So, it’s time to start the renting process for your first apartment. You’re excited, but overwhelmed, and you don’t know where to start. Here’s a quick guide to get you through the process.
Research Research Research
When renting your first apartment, there are key questions you need to ask yourself. Where do you want to live? What are the housing prices there? Do you have a car or do you need a walkable city? Do you commute via public transit? Where is the closest train station? Will you need parking?
Do the math
What is your budget? Renting your first apartment changes your budget drastically, you may even be writing a budget for the first time during this process. When in doubt, remember the 30% rule. 30%-35% of your household income should be the sweet spot for rent, but don’t forget about utilities! Now is a great time to take a look at your general spending and see where you need to be spending less, in order to afford apartment living!
Knowing your credit score is almost as important as your income. Most apartment communities, and private landlords alike, will have a minimum requirement for your credit score, and will likely run a credit check before approving your application. Credit Karma is a great (and free) resource for monitoring your credit.
Now that you know where you want to live and what rent fits your lifestyle, you can start the search. Lists are helpful to keep you focused and to remind you what filters you’ll be using on rental sites. When searching for your first apartment, make a list of things you absolutely cannot live without so you remember what to look for, and a list of things that might be nice, but you don’t need, so you can remind yourself during your tours.
Take a peak
You’re ready to really dive in! You are officially starting to search for your first apartment! Start with apartment listing sites such as Zillow.com, explore the options in your desired area, and take a tour. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and to take a thorough look around.
Don’t skimp on the tours, either. The more apartments you tour (either in person or virtually), the better an idea you’ll have of what is available and what you’re looking for.
Phone a friend
Did you find your dream apartment, and it’s just slightly out of budget? Are you finding that there are no apartments available for your specific income? Don’t panic! You should consider a roommate. This is not a task to be taken lightly, and should not be a rushed decision, but finding the right person to share an apartment with can be the ticket in! It may also be nice to have a friend when renting your first apartment, as you won’t be alone in the learning curves!
If an apartment offer seems too good to be true, it most likely is. Be on the lookout for fake or dishonest listings.
Many scam listings will have very similar verbiage in the listing itself, or in the initial response to your request for tour. Things like being unable to view the unit, or being requested to mail money without a tour, in person meeting, or lease, can be red flags to look out for. When in doubt, call the property management company directly to confirm the available apartment is in fact their listing. Scams depend on people like you, new to renting an apartment, to fall for the trick.
The Tough Stuff
The application has been submitted and you’ve been approved. This is an exciting feat, but there is still a lease to be signed. We all love a good skim when it comes to terms and conditions, but a lease agreement and contract need a closer look. They are legally binding documents and should merit a diligent read through. Familiarize yourself with rules, regulations, fees, and conditions.
Your first apartment experience is exciting, and with these tips and tricks, you can avoid much of the First-Time-Renter-Scaries! Still confused about where to start? Princeton Properties has your back. A leasing agent is just a call away to help you in your search.
As Smash Mouth once said, “the years start coming, and they don’t stop coming,” and that couldn’t be more true, especially when it comes to the changing needs of our home lives. More and more Millennials and Gen Zers are finding it more appealing to rent vs. own, and below are the reasons we agree!
Stress Less: Life is stressful enough without your home being another source of discomfort. When you rent vs. own, you’re offloading much of the responsibility that may come with home ownership. You have access to 24/7 emergency maintenance and management, and you don’t have to worry about the little details like trimming bushes, mowing the lawn, or plowing your driveway. For even further peace of mind and convenience, your buildings may have controlled-access doors, digital entry systems, and exterior lighting in common areas and parking lots.
How Convenient: Amenities are a huge perk for those who choose to rent vs. own. Driving to the gym, laundromat, or dog park may be a thing of the past when living in an apartment community. Residents will often find that their apartments are closer to highways, shopping centers, and recreation, which means you’ll be able to cut down on your commute to work, as well as your commute to play. The flexibility of renting allows you to choose (and change) your area based on these amenities and conveniences, and any other needs you may have.
Money Matters: When it comes to deciding whether to rent vs. own, money is probably the leading factor. When you rent you will be facing less for a down payment, and avoiding property taxes altogether. To rent vs. own means that your monthly expenses are more predictable, as you know there won’t be any surprise maintenance bills for your home or appliances, making budgeting for the things you really want easier.
Get Social: Making new friends as an adult is always hard, especially if you are moving to a new area. When you rent vs. own, you are going to find being social much less intimidating. Your neighbors are just a door, hallway, or floor away, and meeting them can seem much less daunting when you may simply bump into them. Many apartment communities offer social events for residents such as pool parties, game nights, and food truck gatherings to help meet people in your community without too much pressure. Even if you’re looking to branch out from your apartment community, or simply get to know your area better, your resident office can have a wide range of local area information like events, best restaurants, and great sight seeing.
If you’re curious about what apartment community living looks like, be sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook to keep up to date on all that comes with making Princeton Properties your home! Not sure if Princeton Properties has availability in your area? See all of our neighborhoods.
As we’re entering the Dog Days of summer, we’ve compiled some tips to keep your apartment cool and comfy all spring and summer long!
- Leave your lights off when possible. While we can’t promise this will drop the temp down to a nice fall day, it can make all the difference when the
outside thermometer is reading 98 in the sun. Just think of it as your eco-friendly act of the day!
- Strategically place your fans. Moving stagnant air will always help your apartment’s vibe, and creating a cross breeze between rooms can be a more efficient way to keep your apartment cool. Plus, it will make your space feel a bit more easy-breezy. (This tip will also work wonders when entertaining in an apartment, stay tuned for more of our entertaining advice)!
- Consider investing in black out curtains. Any sort of window covering will add some insulation, and avoid the Hot Car Affect, but these heavy duty curtains can also help keep things cozier in the winter, and help on those snooze-button-needed-mornings. There’s also something to be said for the placebo of a darker room on hot days.
- Lock your windows. While a good safety practice in general, this simple act during the summer will more thoroughly keep the hot air out, and your newly created cross breeze in!
- Pull out your dehumidifier. Whether it’s for your whole space, or just your work-from-home area, a dehumidifier will help keep the classic New England summer humidity at bay. Talk about breathing room!
If you found this article a helpful guide to keep your apartment cool this summer, and you’d like more tips and life hacks for apartment living, follow us on Instagram and Facebook! Be sure to turn on those post notifications so you never miss out. Interested in joining one of our many welcoming communities? Explore our many options and schedule a tour!
Spring is the perfect time for a refresh of your home. There are plenty of areas that need organization and cleaning but today we’re focusing on the fridge. You use it every day but how often are you cleaning it? Here are some great tips to make it clean and organized for your family.
1 – Pull everything out and start making piles on the counter. A pile for dairy, a pile for produce etc.
2 – The door of the fridge can hold lots of old condiments and jarred items. Go through them and decide which ones are past their prime and need to get tossed.
3 – Now is the time to clean! Make sure the fridge is empty and start scrubbing. Pull out any removable drawers and let them soak in the sink.
4 – Once the fridge is back together start organizing. Choose a location for each food group/category. Add small bins/organizers for an extra, neat touch!
5 – Now that you’ve done the fridge….you guessed it! It’s time to do the same for the freezer.
6 – Soak and clean any ice trays or ice buckets before putting them back in.
7- Don’t forget to clean the exterior. If your fridge is stainless make sure to use an appropriate cleaner when wiping it down. If you’re one to hang things with magnets on your fridge now is the time to reorganize those items as well.
Some of us go to Super Bowl parties for the football, some go for the food and some are there just to see the commercials! Make the day fun for all of your guests by adding one (or all) of these fun games to your party plan.
1 – Super Bowl Commercial Bingo – This one is fun for the kids too! Keep an eye out while watching the commercials for things like “Pepsi,” “Avocados,” or “M&Ms”
2 – Football Word Scramble – Another one that’s fun for the whole family. See how many of these football terms you can figure out in this printable scramble game.
3 – Mini Football Cornhole – Since this corn hole is mini-sized it can be played inside our outside this weekend!
No matter how you celebrate we hope everyone has a safe and fun time watching football this weekend. Enjoy!
Halloween is this Monday! If you haven’t already picked up your treats for trick or treaters now is the time. Candy doesn’t have to be the only thing that is offered on Halloween. Here are some great ideas for treats that you can hand out this year that aren’t candy.
1 – Halloween pencils
2 – Stickers
3 – Fidgets (pop-its or fidget tubes)
4 – Bouncy balls
5 – Veggie sticks or Goldfish crackers
6 – Temporary tattoos
7 – Spider rings
8 – Halloween erasers
9 – Apple sauce/fruit pouches
10 – Stress balls
11 – Toy cars
12 – Mini notebooks
13 – Glow sticks or glow necklaces
14 – Bubbles
15 – Keychains
We hope everyone has a safe and happy Halloween!
Keeping the home clean during the summer can be tough. Kids are home for summer break and you’d rather have fun than clean. If you’re struggling to keep things tidy keep reading for some helpful tips.
1 – Have the kids help – create a chore chart and hang it in the kitchen this summer. Give the kids some responsibilities like cleaning their rooms, taking out the trash and washing the dishes.
2 – Encourage more outdoor play – If the kids get out of the house early in the morning there is less of a chance of creating a mess. Clean the clutter right away in the morning and try your best to spend as much time outdoors as possible.
3 – Have a designated shoe and outdoor toy area – This should be right near the door. Have everyone drop their shoes, sports equipment and beach bags at the door so dirt and sand don’t get tracked into the house.
4 – Designate laundry days – Don’t let the summer laundry pile up! If you designate a couple days a week as laundry days you lessen the risk of overflowing laundry baskets.
5 – Keep cleaning supplies in close reach – Leave the broom, vacuum and surface cleaners in a centralized location. Messes happen but you can clean them quickly and encourage the kids to clean them too by keeping the proper supplies and tools on hand.
Memorial Day is next week which means the unofficial start to summer is almost here! Pool days and outdoor fun are in order for the whole family for the next few months. Here are some great ways you can help your family prepare for summer now so you can enjoy fun in the sun!
1 – Make sure you purchase new sunscreens. Sunscreen has a shelf life just as food does. Check expiration dates on yours to make sure you are keeping your family safe in the sun.
2 – Do the same for your insect repellents! If you prefer natural remedies, make sure to stock up on essential oils like peppermint to repel the bugs.
3 – Locate and wash the swimsuits and pool towels. Pack a beach bag that has towels, sunscreen, bug sprays etc. so it’s always ready for an unexpected pool day.
4 – Start making plans for summer activities. Look out for local camp signups, community events and mark any special dates on your calendar.
5 – Prepare a summer schedule for the kids so they know what to expect. It might include chores, sports, camps and of course plenty of downtime to have fun and relax.
6 – Pack the car with beach chairs, a blanket, sand toys and an umbrella. You never know when you’ll need these items in the summer and you’ll be glad you have them!
We hope everyone has a safe and happy Memorial Day Weekend! Cheers to a great summer ahead.
Easter is quickly approaching! If you’re planning to host an egg hunt this year you’re in the right place. We’ve put together a list of some great alternatives to candy for egg fillers. Don’t worry about jelly beans or chocolate candies melting inside of eggs at your Easter hunt!
1 – Coins
2 – Keychains
3 – Temporary tattoos
4 – Bouncy balls
5 – Stickers
6 – Mini glow sticks
7 – Friendship bracelets
8 – Balloons
9 – Sponge capsules
10 – Toy cars
11 – Rings
12 – Mini puzzles
13 – Jacks
14 – Mini pens/pencils
15 – Finger puppets
We hope everyone has a happy Easter!
You have the keys, the movers are on their way and you don’t know where to start! How about the kitchen? The kitchen is one of the first places you should start when unpacking because it’s typically a central location of the home and let’s face it….your family is going to be hungry soon! Here are some great tips for stocking and unpacking the kitchen so you have what you need and it’s easily accessible.
1 – Grocery delivery services are a great option for that first move-in day. You can purchase the essentials and have someone else help with the shopping while you unpack the dishes and flatware.
2 – Speaking of essentials, don’t forget them! Think about oils, cooking sprays, salt, pepper, dry herbs and other condiments. Those are a staple in every kitchen.
3 – Try buying in bulk right away. Get plenty of dry goods for the pantry (think pastas, rice and canned good) and snacks for the kids.
4 – It’s not just about the food. Don’t forget to stock the sink area with soaps, cleaning supplies and sponges.
5 – Frozen vegetables, side dishes and snacks are a great way to start stocking the freezer. Have friends who want to cook for you? Say yes and stock some meals in your freezer for later in the week when you’re busy unpacking.
6 – Choose a spot for pots & pans that makes sense. Having cookware unpacked right away is important when dinner time rolls around.
7 – Paper goods aren’t a bad idea for the first couple of days. Have paper plates and napkins on hand to pull out while you decide on the perfect place to store your dishes in your new kitchen.
8 – Don’t be afraid to order takeout on your first night. You’ve had a long day and our leasing staff will be happy to give you recommendations on the best local places for dinner!