Wednesday

New Year, New Place to Stay - Apartment Move

Some of you are contemplating a new place to stay during the new year.  There are so many choices but oftentimes, depending on the time of year, not enough availability.  Timing is everything when it comes to the real estate industry and if it means having to change a lease expiration date, do so.


Take some time to meet with your roommates or partner to come up with a plan on when you hope to move.  One of you might have to exit the residence first and live at the new one until the old lease expires. 


Do make time to sit and talk with your community manager or leasing consultant so that you are exiting properly.  You will need to give a move-out date, arrange for movers to come, apartment clean up, and a walk through prior to departing.


Start noting some of the issues now.  Get on the phone with maintenance and get some repairs done prior to moving out.  This is also a good time to start giving items away, selling what you can, and telling others about your departure plans that could help you during your relocation process.


Nicholl McGuire

Thursday

Quiet Hours at Apartment Complex

Residents might have forgotten about what the lease said about quiet hours, but there is typically a line or two in the contract.  Find out what the hours are if you are unsure.  Sometimes with all the holiday parties, hosts and visitors forget.  Depending on the kind of complex and whether the landlord or courtesy patrol is the type that enforces the rules, some residents just might get away with their loud noise at least for a time.


However, there will be those who will most likely get some kind of written warning placed on or underneath their doors warning about noise.  This information is kept in the resident's file.  If noise becomes a frequent issue, then the complaints are calculated, a meeting is sure to follow and it just might end with a resident having to look for another place if issues aren't resolved.


So do keep in mind that even if a landlord or courtesy patrol isn't on duty, there will be those residents who will be watching and listening.  God forbid the police show up.


Nicholl McGuire 

Monday

MOVING TO LA: Episode 85: How I Found Cheap Housing In LA


Word from Apartment Leasing Blogger of apartmentleasingtips.blogspot.com

Thank you for taking the time to check out this blog.  It was created with the intention of helping students, retirees, professionals, and others who seek to find a suitable apartment.  You will find that much of the information listed on this site caters to renters.  Although, I, being a former community manager, had professionals in the apartment industry in mind when I first started this blog, my vision changed over the years.  After noticing so much activity happening with bad landlords and owners, tenant conflicts, rent increases with no caps, and more, I thought it would be best to share what I know with those who have never worked behind the scenes in the property management industry.


I think that if both landlords and residents were transparent with one another, there would be less animosity and renters would be more likely to follow the terms of their lease agreements and even better want to remain at the property for years to come.  However, the deception, secrecy, negative attitudes, and unresolved past issues, can get the best of any business or personal relationship.


It is my hope that property managers and residents will listen to one another and deal with the issues.  It hurts to see so many walking the streets without a home or having to live with others in an uncomfortable setting due to a shady property owner.


So please do enjoy this site and feel free to leave a comment.


Nicholl, Apartment Leasing Tips Blog Producer and Contributor 

Sunday

Increased Rent and 10 Marketing Strategies Used to Help with Declining Occupancy

Around the nation there are communities that have no rent cap.  What this means is that they can charge as much as they want in rent.  However, there are regulations when it comes to how frequent one raises rent and when, so do check your local state's guide on tenants' and landlords' rights and responsibilities or visit or call a Housing Rights office near you.


As a result of no rent cap, landlords can increase rent each year that you stay rather than discount it.  They can also get you in on a good deal then raise the rent literally a 100 plus a month the following year in these no rent cap communities and states.  Unfortunately, many apartments become vacant and the landlord and tenant relationship suffers which makes it hard for leasing staff to rent units.  What management does in situations like this where occupancy is declining rapidly:


1.  Increase community activities and other events to help with resident retention.
2.  Promote contests giving residents a chance to win prizes or one month free rent.
3.  They heavily advertise their referral programs which pays residents money to recommend people they know only if they should decide to rent an apartment.  Sometimes the incentive is increased for a limited time.
4.  They hold town meetings and networking opportunities at the property to get ideas on how they can best serve the residents.
5.  The award those who pay rent early.
6.  They give out useful freebies to residents.
7.  Management will attend classes, events and other things to help promote the property.
8.  They will connect with local relocation services, civic groups, military, and businesses who need temporary housing.
9.  They will have a percentage of apartments reserved for Section 8 recipients and rent those out to them.
10.  They will advertise special offers in newspapers, bulletins, magazines, rental guides, and elsewhere on and offline to attract prospects.


So do find out, before you decide on a new place, whether there are rent caps and also find out online or interview residents about their rent increases.  Disgruntled residents love to share their disappointments which will keep you from making the same mistakes!


Nicholl McGuire Author/Web Writer/Virtual Assistant

Thursday

How to Evaluate a Rental Apartment



Are You Planning to Move to Los Angeles County?

If you have been toying with the idea of moving to Los Angeles County or are already in the planning stages, I, Nicholl, the creator of this blog can help.  My family recently returned to California after living in Georgia for three years.  Of course, we love it! 

We carefully planned our move and lucky for us we had relatives who lived in the state so they were able to check out apartments, make arrangements, help with the move-in inspection, etc.  I would like to offer this service to you as well! 

Presently, there is a great landlord at a wonderful multi-dwelling apartment complex near the 605 freeway.  The complex currently has available suites.   If you want to learn more, feel free to respond to this posting or subscribe to this blog for updates.
 

Wednesday

Rent increases





Be sure to check with the Housing Rights office in your local area.  Good day!

Saturday

How to Give or Sell Items Out of Your Apartment

From money issues to having to move, residents will let the community know what they have in their apartment and when they must get rid of it.  But how can one do this without being a problem for management?

1.  Ask management if you can post or distribute fliers before doing so.
2.  Show the landlord a flier then ask him or her if she can make it available to visitors who come to the office.
3.  Post flier on a public board i.e.) laundry facility, library, coffee shop, community center, church, etc.
4.  Create an online ad i.e.) Craigslist, Bookeo, and eBay for starters.
5.  Upload photos on a social networking or photo sharing site with contact information i.e.) Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
6.  Call local newspaper to advertise your service i.e.) Pennysaver.
7.  Use word of mouth, tell neighbors, family and friends about what you are selling or giving away.  Have photos or fliers handy.
8.  Don't set up a table, sell from garage, or leave things out in the community unless you have permission from the landlord or owner.

Once you have an interested prospect, arrange to meet he or she on a day that isn't busy in your community especially if he or she needs a truck to come pick up the item.  Be sure you advise the buyer not to park in any reserved parking spot or block someone's garage.  Remind the individual to bring a tool to help with moving the equipment or an additional set of hands.  The last thing you want to do is make a lot of noise or damage walls or stairs by dragging or banging something.  

By taking the necessary steps to rid yourself of whatever you don't want, while hopefully making some money, you won't run the risk of being a problem for your landlord and neighbors.

Nicholl McGuire

How Often Can Rent Be Raised?

If you have a lease for more than 30 days, your rent cannot increase during the term unless the lease indicates otherwise.

In some towns and cities there are no rent caps and in other areas there are depending on where you live.  Find out what your rights are in your neighborhood by checking with a housing rights office near you. 

If your rent should be increased, your landlord should notify you with a written notice at least 30 days in advance.  If the rent is greater then ten percent, there are state laws that require the landlord to give at least a sixty-day written notice.

 

Wednesday

Apartment Move Gone Wrong, So Now the Nit-Picking Begins

Something happened between the move-in and the emotional leasing office visit that has caused a resident to want to leave what use to be his or her comfortable living space.  But it won't be as easy as he or she might think, a lease was signed.

Stuff happens, people buy things, don't like them and now they want to take them back to the store.  When it comes to apartment shopping, there is no refund policy.  If a tenant didn't take the time to read his or her lease, then he or she just might be disappointed.

Sometimes people move into apartments only to discover that they can't tolerate a certain sound, don't like the people who live next to them, or notice something annoying about the place, but these reasons will not get one out of his or her lease.  The nit-picking will start when a disgruntled resident doesn't feel like the leasing staff is being most accommodating despite every effort being made to bring comfort other than letting the tenant out of the lease.

If you or someone you know seems to be acting badly about his or her rental situation:

1.  Read and re-read the lease and all other documents.

2.  Attempt to get a mediator involved (visit a local housing rights office).

3.  Find out if the lease can be broken if you or the landlord is able to rent it to someone else.

4.  Report to maintenance any items that are not working or request those things be replaced that continue to cause problems.

5.  Note the things you find wrong about the apartment and take pictures.

6.  Check for alternative housing and provide a written notice you would like to end your contract.

Nicholl McGuire also maintains a blog on home organizing, click here.

 

Saturday

Are You Really Ready to Move?

So you have plans to move, but are you really ready?  Consider the following before you start apartment shopping.

1.  What is wrong with where you live?
2.  Has it been inconvenient lately to travel to work and back again?
3.  Is the landlord reliable, polite, and seems to care about the property and residents?
4.  Do you believe you can find a better place to stay for less money?
5.  Is there a neighbor, roommate, or someone or something else putting pressure on you to move?
6.  Would you prefer to stay at least one more year until you can save more money?
7.  Do you have enough money for a security deposit, first month's rent, and movers?

If you can answer most of these questions, and if most of your answers are unfortunately negative, then yes, it is time to move, my friend.  Be sure your finances are in order so that you can make it happen!  Best wishes on a successful move!

Nicholl McGuire, check out more blog entry posts on this site about moving.

Monday

Make it Easy for Leasing Staff, Movers...Have Items Ready for Move

Sometimes a leasing consultant or manager may have to conduct a move out inspection while a move is taking place.  It can be difficult to walk through a home or apartment with clutter everywhere.  Then there are the movers who are challenged by the lack of order of boxes, bins and furniture.  Sometimes people will let many small items hang loosely which end up all over the carpeting and floors during a move.  The debris can cause stains and other unsightly markings on flooring.

To make things easier for all parties, arrange items so that visitors are not tripping over your items.  Set up items so that movers can take inventory, if need be.  Below is a good example of a neat walking space in a livingroom of a rental home so that all individuals can walk through. 

Note: the carpet was well taken care of even after the items were moved and no damages were found.  Items were removed from wall areas and there were no issues.



 

When a Tenant Dies

As morbid as it may sound to think about, but leaseholders die everyday.  When an apartment renter's death occurs, the tenancy continues until the lease term ends in many states.  The responsibility then falls on the executor or administrator.  Now if the lease was a month-to-month, the tenancy ends 30 days later after the last rent payment.  A 30 or 60 day notice is not necessary.  Items left in the suite are available to those parties who are listed on the leasing contract.  If the person had no roommates, his or her next of kin who is listed on the emergency contact form will be notified.  It will up to that person to take care of the decease's belongings.  Check your lease and the state where you reside when it comes to tenant rights to learn more.

Nicholl McGuire 

Fequently Asked Questions from Residents: Apartment Maintenance


Friday

Recognize Signs of Water Problems in the Ceilings

The following are photos of a rental home that had many problems with a leaky roof.  The owner decided to get a contractor to hide the cosmetic defects within the home prior to putting it out on market, rather than replacing the roof.  The owner may have been in over his or her head with expenses and couldn't afford to replace the roof. 

The landlord, and those managing the unit, may have hoped that the cover-up wouldn't be exposed before the residents' lease term ended.  However, problems showed up before the expiration date.  The water damage increased in size, leaving trails of water marks behind, and began to damage other ceiling areas in the four-bedroom rental by shifting its direction when it rained resulting in a buildup of mold and mildew in the attic area.  See some photos below and notice the cover ups that eventually became more visual:




 
The dampness caused the light to no longer work.


 
Behind this ceiling shot is mold and mildew, leaving behind an unpleasant odor in the home.
 
Warning: when shopping for a rental home, always look up!  Some leasing consultants are very skilled at distracting prospects away from the flaws in the rental.  Deceptive behavior eventually will be found out and it is then that disgruntled residents will make threats to sue.

Thursday

Has this happened to you while shopping for an apartment?





Take names of the leasing agents and report them to corporate.  They are supposed to help you!  Finding a place to stay is important and should be treated as such!

Don't Let a Nonchalant Leasing Consultant Keep You from Seeing the Place





Apartment leasing sales reps come and go, but a quality apartment community can last forever!  Don't let your dream apartment slip through the cracks, because of an uncaring, tired of his job, kind of leasing consultant!

Friday

Look for Things in an Apartment that are Appealing Before You Sign a Lease

Apartment shoppers don't always pay attention to the little things when seeking their future  residence.  A place that you are going to spend the most of your time during evenings and weekends will grate on your nerves if it has its share of issues.  If you or someone living with you will be there often, it would make sense to look for any potential problems that you know that person can't live with before signing any apartment lease contract. Be sure things will be fixed or upgraded prior to move-in.

Everyone has their preferences.  Some apartment shoppers are high maintenance types who need everything to look and work right prior to moving-in.  Others don't care so much and won't mind waiting for some things to get done while living in a suite (I don't recommend).  But wherever you fall in the range of high maintenance to low, one thing is for sure, you want a livable, visibly appealing suite.

 
Apartment management and staff must ensure that all small and large things are handled in a unit including needed upgrades.  The following photographs show how a manager noticed the little things and made sure needed upgrades were done.

Some things to think about when making a suite rent ready.

1.  Are tiled floors visually appealing?

2.  Is the paint job in the unit fresh and professionally done?

3.  Are sink fixtures workable and upgraded to match the rest of the unit?


4.  Are the outlet covers installed correctly and clean?

5. Is lighting adequate throughout the place?

6.  Does the bathroom fan work and is it clean?  What about other vents?

7.  Is the toilet seat spotless and secure?

8.  Does the ceiling fan work?

9.  Is the thermostat upgraded to save the resident money?

10.  Are door handles easy to use and nice to view?

11.  Is the fire alarm modern and is it operable?

12.  Do the closet upgrades fit a modern lifestyle?













Thursday

Be Courteous to Neighbors this Valentine's Day

Oh, the lovers under many covers during the holiday of love.  If you have ever worked in leasing or even bothered to walk a large property during the night, you know about the sounds of loud love-making.  They can be grating on one's nerves especially if he or she isn't in a relationship or has many on-going problems.  Throw in the sounds of children who don't want to go to bed while sexually frustrated parents yell at them, "Go to bed or else!"  It can be a zoo sometimes around a holiday season.  So what to do?

Contact management about the noise only if it is consistently happening.  For instance, if you don't typically hear loud music coming from Apartment 10, it could be that he or she is purposely drowning out any potential noise.   If notified, staff will send a warning to the unit the following day without giving any information about who specifically is complaining about the noise. 

Be sure that you note the date and time loud noises have been happening.  You might ask courtesy patrol (if there is any on the property) to knock on the door of the residence who keeps up the noise.  If it is an ongoing problem, you can always contact the police.  However, keep in mind, for many couples it may be a long time before loud love-making happens again.  So you might want to use your earphones that night to fall asleep.

For those feeling a little frisky that night, try being polite and keep your voices down like put a sock in it!

Happy Valentines Day!

Nicholl McGuire

Tuesday

A Word from the Creator of Apartment Leasing Tips Blog

As a former community manager, leasing consultant, and renter, I know how frustrating it can be to search for a satisfactory apartment or town home.  I have personally moved 16 times during my adult life and counting.  Some of those moves were across the nation such as, Cleveland Ohio to San Diego California for starters.  There were ups and downs during each move, but I always learned something from each challenge.  Many of my lessons learned are found on this blog.  I sincerely hope that you will take advantage of the valuable information found here.  I think both apartment staff and renters will find this blog useful.

I maintain and contribute to other blogs as well.  Those include: Workplace Problems, Solutions, Laboring to Love an Abusive Mate, and Things to Do When Bored just to name a few.

I personally thank you readers for stopping by and showing your support.  Feel free to subscribe and comment to the blog entries posted weekly.

Sincerely,

Nicholl McGuire
http://nichollmcguire.blogspot.com

How to organize your small, traditional bedroom closet in an apartment


Friday

Tips on Moving from Large Home to Apartment

So you have to downsize and you just don't know where to begin.  Well, you just might want to plan accordingly so that you won't find yourself overwhelmed midway through the move, because all your stuff simply won't be able to fit in the apartment.

In order to organize effectively and create a comfortable living space, you might want to plan prior to packing.  Ask yourself, "What can I do without for a time?"  Many items are decorative, memorable, and really serve no real purpose other than to make one feel good.  However, when you have limited space, one must cast "the feel good sensations" aside and go with logic.

Pack all items that you know you don't use first.  For instance, photographs are not used like certain kitchen tools.  Place the unnecessary items in boxes and bins.  Be sure they are secure and not loosely stored away.  They will be transported and the chances of something breaking during the move is probable if they aren't packed well--bubble wrap works wonders! 

1.  Break up your items according to size.  The bigger items that have more than one function should have a reserved space.  These items will come in handy when storing items like: bookshelves, an end table with drawers and a shelf, a storage rack, plastic sliding drawers, etc.  Other furniture that doesn't serve a purpose such as fancy decor for viewing only should be stored away in a separate facility.

2.  Storage bins or boxes with keepsakes can take up much space.  It is best to keep these items packed separately and stored elsewhere.

3.  Your most important things you use often will need to be stored in your apartment, so be sure to make room for those items by cutting down on things like: bedding, towels, and miscellaneous goods that are rarely used.  Some organizers can be room wasters, so if they take up room it might be better to lose them.

4.  Bedroom closet space is essential and must be used wisely.  Consider buying hangers that can hold more than one item.  Use shoe boxes and small bins to store smaller items.  Give away or sell items you no longer wear or like.

5.  Take advantage of hooks that can be placed on the back of doors or over the door racks.  These come in handy for storing items that might otherwise end up on chairs or the floor.

6.  Don't feel obligated to unpack everything.  How many dishes will you really be using?  How often will you wear certain clothing and shoes?  Is it really necessary to display your keepsakes, collections, and other interesting items?  How many curtains will you be hanging up, picture frames, and artwork?

7.  Use space under the bed, under cabinets, behind walls and doors, corners, and other places.  Note: for bathroom items in addition to the space under the cabinet, consider getting an over the toilet rack, shower caddy or corner shelf for more storage.

In your mind, as you sort and organize, know that the rooms you will be loosing when you downsize might be combined.  You might want to consider dividing up the living room or one of the larger bedrooms to accommodate your needs.  Consider a room divider or use a couch or other large piece of furniture to separate areas.  For instance, if you are losing a room that held your office items, you may have to create a small space within a bedroom or living room to meet at least some of your needs.

If it helps to design a drawing that includes where everything is going to go, list inventory that is going in your apartment, take measurements of your items or the room, and other things to answer some of those questions in your head, do it!  You can eliminate some stress when you know in advance what fits, what you would like to keep in your apartment and what might have to go for a time.

Nicholl McGuire enjoys uploading some of her trips on McGuire Travels http://www.youtube.com/budgettraveltips

Monday

A Good Example of an Upgraded, Clean Apartment

One who hasn't shopped for an apartment in a long time may have forgotten what to expect when touring a rental.  So often landlords get away with renting problematic suites, because they assume that someone who has never rented an apartment or hasn't moved into one in a long time doesn't know much.

Upgraded suites tend to have many features that are appealing.  This is because the buildings are usually quite old and the only way to get prospects interested in the community again is to upgrade.  From playground and pool amenities to new sink fixtures, the landlord is going to do what it takes to ensure that his or her property is appealing.

So when visiting a rental, check for the upgrades, notice the cleanliness of the apartment--pay particular attention to any possible rodent or insect droppings along crevices and under cabinets, and most of all use your smelling and touch senses.  Sniff around for bad smells, notice soft spots in flooring walls, and wood surfaces.  By doing these things, you are checking for mold, mildew, and shoddy maintenance work.

See example photos below:

 
No unsightly carpet stains or wall markings.  Fresh paint job with added color for appeal.

 
Kitchen area clean.  No grease stains or ugly markings on cabinets.  Knobs intact.  Stove works.  Some communities might expect you to supply your own microwave and refrigerator.

 
Counter tops upgraded, nice to view.  Upgraded sink fixtures.  Once again clean, ready to move in!

 
Blinds are intact, no stains or cracks.  This should be expected.
 


Friday

All that Glitters Ain't Gold - Bad Rental Properties

Apartment leasing staff are typically told about a variety of issues in a rental property by the renters.  Some will address needs very quickly and rectify any persistent issues.  However, there are unfortunately unethical staff who couldn't care less about a lemon for a residence and will continue to show the property with promises to "get that fixed...it will be done before move-in" etc.

Issues that can be taken care of with a little paint, a decoration, or some other eye-catching piece are considered low cost expenses.  Yet, major problems that require much money may be put off for months even years with cosmetic treatments.  A little paint here, a cheap replacement part, a pretty little decoration to cover up the mess underneath, and other things are used to sell the residence.  In time, the problem water leak returns, the weird smell comes back again, stubborn insects decide to greet the new residents, and so on.

Too often newbie renters are impressed with how beautiful everything looks that they don't see the signs that say, "You have a future problem on your hands."  When residents are unhappy with where they are they will leave.  It isn't always a personal issue or life change that sends people packing, sometimes unmet needs has a lot to do with it.  From a toilet that is never fixed to an air conditioning unit that was supposed to have worked upon move on, renters are left feeling like they have been manipulated into handing their money over to a headache.

Some shoppers might think it is a good idea to walk the rental when a renter is at the home, so that he or she can speak with the person about the unit.  Sometimes this is a great way to find out the truth about the property, but other times it isn't, because the leaseholder will not divulge anything negative for fear of retaliation, loss of money, etc. particularly with the landlord or leasing professional standing right in front of him or her.  The staff know that the renter will want to be cooperative so that the property gets rented especially if the person wants out of his or her contract early.  So the renter is forced to keep his or her mouth shut about the problem rental so that he or she won't have to pay monthly rent as long as the property is empty.  Speak with an attorney if you are in a situation like this.  There are ways around this.

Think twice before you put your money down on a rental.  Be aware that apartment leasing staff are salesmen and women  at the end of the day, they have a boss to answer to and a paycheck like any other business professional.  Some are ethical and will do what is right, while others won't.

Search for the street address online to see what comes up about the property and/or neighborhood. Check review sites about the management company and also type the name of the property when researching.  Tell your social network about your find and ask if they know anyone who has dealt with the company.  Mention neighboring streets and request any details from your network about any problems (without giving specific details about where you hope to move).

To your apartment shopping success!

Nicholl McGuire

Wednesday

Calling a Variety of Moving Companies Will Save You Money and Time

When planning your move, seek out at least three businesses that could help you with your move.  You may notice in your comparison of the moving companies the following:  there is a price difference, ratings are better or worse, and the time at which the movers can get the job done might be good or bad.  The more contacts you have the better. 

Also, check for discounted offers, coupons, and other places that you could save money on your moving expenses.  Do you have a membership with a company that helps save you money on things like moving materials, companies, shipments, etc.?  Ask the company if they accept any partner discounts. 

Keep in mind, a deposit will be expected to hold the date of your move.  Be prepared to list all that you have to move.  Anything that fits in a box or bin will need to be in it. Fragile items should be secured.  Do take the time to shrink wrap and bubble wrap your keepsakes. 

Pricing will flutuate depending on weight and location.  Get as much information upfront before signing anything.  Be sure you have read all the fine print before handing over your debit or credit card information.

Check the Better Business Bureau and other places online for consumer feedback about a moving company.

Take into consideration these things while planning your move. 

Nicholl McGuire

Toxic Mold Symptoms



If you discover mold in your dwelling, take photos.  Use bleach to treat areas.  If mold returns, be sure to take additional photos.  You will take your pictures to the leasing office or contact the corporate office.  Purchase a test and ship it off to be analyzed.  This will come in handy in case you have to put money in escrow, deal with a future legal battle and other issues, because landlord refuses to deal with the problem.  Note dates and times you had to be treated by a physician.  Explain to the doctor about the presence of mold in your residence, ask about tests and treatments for yourself.  Don't treat mold issues lightly, they are a matter of life or death depending on how severe.

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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