Category Archives: Apartment Tips

FAQ’s For First Time Renters

No Parking Sign.

No Parking Sign (Flickr)

Renting for the first time is an exciting milestone on the way to adulthood. The freedom from your parents and the restrictions of the dorms can be liberating, but it’s not all fun and games. For first-time renters, it’s important to prepare yourself before entering into a year-long lease. To help you out, we came up with a list of Frequently Asked Questions you should be asking yourselves—and your landlord—before signing your name on the dotted line.

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How Often Should You Wash Your Sheets in College?

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According to the Bureau of Labor Stats, you’re spending more than a third of your day in bed. To us, that sounds like it might even be an underestimation. In this, The Age of Streaming, it doesn’t take much searching on Twitter or Facebook to see thousands of students across the country declaring their intention to spend the weekend in bed bingeing on a new Netflix series.

It stands to reason that more time in bed should mean more time spent washing bed sheets. But we seriously doubt students, of all people, are spending any more time in 2016 washing bed sheets than they did in 2000.

Bed sheets are often left behind on laundry day. If bed sheets were in a military movie, there’d be a tearful eulogy delivered about how they didn’t make it on laundry day. They were the good man that got left behind because hampers are only so big, and we can only stand so many trips to the laundry room.

The rest of your clothes provide a sense of relief on laundry day. When you can empty your hamper, get everything washed, dried, folded or hung and logic and order restored to your clothing rotation, that’s a great feeling. But bed sheets? They’re easy to forget, even though they’re putting in more work than even your most worn outfit.

Bed sheets are there for you every night, absorbing your body’s oils, skin cells, dirt, sweat and anything else you emit. Sure, a layer of clothing usually – usually – separates you from your sheets, but over the course of six to eight hours every night, they still get quite familiar with you.

So how often should you wash your sheets?

A good rule of thumb is never to let any of your household chores sit unattended to for more than two weeks. And that includes washing your sheets. 

As a college student, you may be accustomed to living in a certain amount of filth. We assume your coffee table does not remain pristinely dusted and Windexed at all times. Your floor could probably use a Swiffering, and there may be a few dishes in your sink too. You’re busy with school and work and socializing. Cleaning shouldn’t be at the top of your to-do list every week. And we know you’re not made of money either. Laundry is secretly expensive. According to this article from the Daily Kansan, students spent $9-12 a week on laundry. Doing a load that’s just sheets and comforters, not even clothes that you get to wear, can be frustrating. BUT IT IS WORTHWHILE. YOUR SHEETS ARE DISGUSTING.

But when to wash them is only part of the battle. What do you do when you get them in the washing machine?

How do you wash your sheets?

Since you’re only going to be able to knock out sheet day every other week or so, make sure you do it right. According to Clean Organized Family Home – which sounds like the kind of place we all aspire to live in – sheets should be washed in hot water, especially if you’re dealing with a cold. All that built up bacteria needs to be hit with the heavy stuff.

Throw some bleach in there – bleach with chlorine if you have white sheets and that fancy oxy-bleach stuff if you have color sheets that can be stained or fade – and make sure to give it the hottest water setting. Hot water, detergent, and bleach are all necessary to kill bacteria effectively according to ABC News.

You may have been relying on your detergent to get rid of all the dirt and germs, but if you’re not using bleach or very hot water, you’re not killing the bacteria — they’re getting on your hands and staying in the washing machine.

So head up or down the stairs to the floor in your building that has laundry on it and restore order to your bed. You’re spending most of your time there, so you may as well make the best of the situation.

Tips On Subletting Your College Apartment

Life takes us in mysterious directions, especially in college. Maybe you’ve decided to travel the country for the summer, maybe you’ve got that awesome job in another state, maybe you’re graduating early, or maybe you’re heading home to hang out with your high school friends for the summer. When you find yourself in the situation of having to sublease your apartment, things can get difficult. We’ve put together some basic tips on subleasing your college apartment. Enjoy.

Plan Ahead, and Talk with Your Roommates

The journey to subleasing your apartment should begin as soon as you know that you’ll need to. The more time you have to prepare, the better your chances for success. Your first step should be talking to your roommates so they can plan accordingly. If you give yourself enough time and communicate with your roommates or potential roommates, you should be able to avoid any potential issues.

Read Your Lease

Especially if you know you’re going to sublease before you sign your lease, it’s important to read this document and make sure you’re aware of any sublease requirements. You’ll want to make sure you are allowed to sublease your apartment, and what process you need to follow to get this done. Some places may require their approval process before you are allowed to sublease to someone else, there may even be a fee. When you sublease your apartment you usually are still responsible for the payment getting made, so make sure you’ve found a trustworthy subleaser.

Set the Mood

Before anyone will see your place, make sure you clean! No one wants to move into a pigsty, unless they’re a pig, of course. But you probably can’t sublease your college apartment to a pig. You might not be a world class photographer, or even have an Instagram, but do your best to take quality pictures of your place. It’s okay to highlight the truly awesome parts of your apartment, do you have a dishwasher? Maybe its an awesome porch? Make sure your photos accurately portray your apartment, but they can be a great tool to market your place.

Let the World Know

Now that you’ve got everything in order, it’s time to start letting people know Thousands of students use Rent College Pads, making it the perfect place to post your apartment sublease. Plus, it’s free! Make sure you’re asking for a reasonable price, but don’t set it too low since you’ll be making up for the rest. Post your place to our college apartment sublease board in your campus, and you’ll be well on your way to success. From there, you can even post it to your Facebook feed for your social network to see.

Congrats, People Want to Sublease Your Apartment. Choose Wisely.

Make sure to meet with potential subleasers. If your roommates will still be around, or are even just leaving their things, you’ll want to make sure they approve as well. You’ll want to make sure this person is trustworthy and a good fit for your place before you let them live in your bedroom for any period of time. Once everything is figured out, set up a formal, written sublease and get everything in writing. When you’ve got everything finalized and official, take your things (especially the valuables) and you’re ready to sublease your college apartment!

Your First Off Campus Apartment: What to Look For

Getting out of the dorms means you don’t have to settle for the same rectangular room everyone gets. One of the great things about moving off campus is picking your own place. When you’re looking at potential first off campus apartments, there are a few things you want to look for.

Apartment Location

The number one most important thing is location. What’s important to you? If it’sutili a short walk to campus, look at places near the building you’re most frequently in. If it’s a short stumble to your favorite bar… well you get the idea. Make sure you choose a place that is convenient and fits your lifestyle. By now you’ve hopefully gained a feel for the lay of the land. Keep in mind what’s close and what’s not when considering moving into a place.

Make Sure Everything Works

Make sure everything’s in full working order. Leave no window untested, not door unopened, no light switch unflipped. Check the water pressure and make sure it’s hot enough for your 30 minute showers. (Okay that’s a stretch, but make sure it’s hot) If there is anything that’s not working, make sure the landlord knows and plans to fix it. No one wants to live in an apartment every year with non-working lights, or worse…

You should also note the amenities. Know what’s important to you. If you can’t survive without a designate parking spot, or absolutely need a laundry machine in your building, make sure they’ve got that. Some people can live without a dishwasher, some people eat off paper plates for an entire year. You should also check if utilities are included, that can be a really great benefit. Especially if you go to school in a state with long cold winters.

Does Your Apartment Work for You?

As you walk around the house or apartment, think about what you’ll be doing in every day life. Is the bathroom big enough to fit your 1,000 pieces of makeup? Do you have enough outlets in your living room for the surround sound, 10 different video game systems, and the kegerator? Make sure everything in the place is conducive to the way you’d like to set up your pad.

If you there’s anything you don’t like, don’t be afraid to let the landlord know. They might be very willing to make some easy changes to the place if it will help you sign a lease with them.

Read Your Lease!

Once you’ve checked everything out, don’t forget to read the lease. This is like, really important. You’re signing your name to it, it’s legally binding, read it. It’s not like the iTunes terms and conditions. It’s pretty serious. Well, you get the idea, read the damn thing.

Creating the Best Study Space in Your College Apartment

Some students spend hours, even days on end, in the library. It’s a great place, I hear, full of resources and quiet areas and there’s usually a great supply of coffee nearby. Whether you know the layout of the library like the back of your hand or have to ask directions every time you’re supposed to meet there for a group project, creating the ideal study zone in your college apartment is extremely beneficial. So we’ve put together a few helpful tips on building your fortress of study-tude.

Keep Your Apartment Distraction FreeKnow How to Eliminate Your Distractions

Some people can pump out 10 page research papers while the rest of their house is throwing a level 5 rager, some people can’t get anything done if there’s so much as a TV turned on too loud. Your space needs to be completely free of distractions. That doesn’t mean you can’t take a break now and then, but separate your work space from the rest of your apartment. The best study zone starts with the one keeps your mind focused on studying.
Good Furniture Facilitates Good Focus

Propping your laptop on a couple of milk crates next your extra large bean bag chair may not be the most conducive to getting work done. Make sure you’ve given yourself enough space for your laptop, notes, and books. Being able to navigate quickly between all your resources is important, Organize everything in whichever way makes you feel the most comfortable working. Your chair should be comfortable too, since you should be spending a decent amount of time there. Get something that can swivel, a good cushion, and better back support. If you get something fancy with nice leather, you’re that much closer to being a boss.

Whiteboard in Your ApartmentWhiteboards are Perfect for Notes

They’re not just for mad scientists or child prodigies, a whiteboard is a great tool to enhance your study powers. It’s the perfect blank canvas to tackle your problems one by one, all in one place. Plus, it’s pretty good for the environment to not waste 100’s of pieces of scrap paper.

Good Lighting Sets the Mood

I mean for studying, of course. Bright white lights will burn your eyeholes out while dull lights while a dim atmosphere may help put you to sleep. Nice soft, yellow overhead lighting is generally the best source of light for studying. Enough so that you can see everything clearly but not anything that’s going to blind you. I would rely on that five dollar desk lamp to be your only source of light.

Living in the right area is, of course, also important for a good home study environment. Thanks to our massive resource, you have your pick of the litter as far as where you want to live. Of course, you’ll still want to start looking for a place early. So check out our housing map for your school. If you have any questions or need any help, feel free to send us an email!

 

Last Minute Tips to Saving Your Security Deposit

Let’s be honest here, you most likely “had a few friends over” more than a time or two this school year. Everybody does. No worries there. However, if you ended up with a hole punched through the drywall, or a broken door or window, you’re not the only one. It’s time to assign the cleaning duties, and get your place ready for inspection. It’s almost summer time, and cleaning your place is the last thing on your mind, and most likely the last thing that you want to do, unless of course, you want your security deposit back. Here are a few tips for you Hoosiers to consider if you want a little extra jingle in your pocket starting the summer.

Assign Cleaning Duties

You and your roomies are likely headed back home for the summer. Make it fair, assign cleaning duties for everyone, and make sure everyone agrees on them before the cleaning starts. Don’t be afraid to get down and dirty. The closer your place is to perfect, the better the odds that you get your money back. Vacuum, mop, and dust. Scrub the bathroom, scrub the kitchen, scrub anything and everything.

Don’t Leave Stuff Behind

 

You’re probably just as lazy as the next person. Somehow, some way, you acquired more throughout the year, and likely don’t have enough room for everything now. Don’t be afraid to throw some stuff out. If you don’t want it, and you don’t need it, get rid of it. There’s plenty of cool sites and apps that can help you sell stuff (like OfferUp for example), otherwise just get rid of it. If you leave it, the landlord will have to pay to get rid of it. BYE-BYE $$$$$$$!

Fix Anything You Can

If you ended up with a hole in the wall, like we talked about, and you know how to replace the drywall (albeit effectively so it looks good), go for it. Just remember that if you’re not allowed to paint per your lease, don’t go painting over it trying to match the color. If you do, not only did you break your lease, but you’re losing money because the landlord will need to repaint it with the exact paint. Most likely your parents are coming to help you move your stuff back home too, so don’t be afraid to enlist their help to fix anything you can. It will gain you both money.

DO THE WALK THROUGH WITH THE LANDLORD!!!!!!!!!!

 

This is a big one. You’re in a rush to start your summer off with your friends. You want to get home. I understand, I do. But if you want your money back, be ready to take this step. Schedule it ahead of time. Make sure that all the cleaning and repairs are taken care of before this time. Have a document ready for the landlord to sign saying you left the apartment in good condition. One copy for them, one copy for you. Sign both. Have the landlord sign both. They now know that you know your rights as a renter, and have the proof in the signature from them saying that nothing was left in undesirable or unlivable conditions. Obviously, if you destroyed your place, you’ll probably want to avoid this, and just take your medicine. If not, this step will help ensure you get your deposit back.
Security deposits are a required aspect to doing business as a renter, and as a landlord. Keep in mind that most landlords are honest people, just doing their job. If you treat them (and their places!) with respect, they will likely treat you just the same. Be friendly and honest. You’ll likely get the same treatment back (WHOA….IS THAT A LIFE LESSON?!) Good luck with Finals, and HAGS (circa 2003 high school yearbook signing for “Have a great summer!”)

Renter’s Insurance: Why should you consider it?

Why Renter’s Insurance Is A Good Idea

You may not have thought about getting renter’s insurance in your search for an apartment but it is a very good thing to consider. Your landlord’s insurance will not cover your belongings, it only covers damage to their property and the appliances that are rented to you with the apartment. Many things could go wrong that would leave you without your things such as a fire, storm, or even theft. Thinking that you don’t need the insurance because these things probably won’t happen to you isn’t the mindset you should have either, considering renter’s insurance is actually pretty cheap for what you would get out of it should the need arise.

Payments

With renter’s insurance, there are options on how you pay for it. You can pay month to month or you can choose to pay all at once, once a year. If you choose to pay all at once, there is often a discount on the overall cost but sometimes it’s easier on the bank account to pay month to month even though you end up paying more in the end.

Being Ready

So now that you’re looking into insurance, you should know how to be prepared in the event that you end up needing to use it. A good plan of attack is to have all of the numbers that you would need to call in one place along with a list of information that they are going to ask for.

Inventory

One of the main things that they are going to want you to have is an inventory of your belongings and their actual worth. You may not think that you own that much capital in your belongings but the average person owns about $20,000 in belongings. Your table may be a thrift shop find but you’ve still got your computer, textbooks, clothes, etc. to consider. After you’ve got a list put together of your belongings, make sure you keep it safe. A hard copy kept in the freezer (in a plastic bag) should keep it safe in the event of a fire or your computer being stolen.

Understand Your Policy

Your renter’s insurance covers more than just your belongings. Depending on your policy, it would most likely also cover liability if somebody is injured and there are medical expenses in your rental property and it should also cover living expenses if you are displaced from your rental for reasons such as repairs.

Types Of Coverage

There are many types of rental insurance coverage. The thing to consider is whether you want to get ACV (Actual Cash Value) or RV (Replacement Value) insurance. ACV takes into account the depreciation of your belongings on a payout where RV estimates a payout based on what it’ll cost you to replace the belongs. An RV policy will have a higher premium but the policy would make it easier to replace your things should anything happen to them.

5 Decorating Ideas

Apartments can be tough to decorate without over or under doing it. They have a lot of empty wall space but filling all of the walls in a small space can make it feel like they’re closing in on you.

1. Lighting your space properly will open up the dark corners so the amount of area you actually have is visible. Most apartments don’t have too many windows and they may be facing another building or just don’t let light in very well. A dark apartment will always feel more like a cave than a home, so add some lamps to liven up your living space.

2. Slim Furniture provides all of the benefits as it’s bulkier relatives but takes up less space, both physically and visually. Finding the right pieces might be difficult but once you do, you will have furniture just as comfortable as any other and looking much nicer in your apartment.

3. Rugs provide an alternative to the flooring your apartment came with and can be used to both individualize your space and you can use them to separate a room into it’s different functions. This is especially nice for a studio apartment but can also be used in an apartment with bedrooms to divide your living area from your work area.

4. Wall Hangings can either be bought or made by you. They give life to your walls and break up the large expanse of emptiness. The important thing to be careful of is making holes in your walls because your landlord will take the repair costs out of your security deposit.

5. Mirrors are excellent at opening up a space. The reflective surface not only makes it seem like there is more space in the room but it also reflects more light into the area. Mirrors also don’t look like they weigh a whole lot unless the frame is overly large so they won’t look chunky as a decoration.

5 Ways to Maximize Storage Space

Finding space in your apartment to store miscellaneous belongings can be tough when an apartment only comes with one or two closets. There are ways of creating your own storage though that don’t mean your apartment looks messy.

1. Under The Bed is a good place to put a few flat or small objects. Just letting it stay empty is a waste of space in a place where space is in short supply. Keeping things you use more often toward the front will help you find them easier and keep you from making a mess digging through all of the things under there. If you are concerned that people can see your storage space, invest in a skirt for your bed.

2. Behind Corner Furniture is a little niche you can use to your benefit. A chair angled right can make a space suitable for any number of items to be carefully tucked away. This would be a really good place for your cleaning supplies. It would give you easy access and nobody is going to think you’re messy for leaving cleaning supplies a little bit visible.

3. Open Storage makes finding things much easier and when it’s used in the right places, doesn’t look bad. The bathroom is a good place to utilize open storage, especially since most apartment bathrooms are really small and lack space to keep all of your necessaries. Kitchens or an adjacent dining space is another ideal place to use open storage for your cooking supplies.

4. Bookshelves don’t have to be just for books. Arrange some of your more decorative belongings out in the open as a display. It can be a good way to show visitors a bit more about you and start a conversation or give them something to look at while you grab an item quick.

5. Multipurpose Hampers are a good place to throw a backpack at the end of the day or your sweatshirt instead of on the furniture and as a bonus, closing the lid makes the hamper into an inconspicuous storage space. If you have a pet, all of their toys can just go into a hamper since they don’t really require organization. Hampers don’t have to be just for dirty clothes.

5 Tips for Keeping Organized

Of course it would be great to have a nice, big house to live in, but as college students, we generally live in a nice, small apartment. To make the most of your limited space is no easy task, so here are some tips to making sure you are keeping organized in your small space because staying organized is a sure way to keep clutter out of your living space.

1. Make a chore list. It may feel strange as an adult to have a chore list, but it is an effective way to make sure you are getting everything done. There is always more to do than you think and keeping track of all of that is just easier if you have a list to look at.

2. Make a playlist. When you are trying to tidy up, it is easy to get distracted by something else around you. Blocking out other noises and also giving yourself a rhythm to work to will keep you efficient, reducing the amount of time it takes out of your day to make your apartments less cluttered.

3. Use one calendar. If you have a calendar of events that contains all of your obligations in one place, it makes planning your time that much simpler. Knowing when you have time allows you to plan ahead so you aren’t rushing around and throwing things down instead of putting them where they belong.

4. Give everything a place. When all of your belongings have a place to be, they aren’t out and about around your apartment. Not only does this de-clutter your living space, it also makes it easier for you to find things later when you need them, especially if you are in a hurry.

5. Get rid of things you don’t use. If you haven’t used it in a year and it holds no sentimental value, why do you still have it? Things that you don’t use are just taking up space in a place that is already limited in that respect. If the issue is that it still holds some value and you are unwilling to give that up, sell it or donate it. This way, you aren’t just throwing it out.