Monthly Archives: December 2015

Ideas to redesign

Are you ready for some change this new year but cant afford a home makeover? Well below is  a shared article that gives ideas for some redesigning tips when on a budget. Read more below…

 

Starting the New Year off Right: How to Redesign Your Rental on a Budget

Although apartments are temporary homes, there’s no reason you shouldn’t express your personal style and feel comfortable in your own home. But given today’s rental prices, finding extra funds for décor in the budget is difficult. And, landlords often forbid painting and structural renovations, so it’s important to check your lease regulations before planning any major upgrades that might cause problems upon move out. Strategic planning helps lessees enhance dull rooms without breaking the budget or risking their security deposits.

Here are five, cost-effective interior upgrades for apartments to freshen up your space for 2016.

paint

  1. Revamp your old furniture

Rather than purchase new furnishings, which can cost hundreds – even thousands – of dollars, try sanding and painting your old pieces to help mask dings and scratches while creating new looks. For upholstered furnishings like sofas and chairs, slipcovers come in a variety of patterns and hues to match desired styles. Simply rearranging your furniture to create a new layout can bring a breath of fresh air into a tired space. Make sure all windows are free of obstructions to let as much natural light in as possible, and don’t feel obligated to follow the dated rules of styling.

art-picture

  1. Showcase unique art

White walls are fairly common in rentals, which might not be an issue for minimalist design fans. In fact, a plain palette allows more freedom for designing the rest of the room. But, to avoid a stark and cold feeling, especially during the winter months, hang artwork to liven up white walls. Inexpensive paintings from second-hand shops or framed classic photographs are preferred over pinned movie posters that curl up on the edges and look more appropriate for dorm room walls.

  1. Warm up the floors with rugs

Wall-to-wall beige carpeting isn’t a design dream, to say the least, but often the reality in standard apartment units. Instead of living with mediocrity, lay down a unique, oriental throw rug. Hardwoods are preferred over old carpets, so hesitation to cover them with one large rug is understandable. A few small area rugs or hallway runners adds flair and warmth without completely compromising the character of vintage apartments.

  1. Try removable wallpaper

Some landlords allow tenants to paint their units, and some completely ban painting. Removable wallpaper doesn’t damage surfaces – including fresh paint – and can be easily removed before lease end. Purchase patterned paper for bathrooms and closets, and solid colors to revive tired living rooms. Make sure you have the time to remove before you leave for good, or your landlord might be shocked and think you’ve applied real wallpaper to the walls – a sight likely to cause panic.

lights

  1. Swap out old lighting

Lighting makes all the difference in the ambiance of a space, and is an easy, impermanent fix most of the time. If your apartment lacks natural light, investing in multiple lamps is key. Some mood lighting may be nice for the holidays, too, so try out string lights – even if you lack a tree – or some faux flickering candles to scatter across the living space.

Feel free to get creative with your apartment design, but don’t overspend or damage your apartment in doing so. Always ask your landlord’s approval before making large upgrades, even when you assume responsibility for costs and the enhancements could potentially raise the rental value of the unit.

http://hotpads.com/blog/how-to-redesign-your-rental-on-a-budget/

Apartment Decor for the Holidays!

Living on a tight budget around the holiday? Here’s an article that gives a couple ways to decorate your home/apartment at an inexpensive cost. Read below..

 

5 Inexpensive Ways to Add Holiday Cheer to Your Apartment

Decorating for the holidays should be a fun, festive event, but can sometimes be more stressful than cheerful when the budget and square footage are both tight. When you’re living in an apartment, finding the space to showcase your holiday symbols is difficult, and even the tiniest of ornaments come with hefty price tags.

To keep your costs low and devote your holiday savings toward gifts for friends and family instead of interior designs, consider the following easy-to-follow tips.

gifts-tree-lights

  1. Select a statement tree

Find a small, faux tree in a bright color to attract eyes to a focal point in your entertaining area. By opting for a white or bright color over traditional forest green, you can make a bigger show with a lot less tree. And, a fun color adds a unique, eclectic flair not otherwise seen in traditional Christmas décor. Save the evergreen fir for your starter home – now is the time to let your personality shine in your smaller, albeit aesthetically interesting space.

rapping

  1. Hold a DIY ornament party

What better way to bring friends and family together over the holiday season than to hold an ornament decorating party? All you need to do is provide some materials, like clear or white balls, glitter and glue. You could save even more by baking your own ornaments by combining ½ cup cornstarch, 1 cup baking soda and ¾ cup water. Simply stir ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat until dough starts to thicken, remove and cover with a damp towel and let cool for approximately thirty minutes, then roll out into a ¼ inch thick sheet and cut into holiday shapes. Once finished cutting, add metal hooks and bake on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper at 175 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 to 60 minutes. You can spray with a clear protective coating or paint once cooled. Or, opt for an Asian-inspired theme and provide your guests with some origami paper and folding guides.

  1. Hang your greetings

Rather than allow the inevitable piles of countless holiday cards to clutter the coffee table, hang them across the mantle in a garland-like fashion. Hanging cards better showcases your loved ones’ greetings and keeps tables free for hors d’oeuvres, platters and cocktail coasters. Use a hole punch at the corner of each card and string a ribbon to hold together.

shutterstock_221882266

  1. Incorporate natural elements

Winter weather is strongly associated with the holiday season – no matter where you live. Go for a walk and collect pinecones to fill up mason jars and place around your apartment, especially if you rent in warmer weather and need some cold-climate inspiration to incite holiday merriment. If you live in a residential neighborhood, nearby landscapers often trim excess branches that can make great décor pieces around the home. You could also cut small sprigs for gift wrap if you’re trying to save on excess accessories.

candles

  1. Use flameless candles

Candles can be hazardous habits when left burning all night. Even if you remain diligent about blowing out your flames when you leave your apartment or go to sleep, they can be costly to replace, especially if you opt for the more expensive designer brands over grocery store finds. Go for flameless candles that can be reused year-round to create the cozy atmosphere you desire, and get creative in the kitchen or purchase fresh-cut flowers to entice the scenes of you and your guests.

With a little creativity, designing a seasonally-appropriate space without overspending is well within reason. With less to stow away, you’ll be happy you opted for holiday minimalism over an extravagant display this year, no matter your spending limit.

http://hotpads.com/blog/6-inexpensive-ways-to-add-holiday-cheer-to-your-apartment/

Who’s responsible?

Renters or homeowners always have questions regarding who’s responsible for what in repair situations for the property. Especially if they are things that come up in common areas of the community. You may wonder if the HOA is responsible. 

Below is an article that shares common questions and answers to questions regarding if the HOA is responsible or the homeowner and how to resolve. Read below…

Who is responsible for the $500 water bill?

Q: My house is on the corner of Catherine Mermet and Grandmother Hat avenues. I’ve been there since 2007. From the beginning, the homeowners association said I was responsible for watering the plants on that sidewalk next to my house, which has not been a problem. They are responsible for maintaining the bushes, trees etc. A valve broke and I had a repairman come out to look at it. He said he was not allowed to touch it because the valve, irrigation, etc is the property of the HOA and they have contracted with a landscape company to repair the broken valve. Now, my water bill last month was over $102. This month it’s over $548.00. I, of course, have contacted the HOA and a representative said the board would check with the HOA management to see whose responsible, me or the HOA.

A valve broke and I had a repairman come out to look at it. He said he was not allowed to touch it because the valve, irrigation, etc is the property of the HOA and they have contracted with a landscape company to repair the broken valve. My water bill last month was over $102. This month it’s over $548.00. I, of course, have contacted the HOA and a representative said the board would check with the HOA management to see who is responsible for the repair.

My next water bill is coming due. What do I do?

A: Your situation is not unusual. There are many associations where the developers tied the water systems of individual homeowners’ units to water the landscaping that is part of the common areas maintained by the associations. In your case, you have been watering the area for almost eight years and based upon your email, the association has been maintaining the planter area during the same time. I have seen this situation go both ways.

To find out who is responsible, check the association’s covenants, conditions and restrictions. If you find in these documents that the responsibility clearly lies with the HOA, I would recommend that you contact your management company and request a hearing with the board. At this hearing, you can present any paperwork that you have supporting the situation (i.e. water bills, photos, timeline, landscapers report) along with your request.

Working with your association’s board of directors and management to obtain a resolution is the best way to handle this. Because your water bill is already due, I would recommend that you pay it to avoid accruing any late charges or disconnection, while working on your request for reimbursement of excess charges. I know that this may not seem to be a favorable option, as a $500 bill is not ideal during the holiday season, but the potential damages that you may sustain from your water being disconnected could be more detrimental.

Also, due to the nature of this issue and its potential urgency, the board may be able to review your claim outside of a board meeting. You can discuss this further with your community manager. Again, reviewing your association’s governing documents to determine responsibility is the best place to begin. If they are not clear, or you are still unsure, you can seek advice from your community manager or legal counsel. I hope that you find this helpful and wish you the best of luck.

I hope that you find this helpful and wish you the best of luck.

Q: Our community has water features — two ponds and a lagoon surrounding the pool area, that were built when the community was new. There is a proposal on the table that we remove one or both of the ponds and replace them with desert drought-tolerate landscaping — shrubs, flowering plants, etc. Nevada Revised Statutes 116.330 states, in part: “Installation of drought-tolerant landscaping within any common element or conversion of traditional landscaping or cultivated vegetation, such as turf grass, to drought-tolerant landscaping within any common element shall not be deemed to be a change of use of the common element…”

While I am in favor of this change, the two ponds were a deciding factor when some homeowners purchased a unit in our community, and they have been features that we all like. My concern is that removing common elements, the ponds, is not the same as “traditional landscaping or cultivated vegetation, such as turf grass.”

My question is whether we would need to get approval from 51 percent of our homeowners (as stated in our CC&Rs) to remove our common element ponds and replace them with landscaping. Is there something in NRS 116 which states this?

A: You will need to bring this issue to vote by your homeowners as it is definitely a change in use of the common elements. The conversion law pertained to changing the greenbelt areas (i.e. traditional landscaping) of a community to drought-tolerant landscape. From what your email states, your association is attempting to use that conversion law for removing ponds and then installing drought-tolerant landscape.

Barbara Holland is a certified property manager, broker and supervisory certified association manager. Questions may be sent to holland744o@gmail.com.

http://homes.reviewjournal.com/news/resale-news/who-responsible-500-water-bill

 

Save Money!

Featured below is an article to help you save money. Especially if you are moving the last thing you want to do is spend more money on moving costs. So read below a couple things that can help you save…

How to Save Money When You Move

Stressed out by your up-coming move? Kill two birds and use the liquor boxes as (free) packing containers. | Photo courtesy of Hobbling grrl.

Looking for ways to save money on your next move? It’s no wonder. The average cost of moving within the U.S. totaled $12,459 in 2012, with the two main factors affecting the cost being family size and homeowner status, according to data published by Worldwide ERC foundation for Workforce Mobility.

1. Plan Ahead

Getting ready to move? You’re in good company. Nearly 12 percent of Americans—36 million—moved during the course of 2012 and 2013, with nearly 25 percent of renters moving between rentals and two-thirds moving within the same county, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The most common motivation for moving was to change housing, followed by family- or career-related reasons.

John C. Kmiecik, National Association of Realtors regional vice president and a broker in Chicago with more than 30 years of experience, shared some of his best advice for those with a move on the horizon.

“The earlier you schedule, the cheaper it gets. You can save time and money by negotiating early,” says Kmiecik.

  • Clean out your possessions and avoid “moving junk from one house to another,” says Kmiecik.
  • Decide early on if you’re doing the move yourself or if you’ll be hiring professionals. Advises Kmiecik, “Do it yourself is good, if you understand what you’re getting involved in; it’s not always best if you’re not experienced, things can get damaged.”
  • Set up moving-related appointments as soon as possible.
  • Consult with your realtor about avoiding peak (i.e. expensive) moving times. If you’re moving out of a rental, see if you can avoid fees with the property management company by moving on off-peak (non-weekend) days. This will generally be a cheaper time to do things like hire professional movers and rent a truck, too.
  • Secure (free!) packing materials from family, friends, and local stores with excess boxes.

2. Accurately Budget for the Costs of Moving Day

CitytoCityMoving.us and moving-costs calculators like it will help you determine how much money you’ll have to spend on moving day by the distance, hour, pound, home size, and time of year—figuring everything from packing, loading, and driving to covering a summer premium (it’s more expensive to move in this season), tips, mover’s insurance, and more.

There’s more to moving day than moving, and that’s where hidden costs can arise. Here’s a list of resources to help save you time and money.

3. Use Time and Money-Saving Tools

  • The U.S. Department’s Salaries, Cost of Living, and Relocation’s list of resources includes websites that calculate the cost of living—including everything from housing and transportation to the costs of goods and education—and the average salaries of cities in the U.S.
  • dmv.org’s state-by-state guide details the costs and benefits of moving out of state for car owners.
  • coverhound.com is a search engine for auto, homeowners, renters, and even motorcycle insurance and its comparison tool should help you estimate any difference between what you’re currently paying and what you may have to pay.
  • updater.com is a one-stop-shop for updating your address via USPS and to businesses and publications that have your address; you can even use it to schedule utilities, cable, and internet setup at your new place.

4. When Moving To a New Region…

  • The price of utilities, parking, public transportation, school tuition, and health insurance can vary by region, so do your research and be prepared to cover the difference if necessary.
  • Don’t forget about the costs of location- or region-specific memberships—and potentially breaking such agreements early. I.e.- gym membership, CSA deliveries, etc.
  • Is your new home covered by the same cell phone provider? Or will you have to switch, amounting to more money lost?
  • Car owners: If you’re moving out of state, depending on the state you’re leaving, you may be eligible to get a partial refund on your car registration. Of course, you’ll also have to factor in the potential costs of getting a new driver’s license and license plate, the change in care insurance rates (if any) and registering your car.

5. Write Off Your Moving Expenses

Is your move related to a new job or a new job location? According to the IRS, you may be able to save money by deducting expenses related to moving (but not meals) if:

  • You move within one year of starting your new job.
  • Your new workplace is at least 50 miles farther from your old home than your old job location was from your old home (say that five times fast); or, if you did not have a previous workplace, your new job location is at least 50 miles from your old home.
  • You are a full-time employee having worked at least 39 weeks during your first year.

To see the full details, visit IRS Topic 455 – Moving Expenses.

6. Aks For A Relocation Bonus

According to Worldwide ERC Foundation findings, employees who move for work are given, on average, $6,704 for moving-related incidentals. It’s always worth asking if your future employer compensates for moving-related expenses — but keep in mind this money is taxed just like any other income.

http://hotpads.com/blog/save-money-move/

Stay Organized

Need a New Years Resolution? Well maybe try to say a little more organized. This article featured below shares tips on how to keep your cabinets organized. Read more…

 

Organize Your Cabinets in 7 Easy Steps

Who hasn’t been buried under an avalanche of mismatched Tupperware? I know I have! Organizing your cabinets will not only make your kitchen a more efficient workspace, it will make cooking much easier, too. From food and glassware to pots and pans, here are some of my favorite tips for organizing everything in your cabinets.

  1. Purge and De-clutter

Kitchen items tend to accumulate over time: things you hardly use, gifts from friends, mismatched plastic ware, and much more. I’ve found that the trick to keeping things manageable is to purge your kitchen of non-essential items, and to de-clutter every few weeks. Kitchens can be short on space, so make sure to only keep items that you need and will use.

  1. Maximize Space

Photo 2

Position rods and hooks under shelves and inside cabinets. Make use of blank walls and install storage containers to keep small packets of food and miscellaneous items in. This is a great way to maximize unused space in your kitchen or pantry, and keep smaller items organized.

  1. Keep Things Visible

Keep goods, such as spices or jams and jellies, in clear containers, and label everything accordingly. Open shelving is also one option you can look into, so that everything is visible and easily accessible—and it may inspire you to keep things neater between cleanings!

  1. Group Similar Items Together

It’s easier for me to remember where certain things are when I group like items together, such as spices, oils and vinegars, baking ingredients, cleaning supplies, etc. Designate areas of your kitchen, such as drawers or shelves, to hold items of similar use.

  1. Store Items by Frequency of Use

Photo 3

Once you’ve segregated your supplies, the next step is to store them by frequency of use. Keep items that are used on a daily basis within reach and in the forefront, like in lower shelves, in drawers or beside the stove.

  1. Use Smart Storage Solutions

Create convenient storage for bulky items by repurposing other things! Use a magazine holder as storage for cutting boards, baking trays and other similar items. It will keep your things better organized, and make your cabinet look great to boot.

  1. Keep Containers and Lids Together

Have you ever tried searching for that one lid to match that one plastic container? Stay on top of this particular dilemma by keeping containers and their matching lids together. This goes for similar items as well, such as pots and their lids. Periodically, I purge my containers and get rid of those that don’t have matching lids. One of my favorite tips is to only buy disposable containers of the same brand for uniformity—and it works!

I hope that these tips will help you keep your kitchen in tip-top shape as they’ve helped with mine. Do you have your own organizational tips to share? Share it with us in the comments below!

Jennifer Lutz is a home décor and design expert who provides home organization tips and home décor advice forChristmasTreeMarket.com.    

http://hotpads.com/blog/organize-your-cabinets-in-7-easy-steps/

SAVE MONEY MOVING!

Read below to learn a couple of ways to save money moving. Since you are already paying for all the expenses for getting into your new place it would hurt to save some money in a few areas. See below…

 

How to Save Money When You Move

Stressed out by your up-coming move? Kill two birds and use the liquor boxes as (free) packing containers. | Photo courtesy of Hobbling grrl.

Looking for ways to save money on your next move? It’s no wonder. The average cost of moving within the U.S. totaled $12,459 in 2012, with the two main factors affecting the cost being family size and homeowner status, according to data published by Worldwide ERC foundation for Workforce Mobility.

1. Plan Ahead

Getting ready to move? You’re in good company. Nearly 12 percent of Americans—36 million—moved during the course of 2012 and 2013, with nearly 25 percent of renters moving between rentals and two-thirds moving within the same county, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The most common motivation for moving was to change housing, followed by family- or career-related reasons.

John C. Kmiecik, National Association of Realtors regional vice president and a broker in Chicago with more than 30 years of experience, shared some of his best advice for those with a move on the horizon.

“The earlier you schedule, the cheaper it gets. You can save time and money by negotiating early,” says Kmiecik.

  • Clean out your possessions and avoid “moving junk from one house to another,” says Kmiecik.
  • Decide early on if you’re doing the move yourself or if you’ll be hiring professionals. Advises Kmiecik, “Do it yourself is good, if you understand what you’re getting involved in; it’s not always best if you’re not experienced, things can get damaged.”
  • Set up moving-related appointments as soon as possible.
  • Consult with your realtor about avoiding peak (i.e. expensive) moving times. If you’re moving out of a rental, see if you can avoid fees with the property management company by moving on off-peak (non-weekend) days. This will generally be a cheaper time to do things like hire professional movers and rent a truck, too.
  • Secure (free!) packing materials from family, friends, and local stores with excess boxes.

2. Accurately Budget for the Costs of Moving Day

CitytoCityMoving.us and moving-costs calculators like it will help you determine how much money you’ll have to spend on moving day by the distance, hour, pound, home size, and time of year—figuring everything from packing, loading, and driving to covering a summer premium (it’s more expensive to move in this season), tips, mover’s insurance, and more.

There’s more to moving day than moving, and that’s where hidden costs can arise. Here’s a list of resources to help save you time and money.

3. Use Time and Money-Saving Tools

  • The U.S. Department’s Salaries, Cost of Living, and Relocation’s list of resources includes websites that calculate the cost of living—including everything from housing and transportation to the costs of goods and education—and the average salaries of cities in the U.S.
  • dmv.org’s state-by-state guide details the costs and benefits of moving out of state for car owners.
  • coverhound.com is a search engine for auto, homeowners, renters, and even motorcycle insurance and its comparison tool should help you estimate any difference between what you’re currently paying and what you may have to pay.
  • updater.com is a one-stop-shop for updating your address via USPS and to businesses and publications that have your address; you can even use it to schedule utilities, cable, and internet setup at your new place.

4. When Moving To a New Region…

  • The price of utilities, parking, public transportation, school tuition, and health insurance can vary by region, so do your research and be prepared to cover the difference if necessary.
  • Don’t forget about the costs of location- or region-specific memberships—and potentially breaking such agreements early. I.e.- gym membership, CSA deliveries, etc.
  • Is your new home covered by the same cell phone provider? Or will you have to switch, amounting to more money lost?
  • Car owners: If you’re moving out of state, depending on the state you’re leaving, you may be eligible to get a partial refund on your car registration. Of course, you’ll also have to factor in the potential costs of getting a new driver’s license and license plate, the change in care insurance rates (if any) and registering your car.

5. Write Off Your Moving Expenses

Is your move related to a new job or a new job location? According to the IRS, you may be able to save money by deducting expenses related to moving (but not meals) if:

  • You move within one year of starting your new job.
  • Your new workplace is at least 50 miles farther from your old home than your old job location was from your old home (say that five times fast); or, if you did not have a previous workplace, your new job location is at least 50 miles from your old home.
  • You are a full-time employee having worked at least 39 weeks during your first year.

To see the full details, visit IRS Topic 455 – Moving Expenses.

6. Aks For A Relocation Bonus

According to Worldwide ERC Foundation findings, employees who move for work are given, on average, $6,704 for moving-related incidentals. It’s always worth asking if your future employer compensates for moving-related expenses — but keep in mind this money is taxed just like any other income.

http://hotpads.com/blog/save-money-move/

Who should you rent with?

Wondering if its a good move to rent with your significant other? It’s one of those big decisions that good make or break a relationship. And even more so could ruin your credit or financially in the long run. Well this article shared below explains some questions asked when wanting to rent with you significant other and how it could work. Read more below…

 

Should You Rent with Your Significant Other?

RENTING INFO / NOVEMBER 24, 2015

Holiday Party Host

Happy December 1st! We are officially in the Christmas Holiday spirit now. But are you worried about hosting the perfect holiday party. Well here’s a couple thought to enlighten you and make you the best host! Read more below…

 

Tips for Hosting a Flawless Holiday Party in Your Small Apartment

RENTING INFO / DECEMBER 1, 2015