apartments http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/7749/all en-US 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-12"> <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-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-2 views-row-even"> <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-3 views-row-odd"> <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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-you-definitely-need-renters-insurance">5 Reasons You Definitely Need Renters&#039; Insurance</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/dont-forget-to-budget-for-these-unexpected-moving-expenses">Don&#039;t Forget to Budget for These Unexpected Moving Expenses</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 décor 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-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/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/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> <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-wonderful-ways-to-use-wallpaper">10 Wonderful Ways to Use Wallpaper</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-make-your-bathroom-look-awesome-for-under-100">How to Make Your Bathroom Look Awesome for Under $100</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/home-improvements-that-pay-off">Home Improvements That Pay Off</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-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/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-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/the-3-best-cities-with-rent-control">The 3 Best Cities With Rent Control</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/20-tips-for-getting-your-security-deposit-back">20 Tips for Getting Your Security Deposit Back</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-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-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-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/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/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-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> 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-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/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-2 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-3 views-row-odd"> <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-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 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-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/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-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/the-3-best-cities-with-rent-control">The 3 Best Cities With Rent Control</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/4-reasons-why-youre-too-old-or-too-young-for-a-mortgage-loan">4 Reasons Why You&#039;re Too Old — Or Too Young — For a Mortgage Loan</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-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> </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 The Simple Way to Decide How Much Rent You Can Really Afford http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-way-to-decide-how-much-rent-you-can-really-afford <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-simple-way-to-decide-how-much-rent-you-can-really-afford" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/piggy_bank_rent_reminder_000021309733.jpg" alt="Deciding how much rent you can truly afford" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Are you looking for a new place? Not sure how much you should be spending on rent? We've come up with some general guidelines to help you determine what the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-simple-ways-to-live-rent-free">ideal rent</a> is for your income.</p> <h2>1. Establish a Budget</h2> <p>First, you need to assess your income. How much do you bring in every year, with any salary, bonuses, dividends, interest, support, or other means of income included? If you're not sure where to get started, you can easily calculate your monthly budget using simple&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bankrate.com/calculators/smart-spending/home-budget-plan-calculator.aspx">home budget calculators</a>.</p> <p>You should expect to spend about 60% of your budget on the top three budget items for most families, which includes housing, transportation, and food. Avoid going too far over this number, because you'll also need money for emergency funds, your retirement plan, entertainment, credit card payments, insurance, and all of your other monthly expenses.</p> <h2>2. The 30% Income Rule</h2> <p>In the past most experts recommended spending no more than 30% of your income on rent &mdash; and it's still a fair rule of thumb. On the other hand, this may just be an arbitrary number because every person's situation is different. For instance, approximately 20% of households spend <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/articles/2014-07-17/housings-30-percent-of-income-rule-is-near-useless">more than half their income</a> on housing and are still living comfortably.</p> <h2>3. 40 Times the Rent</h2> <p>Many landlords require that your income is 40 times the monthly rent &mdash; or more. Simply take your pre-tax annual salary and divide it by 40 to find the monthly rent that you will be approved for, assuming your landlord uses this requirement.</p> <p>For example, if your annual household salary is $100,000, then you could afford to spend $2,500 per month on rent ($100,000/40 = $2,500 per month). If you find that your total income is not 40 times the rent, but you know that you can do it anyhow, consider applying with a guarantor.</p> <h2>5. 50/30/20 Guideline</h2> <p>A simple rule that many follow is the 50/20/30 guideline. This suggests spending your income in the following manner:</p> <ul> <li>50% on fixed costs (such as rent, utilities, and transportation).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>30% on day-to-day expenses (such as entertainment, dining out, shopping, and other miscellaneous things).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>20% on financial goals (like paying down debt, building an emergency fund, and saving for retirement).</li> </ul> <p>For example, if your monthly household income is $8,000, you'll want to budget $4,000 on fixed costs, $2,400 on flexible spending, and $1,600 on future financial goals. Once you account for all of your monthly income, you can budget half of your income towards fixed costs. Once you subtract utilities, transportation, and other fixed costs from this number, you will know what is left to spend on rent.</p> <h2>6. What About Additional Fees?</h2> <p>If you'll be working with an agent, remember to account for the broker's fee. They'll typically charge between 8%&ndash;15% of the full year's lease, usually as a large upfront payment due at the time of signing. There will also be a deposit to consider and move-in costs.</p> <h2>7. What Are You Comfortable With?</h2> <p>At the end of the day, you'll need to ask yourself what you feel comfortable paying. What is the most you're willing to spend every month? Figure out what your priorities are, what your necessities are, and what you can sacrifice in order to save money on rent. And when in doubt, spending less than 30% of your income on total housing costs remains a smart guideline.</p> <p><em>How much of your income do you spend on rent? Share your thoughts in the comments!</em></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/the-simple-way-to-decide-how-much-rent-you-can-really-afford">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/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-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/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-4 views-row-even"> <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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-you-definitely-need-renters-insurance">5 Reasons You Definitely Need Renters&#039; Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing apartments debt expenses income renting Wed, 19 Aug 2015 11:00:14 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1524661 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Common Apartment Hunting Mistakes to Avoid http://www.wisebread.com/9-common-apartment-hunting-mistakes-to-avoid <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-common-apartment-hunting-mistakes-to-avoid" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_using_tablet_000037104790.jpg" alt="Couple discovering apartment hunting mistakes to avoid" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Looking for a new apartment to rent? Spring and summer are moving season for many renters. It's also a time filled with excitement and hope &mdash; the hope that the next place will be better than the last. I've been there.</p> <p>Fortunately, a lot of the problems that plague renters can be avoided just by choosing that apartment a little more carefully. Here are nine <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-apartment-hunt-on-craigslist-without-getting-scammed">apartment hunting</a> mistakes to avoid while you're looking.</p> <h2>1. Assuming That Moving Will Solve Your Problem</h2> <p>As a renter, it's easy to get used to moving; new year, new apartment. Unfortunately, that new lease often means a new set of problems. Moving is stressful and carries a long list of expenses. Before you decide to move to where the grass is greener, consider whether you're really that unhappy where you are. Every living space has its pros and cons. Decide whether you can live with your apartment's drawbacks before moving on to a new set of problems.</p> <h2>2. Falling in Love Too Soon</h2> <p>These days, apartment hunting usually begins online, where you can browse through photos of apartments for rent in your area. There's nothing wrong with doing a little previewing before you go out to view these places in person; just keep in mind that in many cases, photos tell very little. Not only will landlords do their best to make their rental units look attractive, but photos also lack a lot of detail. A rental unit that looks super cute and cozy in a photo, might turn out to be much shabbier in real life. The problem is, if the photos put stars in your eyes, you might already be in love.</p> <h2>3. Failing to See the Big Picture</h2> <p>Before you set out to look for a new apartment, think about what's really important to you. Are you looking for a short commute to work? Proximity to certain amenities such as shopping, parks, or public transportation? It's important to understand the big picture in terms of what you want out of your apartment, to size up each apartment as a whole. Otherwise, you're likely to zero-in on smaller, less important details, like the size of the unit, the decor, or fantastically cheap rent.</p> <h2>4. Allowing Yourself to Be Wooed by Fancy Fixtures</h2> <p>Fancy fixtures like hardwood floors and granite countertops are great, but when you have a budget to stick to, it's best not to be too fixated on what are essentially details. For one thing, these amenities are purely aesthetic, and will quickly lose their luster if the apartment fails to meet your needs in other key ways. Plus, in many cases, apartments in less desirable locations get the best cosmetic upgrades to entice renters. If you wouldn't live in this apartment if it didn't have fancy fixtures, you probably shouldn't move in just because it does.</p> <h2>5. Going Out of Your League</h2> <p>Before you start looking for an apartment, you have to decide how much rent you are capable of paying. Most financial experts recommend that you spend no more than 30% of your take-home (after-tax) income on housing. Depending on your other financial obligations &mdash; and your personal financial goals &mdash; you may want to spend even less. But no matter what price point you decide on, once you have a number in mind, stick to it. And do not, under any circumstances, look at apartments that exceed your budget. Chances are they will be nicer. As a result, they will make the places you <em>can </em>afford look much shabbier in comparison. They might also tempt you to blow your budget.</p> <h2>6. Failing to Read the Rental Agreement</h2> <p>I once signed a rental agreement that stated that I was responsible for repainting the apartment before moving out. I was a student and had never painted anything in my life. Of course, I lost most of my damage deposit on that one. Rental agreements lay out, in legal terms, what you as a renter are responsible for. Read every word carefully and make sure you're up for it. If you aren't, move on.</p> <h2>7. Overlooking Existing Damage</h2> <p>Most rental agreements include a damage deposit. This is money that the landlord holds in order to pay for any damage the tenant may cause during the term of the lease. This can get tricky if you don't document any damages that were already there when you moved in. On the day you get possession of your apartment, walk through it with your landlord and document existing damage to ensure you are not charged for them when your lease is up.</p> <h2>8. Not Considering Roommates Carefully</h2> <p>I've been lucky to have really good roommates, but living with other people is still hard. When you share your personal space with someone, you get to know each other on a pretty intimate level. Things can get ugly. So try to choose your roommates carefully. There are different philosophies on this. Some people think it's best to choose a roommate who isn't a friend. Others say it's best to room with a bestie. Either way, make sure you get some references to ensure that your roommate has a solid history of paying their rent.</p> <h2>9. Not Vetting Your Landlord</h2> <p>Some landlords care about their properties and their tenants. They'll take your calls and fix leaking toilets and send an exterminator in to deal with your ant problem. Other landlords treat their tenants like cash machines; money is withdrawn, never to be seen again. If you have problems with your apartment, a bad landlord can make your life hell. I once tip-toed across a bridge of soggy cardboard boxes for weeks until my landlord got around the fixing a leaking hot water tank that flooded my apartment. So, be sure to run a check on your landlord before you sign a rental agreement. Do a Google search, ask if you can contact previous tenants, and check with the Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been filed against the landlord or property management company. If you discover serious issues, find another place to rent. Dealing with an uncooperative landlord just isn't worth it.</p> <p><em>What apartment-hunting mistakes have you made? How did you learn your lesson?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tara-struyk">Tara Struyk</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-common-apartment-hunting-mistakes-to-avoid">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/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-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/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/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> <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 Mistakes moving new home renting Mon, 13 Jul 2015 15:00:10 +0000 Tara Struyk 1485196 at http://www.wisebread.com Don't Forget to Budget for These Unexpected Moving Expenses http://www.wisebread.com/dont-forget-to-budget-for-these-unexpected-moving-expenses <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dont-forget-to-budget-for-these-unexpected-moving-expenses" 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_pet_000059374950.jpg" alt="Couple forgetting to budget for unexpected moving expenses" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Moving to a new city can be both exciting and stressful. Maybe you're moving to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-you-must-do-before-you-quit-your-job">relocate for a job</a>, or to be closer to family and friends. Whatever the reason, the process can become overwhelming for both your sanity and your budget if you're not careful.</p> <p>As my husband and I plan our own cross-country move this summer, we've come across a few more added expenses than we initially budgeted for. So when you plan <em>your</em> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-moves-to-make-for-tomorrows-mortgage">big move</a>, don't forget to set aside funds for these unexpected costs.</p> <h2>1. Real Estate Broker Commissions</h2> <p>In exchange for finding you the perfect housing situation and negotiating a good deal on rent, the broker will charge a commission fee for their service. However, it's important to know that real estate commission fees are always negotiable.</p> <p>You can, of course, opt to not use a real estate agent to help secure the perfect apartment in order to save money. On the flip side, they may be able to negotiate a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-haggle-your-way-to-cheaper-rent">better deal on monthly rent</a>, or find an apartment that you wouldn't have found on your own. Both of these could offset the cost of the real estate broker's commission.</p> <h2>2. Increased Housing Payments</h2> <p>Obviously one of the biggest changes to your monthly budget will be the increased housing payments. Are you moving to a city that has a higher or lower cost of living? This will determine whether or not you'll have to allocate additional money for monthly housing costs.</p> <p>In preparation for our <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-save-on-a-long-distance-move">cross-country move</a> this year, my husband and I are already practicing paying a higher rent payment by setting aside an extra $300 a month into our moving fund. This strategy is helping our budget get used to paying the extra money so we won't be financially strapped the first several months after our move.</p> <h2>3. Lease Signing Fees</h2> <p>Part of your moving budget should include funds for a security deposit, as well as first month's rent, since these are typical fees that many landlords require to be paid when signing a new lease.</p> <p>Additional fees that may be tacked on to your final bill include a move-in fee to hold the apartment in your name, application fees, admin charges, and pet fees. Before signing a new lease, be sure to ask your new landlord for a list of all the fees included so you'll be prepared to pay for these added expenses.</p> <h2>4. Apartment Search Fees</h2> <p>Moving across the city is one thing, moving across the country presents a whole other set of challenges. On top of the other costs mentioned here, you'll also have to take time to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-tips-to-save-on-apartment-living">conduct an apartment search</a> in your new city.</p> <p>On a recent weekend trip to check out apartments in our new city, my husband and I had to pay for three nights at a hotel (including parking fees), plus extra money for food, gas, and other expenses related to the apartment search. When creating your moving fund, be sure to budget a bit more for any travel or commuting expenses.</p> <h2>5. Rental Insurance Premiums</h2> <p>Many apartment complexes and landlords require tenants to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-things-you-must-inspect-before-signing-a-rental-agreement">purchase rental insurance</a> to cover any damages to your personal property. We're currently paying $113 a year for rental insurance coverage of up to $20,000 to have our stuff secured in the event of fire, flood, or theft.</p> <p>This cost is very small compared to the coverage it offers, but is none-the-less an important cost to factor into your budget. Depending on what state you're moving to, and the type of building you'll be living in, your rental insurance premiums may go up or down.</p> <p>Factors that play into the monthly premium includes, how secure the location is (if the complex is a gated community or not), what the buildings are made out of, and what year the apartment was built.</p> <p>When prepping for a big move, don't forget to factor in these additional moving expenses so you're not blindsided by the costs.</p> <p><em>Are you planning to move soon? What are some other unexpected costs you're budgeting for?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-smith">Carrie Smith</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-forget-to-budget-for-these-unexpected-moving-expenses">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/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-2 views-row-even"> <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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-100s-on-your-next-move">How to Save $100s on Your Next Move</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-3-best-cities-with-rent-control">The 3 Best Cities With Rent Control</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-hidden-housing-costs-new-homeowners-dont-expect">10 Hidden Housing Costs New Homeowners Don&#039;t Expect</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Real Estate and Housing apartments expenses moving relocating renting Mon, 22 Jun 2015 15:00:13 +0000 Carrie Smith 1459653 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways to Apartment Hunt on Craigslist Without Getting Scammed http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-apartment-hunt-on-craigslist-without-getting-scammed <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-to-apartment-hunt-on-craigslist-without-getting-scammed" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/for_rent_sign_000018543162.jpg" alt="Man learning how to apartment hunt on craigslist without getting scammed" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Using Craigslist to find an apartment is not a novel idea. As a matter of fact, it's by far the most popular way for prospective renters to find a new place. But it doesn't come without its drawbacks, the biggest being fraud and scams designed to separate you from your hard-earned money. Here are a few of the biggest scams currently going and some tips on how to protect yourself from them.</p> <h2>1. Always Verify the Owner</h2> <p>One of the most popular <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-vile-craigslist-scams-to-watch-out-for">Craigslist scams</a> these days involves a crook gaining access to the apartment or home, and showing it to you under the guise of being the real landlord or owner. To sweeten the pot, and get you to bite, they might even offer a deal on the deposit, or pick up some of the fees. As you can imagine, this has the potential of ending badly with you losing significant money. They'll end up taking your first month's rent and security deposit and you'll never see them &mdash; or your money &mdash; again.</p> <p>When looking at Craigslist listings, always make sure you verify the owner of the apartment or home. Most counties and cities have websites in place that allow you to look up public records to determine the real owner of the property. If this is not a possibility, drive by the property and look for signs showing that it's actually for rent. Be sure to call the phone number listed at the physical address and verify the owner, as well.</p> <h2>2. If It Sounds Too Good to Be True, It Probably Is</h2> <p>When scanning through Craigslist listings, be cautious of apartments that seem too good to be true, as they probably are. Often these listings are fake and designed to pull you in with the lure of a &quot;fantastic deal.&quot; Also, if a listing sounds terrific, but is chock full of misspellings and bad grammar, proceed with extreme caution as it could be a sign of a fraudulent or fake ad.</p> <p>Do some research ahead of time to familiarize yourself with the local housing market and the going rents and fees. Do this by scanning local classified ads and utilizing websites like <a href="http://hotpads.com/">Hotpads</a> and <a href="https://livelovely.com/">Lovely</a>. Once you do this, you'll be able to easily spot red flags like unusually cheap rent, small security deposits, and lack of tenant screening.</p> <h2>3. Never Give Personal Information Upfront</h2> <p>Another way scammers use Craigslist to try and entice potential victims is by convincing you it's a really hot property, typically via e-mail, and insisting you &quot;act fast&quot; to reserve it. The most typical scam is asking you to submit a rental application before you view the property. This is done in an effort to get your personal information, such as Social Security and bank account numbers.</p> <p>Avoid this situation by always making sure you view the unit and verify the owner <em>before</em> you fill out a rental application. The only thing that a landlord can legally ask you for prior to showing the place is a valid photo ID.</p> <h2>4. Never Trust an E-mail</h2> <p>Unfortunately, scammers are&nbsp;<a href="http://abclocal.go.com/story?section=news/consumer&amp;id=9513869">hacking into the e-mail addresses</a> of landlords and property owners on Craigslist and defrauding prospective tenants by posing as the real owners. The scam typically starts by answering your e-mail inquiry with a hard sell on why they need your personal information (or a deposit) before showing you the place. Because of this, it's always smart to talk to a real person to verify the property. Most scammers don't want to talk to you on the phone and will try to get your money without doing so. If the listing has a phone number, call it, and verify the rental and all the ad details. If all of your phone calls go unanswered, and unreturned, you should move on to the next prospective listing.</p> <h2>5. Never Wire Money</h2> <p>If a landlord or property owner insists on you wiring money to secure a property, it's probably a scam. There is absolutely no solid reasoning to ever pay with a wire transfer. Sending money by wire transfer is essentially the same thing as sending cash and once it has been sent, it's nearly impossible to get it back.</p> <h2>6. Beware of the Middleman Scam</h2> <p>The &quot;<a href="http://info.stevebrownapts.com/blog/bid/292049/9-Ways-to-Avoid-Apartment-Rental-Scams">middleman scam</a>&quot; is when a scammer pretends a property is available for rent on Craigslist and claims to be handling, or managing, the place for the &quot;real&quot; owners. They'll often claim the owner is out of the country and has trusted the place to them. This middleman will attempt to collect rent, a security deposit, and various fees and then will quickly disappear with your money. Typically, they'll use photos and property information copied directly from a real estate website and create a completely fake listing on Craigslist. Avoid this scam by insisting on seeing the property first and verifying that the place is actually for rent by talking directly to the landlord or neighbors.</p> <p>The bottom line is to always trust your gut instinct, especially in terms of the professionalism of the Craigslist listing and the ease (or lack thereof) of reaching the property owner directly. If something about the deal just doesn't seem right, then move on to the next apartment or rental home and avoid the strong potential for a scam. There will always be plenty of legit listings to meet your needs.</p> <p><em>Have you ever been the victim of a Craigslist housing scam? If so, how did it go down?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kyle-james">Kyle James</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-apartment-hunt-on-craigslist-without-getting-scammed">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-10"> <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-3-best-cities-with-rent-control">The 3 Best Cities With Rent Control</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/8-vile-craigslist-scams-to-watch-out-for">8 Vile Craigslist Scams to Watch Out For</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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-safe-is-craigslist">How Safe Is Craigslist?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Real Estate and Housing apartments craigslist renting scams Wed, 27 May 2015 15:00:09 +0000 Kyle James 1431269 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Closet Bedrooms That Are Surprisingly Spacious http://www.wisebread.com/8-closet-bedrooms-that-are-surprisingly-spacious <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-closet-bedrooms-that-are-surprisingly-spacious" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_morning_000020877401.jpg" alt="Woman waking up in surprisingly spacious closet bedroom" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whether you're looking for more guest accommodations in your home or have recently added a new addition to the family, extra bedrooms can be hard to find. And when you live in a studio apartment, any added inches you can carve out for general living are absolutely golden.</p> <p>But you're in luck, because I've scoured the web to find the coolest DIY closet bedrooms to open up your cramped lifestyle.</p> <h2>1. Walk-In Retreat</h2> <p>This 420 square foot apartment got a major upgrade when its renter converted her <a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/ellens-walkin-closet-bedroom-my-bedroom-retreat-contest-186379">walk-in closet to a bedroom</a>. The sleep space is practical but luxurious, fitting a double bed with ease. The double doors to the &quot;room&quot; create a sense of openness but can still be closed to hide clutter in a pinch.</p> <h2>2. Studio Cove</h2> <p>This studio in San Francisco has a secret. Much like with the space above, this <a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/northwest-9-shannons-sumptuous-47783">walk-in closet</a> can easily accommodate a double bed. To give it even more separation from the living areas, I'd recommend using a tension rod with some curtains that could be opened or closed whenever company is over.</p> <h2>3. Captain's Bed</h2> <p>Not only is this <a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/look-5-21336">closet bedroom</a> cute, but it's also packing some great storage to boot. If you have the headroom, try elevating your bed onto an IKEA LACK shelf, which costs around $130. It gives the appearance of a built-in bed all while giving you room to stow books, clothes, and other items.</p> <h2>4. Kid Cave</h2> <p>Not all apartments are blessed with huge closets, however. I first discovered micro bedrooms when I stumbled upon Huck's spirited <a href="https://instagram.com/p/nZC40GSPQ2/">kid cave</a> on Pinterest. Though the family has since moved to a larger apartment in Brooklyn, in Manhattan he slept on a simple floor mattress with some shelves and hooks to hold all his adorable stuff.</p> <h2>5. Neat Nursery</h2> <p>For babies, closets can provide ample space for sleeping. Check out this <a href="http://www.loftsboston.com/gallery/Court_Square_Press_322/Court_Square_Press_322-17.jpg">room for two cribs</a> (yes, two!). The existing shelving and bars in the area gives the parents lots of options for hanging clothes, storing diapers, and stashing other baby supplies. I like the addition of the dresser that can double as a changing station.</p> <h2>6. Single Crib</h2> <p>Of course, you don't need a gigantic closet to fit a singleton. And if you have a bedroom that's just a bit too small to be called a proper nursery, try <a href="http://lovelymorning.com/index.php/2010/11/jillians-nursery/">removing the closet doors</a> and placing the crib in the negative space. The rest of the room can fit way more stuff with the crib out of the way, and the baby may even sleep a bit better surrounded by all the coziness.</p> <h2>7. Bunk Bed</h2> <p>Whether for overnight guests or squeezing siblings together, these <a href="http://thefykes.blogspot.ca/2008/08/one-house-outside-tennessee.html">bunk beds</a> are where it's at. They fit perfectly into the upstairs closet of this Tennessee home &mdash; complete with a ladder for climbing and even some shelf storage. The folding doors hide this spot away during the day, and I could see French doors working just as well with a bit more style.</p> <h2>8. Closet Loft</h2> <p>Even if your child has a bed and plenty of room to grow, converting the closet can be a smooth move. This playful <a href="http://www.hometalk.com/7439798/diy-closet-loft">closet loft</a> provides a soft reading area and storage for clothing and other items. It'd be the perfect place for friends to sleep over for years to come. Oh, and did I mention it only cost $75 from start to finish?</p> <p><em>Would you ever sleep in a closet bedroom? We'd love to hear your thoughts on this unique use of space in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-closet-bedrooms-that-are-surprisingly-spacious">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/7-ways-to-decorate-an-apartment-without-losing-your-deposit">7 Ways to Decorate an Apartment Without Losing Your Deposit</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/25-things-to-throw-out-today">25 Things to Throw Out Today</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-things-in-your-house-youre-forgetting-to-clean">9 Things in Your House You&#039;re Forgetting to Clean</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/15-genius-kitchen-storage-solutions">15 Genius Kitchen Storage Solutions</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/15-things-in-your-closet-you-can-throw-out-today">15 Things in Your Closet You Can Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Organization apartments bedrooms smart sleeping space saving studios Mon, 13 Apr 2015 13:00:06 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1380779 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Ideas to Make a Small Space Seem Bigger http://www.wisebread.com/11-ideas-to-make-a-small-space-seem-bigger <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-ideas-to-make-a-small-space-seem-bigger" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/6839848535_af0e04b715_z.jpg" alt="small room" title="small room" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="250" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The winning design of a competition held by Mayor Bloomberg for the best micro-home proposal was <a href="http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/22/city-unveils-winner-of-tiny-apartment-competition/" target="_blank">announced recently</a> and was chosen for its smart use of maximizing storage space and lighting. The micro-units, measuring 250 to 370 square feet, are being established in part to address the housing shortage in the populated city of New York.</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Entertain-Small-Apartment-26232872">RELATED:&nbsp;5 Tips for Entertaining in a Small Space</a></p> <p>You don't need an interior designer to help make the most of your small space. If your home feels a little bit too micro for you, there are plenty of easy tricks you can use to make it seem spacier than it really is. Read on for some smart decorating tips.</p> <h2>1. Double Duty</h2> <p>Choose furniture that serve multiple purposes to make the most out of them. For example, using a hollowed out ottoman for a coffee table or opting for a sofa bed that can double as a sofa and a bed.</p> <h2>2. Translucent Is the Way to Go</h2> <p>Picking furniture that&rsquo;s transparent and translucent, like ones made out of lucite or glass, can lighten the room, which is key to making it look bigger than it is.</p> <h2>3. Display Them</h2> <p>Don&rsquo;t have a place to put certain items? Try to display them in an artful way and make them look like part of the decor.</p> <h2>4. Hidden Storage</h2> <div id="slide-content"> <p>Find ways to maximize every space possible, especially the ones that are hidden. Store clothes and other items in a plastic container under your bed or under your sink.</p> <h2>5. Furniture With Legs</h2> <p>Instead of furniture with a solid and bulky base, try picking ones that stand on thin but sturdy legs, such as chairs with metal legs.</p> <h2>6. Go Light</h2> <p>The color palette of your home should be on the lighter end. Think white, pastels, and muted colors. The light decor will open up your room and make it feel spacier than it is.</p> <h2>7. Think Up</h2> <p>When you live in a small apartment, the space gets filled up quickly. Be creative and make sure the pieces you have are tall and narrow. For example, pick tall and skinny bookcases and side tables.</p> <h2>8. Measure Before Buying</h2> <p>You need to work with the limited space so make sure you&rsquo;re measuring it before you get furniture that&rsquo;s too large or too small. Not having the right size can make the apartment look smaller than it is.</p> <h2>9. Clear Clutter</h2> <p>Purge your apartment of the unnecessary and be aggressive about getting rid of items. Digitize memorabilia you&rsquo;re hanging onto and dispose of items you&rsquo;re not using. Clutter can make a small home seem cramped and getting rid of it will create more visible space.</p> <h2>10. Don't Block the Windows</h2> <p>Let the natural light shine through and keep the curtains simple so as not to make the room feel stifled.</p> <h2>11. Mirror, Mirror on the Wall</h2> <p>Add mirrors if it makes sense and if it doesn&rsquo;t clutter up your tiny home. If placed correctly, mirrors can seemingly widen your room&rsquo;s perimeters as well as lighten your room by reflecting light.</p> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Just because your apartment is small doesn&#039;t mean it needs to feel that way. Check out these tips for making the most of a tiny home. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p style="text-align:center;"><a style="border:none;" href="http://www.savvysugar.com"><img alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u4/savvysugar-300-small.jpg" /></a></p> <p><em>This is a guest contribution from our friends at </em><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/"><em>SavvySugar</em></a><em>. Check out more useful articles from this partner:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Storage-Space-Ideas-22707628">11 Ideas for More Storage Space</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Decorate-Rental-Apartments-22742698">6 Tips for Decorating Rental Apartments</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Lisa-Ling-House-Photos-Tips-Peaceful-Home-26949318">Lisa Ling: 5 Ways to Make Your Home a Peaceful Oasis</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/popsugar-smart-living">POPSUGAR Smart Living</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ideas-to-make-a-small-space-seem-bigger">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/7-ways-to-decorate-an-apartment-without-losing-your-deposit">7 Ways to Decorate an Apartment Without Losing Your Deposit</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-to-make-your-own-curtains">How to Make Your Own Curtains</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/20-ways-to-live-large-in-a-small-space">20 Ways to Live Large in a Small 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/studio-apartment-living-a-5-point-survival-guide">Studio Apartment Living: A 5-Point Survival Guide</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-remodel-your-bedroom-without-demolishing-a-thing">7 Ways to Remodel Your Bedroom (Without Demolishing a Thing)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home apartments budget decorating small spaces Thu, 07 Feb 2013 11:24:34 +0000 POPSUGAR Smart Living 967630 at http://www.wisebread.com What your house is really worth http://www.wisebread.com/what-your-house-is-really-worth <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-your-house-is-really-worth" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/nice-house.jpg" alt="A nice house" title="A Nice House" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="196" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are several things you can do with a house that you own.  During the housing boom, most of the attention was focused on two of those things:  You could sell it, or you could borrow money against it.  Now that the bust has arrived, it&#39;s easy to see the limitations of that particular model.  Happily, there&#39;s a more stable, more useful way to value your house.</p> <p>Until the housing boom distracted people with fantasies of easy riches, most people focused on the two other things you can do with a house you own: <ul> <li>If you live in it, you don&#39;t have to pay to rent someplace else to live</li> <li>If you don&#39;t live in it, you can get paid rent to let someone else live there</li> </ul> <p>Looked at this way, what is a house worth?<br /> <h2>The financial analysis</h2> <p>Purely as an example, suppose you can rent an apartment as large as a small house for around $750 a month.  (That&#39;s what a largish apartment around here might run).</p> <p>Alternatively, suppose you owned a small house about the size of that apartment.  You&#39;d have a few expenses that the renter doesn&#39;t have:  property taxes, insurance, maintenance, water, sewer, garbage, etc.  If those add up to, let&#39;s say, $400 a month, then owning a house is worth $750 minus $400:  $350 a month.</p> <p>Note that this is true <strong>whether you&#39;ve got a mortgage on the house or not</strong>.  Just like having some credit card debt doesn&#39;t change the value of the clothes or TV or BBQ grill that you might have charged, the value of your house is unrelated to the structure of any debts you might have.</p> <p>A <a href="http://www.arachnoid.com/lutusp/finance.html">financial calculator</a> can crank out a value for a $350 stream of income.  Depending on the value you pick as the relevant discount rate, that stream of income is worth around $60,000 to $65,000.  (I used 6.5% as the discount rate.  You also have to plug in a number for how long the stream of payments goes on, but the payments in the distant future are discounted away to a vanishingly small value--a stream of $350 payments that goes on for 100 years is only worth a couple thousand dollars more than a stream that only goes on for 50 years.)</p> <p>Now, around here, a house comparable to a $750/month apartment (2 bedrooms, 1 bath, 1000 sq ft) could just about be had for $65,000--but only if it had serious problems.  It would probably have a serious maintenance backlog or be in a bad neighborhood, or else it would cost more.  (This is a big part of the reason that I rent rather than owning a house.)<br /> <h2>Non-finanacial aspects</h2> <p>You can&#39;t write in praise of renting without getting a lot of comments from people who think that renting amounts to stuffing their money down a rathole.  You write checks month after month--possibly for years--with nothing to show for it.  On the other hand, if you buy, you end up owning something.  There&#39;s some truth to that, but it&#39;s worth being clear about what, exactly you do own.  Specifically, you own the items listed at the beginning:  You can sell it, mortgage it, live in it, or rent it out.</p> <p>There are, of course, other advantages to living in a house:  You have more privacy, more control of your living environment, more options in terms of size and amenities, and so on.  But you don&#39;t own those things--those things you pay for just like rent.  That is, the money you pay this month pays for this month&#39;s privacy and control.  (Because, remember, owning a house also ties you to the neighborhood.  If a creepy guy moves into the apartment next to yours, you can always move when your lease runs out.  But if a creepy guys buys the house next to yours, you can lose a lot of privacy and control at exactly the same moment having that neighbor makes it a lot harder to sell your house.)</p> <p>Of course, being tied into your neighborhood can have an upside as well--you&#39;re in a community.  But, then, some apartment buildings have a community as well, even if most of them don&#39;t.<br /> <h2>Principal and interest</h2> <p>Note that we haven&#39;t talked about actually paying the mortgage.  As I said, that&#39;s really a separate issue.  Your house is <strong>worth</strong> the cost of the rent that you don&#39;t have to pay, adjusted for the extra expenses that fall on a homeowner.  The mortgage and interest are <strong>what you have to pay</strong> to get it.  (In the United States the interest payment is tax advantaged, which makes the effective cost a bit harder to figure out, but that&#39;s just a detail.)</p> <p>If what you have to pay is less than what the house is worth, it&#39;s a good deal financially.  If what you have to pay is more than what the house is worth, it&#39;s a bad deal financially.  It&#39;s that simple. </p> <h2>Accumulating wealth</h2> <p>People seem to be strongly motivated by the idea that the money that goes toward their mortgage is going to buy something that they own, whereas money that goes toward rent is just gone.  I think looking at homeownership that way just confuses people.</p> <p>Your house is worth what it would cost you to rent an equivalent place or what you could get for it if you rented it out (adjusted for the expenses of home ownership).  That&#39;s true whether you own it outright or have it mortgaged to the hilt.  (Of course, if you have a mortgage you owe a large debt, but that doesn&#39;t affect the value of the house.)</p> <p>Your apartment, of course, is worth zero.  But if it&#39;s cheaper to live in an apartment than it is to live in a house--and it often is--then the apartment dweller has surplus cash to invest, and therefore can accumulate wealth.</p> <p>One thing I&#39;ve left out of this calculation is &quot;appreciation&quot; in the value of the house.  If the price at which a house can be sold grows <strong>faster than other investments grow</strong>, then home ownership can win in a big way.  But, as is now clear, there&#39;s no good reason to assume that such outsized growth can be expected.<br /> <h2>No ratholes involved</h2> <p>Whether a house is a good deal financially or not is important, but it&#39;s not the only factor.  The non-financial aspects are also important--in fact, they are often the determining factors in people&#39;s decisions to buy a house.  If you want to buy a house because you find one you want to live in and can afford, then by all means do so.  But if you&#39;ve previously been misled by the fuzzy notion that money spent on a mortgage is money &quot;invested&quot; but that money spent on rent is money &quot;down a rathole,&quot; now you know how to do a valid analysis.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-your-house-is-really-worth">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/renting-is-cheaper">Renting is cheaper</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/the-3-best-cities-with-rent-control">The 3 Best Cities With Rent Control</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/6-important-things-you-need-to-know-about-the-housing-market-in-2016">6 Important Things You Need to Know About the Housing Market in 2016</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 apartment apartments buy buying a house rent Tue, 16 Sep 2008 03:14:53 +0000 Philip Brewer 2430 at http://www.wisebread.com Renting is cheaper http://www.wisebread.com/renting-is-cheaper <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/renting-is-cheaper" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/framed-house-2.jpg" alt="Framed house" title="Framed house" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="199" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Everybody has seen a rent-versus-buy analysis. On one side you add up the mortgage, taxes, insurance, and maintenance costs (being sure to adjust for the tax write-off of the mortgage interest). On the other side you add up, well, just the rent, really. Then, at the end of 30 years the homeowner has a house and the renter has... nothing. Here's a different way to look at it.</p> <p>What's the value of a house owned free-and-clear? Market value is one aspect, but market value has been kind of wonky just lately. Wanting to find another way to come at the value, I figured I could value the house by calculating how much extra the renter has to pay each month, once the mortgage is paid off. Then I could compare that stream of (avoided) payments to the value of an investment that would provide an equivalent stream of income. The value of the house would be the same as the value of that hypothetical investment.</p> <p>For example, if the homeowner's taxes, insurance, and maintenance comes to $300 a month when rent was $500 a month, then ownership is saving the owner $200 a month--and $200 a month is worth at least $48,000 and quite possibly as much as $60,000. (That is, you could invest $60,000 in a diversified portfolio and pull out $200 a month, probably forever. If you only had $48,000 invested and you pulled out $200 a month, it would last a long time, but maybe not as long as a house.)</p> <p>So, I was doing that analysis recently, but trying to be a bit more comprehensive--including all the extra expenses of homeownership, and making it specific to my own situation, which I knew would tilt things a bit toward the renting side of the comparison, because I've got a great apartment with certain amenities included in the rent.</p> <p>So, in my analysis, I put these things in the cost-of-owning column:</p> <ul> <li>property taxes</li> <li>maintenance</li> <li>insurance (after subtracting what I pay for renter's insurance)</li> <li>water</li> <li>sewer</li> <li>garbage</li> <li>heat (included in the rent here)</li> <li>basic cable (also included in the rent here)</li> <li>recycling fee (paid by homeowners but not renters around here)</li> </ul> <p>(Homeowning friends kept mentioning other expenses that one or another of them paid, such as lawn mowing, snow plowing, and burgler alarm service, but I didn't include those because I figured I'd generally do those things for myself (or do without them), rather than pay cash.)</p> <p>After talking to friends and relations to get estimates for those costs and then adding them all up, I was shocked to discover that you could <em>give me a house for free</em> and I couldn't live in it as cheaply as I can live in my apartment.</p> <p>Now, maybe some of my estimates were on the high side. In particular, my estimate for maintenance of $2000 a year is probably higher than most people would estimate--but I was trying to include not just fixing things but also each year's share of the major expenses (new roof, new windows, new doors, new garage door, new furnace, new air conditioner, new appliances, repainting, refinishing floors) that you might have to pay only once every 15 or 20 years.</p> <p>Of course, a house might well be a nicer place to live. A house will almost certainly be bigger than our apartment, have a yard, a place for a garden, probably a garage--all things we don't have. And we realize that we've been really lucky--sane landlord, few noisy neighbors, good maintenance, well-kept grounds--all things that could change at any time. (Of course neighborhoods can change around a homeowner, too. And while if things go downhill here we can just move, a homeowner might find himself stuck trying to sell a house in a neighborhood that has gone downhill.)</p> <p>If you can afford to live in a house, and you want to, then by all means buy a house. (Especially if you can't find an apartment that's both excellent and cheap like ours.) But take a close look at the relative costs, not just a simple-minded rent-versus-buy analysis.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/renting-is-cheaper">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/what-your-house-is-really-worth">What your house is really worth</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-benefits-of-a-walkable-neighborhood">The Benefits of a Walkable Neighborhood</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/welcome-to-container-city-how-shipping-containers-are-recycled-into-green-dwellings">Welcome to Container City - How Shipping Containers Are Recycled into Green Dwellings</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/do-not-buy-something-just-because-you-can-afford-it">Do not buy something just because you can afford it</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-ways-to-score-cheap-rent-without-annoying-roommates">5 Ways to Score Cheap Rent — Without Annoying Roommates</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Real Estate and Housing apartments buy buying a house real estate rent Tue, 04 Sep 2007 20:38:45 +0000 Philip Brewer 1104 at http://www.wisebread.com