a newspaper, because that's pretty much the only way to find a decent place.</p> <p>But wherever you live, you are going to need help, especially if it's a completely unknown area. What is the neighborhood like? How are the schools? Is the crime rate high? Is the rent too high? The following tools will help you get your foot in the door.</p> <h2>1. Craigslist</h2> <p>Do not underestimate the power of Craigslist. Started in 1996 by Craig Newmark, it was originally servicing only the San Francisco Bay Area. Now, it's global, and the &quot;Housing&quot; section still remains free for people to post and respond to listings. There are many subsections, including real estate for sale, vacation rentals, and even office/commercial storage. However, you will want to look into the following categories:</p> <ul> <li>Apt/housing</li> <li>Housing swap</li> <li>Rooms/shared</li> <li>Sublets/Temporary</li> </ul> <p>Once you get into any of those sections, you can narrow down your search with a great list of tools. From basic parameters like price, bedrooms, bathrooms, and square footage, to more niche requirements like &quot;X miles from zip,&quot; wheelchair access, and animals, you can quickly find just the place you're looking for. It is by far the most convenient free tool out there.</p> <h2>2. Apartment Finder</h2> <p>Long before the Internet was the go-to place for, well, everything, &quot;<a href="http://www.apartmentfinder.com/">Apartment Finder</a>&quot; magazine was the essential tool for finding your next abode. Started in 1981, it has won numerous industry awards and is now available in several formats, including the traditional magazine, the website, and the app. It also part of a network that includes Apartments.com, ApartmentHomeLiving, Move, and Doorsteps.</p> <p>As it is a service focused on renting apartments, there are more slick tools here to help. You'll be able to explore the spaces using a 360-degree camera, and you'll get virtual walk-throughs, floor plans, a veritable smorgasbord of photos, and a lot of detailed information. The only downside is that you will not usually find properties from people just looking to rent out their homes. It costs money to advertise on this site, and that means it's populated by large apartment complexes. But if that's what you're looking for, and you need the extra security and benefits of a managed property with a pool and a gymnasium, this is just what you need.</p> <h2>3. Zillow</h2> <p>When <a href="http://www.zillow.com/homes/for_rent/">Zillow</a> first came onto the scene, it was primarily used as a tool to estimate your home's value (and real estate agents <em>hated </em>it because the information was always very hit or miss). Now, Zillow has become an excellent free resource for the apartment hunter. Not only does it have all the tools you'd expect to narrow down your search, but it offers advice on renting and house hunting, as well as important neighborhood information (essential if you know nothing about an area you're moving into), including school ratings. Again, it costs to list a rental property on this kind of site, so don't expect to find little hidden gems being offered by someone who has a second home.</p> <h2>4. Rentometer</h2> <p>Although it won't help you find the specific place you want to live in, it will help you research what you should (and should not) be paying for rent at any of the apartments you're checking out. If you find the home of your dreams, but aren't sure if the price is sky high, <a href="https://www.rentometer.com/">Rentometer</a> will give you a temperature check of the area. You'll see the average and median prices, and also which percentile the apartment you're looking at falls in. At the very least, you want &quot;reasonable&quot; rent. Low is great. If you're in the red zone, negotiate or move on.</p> <h2>5. The Library</h2> <p>So your local library is not an app or a website, obviously, but it is filled with resources that can help anyone find their perfect apartment. It's a shame that more people don't take full advantage of the library; after all, we all pay for libraries with our taxes. Libraries have computers to access the many online tools listed in this article. They also have copies of a plethora of local and national newspapers, which contain classified ads for apartments and homes. If you find yourself in need of a place that contains many tools under one roof, the library is hard to beat.</p> <h2>6. HotPads</h2> <p>If you're looking for a tool that combines the great functionality of sites like Apartment Finder and Zillow, but also has the variety of smaller rentals offered by Craigslist, the <a href="https://hotpads.com">HotPads</a> is definitely for you. It has listings for most major cities in the U.S., and gives you a great set of criteria to help you get a list of excellent matches. Features like the &quot;walk score&quot; and neighborhood information, coupled with &quot;hot listings&quot; that show you which apartments are getting the most attention make HotPads one of the best tools for anyone looking to rent in a well-populated location.</p> <h2>7. Rent.com</h2> <p>Just like HotPads, <a href="http://www.rent.com/">Rent.com</a> gives you great choice. You can find landlords who are renting out just one or two properties, or giant apartment complexes with hundreds of units in one place. You can sort by best match, price, rating, or alphabetically, and when you narrow it down to a few properties, you can check the availability and book a tour. Definitely sort by ratings, because some of apartments have quite a few skeletons in the closet.</p> <h2>8. PadMapper</h2> <p>If you want to imagine what an apartment hunting app crossed with a mapping tool would look like, check out <a href="https://www.padmapper.com">PadMapper</a>. From the get go, you are greeted with a map of the area you want to look at, which is immediately populated by all the available rentals. It's somewhat overwhelming at first, but by using the tools provided, you can quickly take pins off the map until you get it down to some manageable choices. Save your favorites, check out floor plans and photos, and indicate your interest in the property. One downside &mdash; it appears to only list apartments in large complexes.</p> <h2>9. Lovely</h2> <p>Great name. Great site. <a href="https://livelovely.com">Lovely</a> is known as being exceptionally easy to use, simple, and direct. And it really is a soup-to-nuts kind of setup. With Lovely, you cannot only find your ideal apartment from a vast array on the market, but also submit an application through the site. Plus, you can even pay your rent through the site itself! Of course, anything that sounds too good to be true often has a downside. With Lovely, it's scope. Right now, you're limited to the Midwest and the coasts, but as word spreads, so will the range of the site.</p> <h2>10. Zumper</h2> <p>What does the name mean? Who knows. But the site (and app) look great, are easy to use, and have a wealth of information. The first question you'll be asked is where you want to move. Type in the area, and you'll get an overview of the town or city, including any annual festivities or notable attractions. You can search on a map, or by the usual parameters (bedrooms, price, amenities, and so on). One excellent feature of <a href="https://www.zumper.com">Zumper</a> is the way it seamlessly integrates with Experian, allowing you to safely and securely submit your credit report along with your application. Highly recommended.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-best-tools-for-finding-an-apartment-on-the-cheap">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-apartment-hunt-on-craigslist-without-getting-scammed">6 Ways to Apartment Hunt on Craigslist Without Getting Scammed</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-forget-to-budget-for-these-unexpected-moving-expenses">Don&#039;t Forget to Budget for These Unexpected Moving Expenses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-common-apartment-hunting-mistakes-to-avoid">9 Common Apartment Hunting Mistakes to Avoid</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-way-to-decide-how-much-rent-you-can-really-afford">The Simple Way to Decide How Much Rent You Can Really Afford</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/self-employed-heres-how-to-get-your-apartment-application-approved">Self-Employed? Here&#039;s How to Get Your Apartment Application Approved</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing Technology apartment finder apartments apps craigslist moving renting websites Zillow Fri, 21 Oct 2016 09:30:30 +0000 Paul Michael 1816944 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Questions to Ask Before Signing a Lease http://www.wisebread.com/10-questions-to-ask-before-signing-a-lease <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-questions-to-ask-before-signing-a-lease" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/friends_money_moves_63337017.jpg" alt="Couple asking questions before signing a lease" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>So you've been searching for a place to live. You've looked at a bunch of different homes and apartments, driven all over town, and have finally decided on the one you want. It's perfect. But before you whip out the pen and commit to something, ask the following 10 questions. They could prevent you from making a very costly &mdash; and time-consuming &mdash; mistake.</p> <h2>1. Which Utilities Are My Responsibility?</h2> <p>Depending on where you live (and how generous the landlord is), utility responsibility may vary. If you're living in a large apartment complex, you may find that a lot of utilities are covered by your rent. In other cases, it may only be water and sewage, or in the worst case scenario&hellip;nothing at all. So make sure you know exactly which utilities are going to be your responsibility, <em>and </em>see if you can get a history of the bills at that address. Some homes are more energy efficient than others, and some homes have additional costs you may not consider (such as fees for constructing new pipelines). When you get the complete picture, you may discover that the utility bills put a unit beyond your reach.</p> <h2>2. How and When Do I Pay My Rent?</h2> <p>You already know what the rent costs, but you also need to know how and when to pay it. These days, many larger apartment leasing companies will take payments online, or through an automated debit system. Private landlords will most likely take a check or banker's draft, and may want you to mail it, or hand it over in person. There may also be fees for paying online or by check, so ask about that. And of course, ask about late fees and grace periods. You may get up to five days to pay your rent without incurring a penalty.</p> <h2>3. Do I Have to Have Renters Insurance?</h2> <p>Any kind of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-you-definitely-need-renters-insurance?ref=internal">renters insurance</a> is good to have, even if it covers the bare minimum. But times are tough, and you may not have the money to afford it right now. Your landlord or leasing agency may not care. Or, they may have a very strict renters insurance policy, which could once again put you over your monthly budget and make the apartment off limits. If you are required to have it, shop around and get multiple quotes. Use these quotes as bargaining chips with each insurance company to get the best possible rate that covers more of your possessions.</p> <h2>4. What Is Your Guest Policy?</h2> <p>In this day and age, the vast majority of landlords are not going to care if you have guests for long visits. But, it never hurts to check the rules of the apartment complex or landlord. Even then, it's a very tricky rule to enforce, so it's doubtful anything will happen. The problems usually come with guests staying for an extended period of time. If your best friend suddenly becomes homeless and asks to stay in your spare room for a few months, that could have ramifications. And if you decide to move your partner in to live there permanently, you will have to consult the landlord. It's possible a background check will be needed.</p> <h2>5. Can I Make Improvements?</h2> <p>When you move into a new place, you want it to feel like home. That often means personalizing it with paint, wallpaper, new curtains, maybe even new carpet or tile. This should all be openly discussed with the landlord before you ever sign the lease, and put in writing. It's quite possible that any improvements you want to make (even a simple coat of paint), will have to be approved first. Even if you think you're making the place even better (adding a wooden floor for instance), the landlord has every right to take your security deposit when you move out.</p> <h2>6. How Long Is the Lease?</h2> <p>It may seem like an obvious question, but not all leases are created equal. Some landlords may be renting their home out for the summer, and want a tenant for six months or less. Some apartment complexes offer discounts for longer leases. Some leases are month-to-month. You need to know this up front, and also, what kind of fees you will pay to break that lease. It's possible you'll be asked to pay two months' rent to get out of it, and may also lose your security deposit. Other places may be much more relaxed, especially if you find someone to take over the lease.</p> <h2>7. How Much Is the Security Deposit and Do I Get All of It Back?</h2> <p>The typical amount for a security deposit is one month's rent, but it can vary from place to place. Some may only want a nominal fee &mdash; say $300. Now, by law, any kind of security deposit is refundable, that's why it's called a security deposit; you put the money down as insurance for the landlord, you get it back if all is well. However, different landlords have different thresholds for wear and tear, and it's possible you won't get the whole amount back, especially if you have pets.</p> <h2>8. How Will the Apartment Be Prepared and How Should I Leave It?</h2> <p>These are two different questions, but both relate to the cleanliness and appearance of the apartment. Before you move in, you need to know if the entire place will be cleaned and repaired. You may well be viewing the place before any of this has happened, and may be in for a shock if you move in and the carpets are stained and the lighting is broken. So, get in writing how the home should be delivered and returned. Also, when you move out, you may have to pay for some of those very services that make the home ready for the next tenants. So, ask if you have to have the carpets shampooed, or the place professionally cleaned. If you do, and don't do it, this fee can come out of your security deposit.</p> <h2>9. What's the Pet Policy?</h2> <p>Landlords don't like pets, often for good reason. They sometimes leave a smell, they can tear things, they're noisy at times, and they can leave nasty surprises on the carpet. For this reason, most places will have some kind of pet policy in place. It may be as simple as &quot;Yes, pets are fine, but don't let your dog bark all the time.&quot; Other places could impose a nonrefundable fee for the term of the lease to cover additional cleaning, or impose a monthly fee, known as pet rent. Even if you don't have a pet now, ask about it. You don't want to have to move out later because you want to get a dog or a cat.</p> <h2>10. How Do You Deal With Maintenance and Emergencies?</h2> <p>Again, this will vary depending on the kind of place you're looking at. Big apartment complexes usually have a maintenance staff on site, and a simple call to the front desk can be all it takes to get an issue resolved. If you're renting a home from a private landlord, you'll want to know up front what kind of response you will get, and how soon. If it's just a guy renting his house out, and your fence blows down, will it take weeks for the repair to happen? Can you call someone to make repairs, and remove the cost of service from your rent? Do all repairs have to go through the landlord, and are there preferred providers? All this should be asked up front.</p> <p><em>Have you ever been burned by the hidden terms of a lease?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-questions-to-ask-before-signing-a-lease">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-i-choose-to-rent-instead-of-buy">Why I Choose to Rent Instead of Buy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-smart-ways-to-get-your-apartment-deposit-back">7 Smart Ways to Get Your Apartment Deposit Back</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-way-to-decide-how-much-rent-you-can-really-afford">The Simple Way to Decide How Much Rent You Can Really Afford</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-questions-landlords-cant-ask">10 Questions Landlords Can&#039;t Ask</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easy-way-to-sublet-your-apartment">The Easy Way to Sublet Your Apartment</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing apartments breaking a lease insurance maintenance pets policies renters agreement renting security deposits signing a lease utilities Wed, 31 Aug 2016 10:30:09 +0000 Paul Michael 1782899 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Moves to Make If You Need to Break Your Lease http://www.wisebread.com/8-moves-to-make-if-you-need-to-break-your-lease <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-moves-to-make-if-you-need-to-break-your-lease" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_thinking_house_59055710.jpg" alt="Man making moves to break his lease" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Most renters understand that a lease benefits them as much as it does landlords, since it protects both parties. However, if you need to break that lease, you could be on the receiving end of some tough penalties and legal actions. Don't panic yet, though &mdash; there are moves that could save you a lot of money&hellip; and your sanity.</p> <h2>1. Find New Tenants for the Landlord</h2> <p>The biggest issue landlords have with breaking a lease is the loss of income. The landlord has overhead, including a mortgage payment, HOA costs, water, and more, and they all have to be covered even when the property is empty. This is why there are penalties for breaking a lease &mdash; to cover the landlord against loss.</p> <p>However, if you are proactive and find good tenants to replace you, it's very possible the landlord will waive the fees and let you break the lease. After all, you have brought in new tenants, saving the landlord time and effort, and in most cases, extending the time the property will be filled. (If your lease expires in July, but you bring in someone to rent from March-February of the following year, you've done the landlord a favor).</p> <h2>2. Plead Your Extenuating Circumstances</h2> <p>Landlords are people, too. If you're renting from a big property management firm, you won't have much luck. But if it's an individual, arrange a time to sit and chat, and explain the reasons why you have to break the lease. Be open, be honest, and see what happens. If you have to break the lease to move back home with an ailing parent or relative, the landlord could be very sympathetic, and may do something for you (cutting the early termination fee in half, or waiving it completely). But, don't lie. Making up some bleeding heart story could backfire, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-questions-landlords-cant-ask" target="_blank">you don't want an angry landlord</a> as an enemy, especially when they have the law on their side.</p> <h2>3. Look for a Contract Breach</h2> <p>If you have to break the lease, you may well be within your rights to do so without any kind of termination fee &mdash; <em>if</em> the contract is, in fact, not being adhered to. Remember, the contract is for your protection as well as the landlord's, and the property should be safe and well-maintained. If you have been living with a broken refrigerator, a moldy bathroom, or any other type of problem that makes the property tough to live in, you can use it to your advantage.</p> <p>However, you cannot just ignore these issues for months and then decide to break the contract. You will need to provide evidence that you asked the landlord to address the issues. Also, take pictures, and keep copies of all correspondence. If you can show your requests for help fell on deaf ears, you will have a great case to break the lease without a fee.</p> <h2>4. Negotiate Payoff Terms for the Penalties</h2> <p>Early termination fees can be very scary. When you see a $1,500 lump sum, it can make you think twice about even considering it. However, landlords can be very flexible if they know they are going to get the money in a set amount of time. Consider asking for an installment payment plan for any early termination fees.</p> <h2>5. Use Your Security Deposit as a Bargaining Chip</h2> <p>You will have put down a substantial security deposit when you signed the lease. Usually, it's around one month's rent, and this can be just enough to cover the costs of the landlord while they find a new tenant. If the property is in a highly sought after location, it will not be empty for long, and that security deposit will more than cover any costs the landlord has. It's much easier for them to simply keep that deposit and avoid a bunch of paperwork, rather than trying to take you to court for fees.</p> <h2>6. Find a Sublet</h2> <p>Ready to become a landlord yourself for a while? Well, try subletting. Now, you may find that the contract forbids you to sublet the property, so you may have to talk to the landlord (or do it without saying anything, and hope for the best). As a general rule, landlords don't really care where the money comes from, as long as the property is well maintained and the tenants cause no trouble. And remember, if you sublet to someone who wrecks the place, that's all on you. Your name is on the lease, so the landlord is going to be reimbursed, either way.</p> <h2>7. Can You Blame the Neighbors or Surroundings?</h2> <p>Do the neighbors upstairs have parties until 4 a.m. every weekend (or worse, every day)? Do the neighbors harass you, or make life hell for you in general? Is the neighborhood itself in serious decline, and no longer a safe place to live? These are all conditions that you may be able to use to break the lease without a termination fee.</p> <p>Once again, you would have to prove that you asked the landlord to deal with the situation, and that nothing happened. But if you can prove the property became unlivable, you can argue you were &quot;<a href="http://www.brickunderground.com/blog/2011/07/ask_an_expert_breaking_a_lease_over_neighbor_noise">constructively evicted from your property</a>.&quot; This is something that can go to court, so you need to be really buttoned-up, and will most likely require legal assistance.</p> <h2>Haggle Over the Early Termination Fee</h2> <p>Landlords would rather have some money than none at all. If you are going to have to pay $2,000 to break the lease, but can only afford $1,000, talk to the landlord about a lower penalty. This is easier to do with an individual than a property management company, as the latter has the backing of corporate funds and on-staff legal counsel. But&hellip; it's always worth a try.</p> <p><em>Have you ever broken a lease? How'd you get out of it?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-moves-to-make-if-you-need-to-break-your-lease">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easy-way-to-sublet-your-apartment">The Easy Way to Sublet Your Apartment</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-questions-landlords-cant-ask">10 Questions Landlords Can&#039;t Ask</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-11-best-websites-for-renting-your-extra-space">The 11 Best Websites for Renting Your Extra Space</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-rent-an-apartment-with-bad-credit">7 Ways to Rent An Apartment With Bad Credit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-smart-ways-to-get-your-apartment-deposit-back">7 Smart Ways to Get Your Apartment Deposit Back</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing apartments breaking lease contracts landlords lease rental agreement renting sublet Wed, 22 Jun 2016 09:30:24 +0000 Paul Michael 1736373 at http://www.wisebread.com Does It Make Sense to Stay in a Hotel Anymore? http://www.wisebread.com/does-it-make-sense-to-stay-in-a-hotel-anymore <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/does-it-make-sense-to-stay-in-a-hotel-anymore" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_hammock_beach_000031567486.jpg" alt="Couple wondering if it makes sense to stay in a hotel" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Staying in a hotel isn't necessarily the cheapest option, especially when you're staying in a big city, like New York City. However, before you book that apartment on Airbnb, you should consider the various advantages of staying in a hotel.</p> <h2>Discounts Are Available</h2> <p>Airbnb is <a href="https://www.busbud.com/blog/airbnb-vs-hotel-rates/">not always the cheapest option</a>. Depending on where you stay, it may actually be more affordable to book a hotel. It can be very affordable to stay at a hotel using discounts, promo codes, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/breakdown-of-benefits-and-value-of-the-best-hotel-rewards-programs-and-credit-cards?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=travel">hotel loyalty programs</a>, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-cards-for-hotel-deals-and-rewards?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=travel">credit card reward programs</a>, and express deals on bidding sites. While you may be able to get a promo code for your very first day on Airbnb, there generally aren't any promo codes available for short-term rentals. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-resources?ref=seealso">40 Most Useful Travel Websites That Can Save You a Fortune</a>)</p> <h2>You Can Complain</h2> <p>When you have a complaint at a hotel, all you have to do is call down to the lobby and let them know. If you want to take it one step further, you can ask to speak with a manager. This will usually result in discounts, upgrades, and just about whatever you ask for.</p> <p>When it comes to Airbnb, there is really nobody to complain to. If you are unhappy with your stay, you're stuck there anyways. At the end of your trip, if things don't go as planned, you may get a full or partial refund on your stay at a hotel. However, if you're booking a short-term rental, you likely won't get a discount.</p> <h2>You Only Have to Deal With Professionals</h2> <p>With Airbnb, you will likely have to deal with the hosts &mdash; before you book your trip and throughout your stay. Some hosts can be less than welcoming or accommodating. At a hotel, your interaction with hotel staff should be minimal, and they are expected to act in a professional, corporate manner.</p> <h2>You Can Enjoy Special Extras</h2> <p>You can expect a number of special extras when you stay at a hotel. These same extras aren't usually included in a short-term rental stay. Some of the most common extras you can often receive from a hotel include:</p> <ul> <li>Free soaps and shampoos (so you don't have to waste your own);<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Endless clean towels and linen;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Special treatment on special occasions (let them know if it's your birthday, honeymoon, or anniversary so that they go the extra mile for your trip);<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Fitness room or spa;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Business center;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Hotel bar or restaurant;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Continental breakfast or buffet.</li> </ul> <h2>Hotels May Be Cleaner</h2> <p>We've all heard the horror stories of black light findings and rumors of how filthy hotel rooms can be. However, have you considered how clean an Airbnb apartment may be? The owners aren't held to any standards, so you may be sleeping in a bed with dirty linen or using old towels.</p> <p>At a hotel, you can expect daily housekeeping, whereas with Airbnb, you're on your own to make the bed, empty the trash, and clean up after yourself. This can result in a tidy hotel versus an unkempt and unorganized Airbnb apartment.</p> <h2>Hotels May Be Safer</h2> <p>When it comes to a hotel, only the front desk and housekeeping should have a key to your room, so you can rest assured that no one should be coming in at night. On the other hand, with Airbnb, you have no idea how many people have the key to the apartment you're staying in, which may might you feel uneasy at night. Hotels also usually have security on the premises, security cameras, computerized door entry cards, and even room safes for enhanced security.</p> <h2>Hotels Are More Relaxing</h2> <p>Staying at a hotel feels more like a vacation from everyday life. It is a break from the normal daily grind. On the other hand, staying in someone's home on Airbnb may feel more like staying at home, with similar responsibilities.</p> <h2>Flexible Stays</h2> <p>You can book a hotel room for as little as one night, whereas with Airbnb, you usually have to book multiple nights. If you are expecting a late night arrival, a hotel is usually very flexible with the check-in time, whereas an Airbnb apartment usually has early check-in times that cannot be negotiated.</p> <h2>Local Assistance</h2> <p>Many avid travelers have made the case for Airbnb that staying in someone's home will allow you to find local favorites and get expert recommendations from your host. However, you can get the same experience from a hotel. Simply ask the concierge for recommendations, directions, and advice about the area. Staying in a downtown or metro area will also automatically put you in touch with some of the best things the area has to offer.</p> <h2>You Get What You Pay For</h2> <p>If you don't get what you see in the hotel's description, you can simply complain and they'll have to hold up to their end of the deal. On the other hand, Airbnb descriptions and photographs can be very misleading, so you don't always get what you're expecting.</p> <h2>Is Airbnb Still the Best Choice?</h2> <p>There are still a number of important reasons to consider short-term rentals. According to Priceonomics, compared to the average hotel room, you can <a href="http://priceonomics.com/hotels/">save up to 50%</a> by renting a private room on Airbnb, and up to 22% by renting an apartment on Airbnb. Those are substantial savings. You'll also have access to an entire apartment, including a kitchen and living area, as opposed to just a cramped hotel room. If you'll be staying in a popular area, like New York City, make sure to carefully weigh your options to determine if a hotel or Airbnb is right for you.</p> <p><em>Do you know of other reasons to stay in a hotel? Have you had experiences at a hotel or Airbnb you'd like to share? Please share your thoughts in the comments!</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fdoes-it-make-sense-to-stay-in-a-hotel-anymore&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FDoes%20It%20Make%20Sense%20to%20Stay%20in%20a%20Hotel%20Anymore-.jpg&amp;description=Does%20It%20Make%20Sense%20to%20Stay%20in%20a%20Hotel%20Anymore%3F" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Does%20It%20Make%20Sense%20to%20Stay%20in%20a%20Hotel%20Anymore-.jpg" width="250" height="374" alt="" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/does-it-make-sense-to-stay-in-a-hotel-anymore">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-simple-ways-to-save-on-hotel-stays">9 Simple Ways to Save on Hotel Stays</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-families-can-earn-and-use-travel-rewards">How Families Can Earn and Use Travel Rewards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-resources">40 Most Useful Travel Websites That Can Save You a Fortune</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-book-an-amazing-cheap-vacation-package">How to Book an Amazing Cheap Vacation Package</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-about-a-terrible-airbnb-stay">What to Do About a Terrible Airbnb Stay</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel accomodations AirBnb apartments hotels loyalty programs renting trips vacations Mon, 06 Jun 2016 09:00:08 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1718095 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Questions Landlords Can't Ask http://www.wisebread.com/10-questions-landlords-cant-ask <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-questions-landlords-cant-ask" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_rental_sign_000024945777.jpg" alt="Learning which questions landlords cannot ask" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The rental market is tough these days, especially in big cities. You have to scan the classifieds, jump on opportunities, and be ready to say yes at a moment's notice. So the last thing you need is for some landlord to refuse you a lease because of questions he or she is actually not allowed to ask. Here are 10 of those questions. Getting asked any of them should give you pause.</p> <h2>1. Where Were You Born?</h2> <p>It may be an innocent enough question, especially if you have an accent and the landlord picks up on it. But it's actually against the <a href="http://www.fairhousingresources.com/Fair-Housing-Act-Full-Text.html">Fair Housing Act</a> to ask questions regarding someone's nationality. A landlord cannot ask about your parents' nationality or upbringing either, or your spouse's. This is all information that should have no bearing on your application, or your suitability as a tenant. If a landlord does ask, <a href="http://www.american-apartment-owners-association.org/property-management/tenant-screening/rental-application-question-illegal/">the penalties can be severe</a>.</p> <h2>2. Have You Ever Been Arrested for Anything?</h2> <p>If a landlord is asking this, they're probably trying to protect themselves from someone who could be trouble. But, landlords are simply not allowed to know about your arrest record. They are entitled to know if you were convicted of a crime, and that will come up on a standard background check. However, since innocent people can be arrested and then set free, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-most-important-lessons-i-learned-about-money-when-i-became-a-landlord" target="_blank">landlords aren't entitled</a> to arrest records.</p> <h2>3. Are You Straight, Gay, or Bisexual?</h2> <p>This has absolutely no place in the conversation, and cannot be asked by the landlord. It's a direct violation of the Fair Housing Act, and by doing so, the landlord could face severe penalties. If sexual orientation ever becomes an issue, know that it's a violation of the law.</p> <h2>4. Do You Have Any Disabilities?</h2> <p>Many landlords may be genuinely looking out for you here. They may know that the wheelchair access to the building is very poor, or that it would be a tough building for a blind person to negotiate. That is all well and good, but it's not their concern. Someone with a disability has the same rights to rent a home or apartment as an able-bodied person. What's more, every apartment or home up for rent should be made available to a disabled tenant. If the landlord steers you to one particular apartment over all others, they could actually face legal action. When it comes down to it, a person's disability, even if it's severe, cannot be brought into question when renting. It's also worth pointing out that pet policies do not apply to service animals.</p> <h2>5. Tell Me About Your Kids</h2> <p>Another big no-no. Anything relating to kids, whether it's their ages, how many you have, where they go to school, or if you're planning to have any, it's all off limits. Once again, this is all down to the Fair Housing Act. Landlords could use that information to discriminate against a tenant (especially those who believe children will just cause a lot of noise and mess), and the law just does not allow that. You may naturally bring up kids in conversation (especially if you're interested in a park in the area, or local daycare centers), and that is your right. But the landlord cannot and should not initiate it. (By the way, some landlords have found a way to skirt this by assuming you have children, and simply asking for their names on the application. You do not have to complete that information.)</p> <h2>6. So, Do You Go to Church Around Here?</h2> <p>Once again, this may seem like an innocent enough question, but probing about your religion is a direct violation of the Fair Housing Act. The landlord may not mean anything by it, but the assumption could be made that he or she is favoring Christian applicants over all others. Perhaps the landlord is biased for, or against, Muslims or atheists. None of this should have any impact on your application. Your faith, or lack thereof, is your concern, and yours only. Should any question about religion come up, the landlord is breaking the law.</p> <h2>7. Are You Married?</h2> <p>You have to wonder why that would be any concern of the landlord. After all, married people do not necessarily make for better, or worse, tenants. Some married couples are model citizens, others fights constantly and may appear on an episode of <em>Cops</em>. But none of this is relevant anyway, because the landlord is not allowed to ask you anything about your marital status. Even a statement like &quot;I see you two are engaged,&quot; which may be prompted by seeing a ring, is not kosher. You do not have to answer this question, and the landlord asking it could get in trouble for doing so.</p> <h2>8. Are You On Welfare?</h2> <p>A landlord has every right to ask about income. After all, they need to know that you can pay the rent on time, without any trouble. But where you get that income &mdash; that's different. If you are on welfare, receive food stamps, and get other kinds of benefits or public assistance, you can keep that information to yourself. The landlord cannot pry, and cannot deny anyone tenancy based on that information. If he or she does, it's cause for an investigation by the local authorities.</p> <h2>9. How Old Are You?</h2> <p>Seems like a standard question, right? And most rental applications have a &quot;date of birth&quot; section for you to fill in. But, asking about your age is another one of those protected pieces of information covered in the Fair Housing Act. It's quite possible a landlord wants to rent only to people in a certain age bracket. This is against the law. The only time age can be introduced as a factor is if your application is for a senior community or retirement home. Other than that, it's a no go.</p> <h2>10. What Race Are You?</h2> <p>Similar to the nationality question, this is a huge violation of the Fair Housing Act. Even if it's posed as a compliment, (like &quot;You have beautiful olive skin, are your parents Greek or Spanish?&quot;), the landlord is stepping way over the line. No questions about your race can be asked, and if it comes up, you can report the landlord for discrimination.</p> <p><em>Have you ever been asked any of these questions? How did you respond?</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F10-questions-landlords-cant-ask&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F10%2520Questions%2520Landlords%2520Can%2527t%2520Ask.jpg&amp;description=10%20Questions%20Landlords%20Can't%20Ask"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/10%20Questions%20Landlords%20Can%27t%20Ask.jpg" alt="10 Questions Landlords Can't Ask" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-questions-landlords-cant-ask">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easy-way-to-sublet-your-apartment">The Easy Way to Sublet Your Apartment</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-11-best-websites-for-renting-your-extra-space">The 11 Best Websites for Renting Your Extra Space</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-rent-an-apartment-with-bad-credit">7 Ways to Rent An Apartment With Bad Credit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-moves-to-make-if-you-need-to-break-your-lease">8 Moves to Make If You Need to Break Your Lease</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-smart-ways-to-get-your-apartment-deposit-back">7 Smart Ways to Get Your Apartment Deposit Back</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing apartments discrimination fair housing act illegal landlords questions renting Tue, 24 May 2016 10:30:03 +0000 Paul Michael 1715216 at http://www.wisebread.com The 3 Best Cities With Rent Control http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-best-cities-with-rent-control <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-3-best-cities-with-rent-control" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_city_selfie_000083881091.jpg" alt="Woman living in best city with rent control" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Rent control is the dream of renters everywhere. Yet only four states &mdash; California, New York, Maryland, New Jersey &mdash; and the District of Columbia have rent control policies in place. Read on for our guide to scoring a rent-controlled apartment in one of the best cities where price-protected apartments are signed into law.</p> <h2>San Francisco</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/san_francisco_street_000024852251.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>San Francisco is one of 15 <a href="http://www.dca.ca.gov/publications/landlordbook/appendix2.shtml">California cities with rent control</a>. It's also one of the priciest places to rent an apartment in America. And while some city dwellers say rent control, along with foreign buyers and an influx of tech workers, exacerbate the sky high cost of housing, many folks, such as Joe Leung, are <a href="http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/San-Francisco-Housing-Rent-Up-A-Sizzling-148-Percent-in-12-Months-300995041.html">thankful for the relief</a> rent control provides them. Leung, who is 42, is a tenant in a rent-controlled Chinatown complex. He pays $540 a month for a single room. That's about one-fifth the list price of a studio in that same area. In this city where the median rent tops $3,000, rent-controlled apartments are a huge help to many families, and people like Leung, who are just trying to make ends meet.</p> <p>In San Francisco, rent-controlled units are those that were issued a certificate of occupancy before June of 1979, which amounts to a whopping 82% of the multi-family unit market. The rules are as follows: Landlords of rent-controlled units may <a href="http://www.sftu.org/rentcontrol/">raise a tenant's rent</a>, but only by a set amount tied to inflation &mdash; the annual allowable rent increase for 2016&ndash;2017 is 1.6% &mdash; and not more frequent than once every 12 months. Landlords can petition for additional increases tied to costs such as capital improvements or maintenance, but these hikes must be approved by the Rent Board before they can be passed on to the tenant.</p> <p>If Frisco's rent control policy sounds like a dream come true, be sure to note the following: While Leung enjoys his $540 monthly rent, some of his neighbors in the same Chinatown building are paying upwards of $1,200. That's because the city's policy allows landlords to adjust the rent of any rent-controlled unit to match the market rate when a tenant vacates the unit. When the vacancy is filled, the tenant's new, market-adjusted rent price becomes controlled by the aforementioned rules. So, theoretically, if an apartment is rent-controlled at $540 monthly in 1990 and the tenant moves out in 2016, the next tenant's rent very well may rise by several thousand dollars, depending on the market price. This facet of the law has been criticized for facilitating an environment in which landlords have an incentive to nudge out their tenants. Of course, the law includes protections to help insure that doesn't happen.</p> <p>A renter's search for a rent-controlled apartment in San Francisco would be most fruitful in <a href="http://www.trulia.com/blog/trends/rent-control-sf-nyc/">the oldest neighborhoods</a>, such as Forest Knolls, Downtown, the Marina, Russian Hill, Nob Hill, and Golden Gate Heights. Old may mean cheaper, but it doesn't necessarily mean cheap. Nob Hill, for example, is a long-established, upscale section of the city, where two-bedrooms go for nearly $5,000. Many rent-controlled apartments in Nob Hill are priced far higher than the average renter can afford to pay. The fewest rent-controlled options are in areas dominated by new construction, such as SoMa and Mission Bay. Notably, public housing projects are exempt from rent control, as well as most single-family homes and condos.</p> <p>Benefits of scoring a place to live in San Francisco include access to great restaurants, wine country, and tons of high-paying jobs, especially those in the tech sector.</p> <h2>Washington, D.C.</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/washington_dc_street_000016584691.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Rent control provides residents of the nation's capital with a layer of protection against the prohibitive cost of living in a housing market where affordable options are quickly vanishing. Housing is generally deemed affordable when it amounts to no more than 30% of a household's income. But in D.C., the inhabitants of more than half of all rental units spend more than 30% of their income on rent. The median price for a one-bedroom rental in D.C. is now $2,000. There are <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dc-politics/study-no-inexpensive-housing-left-on-open-market-in-dc/2015/03/11/281aaa94-c80c-11e4-b2a1-bed1aaea2816_story.html?tid=a_inl">almost no more apartments</a> in D.C.'s open market that rent for less than $800 monthly.</p> <p>Established in 1975, D.C.'s rent control law now covers more than 60% of all rental units. Apartments are generally rent-controlled if they're in buildings constructed before 1975 and owned by landlords who control at least five units. Federally subsidized units are exempt from the law. Landlords of rent-controlled units may not raise the rent more than the current rate of inflation plus 2%, and the rent generally cannot be raised more than once a year. When a tenant vacates a unit, however, the law permits landlords to raise the rent by up to 30%. As is the case in San Francisco, future tenants of rent-controlled units are typically charged much higher rents than the tenant before them. No matter how you dice it, the cheapest apartments, by logic, are already taken.</p> <p>Though it's not a perfect system, the benefits of scoring a rent-controlled apartment in the nation's capital are indisputable &mdash; access to some one the world's best museums, political events and universities, as well as a cap on annual rent raises. Finding a rent-controlled unit, however, takes a little detective work. Luckily, landlords are mandated to divulge whether their building is rent-controlled. All you have to do is ask. You can also find out whether a particular apartment is subject to rent control by calling the D.C. rent administrator's office, which keeps a database of these units.</p> <h2>New York City</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/new_york_city_000050678398.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>The city that never sleeps lures new residents for many reasons &mdash; the art, the theater, the big wig jobs &mdash; but the cost of living ain't one of them. The average New York rent tops $3,000, making it one of the nation's most expensive places to lay your head at night. Another blow to affordable city living: Less than 2% of New York's apartments are rent-controlled, a status applied to units in buildings erected before 1947. The clincher is that these units must have been occupied by the same family since 1971. Rent-controlled apartments can be passed down within a family, but only to a family member who resided in the unit for a minimum of two years prior to the key exchange. In other words, New York's rent control policy is all in the family, leaving most of us lustful and out of luck.</p> <p>But, to prevent average Joe city dwellers from getting completely priced out of the market, New York also has a rent stabilization program that works similarly to rent control in other big cities. While <a href="http://www.nycrgb.org/html/resources/faq/rentcontrol.html">the guidelines are complicated</a> with many caveats and exceptions, most rent-stabilized apartments in New York are in buildings of six or more units erected before 1974 and priced below $2,500 monthly. Landlords cannot raise rents above a certain ceiling dictated by inflation. For 2014&ndash;2015, the increase was capped at 1% for a one-year lease. Once the rent reaches $2,500, however, or if the tenant's income surpasses $200,000 two years in a row, the landlord can deregulate the apartment and adjust the rent to match current market rates. All told, about 45% of New York's apartments are rent stabilized, making your chances of snagging one about 50/50.</p> <p>The <a href="http://nycrgb.org/html/resources/zip.html">New York City Rent Guidelines Board</a> keeps a list of all the city's rent-stabilized units. Inwood and Washington Heights are the Manhattan neighborhoods with the largest concentration of regulated units. In Brooklyn, Crown Heights is your best bet.</p> <p><em>Do you wish you lived in a rent-controlled apartment?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-best-cities-with-rent-control">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rent-your-home-or-buy-heres-how-to-decide">Rent Your Home or Buy? Here&#039;s How to Decide</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-way-to-decide-how-much-rent-you-can-really-afford">The Simple Way to Decide How Much Rent You Can Really Afford</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-questions-landlords-cant-ask">10 Questions Landlords Can&#039;t Ask</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easy-way-to-sublet-your-apartment">The Easy Way to Sublet Your Apartment</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-questions-to-ask-before-signing-a-lease">10 Questions to Ask Before Signing a Lease</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing apartments cost of living expensive cities new york city rent control renting San Francisco washington dc Wed, 27 Apr 2016 09:00:10 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1694763 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Ways to Decorate an Apartment Without Losing Your Deposit http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-decorate-an-apartment-without-losing-your-deposit <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-to-decorate-an-apartment-without-losing-your-deposit" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_diy_paint_000050206910.jpg" alt="Woman dressing up apartment without losing her deposit" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It can be a challenge putting your own personal touches on a rental apartment, but with these budget-wise decorating ideas that won't compromise your security deposit, you'll start to feel at home in no time.</p> <h2>1. Use Removable Wallpaper and Decals to Add Personality to a Room</h2> <p>I love the idea of an accent wall featuring wallpaper or some sort of design to give a room more personality. But how can you achieve this look without the permanence or expense of wallpaper? Modern d├ęcor has become so DIY these days that you can, in fact, install removable wallpaper &mdash; essentially stick-on paper that you apply in minutes and simply peel off when you want to take it down &mdash; or spot-design using decals. I've done the latter myself. I created a birds-in-flight effect on three accent walls in my house that give my living room a great amount of detail and depth, and it cost me less than $30 total.</p> <p>Alice Choo, an interior designer in San Francisco, adds that <a href="http://amzn.to/23ywowO">washi tape</a> (or Japanese masking tape) is an affordable ways to add color and patterns to your apartment. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/60-things-you-can-decorate-with-washi-tape?ref=seealso">60+ Things You can Decorate with Washi Tape</a>)</p> <p>&quot;With washi tape, you can create your own designs and bring texture to the space. These can be easily removed from the walls,&quot; she says.</p> <h2>2. Swap Out Outdated Hardware for More Modern Updates</h2> <p>I can tell you from personal experience that one of the easiest, most inexpensive ways to freshen up a space is to change hardware. For instance, when I moved into my home, I wanted to completely overhaul the bathroom, but I didn't have the budget for it. Instead, I compromised by updating the towel racks, TP holder, light fixture, and other bits with brushed nickel accessories that instantly gave the room a cleaner, fresher look. Same goes for the kitchen. Instead of ripping out the cabinets because I didn't like the style, I changed all the handles and knobs to suit my taste, and it made a major difference.</p> <p>You can do this in your apartment, too, without losing your deposit, by replacing the old hardware before you move out. Just keep the original hardware handy and in a safe place.</p> <h2>3. Add Mirrors to Create the Illusion of More Space</h2> <p>If you live in a small apartment, you know all too well that what once looked like a lot of space when the unit was empty, may very well look (and feel) cramped once your furniture and belongings are all moved in. Well-placed mirrors, however, can seemingly expand the space, providing the illusion of more room.</p> <p>&quot;When dealing with a small space, illusions are your best bet to fool yourself &mdash; and, more importantly, your guests &mdash; that you have more space,&quot; says Adam Busch, head of renter outreach for apartment-finding site RentLingo.</p> <p>He suggests incorporating a mirror into your living room to create more space.</p> <p>&quot;Utilizing the height of your room changes the appearance as well and one of the best ways to do this is to use taller curtains to create a larger height dimension,&quot; he says.</p> <h2>4. Paint an Accent or Feature Wall</h2> <p>If you don't want to (or can't) paint an entire room for fear of losing your deposit, perhaps your landlord will consider an accent wall. Or maybe you don't even have to tell them about it. That's the great thing about an accent wall &mdash; you're not covering a lot of territory, but it can make a world of difference in the overall aesthetic of the room. To take this concept a bit further, consider creating a pattern with the paint instead of applying a single straight color.</p> <p>&quot;The benefit of this feature is that instead of covering an entire wall with paint and the added stress of having to repaint the entire wall before you leave, you make use of a smaller space but add complexity for flair,&quot; Busch says.</p> <h2>5. Use Alternative Adhesives Instead of Nails</h2> <p>Many renters will likely agree that most of the time the reason their security deposit is in jeopardy is due to the state of the walls &mdash; that is, the nail and other holes that have accumulated over the period of your tenure. To avoid this deal-breaker, try using wall putty to hang lighter items, like prints, posters, and small canvases. Stay away from hanging glass items with putty, however, because if the putty fails, you don't want to have that dangerous mess to clean up. <a href="http://amzn.to/1MweO5h">3M's Command line</a> has lots of solutions that help you hang items with heavier-duty adhesives, and you can find these products at any hardware or office supply store, and even more common retailers like Walmart and Target.</p> <h2>6. &quot;Remodel&quot; the Kitchen With Faux Granite or Stainless Steel</h2> <p>Aside from replacing hardware in your kitchen to freshen up the space, another great redesign tactic you can implement is to use faux granite and/or stainless steel to wrap countertops and appliances. The concept is similar to removable wallpaper. Peel and stick the vinyl covering on the smooth surface you're trying to change, and voila; instant makeover without the hassle, cost, or loss of deposit. I'll admit that I hadn't actually heard of this cool trick before I started researching this post, but from what I can tell it definitely seems like a legit way to modernize otherwise out-of-date kitchen focal points without getting in too deep.</p> <h2>7. Rely on Textiles to Make the Space Cozy</h2> <p>And, finally, if you don't want to do anything to the wall, appliances, or hardware in your apartment, remember that you can use textiles to make your space cozy and comfortable.</p> <p>&quot;Pillows and rugs can be affordable and helps dress up a plain apartment; you just need to know where to shop for these items,&quot; Choo explains. &quot;You can get a set of stylish pillows for $25 and under online on sites such as Target.&quot;</p> <p>Expanding on that, area rugs, throws, and interesting upholstered furniture can all add that little something extra to your apartment without costing you any deductions from your deposit on the backend.</p> <p><em>What are some of your budget-wise ways to dress up an apartment without compromising or losing the deposit? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-decorate-an-apartment-without-losing-your-deposit">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cool-diy-home-improvements-for-20-or-less">10 Cool DIY Home Improvements for $20 or Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-cheap-and-easy-diy-kitchen-improvements">20 Cheap and Easy DIY Kitchen Improvements</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-creative-ways-to-upcycle-used-baby-furniture">8 Creative Ways to Upcycle Used Baby Furniture</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-cheap-ways-to-dress-up-your-garden">17 Cheap Ways to Dress Up Your Garden</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cheap-ways-to-make-your-apartment-awesome-without-losing-your-deposit">10 Cheap Ways to Make Your Apartment Awesome (Without Losing Your Deposit)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Home Real Estate and Housing apartments decorating rentals security deposit updating wallpaper Fri, 15 Apr 2016 09:00:06 +0000 Mikey Rox 1689030 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Smart Ways to Get Your Apartment Deposit Back http://www.wisebread.com/7-smart-ways-to-get-your-apartment-deposit-back <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-smart-ways-to-get-your-apartment-deposit-back" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_paperwork_000063885707.jpg" alt="Couple finding ways to get their apartment deposit back" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Forking over a security deposit, sometimes equivalent to one month's rent, is a necessary evil &mdash; especially when there's no guarantee you'll get it back. It's a considerable amount of money when you factor in that most apartment lease terms are relatively short (anywhere from three to 12 months), and you'll have to shell out yet another deposit for your next place.</p> <p>Also keep in mind that landlords can charge you for repairs that exceed your deposit amount. Therefore, it's important for you to know what the standard repairs are and learn your landlord's expectations for the condition of the apartment when you return the keys. And, get it in writing!</p> <p>Here are six ways to ensure you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cheap-ways-to-make-your-apartment-awesome-without-losing-your-deposit" target="_blank">get your apartment deposit back</a>.</p> <h2>1. Talk to Your Landlord</h2> <p>The first thing you can do is have a conversation with your landlord. Do this early on &mdash; at the signing of your lease, if possible. Minor repairs should be expected, but clear up any other expectations. In most cases, things like carpeting is a standard replacement, but smaller landlords might want to abate the expense by taking carpet cleaning fees or replacement costs out of your deposit, where it will cost a lot more than if you were to do it yourself.</p> <h2>2. Clean the Unit</h2> <p>It's not only polite but common courtesy to leave the apartment in the same condition you found it. Be sure to clean and wipe down appliances, including the stove and refrigerator, and take out your trash.</p> <h2>3. Retouch</h2> <p>Don't leave structural damage, like large holes, destroyed tiles, and exposed fixtures. Small holes that are left behind after hanging curtains and pictures are okay and you shouldn't worry about those. They key is to get the apartment in as close condition as possible to how it was given to you.</p> <h2>4. Resolve Any Maintenance Issues</h2> <p>If something is broken in the apartment, have it fixed prior to your departure. For instance, although that leak under the sink that you failed to report wasn't your fault, it caused the cabinets to rot and now they need replacing. The landlord could charge you for this if it's not discovered until after you moved out.</p> <h2>5. Remove Any Add-Ons</h2> <p>If you've put up partitions or walls, even with the landlord's consent, have them removed even if you think it's an upgrade to the apartment (unless otherwise expressed). Your lease contract more than likely states that these types of structural changes will be removed at the tenant's expense.</p> <h2>6. Bring Back the Original Paint Color</h2> <p>If you're going to paint, be sure to change it back to the original paint color when you leave. If you do not, the landlord has the right to charge you for this. It will cost more than if you were to do it yourself or contract a painter. Also, ask what the original color is. It's very important that you don't have the walls painted <em>off-white</em> just because off-white paint is on sale, when in fact, the original color was <em>white</em>. Making that mistake once cost me $400 from my deposit.</p> <h2>7. Take Photos</h2> <p>Upon your departure, take photos to document the condition of the apartment. This is evidence against any future claims that there was significant damage to justify the withholding of a security deposit. And basically, when you leave, the apartment should be in move-in ready condition with the exception of needing a thorough cleaning.</p> <p><em>Have you ever lost part &mdash; or all &mdash; of your rental deposit?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/qiana-chavaia">Qiana Chavaia</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-smart-ways-to-get-your-apartment-deposit-back">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-questions-landlords-cant-ask">10 Questions Landlords Can&#039;t Ask</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easy-way-to-sublet-your-apartment">The Easy Way to Sublet Your Apartment</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-questions-to-ask-before-signing-a-lease">10 Questions to Ask Before Signing a Lease</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-11-best-websites-for-renting-your-extra-space">The 11 Best Websites for Renting Your Extra Space</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-rent-an-apartment-with-bad-credit">7 Ways to Rent An Apartment With Bad Credit</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing apartments cleaning landlords painting renting security deposits Thu, 31 Mar 2016 09:00:19 +0000 Qiana Chavaia 1672230 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Reasons You Definitely Need Renters' Insurance http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-you-definitely-need-renters-insurance <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-reasons-you-definitely-need-renters-insurance" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_holding_umbrella_000079724871.jpg" alt="Man learning reasons he definitely needs renters&#039; insurance" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In the U.S., the national rent average rose 3.3% over a year ago rents &mdash; although some cities saw even greater annual increases. Since last year, renters saw their median rent climb 5% in Detroit, 8.5% in Kansas City, and a whopping 14.9% in San Francisco.</p> <p>Faced with ever-increasing rents, many Americans may opt to skip renters' insurance. But while there are many kinds of insurance that aren't worth it, renters' insurance simply isn't one of them. Here are five good reasons why you <em>totally</em> need renters' insurance.</p> <h2>1. Protection for Your Personal Property</h2> <p>A very common renters' misconception is the belief that their landlord's property insurance will cover damage or loss in case of fire or a break-in. But a survey from insurance company Nationwide revealed that 68% of renters ages 23 to 35 would <a href="http://www.nationwide.com/about-us/040814-renters-insurance-survey.jsp">spend an estimated $5,000</a> to replace their belongings if an unfortunate event did occur. Despite the potential big loss, a stunning 56% of the surveyed renters didn't have renters' insurance.</p> <p>A standard HO-4 insurance contract, commonly referred to as renters' insurance, provides the necessary protection for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-need-an-inventory-of-your-stuff-and-its-easier-than-you-think">your personal property</a> against covered perils, including fire, theft, vandalism, and even volcanic eruption. A best practice is to look for a policy that provides 100% replacement cost protection, which may be a bit more expensive &mdash; but ultimately worth every penny. After all, you want to replace your loss with the latest TV model, not one from two years ago.</p> <p>Another best practice: If you're an avid comic book collector, have a taste for expensive imported furniture, or are an early adopter of all things high-tech, look into floater insurance to get the necessary higher-limit coverage that you need for any specialty belongings.</p> <h2>2. Additional Coverage Away From Home</h2> <p>Most policies provide protection for your personal property up to 100 feet from your home, so your stuff is covered when moving or using your building or community's facilities, such as a shared pool or clubhouse.</p> <p>However, there are additional benefits for owning renters' insurance. Depending on your policy, your personal property may also be covered in case of theft <em>outside</em> the premises of your home. Let's imagine that you're using your laptop and expensive high-definition earphones at a coffee shop. You walk away to get a refill and somebody makes a run with your items. The &quot;off premise theft&quot; clause of your renters' insurance may enable you to make a claim for the stolen items.</p> <p>Consult your insurance agent and read the fine print of your policy to learn more about applicable coverages and limitations. For example, if you store many items in a trailer or storage facility for part of the year, you should ask about extended theft coverage.</p> <h2>3. Liability Protection</h2> <p>Life happens. Say one night one of your friends slips and falls down the stairs at your apartment, severely hurting her back. Or your dog bites your neighbor's son, requiring your neighbor to spend several hundred dollars in medical expenses. While you can't prevent every single event, you can buy coverage against potential lawsuits.</p> <p>If you are held legally liable by a court, then the liability portion of your renters' insurance would cover payouts for medical bills related to the accident, or replacement costs for the other party's property damaged at your home.</p> <p>Keep in mind that your dog's breed may affect your monthly premium or even your eligibility for coverage. Many insurance companies will deny coverage for pit bulls, Staffordshire terriers, doberman pinschers, rottweilers, and German shepherds. When shopping for renters' insurance, provide full disclosure of your dog's breed and history of biting or abuse (in the case of rescue dogs).</p> <h2>4. Affordable Price for Loss and Liability Protection</h2> <p>In the survey from Nationwide, three out of four of those without renters' insurance don't realize they can get monthly coverage for as little as the cost of a pair of movie tickets.</p> <p>According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the average renters' insurance policy costs between <a href="http://www.naic.org/documents/consumer_alert_renters_0812.htm">$15 and $30 month</a> for $30,000 to $50,000 of property coverage, with a deductible ranging from $500 to $1,000.</p> <p>However, lower prices are possible. In 2014, a writer for Forbes magazine was able to find a renters' insurance policy to cover $25,000 of his personal property for an <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/maggiemcgrath/2014/04/08/renting-an-apartment-this-mistake-could-cost-you-5000-or-more/">annual lump sum payment of $150</a> ($12.50 per month). Paying 0.60% to fully protect all of your stuff is as affordable as it gets.</p> <p>Check for additional potential savings for:</p> <ul> <li>Having certain security or fire-prevention systems;</li> <li>Being a non-smoker;</li> <li>Being part of a special interest groups (e.g. labor union, alumni association);</li> <li>Bundling with existing car insurance policy;</li> <li>Staying claim-free for a specific period of time; or</li> <li>Having special status (e.g. senior citizen, college student, or military).</li> </ul> <h2>5. Greater Choice of Rental Opportunities</h2> <p>Last but not least, making the investment in renters' insurance may expand your options when looking for apartments. More and more landlords are requiring renters' insurance from their tenants.</p> <p>The cost of homeowners' insurance is rising faster than that of renters' insurance. For example, in 2012, the average premiums for homeowners' insurance and renters' insurance increased by 5.6% and 0%, respectively, from the previous year.</p> <p>A landlord can only legally require tenants to carry renters' insurance when signing a new contract or renewing an existing lease. By shopping in advance for an adequate policy, you can have ammunition to prevent a rent increase &mdash; or be ready to find a new and better place!</p> <p><em>How are you protecting the personal property in your home?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-you-definitely-need-renters-insurance">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-have-renters-insurance">Why You Should Have Renters Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-way-to-decide-how-much-rent-you-can-really-afford">The Simple Way to Decide How Much Rent You Can Really Afford</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-questions-landlords-cant-ask">10 Questions Landlords Can&#039;t Ask</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easy-way-to-sublet-your-apartment">The Easy Way to Sublet Your Apartment</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-questions-to-ask-before-signing-a-lease">10 Questions to Ask Before Signing a Lease</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance Real Estate and Housing apartments liability property damage renters insurance renting theft Wed, 02 Dec 2015 18:07:53 +0000 Damian Davila 1617556 at http://www.wisebread.com The 11 Best Websites for Renting Your Extra Space http://www.wisebread.com/the-11-best-websites-for-renting-your-extra-space <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-11-best-websites-for-renting-your-extra-space" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_moving_000048994080.jpg" alt="Couple deciding to use Airbnb to rent their space out" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Location, location, location.</p> <p>According to some experts, those are the only three things that matter for any property. If your first instinct is to list your rental property in the local newspaper, consider this: nine in 10 people in the market for a property today <a href="http://www.realtor.org/sites/default/files/Study-Digital-House-Hunt-2013-01_1.pdf">rely on the web</a> as one of their primary sources, and a full 52% of them turn to the Internet as their first step.</p> <p>So where on the web should be listing your rental? Here are 11 places to start.</p> <h2>1. Craigslist</h2> <p>With more than <a href="http://www.craigslist.org/about/factsheet">50 billion page views</a> per month, <a href="http://www.craigslist.org">Craigslist</a> is a great starting point for promoting your rental property. All apartment rental <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-vile-craigslist-scams-to-watch-out-for">postings on Craigslist</a> are free, except those for brokered apartment rentals in the New York City area (a $10 fee applies). To increase your chances of getting leads, you must include pictures. On Craigslist, you can upload up to 12 photos from your rental property and any user can leave out postings without pictures from their search queries.</p> <h2>2. Airbnb</h2> <p>Unlike Craigslist, on <a href="http://www.airbnb.com">Airbnb</a> you have a clearer picture of who you're dealing with. Most Airbnb users connect their accounts to their Facebook profiles so that they can filter searches by &quot;Social Connections&quot; and show listings that their friends have reviewed, or where they are mutual friends with a host.</p> <p>Of course, to leverage social connections on Airbnb, you first need to have reviews of your rental property. Most Airbnb Superhosts advise first-time users to research nearby properties and price your rental unit between 10% to 20% lower to increase your chances of landing those first bookings. Experienced Airbnb hosts suggest to not only list the good things about your rental, but also the bad things. Guests appreciate the honesty and, some of them may not mind those bad things at all!</p> <h2>3. HotPads</h2> <p>A free option to list your single-family home, townhouse, or individual apartment unit is <a href="http://www.hotpads.com">HotPads</a>. Based out of San Francisco, HotPads distributes your listing automatically to various partner sites to maximize your listing's exposure and get you more leads.</p> <p>If you have some money available to promote your listing, HotPads offers you the option to enhance it for as low as $1 per day. Your featured listing only appears to a user when it meets the category (e.g. buy vs. rent), geography, pricing range, and housing type specified in that user's query.</p> <h2>4. Trulia</h2> <p>Renting your apartment? There's an app for that. <a href="http://www.trulia.com">Trulia</a> lets you post your rental apartment using both iPhone and Android devices. Trulia is part of the same 20+ site syndication network as HotPads. However, two key things that set Trulia apart from HotPads are the first's active community and blog with useful articles.</p> <h2>5. Apartments.com</h2> <p>You probably have seen Apartments.com's hysterical TV ads featuring Jeff Goldblum in his <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zi8zwN57Ug">Brad Bellflower persona</a>. If you have several properties for rent, <a href="http://www.apartments.com">Apartments.com</a> provides detailed analytics for each of your listings. By seeing key performance indicators, such as number of impressions by day, number of appearances in search results, and number of clickthroughs in your listing, you can fine tune your listings and experiment to find out what works best.</p> <p>A nice feature of this site is that you can add a video to showcase your property and track the views by day of the video. By providing a video walk-through of your rental, you can entice more people to contact you.</p> <h2>6. ForRent.com</h2> <p>For those living in communities near universities or colleges, or in those attractive to retirees, <a href="http://www.forrent.com">ForRent.com</a> is a great option. This site has sections dedicated exclusively to off-campus housing and retirement living. ForRent.com charges $100&ndash;$150 per listing and additional fees for enhancements, such as additional photos and maps and directions.</p> <h2>7. Rent Jungle</h2> <p>Another pay-to-play option is <a href="http://www.rentjungle.com">Rent Jungle</a>, which boasts over 700,000 active listings of apartments and rental homes. Individuals posting 20 rental units or fewer pay $47 per month per listing and are able to include a three-photo gallery, unit information, floor plan, contact information, and list amenities and features.</p> <p>Like Apartments.com, Rent Jungle provides a dashboard to review traffic, manage leads, and tweak your listings.</p> <h2>8. PeopleWithPets.com</h2> <p>Talking about a jungle &mdash; it can be quite an adventure for pet owners to find good, pet-friendly apartments. If you think your apartment can offer outstanding accommodations to furry companions, then you could consider spending the $69 per month (with a minimum three-month commitment) to advertise your rental at <a href="http://www.peoplewithpets.com/advertise/">PeopleWithPets.com</a>.</p> <p>The fee may seem a bit high, but it may be due to two factors. First, we are talking about a niche market: <a href="http://www.americanpetproducts.org/press_industrytrends.asp">65% of households own a pet</a> according to the 2015-2016 APPA National Pet Owners Survey. Second, the site currently ranks quite well at the first page of Google results for &quot;pet friendly apartments.&quot;</p> <h2>9. DogVacay</h2> <p>Now, if you're more of a &quot;dog person&quot; than a &quot;people person,&quot; you may prefer to play hosts for pets without their owners. In that case, with <a href="http://dogvacay.com">DogVacay</a> you could rent your space for pet daycare or dog boarding.</p> <p>If your application is approved for dog boarding, then DogVacay pays you 85% of customer payments via PayPal one business day after boarding is complete. There is a $5 check fee if you prefer to receive a check via snail mail. The 15% cut from DogVacay is to cover a series of costs, including a comprehensive pet insurance with a $1 million commercial general liability coverage, a $1 million professional liability coverage, and a $25,000 veterinary coverage for guest dog ($250 deductible covered by guest).</p> <h2>10. JustPark and ParkingSpotter.com</h2> <p>Last but not least, you could cash in on your empty driveway, garage, or parking space by making them available for rent. <a href="http://www.justpark.com">JustPark</a> and <a href="http://www.parkingspotter.com">ParkingSpotter.com</a> are two sites that let you offer your parking spot for rent on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.</p> <p>According to ParkingSpotter.com, the average monthly parking rate are <a href="http://www.parkingspotter.com/faq">$297.50 and $460</a> in Philadelphia and Boston, respectively. With such prices, it makes sense to try your luck making an extra buck with that empty driveway.</p> <p><em>Had a good or bad rental experience with any of these? Let us know below!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-11-best-websites-for-renting-your-extra-space">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-questions-landlords-cant-ask">10 Questions Landlords Can&#039;t Ask</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easy-way-to-sublet-your-apartment">The Easy Way to Sublet Your Apartment</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-rent-an-apartment-with-bad-credit">7 Ways to Rent An Apartment With Bad Credit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-moves-to-make-if-you-need-to-break-your-lease">8 Moves to Make If You Need to Break Your Lease</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-smart-ways-to-get-your-apartment-deposit-back">7 Smart Ways to Get Your Apartment Deposit Back</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing AirBnb apartments hotpads landlords pet friendl renting trulia Thu, 22 Oct 2015 11:15:22 +0000 Damian Davila 1593885 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Ways to Rent An Apartment With Bad Credit http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-rent-an-apartment-with-bad-credit <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-to-rent-an-apartment-with-bad-credit" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/000062152642_1.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've found the ideal apartment in the middle of the big city. But there's one problem: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-financial-mistakes-to-stop-making-by-age-40">Financial mistakes in the past</a> have left you with a low credit score. Now you're worried that landlords will reject your application because of those times you paid your credit card bill late or forgot to make your auto loan payment.</p> <p>There is hope, though. It's possible to rent an apartment even if your credit score is weak. But you might need a little help from a family member, or be willing to pay a bit more rent each month.</p> <h2>Credit Matters</h2> <p>It's not surprising that most landlords today check your credit. Your three-digit credit score tells landlords how well you've managed your finances in the past. If you've paid bills late, missed payments, or suffered a negative financial judgment &mdash; bankruptcy or foreclosure &mdash; your score will be low. A FICO credit score of 740 or higher today is considered an excellent score. Scores of 620 or lower raise red flags.</p> <p>Don't give up hope if one landlord rejects your application. It helps to shop around with different landlords, said Brent Cotterman, owner and chief executive officer of Financial Rehab in Phoenix.</p> <p>&quot;Just because you're rejected from one place doesn't mean you will be from all of them,&quot; Cotterman says. &quot;Different landlords have different tolerances for risk. It doesn't hurt to apply at four or five different apartments.&quot;</p> <p>If your score is weak, here are some steps you can take to convince landlords that you're still a good risk.</p> <h2>1. Get a Cosigner</h2> <p>The easiest solution is to convince someone &mdash; usually a family member &mdash; to co-sign the rental application with you. In such an agreement, your cosigner is agreeing to make your monthly rental payments if you fail to do so. This provides protection to landlords wary of renting to someone with bad credit; your landlord will still receive rent, even if you aren't the one making the payment.</p> <p>Your cosigner will need good credit. But, be sure that you can actually afford your rent. You don't want to put your cosigner in the position of having to pay your rent for you. That's a good way of ruining a relationship!</p> <h2>2. Check Your Credit Reports</h2> <p>Before seeking an apartment, order copies of your free credit reports from <a href="https://www.annualcreditreport.com/">AnnualCreditReport.com</a>. You're entitled to order one free copy of each of your reports &mdash; the national credit bureaus TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax each maintain a credit report on you &mdash; every year.</p> <p>Once you receive your report, study it carefully. It will list the money you owe on your credit cards, auto loans, and student loans. It will also list missed or late payments. If you spot any errors, correct them. You can do this online with the three credit bureaus. Don't skip this step: Fixing an error on your credit report can quickly boost your credit score.</p> <h2>3. Be Honest</h2> <p>Don't try to hide financial mistakes from landlords; once they pull your credit, they'll find them. Instead, prepare a written note explaining why you missed credit card or student loan payments. Maybe you briefly lost your job. Maybe you were injured and faced staggering medical bills.</p> <p>Whatever the reason, explain it in your letter and give it to potential landlords. Make sure to include an explanation for why you won't be missing payments again in the future.</p> <p>Your landlord might be willing to overlook a weaker credit score if you have an explanation for your past financial missteps.</p> <h2>4. Point to Solid Income</h2> <p>If you have a solid monthly income stream today, you'll be more likely to convince your landlord that you are no longer a risk to miss rental payments. Maybe those missed auto loan payments came when you were working a lower-paying job. Now you have a job that pays you a good salary. Point this out to your potential landlord. Show landlords copies of your most recent paycheck stubs stating how much you are now earning. A solid income might help ease any concerns your landlord has about a lower credit score.</p> <h2>5. Pay a Little More</h2> <p>Some landlords might charge you additional fees &mdash; often called risk fees &mdash; if your credit score is low. If you agree to pay these higher fees, landlords might be more willing to overlook a low score.</p> <p>You might also offer a bit more in rent each month to landlords who are wary of renting to you. An extra $50 a month might convince a property owner to overlook your weaker credit.</p> <p>Before agreeing to pay extra, though, make sure that you can afford the higher monthly payments.</p> <h2>6. Offer a Larger Security Deposit</h2> <p>Landlords might consider you a more attractive renter if you offer a larger security deposit. This makes sense: If you do fail to make your rent payments, your lender will keep your security deposit. If you provide a larger one, your lender is taking on less risk by renting to you and might be more likely to overlook that bad credit score.</p> <h2>7. Start Building Credit</h2> <p>If you do land an apartment even with weak credit, here is some good news: You can now build a stronger credit score by paying your rent on time every month.</p> <p>Traditionally, landlords have not reported monthly rent payments to the three national credit bureaus. This meant that renters didn't help their credit scores by paying rent on time. That is changing. Experian and TransUnion are now collecting data on rental payments. Renters who pay through online services such as RentTrack and RentReporters can have their payment data sent to TransUnion and Experian. As renters pay on time, their credit scores with these bureaus will steadily rise.</p> <p>&quot;The one thing that will improve your credit score the most is paying your bills on time,&quot; Cotterman says. &quot;So make sure to not pay your bills late. You won't get marked as late on your credit report until you are 30 days past your due date. Every time you hit that 30-day mark, you get a 30-day marker on your report. That will lower your report significantly. So pay your bills on time.&quot;</p> <p><em>What other techniques have you used for renting an apartment with weak credit?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-rent-an-apartment-with-bad-credit">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-questions-landlords-cant-ask">10 Questions Landlords Can&#039;t Ask</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easy-way-to-sublet-your-apartment">The Easy Way to Sublet Your Apartment</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-11-best-websites-for-renting-your-extra-space">The 11 Best Websites for Renting Your Extra Space</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-moves-to-make-if-you-need-to-break-your-lease">8 Moves to Make If You Need to Break Your Lease</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-smart-ways-to-get-your-apartment-deposit-back">7 Smart Ways to Get Your Apartment Deposit Back</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing apartments credit history credit score landlords renting Thu, 27 Aug 2015 15:00:25 +0000 Dan Rafter 1533280 at http://www.wisebread.com