Saturday

How to Find Lowest Prices When Decorating Apartment

You need to add a little life to a drab looking apartment or town home, but you have little money to do it. You may have received the overpriced catalogs in the mail with the pretty pictures tempting you to decorate on borrowed money. How do you get started with very little money and time?

Make time to read about low cost apartment decorating and/or watch television programs for tips.

The more knowledge you receive when it comes to apartment or town home decorating, the easier it will be for you to come up with a simple plan that usually includes the following when decorating: great lighting, interesting art and novelty items, window treatments, and useful furniture. However, too much researching and you just might get a headache!

You may be indecisive when it comes to colors and themes for your apartment or town home, but don't be. A great way to eliminate your confusion would be to check the prices of items you like then check your bank account. For example, you see an image of palm trees you really like, so you might concentrate on the color scheme then look for things that center on the image. You may find a couple of pictures with palm trees, a small area rug, or a few decorative mugs. Now you have some items to include in a certain part of your home to get you started. However, don't do like some people just keep stockpiling on the same image, find related things that may go along with your image such as: an island, tropical birds, a hotel or plane image. Before long you have a vacation theme for some place in your home. Keep thinking of other interests.

Review what you already have in your apartment or town home that you aren't using or haven't used for a long time.

Sometimes we have things in our possession that could be revived if we just get them fixed, painted, or upgraded. You may have a broken treasure, but haven't used it because you haven't gotten around to placing an order or shopping for a part. Try doing that first before buying something new. When you are ready to part with it, sell the item (making sure you list what is wrong with it) then take monies received and put them toward your apartment decorating fund (you do have a budget, right?)

Ask and you shall receive (or maybe not) what you need from a relative or friend.

Some things you simply don't want to spend your cash on if you can help it. The trick to purchasing decor for your apartment or town home is to get as much stuff as you can for little money. Those little things like cups, wine glasses, or novelty items you want to decorate a shelf or space in your corner, might be given to you if only you would ask. So make the time to hang out with a relative or friend who has been wanting you to come around and see what they might be willing to give you.

Make a list of necessities items, then add how much you are willing to spend on them.

When you have a very limited budget, you don't want to go into any store or shop online without a list. Ask yourself, “What do I really need? What will be used almost daily? What will make me feel comfortable in my new living space?” Without a budget, you will find yourself impulse shopping, experiencing buyer's remorse and running up your credit card.

Check local ads for yard sales, estate sales, and/or flea markets for any goods you don't mind buying used or refurbished.

People on the side of the road selling their wares, a local rummage sale or an invite to a flea market, are all great places to find some affordable décor. Don't let pride or ego get in the way! You will often see some of the best interior decorators on TV going to these places to find interesting pieces of art work and novelty items.

Visit local stores including discount and thrift stores.

Although slightly priced higher then going to a home owner's yard sale, discount and thrift stores are great places to find all sorts of book shelves, small tables and chairs, glass art, cups, and wall pictures.

When buying new products, research the latest local circulars first.

Why waste gas shopping at different stores? Find out who has a sale on the items you want. For instance, maybe you are in need of a dresser for your bedroom. You don't want to visit any store without knowing what discounts they are offering. If your store isn't advertising any specials in circulars, why not call them?

Remember the sales clerk hopes you visit the store so that they can get you to spend as much money as you can buying their goods. Keep in mind, he or she is already prepared to get you to sign up for a credit card and purchase the most expensive item you most likely can't afford. Avoid the pressure before visiting the store, do two things: know exactly what you want and research for the lowest price possible!

Avoid partnering with a relative or friend who is eager to get you to spend more money.

Why should they care that you have other bills? Your “big spender” relative or friend is going with you to the store for a good experience and helping you watch your budget is not in the plan. Too often shoppers take someone with them to make a major purchase who isn't very good at helping them make wise decisions. This person may or may not have your best interests in mind. Sometimes people tend to forget that they aren't shopping for themselves, so they suggest items they would buy, but not necessarily what you would buy. Use caution when bringing someone along. One way to keep from spending more money on merchandise then you intend to pay is to let the relative or friend know in advance what you want and ask them to hold you accountable for your budget.

Shop the Internet only if you have found the price lower and/or can't find your product elsewhere, and always avoid paying shipping and handling costs.

Notice Internet shopping is listed as the last thing to do when shopping for home décor for your apartment or town home. The reason for this is simple, items usually cost more online once you factor in shipping and handling charges and local sales tax. Let's say you visit a website for a nice framed poster you could quite possibly find offline if you take your time, the site claims “free shipping,” but upon closer inspection you notice that just about every item on the site seems to be a tad bit overpriced. They are more expensive, because the seller figured out a way to camouflage the shipping and handling charges in the price—click off sites like these! If you must have a poster with a certain scene, entertainer, or symbol, look for something similar offline for cheaper.

Once you have made your list of items that you need for your home, visited various offline stores, thrift stores, yard sales and other places, consider what more you might need. You might find a great sale on much needed merchandise at the right time! Enjoy your shopping experiences!

Wednesday

How to Pack and Move with Children

Do you need to move, but you don't have anyone who can watch your children? Well, it doesn't have to be the end of the world if you plan your move right! Much can be accomplished in little time, if you know how to organize.

One. Create a list of things you must do related to the move.

Include things on your list like: pick up boxes, buy tape, purchase a few pair of scissors, black markers, packing foam or bubble wrap. (Buying extra is helpful in case you or your children misplace any of your items which can be a headache trying to find.) Sometimes it is easier to get a co-worker or friend to help you get these items then to get them to watch your children, so ask someone to do a few errands for you like pick up boxes.

Two. Take several large empty boxes, label each, and set up in each room you will be packing.

Be sure you label boxes with words like: "children's room (toys), bedroom, living-room, hall closet, bathroom" in large letters on each box so that items will be easy to find later. Important items should be written small or abbreviated to help you find them. When you have boxes already started in each room, it gives you a good idea how many more you will need and also helps keep you organized.

Three. Explain to children what you will be doing with the boxes.

When parents take time to explain to children what is going on in their environment it makes things easier for them to understand. You may want to let them play with a box or two. When you are ready to pack some of their items, give younger children a few small tasks to do to make them feel good about helping.

Four. When packing up the children's room, leave the most entertaining items out up until the night before.

If you pack up the children's favorite items to soon before the move out date, you will find the children will frequently nag you about those items putting you in a position to have to unpack boxes you just packed. So try to leave out their treasured items and those that aren't favored so much. Explain to them they will see their toys again at your new residence.

Five. Block off areas that may be hazardous to children.

Places where you are packing, cutting tape and using scissors, should not be frequented by children. You can use safety gates, packed boxes, and furniture to block off these spaces or simply put a safety gate in front of an open bedroom door or living-room space.

Six. Utilize outdoor space to keep children occupied such as a patio or backyard.

These places are very helpful when a parent is busy cleaning and organizing in the home and doesn't want the children running around from room to room. However, be forewarned that siblings will fight with one another if they are forced to stay in any area together for a long time. So you may want to rotate each child around such as having one child seated in front of a computer playing children's games, the other in the kid's room alone with the toys and the other out on the patio riding his/her bike and throwing a ball around.

Seven. Feed children and diaper babies BEFORE you begin any task.

A child won't bother you as much if his or her belly is well-fed with food and drink, so be sure you have their basic needs handled. Leave snacks out after an hour or two has passed. Try to pick food items that you will not have to worry over the children making a big mess. Avoid giving them open cups. This too will prevent unnecessary accidents.

Eight. Take advantage of nap time and offers to take the children out.

While the children are away, pack up the majority of the items in their room. Leave out enough clothes, toys and movies that will keep them occupied until your move out date. Pack toiletries and remaining items in a suitcase and/or leftover boxes the night before the move. This way it is easy to find diapers, wipes, toothpaste, lotion, etc.

Nine. Keep children out of the movers way at all times.

To ensure that you have a smooth move on moving day, be sure the children are out of the movers’ way. They don't want to accidentally bump your children and you don't want to become irritated with them because of it, so keep them out of the way by either putting them on the patio or some other play area, keeping them in their room until the movers need to come and get their things, or sit in the car or truck with them while they watch a DVD, work on an activity and/or play a game.

Ten. Instruct movers to put children's items in their room rather than in another place of your new residence.

If movers are not given specific instructions for boxes, they will pile them all in the living-room. You will want all your items placed in the right rooms. If you labeled each box prior to the move, there shouldn't be any problem for the movers placing your boxes in the appropriate rooms and no problem for you finding most items. Once most of the children's items are removed from the truck, be sure you begin unpacking a box or two of your child's first so that they can occupy themselves in their new room. This way they are not playing in the way of the movers.

Planning a move with children doesn't have to be complicated, if you remember the following: tend to their needs before you begin any project, block them off from areas you will be working, use toys, and TV to babysit when you have no one else who can help, and while the children are napping or away, get the most important tasks completed such as packing their room without interruption.

Tuesday

10 Things to Do Before Moving Out of Apartment, Town Home

The time has come for you to start planning your move from an old apartment or town home to a new one, but you haven't bothered to notify a property owner or landlord of your move just yet. There are some things you may want to consider before moving especially if you want to maintain a good relationship with the landlord or property owner.


One. Report maintenance issues such as leaks, electrical problems and non-working equipment.


When you contact the property owner about ongoing problems in the apartment, he or she will not be able to assume you caused damage to the unit. For instance, a soft spot on a shelf or ceiling that eventually turns into a hole may be caused by a water leak. Also, mold issues may arise causing more damage.


Two. List issues that were not addressed by landlord prior to move.


You may have told the landlord about a number of problems and he or she may have promised to handle them, but never did. Note the date and/or time you contacted him or her and what was said.


Three. Notify landlord at least thirty-days in advance that you will be moving.


The more days in advance of a move you tell the landlord, the better. You won't have to worry over unnecessary fees for not letting her or him know in advance. You also have a right to decline your apartment be shown until you move out, so if there is nothing in the lease that you signed requiring you to show the apartment, don't worry about it. However, do remind the landlord that while you are living there, you don't want your apartment to be shown.


Four. Get your new mailing address and cancel delivery of mail and newspaper.


Sometimes people fail to forward their mail creating problems for residents who may be living in the suite after them. Avoid chasing the mail man and the newspaper boy, change your mailing address with the post office and with the companies you do business at least a week prior to your move out date.


Five. Arrange to transfer all utilities back to property owner prior to move.


You don't want to have utilities turn off too soon prior to moving out, but not too late either which may also cause problems for the owner or preceding resident.


Six. Schedule a move-out inspection before moving, so that the property owner can communicate concerns and you can fix anything you broke.


This is very important especially if you know you damaged something and might need to get an estimate. Don't rely on the property manager to be fair about damages to the unit. Have him or her note the problems while you get someone to fix them before you leave; otherwise, you will get less of your security deposit than you expect.


Seven. Clean unit.


Every individual has their own version of what they consider is clean. The best way to determine what to leave clean in the apartment is to look around. Do you see crumbs on the floor, counter tops, and refrigerator, grease in and on the stove, stains on the toilet, carpet, and walls? If so, the apartment is not considered clean. However, if you do clean the apartment, a landlord may still take out of your security deposit carpet cleaning charges and other cleaning fees if you don't produce paperwork that shows that the unit has been professionally cleaned. Most often, do-it-yourself cleaning is not clean enough.


Eight. Take pictures of rooms of apartment or town home.


After you have made repairs and cleaned the unit, you will take pictures of every visible flaw that you may think might be an issue. If it was there before you arrived, take a picture. If you caused the visible defect, take a picture. If you think that it might be a problem for the next resident, take a picture.


Nine. Schedule a final move out walk-through.


When the time comes to take the property owner or a member of the leasing staff on a tour of your clean suite, you will want to point out the problems that were not addressed by management and the cosmetic defects so as not to be charged. You will also want to ask about any charges you may incur. Some property management companies have a price list of how much damages cost.


Ten. Ask when to expect remainder of security deposit.


Although you may already know when to expect your refund, ask anyway. This way you have confirmation from the owner or staff person. Note who told you when you will get your security deposit and also if the company has a corporate office do get the phone number. Then when the time comes to expect your security deposit to arrive in the mail and it doesn't, you can take up your complaint with the right people.


These ten points will help you maintain a good reputation with your old landlord in the event you may need him or her in the future.

N. McGuire


Sunday

How to Save Money When Preparing to Move into Apartment, Town Home


You need to move and you don't know how to go about doing it quickly while saving up enough money to move, so what do you do? Sometimes people delay their relocating only to find out they could have long moved had they not spent so much money on the latest gadgets, the extracurricular activities for the children, and gift-buying. You will need to have time, patience and dedication to make your move happen and fast!

One. Calculate how much money you can save by reviewing current bills you are paying and then calculating what you have leftover.

When seeking a new place to live, the first question a Realtor usually asks is, “When are you looking to move?” The next is, “What are your preferences?” Both of these questions can best be answered when you know how much money is in the bank. If you know you only have $100 left after every paycheck, then of course you can't move next week. So you will have to cut your expenses in order to increase the amount of money leftover from your paycheck so that you have first month's rent and a security deposit or a down payment on a home. You will also need to set aside a time frame to reach your financial goal.

Two. Avoid gift buying, impulse shopping, and programs with recurring fees.

Everyone who has had to move in record time, knows that all the fun stuff is non-existent. Sometimes people have gone without meat, cable, cell phones, and other luxuries to save for a move. Plan to give up some fun things and cut out the family activities temporarily that keep eating a hole in your wallet each pay.

Three. Sell things you no longer need.

Visit each room and interview your family. What could you sell to fund your move? Do you really need two to three cars, five TVs, baby items and boxes of toys, collectibles you no longer enjoy, and endless clothes and shoes. Put a family member to work to sort, another to take photographs, and another to sell items on eBay or at a local flea market/swap meet.

Four. Talk with people who have recently moved to find out about any deals or bargains they received on movers, a moving truck, and boxes.

Maybe you know someone who bragged about an inexpensive move. He or she might be able to help. You may also want to conduct your own research. Check your local ads.

Five. Talk with anyone who owes you money.

Sometimes we forget about individuals and businesses who were suppose to be paying us some money for services rendered or promised refunds. Whatever the case, visit some of those old websites to see if you have money due you and call up relatives and friends mentioning your move and the need for your money.

Six. Review any bank accounts that have money in them and transfer those monies into an account specifically designated for moving expenses.

Some people have two or three bank accounts with a little money sprinkled here and there. Combine all the monies into one banking account that you will use to pay for your moving expenses.

Eight. Check credit cards for open lines of credit to accommodate for any emergency.

There will be those unexpected, unanticipated expenses that come up while moving. So do be sure that you have enough money open on your credit cards if you should need them to pay for a future emergency. Better yet, if you have a savings specifically for emergencies then you don't need to worry over using your credit cards and having to pay them back later.

Nine. Borrow money from your retirement funds and/or insurance plan.

Maybe you discover that the move is going to cost you a lot more than you originally planned, if this is the case, then you will need to consider increasing the amount of money toward a retirement account with your employer. If your account is a matching fund (that is your employer matches your investment dollar for dollar,) your savings will increase a lot faster and then you will have more money to invest toward your move—just be sure you put the money back after your move! Also, check to see what the penalty is for early withdrawals. You could also meet with your insurance representative to find out the maximum amount you could borrow to meet your moving expenses.

Ten. Take a lunch. Make your own coffee.

Although this last point is simple, so many people avoid doing it. However, when you think of all the money you spend eating out and drinking coffee at some of these establishments, you will notice that the dollars you are spending could best be used toward your moving fund.

Once yo have a working plan to save for your move into that new apartment or town home, do remember to be consistent about saving. Try not to impulse shop and do to communicate with your family about any changes. When you have a good plan for moving, you will be better able to control any problems that may arise. If it becomes too difficult, try to delay your move for as long as possible. That last thing you want to do is cause more problems for you and your family in the future due to money woes.

N. McGuire


Friday

When Looking for Housing for Seniors Consider These Tips

You need to seek housing for a senior adult so how might you begin your search? Well before you start typing in something in your search engine like, "senior housing" then adding your desired location, know what more you are are seeking.

Searching for housing especially for someone else can be quite difficult if you haven't bothered to find out what accomodations your loved one may need. Some of the best independent senior housing complexes have community features and amenities that will make you wish you lived there!

Some things you might want to consider include: a laundry room, off-street resident parking, meeting room with kitchen, craft room, outdoor sitting areas, 24 hour emergency maintenance, wheel chair accessibility, elevators, and the proximity of public transportation. Some communities may allow small pets, so look for this feature as well just in case your loved one becomes lonely.

Once you make an appointment to see the community, be sure that carpeting is wall-to-wall. This can provide extra cushion in case a senior sometimes has the tendency to fall. You will want to be sure the unit has an emergency call system. One of the best features a community can offer is to have an on-site manager. This way if something should happen in the suite, he or she can investigate or call 911. Be sure the apartment comes with a working stove, refrigerator, smoke detectors, and is cable ready. Some suites may have tinted windows, so ask the property manager. This is nice if your loved one isn't too happy about the sun shining brightly in his or her place.

Most senior communities have an age limit which at the time of this writing is 62 years or older. Some have eligibility requirements according to HUD, a government program established for individuals who have a limited income. Ask about current income requirements when you call. Also, seniors who are eligible for HUD properties will still be required to pay a certain portion of rent each month. Most lease terms are 12 months.

When you are in doubt about something related to the senior community you have in mind, always call. Remeber to ask for directions and office hours. This way you will save time and you won't frustrate your loved one by running them all over town in search for an apartment.

By N. McGuire

12 Things a Bad Landlord Might Do to Keep Most or All of Your Security Deposit

The security deposit the most important thing residents are concerned about once moving from their old place. “When will I get it? How long does it take? Why am I being charged all these fees?” Upstanding property management companies usually provide you with an itemized list of charges before you move in, so you know how much you will be charged for things like nail holes and a new paint job. However, a private owner isn't so transparent. He or she doesn't tell you how much anything is going to cost before you move. “I have to get a quote for that...I don't know it all depends...I'll have to check with my guy...” While you wait for the approximate amount of your security deposit refund, you might want to find out what the going rate might be for repairs.


One. Overcharge for nail holes and other markings on the wall.


You know how many pictures you hung on the wall and so does the landlord. He or she is thinking, “This will need to be repaired and painted...that will cost me how much? Well, I will just take this out of his security deposit.” What some landlords won't tell you is that a do-it-yourself job of filling holes with something like toothpaste or painting the whole apartment some original color, only makes matters worse for you. A good landlord will tell you upfront “if you do this...it will cost you...” It's best not to make any repairs or upgrades yourself unless you have asked permission and know what you are doing or it will cost you and if the landlord is a bad one, he or she won't communicate any of this to you.


Two. Forget what he or she said about general wear, “Don't worry about that stain on the counter top or the wall. I won't charge you.”


Sure, the landlord won't. To be certain, you should have taken a picture before you moved in and sent him or her a long list of those “general wear” markings.


Three. Charge you for every stain on the carpet that can't come out and/or carpet burns and holes you didn't do.


You know the spill in the corner that you hid with an area rug? What about the burn in the carpet or the hole? Well, if you didn't list that in advance (that is if you know you didn't do it) your landlord will charge you for it. Did you take pictures of the carpet or note that before you moved in the place?


Four. Inflate the cleaning fee.


You remember how you left the place, don't you? Well the landlord might have a short memory when it's time to pay out your security deposit. If you didn't make certain to clean out everything including some things left behind by a previous resident or even the maintenance staff, he or she might charge you for that too. But you say, “I was just being nice. I left a nice chair that I thought she could use for the next resident.” Doesn't matter, it's garbage and although you thought you had an understanding with her, suddenly she is all business when it comes down to her, I mean, your money.


Five. Keep you in the dark about what it costs to repair something.


You know how much it costs to repair a door, buy a new screen, or something else you may have damaged. However, your landlord has “expensive taste,” he or she may not say anything about the contractor he or she will be using to make repairs until you see the deductions out of your security deposit.


Six. Hold your security deposit past the time required by a state law.


If you don't know when you are supposed to get your security deposit back, you best research for tenant laws in your state. The bad landlord is hoping you don't know too much about the law, this way he or she can do what he or she wants with the security deposit for how ever long he or she wants. “I think I don't like the way she spoke to me on the phone, I'll hold her security deposit until she calls for it!”


Seven. Expect you to pay for repairs that he or she was already notified about before you moved out.


You conversed with the landlord about the things you noticed in the apartment. Notice “conversed” not “sent letter to landlord,” now he or she is charging you for things you already told her about. Your word against her's in a court of law.


Eight. Accused you of leaving the apartment unclean.


Although this point is similar to one discussed already, the difference is the landlord is blatantly saying, “You didn't clean the apartment, so I took out X amount of dollars out of the security deposit.” There are general charges, because for the safety of other residents she has to go over your cleaning work, but then there are hyped up charges just to take more money out of your security deposit. You can dispute the charges with photographs and price quotes from area cleaning companies in a court of law.


Nine. Interview other residents to build a case against you in case you have threatened to sue he or she.


Sometimes you just can't let the left hand know what the right hand is doing. “So you are going to sue me! Well, I know some people who will help me counter sue you!” If you were using drugs in the apartment, making loud noises and the police were called, or doing other things that caused a problem in the apartment complex, a landlord just might use the counter-suit to pay you back! Be sure your “i” is dotted and your “t” is crossed!


Ten. Lie about correspondence and/or phone call.


Let's say you told the landlord you were moving out in thirty days. You sent he or she an email then followed up with a phone call. The closer it got to time for you to move, the landlord starts to have amnesia, “I think you gave me a 25 day notice, didn't you?” You know that he or she is mistaken, and you claim you gave he or she plenty of notice. The idea behind this is to reduce the security deposit refund by penalizing you for not giving the landlord proper notice. Be sure you keep copies of all correspondence and for suspected bad landlords, record phone call conversations if need be.


Eleven. Reduce your security deposit for holding keys although you may have told him or her you need them for a day or two after your move-out date.


You may think, “I will hold on to my apartment and mail box keys a little longer because I can't get a truck until a certain time to get the rest of my stuff and I don't know if all my mail will be transferred over.” Not a good idea! A good or bad landlord will surely charge you for staying in the apartment even if you aren't living there, but just holding on to the keys passed the move out date. This isn't a bad landlord move, but it can be if you aren't reminded that he or she will take money from your security deposit everyday that you don't hand over your keys. “You should have told me!” you yell at the landlord. “You should have read your lease!” Meanwhile, you thought that you had a good relationship with the landlord by telling him you needed the keys. “Nothing personal, just business.” The landlord says.


Twelve. Charge you for things that other residents have done.


You might have a parking space, and noticed other residents have been parking in it while you are gone. Their cars leave stains on the concrete and a few times they hit the wall surrounding your parking space. You may have told the landlord about those bad tenants, but he or she claims, “I forgot.” The next thing you know you are receiving a deduction out of security deposit for damages and cleaning fees you didn't do.


Now that you have 12 possible scenarios that a bad landlord might inflate to keep most, if not all, of your security deposit, be sure that you have a solid case against he or she by: having photographs in your possession, video, audio recordings such as a voice mail messages, and any correspondence related to your case if you should choose to sue.

N. McGuire

10 Signs a Landlord is Having Money Problems

If you would have known in advance about all the ongoing problems at your apartment complex, you would have never moved there! Why is your landlord ignoring you? Why does it seem that every time you tell him or her about a problem, nothing gets done? Chances are the landlord is having money problems.

One. Makes promises to fix things but doesn't.

You have written a letter repeatedly, left voice mails, and even met with the landlord or staff in person, and still nothing ever gets done! So what could be the problem or problems? The landlord could have other properties that are in worse condition then yours. He or she could be tending to those first. Other possible scenarios include: owes back taxes, dealing with ongoing legal proceedings, misappropriating funds, or any other number of issues and considers your requests not priorities.

Two. Tells you about upgrades and brags about maintaining property but you rarely see maintenance on the grounds.

The property owner made promises to upgrade your suite and add new amenities to the units, but nothing has been done yet. Why? Once again, the landlord realizes there is a problem with funding so he or she is putting off the extras.

Three. Claims repeatedly he or she has never received an email, telephone call, or written letter.

You told the landlord about some problems you have been having in your apartment, yet she still claims not to have received this letter, that receipt, or knows nothing about a service call. Don't play this game! Remind the landlord that you are disappointed in the lack of service you are receiving. One good way to get prompt attention fast is to state in writing that you have contacted an attorney and that you will be putting your next rent payment in an escrow fund until your needs are addressed then list again what it is that you need. Send the letter certified so that you have record that the letter was received.

Four. Believes he or she is doing you a favor by not making certain improvements.

So when you first arrive on the property the landlord tells you what he or she will be doing to make residents feel more at ease when walking the grounds and more comfortable in their apartment. Upon moving in you notice the script has changed, “I think we won't be getting that new pool, because we don't want an increase of accidents...I think if we create a new community room it might be a problem...Just think if we don't upgrade your kitchen cabinets, you won't have to worry over maintenance coming in and out of your apartment or the dust.”

Five. Charges you a late fee even when your rent wasn't late.

There is an error that happens once in awhile, but repeated errors and you have to wonder is someone borrowing from Peter to pay Paul.

Six. Cut off utilities.

Water, gas and trash is included in the rent, right? So why then is the water and gas department leaving notices to shut off the buildings utilities?

Seven. No visit from pest control or grounds keepers despite your repeated requests.

You use to see an employee from pest control spraying the grounds, a landscaper mowing the grass and others tending to the grounds. You have left messages about an increase of bugs and overrun grass areas, but no one seems to care. On the staff cares as long as the landlord is paying them to care. You might have to do a good deed, maintain your area as best you can and/or contain the health department.

Eight. No more community activities and freebies.

There was the pizza guy who offered free pizzas, then there was the free refreshments at the management and resident meetings and daily cups of coffee offered to residents, but these days there isn't anything going on out of the leasing office. Unless you create your own resident events, don't rely on the apartment staff anymore, funding most likely got cut.

Nine. Scheduled building improvements and paint jobs are canceled indefinitely.

When was the last time the building was painted? As much as the apartment staff would like to see their workplace improve and your apartment get painted, it won't happen if there are budget cuts.

Ten. New fees are instituted and residents are notified about sharp hikes in rent.

When you first moved you may have received a great deal, but now a year later, you are like, “What the...?” Well it happens, things increase in cost and the landlord has no choice but to past some of those expenses off on the residents.

Anyone who is paying apartment rent expects quality service and when this is not happening there will be problems. As an unsatisfied resident, you will want to record your findings, meet with manager and/or apartment staff, and consult legal counsel if necessary.

N. McGuire

5 Don'ts a Leasing Consultant Shouldn't Do If He or She Wants to Close

1. Don't insult anyone with comments about their lack of anything especially finances.
2. Don't act like a novice actor or actress being more concerned about delivering your lines; rather than, focusing on your emotions and mannerisms.
3. Don't forget about those laws you learned to protect you from any frivolous lawsuits.
4. Don't ignore a potential resident by answering the phone, then staying on it.
5. Don't lie. If you can't speak truth, say, "Let me get my manager..."

N. McGuire

Managing a Community of Senior Adults

I wanted the community manager position in Los Angeles. In fact, I had hoped that the opportunity would come for me to manage a highrise building of senior adults and it did! I had heard about the stress being less, because management didn't have to parent children and their parents as much like in a multi-family complex. There would be less traffic coming to and fro too since most senior adults aren't into the party scene as much. So this would be a cinch, right? Wrong!





Headaches were coming and fast! I wasn't on the site a week before word spread that there was a new manager in town and "she was going to fix things up!" To make things more interesting most of the residents didn't speak English. They had an interpreter who was available the day they signed their leases, but that person was long gone and now a friend of a friend would occasionally come by to see how things were going. This guy was a god-sent! He didn't work with our company, he just volunteered his service to translate letters periodically and communicate a message or two to residents.

I jotted down what the needs of the people were. I spoke with the owner's assistants out of town over the phone. I tried to get everything these people asked for from visitor parking to upgrades on the building and sometimes all I heard was,"No money in the budget for that." How frustrating!!

After repeated phone calls, emails and visits from a few from the corporate office, I felt a strange sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, "You won't be here long." I had struggled to find the answer to why things had changed in less than a year of being there--it seemed initially everyone was working with me, but towards the end. It was me against "they."

Didn't the big bosses understand that the people were uncomfortable at times in their small apartments fit for no one but themselves? Was it too much to ask for an assistant who spoke their language? Could someone please stay awhile to help me get these people's files straight? Was anyone interested in helping me clean up the last manager's messes that I had uncovered while surfing through resident files?

As much as I liked the work at home feel I had living on site and the fact that I wasn't dealing with a very large community of people at a challenged property, I would have to say goodbye. No cooperation from management and well what's a girl got to do, huh?

N. McGuire


"No Old Folks Dwelling for Me"

He was in his seventies when he walked into my office. The well-dressed man with a designer quarter length tan print shirt and slacks with what appeared to be brown gator shoes was interested in staying in a multi-family dwelling that had well over 500 residents.

As we talked more about his interests desiring things like a one bedroom suite, nearby laundry and other amenities, it seemed to me that he might want to visit some of the other complexes our company owned. He was a bit of a social butterfly who could benefit from some of the activities for seniors at our other properties.

The Christian gentleman politely told me he wasn't interested in fact he was hell bent on the apartment complex that had a little bit of everyone. He looked around while listening to me. Watched the residents as they walked by. Digressed from anything that sounded a little bit like looking at "other properties."

"I don't think I would like living in a building with old people." He finally admitted. I just laughed. So I took him on the tour and it wasn't long before we were at my desk signing the lease.

N. McGuire

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About Me

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Over 20 years office work experience, six years completed college coursework, background in print media and communications, recognized for exceptional attendance and received merit increase for past job performance, self-published author and part-time entrepreneur, Internet marketing and social media experience. Interned for non-profit organization, women's group and community service business. Additional experience: teaching/training others, customer service and sales. Learn more at Nicholl McGuire and Nicholl McGuire Media