Category Archives: Apartment Living

Three Small Apartment Clothing Storage Hacks

Three Small Apartment Clothing Storage Hacks

If you’ve lived in a small studio or one-bedroom apartment, you know how tough it can be to make space for all your clothes. Small apartments can be limited on closet space, not to mention floor space for additional items such as coat racks, shoe racks, and dressers. With these three small apartment clothing storage hacks, though, chances are you’ll find yourself fitting all your clothes in your small apartment with ease.

small apartment clothing storage

1. Under-bed storage

In small apartments, you only have so much floor space available. That’s why thinking vertically helps when it comes to small apartment clothing storage. Take a look around your apartment at the objects occupying the most floor space – is there any way you can fit other objects under them?

When it comes to your bed, chances are the answer will be yes. The space between your bed frame and your floor can provide more than enough room for storage bins (especially if you elevate your bed frame using bed risers). These under-bed storage bins make great homes for clothes, especially clothes you’re not wearing at the moment – a bin full of neatly folded and organized winter sweaters, for example, fits nicely under your bed and can stay there until the next time winter rolls around.

2. Top shelf storage

Many apartment closets come with a top shelf that provides plenty of storage space. That said, anyone who’s attempted to stack clothes on these top shelves knows that doing so can get messy and unorganized sooner than later. Perhaps more annoyingly, piles of clothes stacked too high on these shelves can easily come tumbling down, ruining all the careful organization work you’ve put in and making it difficult to use all the shelf space available.

Just as with under-bed storage, you can use storage bins to keep your top shelf organized and neat. If the same large, plastic tubs that can fit under your bed also fit your top shelf, you can easily use the same bins, but other options such as foot-by-foot storage cubes with lids may be better suited for turning your top shelf into a well-organized, easily stackable small apartment clothing storage space for socks, underwear, and other modestly sized garments. With proper top-shelf storage items, you can effectively add an extra shelf or two to your closet.

3. Benches, trunks, and ottomans

The best apartment storage hacks simultaneously expand the space you have available for stashing away items while adding decorative flair to your apartment. Benches, trunks, and especially ottomans can easily pull off this pair of needs while helping you maximize your small apartment clothing storage.

A bench at the foot of your bed that both looks nice and is tall enough to gently disguise storage boxes under it can help to streamline your small apartment clothing storage. A trunk that at first appears to be just a pretty decoration can likewise include ample space for coats, linens, and more. A large storage ottoman may be best of all for small apartment clothing storage, as not only do ottomans look especially natural at the foot of a bed and provide additional seating, but they also tend to mask their double use as storage far better than benches and trunks do.

How do you make space for your small apartment clothing storage? Sound off in the comments!

Published at Mon, 06 Jul 2020 13:06:40 +0000

5 Ways Coronavirus Will Shape New Rental Housing Trends

5 Ways Coronavirus Will Shape New Rental Housing Trends

As the number of employees who are working from home has risen exponentially, people are reconsidering their current rentals and expecting lower prices as the coronavirus pandemic has prompted social distancing, shut down large gatherings, extended quarantining and impacted rental housing trends.

Consumers are spending more time at home — they may no longer want to sign up for a new apartment lease in person and may seek more amenities that are close to their homes. As the number of unemployed Americans rises to more than 44 million, the demand for affordable housing increases since a recovery in the number of jobs could extend into 2021.

Cities that have traditionally attracted a large number of people because of tech jobs such as Austin, San Francisco and Raleigh, could see a slowdown in the number of people relocating there as companies reassess if many of those roles can be conducted from home.

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The coronavirus pandemic could change the behavior and expectations of renters for at least the next year or even longer. Here are five rental housing trends we expect will soon become the “new normal” for property managers and renters.

1. Virtual features will replace in-person options

Of all the renter housing trends that we’re expecting, this one is already happening. However, this trend will continue to become more popular over the next year. As uncertainty about how the coronavirus is spread continues, potential renters may be loath to visit an apartment in person and increase their risk of becoming ill.

Signing for an apartment lease online will likely become the new norm. The apartment rental industry has already conducted virtual tours of their current units and amenities like gyms, swimming pools and outdoor space. Other companies have launched more personal tours by using social media tools such as FaceTime.

Greystar at Steel Works and Cobalt Lofts in Harrison, N.J., two 286-unit luxury buildings (developed by a partnership between Advance Realty Investors & DeBartolo Development) began offering virtual tours of their units via FaceTime and other apps in order to comply with lockdown rules and social distancing requirements, said Oscar Morales, a regional property manager for the buildings.

“The pandemic has forced us to reinvent not only our leasing process at Steel Works and Cobalt Lofts, but almost everything about our operations and property management practices,” he said. “Soon after that, we also began offering self-touring options for prospects who still wanted to see the buildings in person.”

virtual workout

Apartments are adapting to new rental housing trends by hosting virtual wine tastings, workout classes

As cities began enforcing shutdowns and large gatherings of people, many real estate companies worked to bring together renters by launching virtual workout classes and other gatherings.

At the two New Jersey buildings, renters could choose from mixology classes, wine tastings, a weekly DJ session and a building-wide patio decorating party to stave off boredom, Morales said. The fitness facilities and other commons areas reopened, but people had to make a reservation ahead of time to enforce guidelines for smaller groups and cleaning protocols.

These recent efforts led to the apartment buildings being able to “attract a steady flow of new renters throughout the last three months,” he said.

Nearly every aspect of the operations of apartment buildings, from how they’re toured and leased to how residents interact with their buildings and fellow residents, has changed because of the coronavirus, said Devin Wirt, CEO of TFLiving, a Pawleys Island, S.C.-based, tech-enabled amenities platform that serves more than 100,000 units of apartment, condo and senior living buildings.

Over the last three months, TFLiving assisted about 70 percent of its clients that operate apartment buildings in converting to virtual programming. Now residents can access streaming fitness classes, but also more virtual group activities, such as trivia nights, wine tasting and cooking classes.

“While the long-term effects of the pandemic are uncertain, many of these changes are here to stay for the foreseeable future. Virtual amenities are likely to be a permanent solution, and we believe most buildings will eventually adopt a more hybrid approach, with a mix of in-person amenities and virtual options for residents depending on their individual comfort level.” – Devin Wirt, CEO of TFLiving

Online applications, virtual tours are becoming the norm

Online applications have been available for many years at apartments owned by Morgan Properties, a King of Prussia, Pennsylvania-based owner and operator of more than 300 apartment communities in the Mid-Atlantic, Northeastern U.S. and Nashville, said Ann Kanz, a regional marketing manager.

People could also tour apartments through one-on-one video walkthroughs and YouTube, self-guided tours of models and vacant homes and by conducting personalized tours through FaceTime and Zoom. Virtual open houses also took place via Facebook Live.

Technological advances even allow potential renters to see what their furniture might look like inside the apartment by using virtual 3-D viewing platforms, said Jeff Pepperney, president of Real Property Management, a Salt Lake City property management company. Renters, especially millennials, want a virtual, contactless and frictionless experience.

Once renters move in, they’re seeking the same experience where they can pay their rent and retrieve any documents online also, he said.

“This has become an expectation of potential renters in common practice — especially for younger consumers,” Pepperney said. “This includes features like virtual property inspections and evaluations to document the condition of the property and the option to text your property manager/landlord as the primary form of communication.”

city downtown area

2. Location will become less important for job seekers

Cities that attracted a large number of new residents typically have been tech hubs such as Seattle, Denver, Raleigh, Austin and San Francisco. As more companies are allowing employees to work remotely through this fall and even into early 2021, moving for a job has become less of a priority for hiring managers. Many companies have adopted weekly Zoom or Skype calls to encourage teamwork and to build a sense of community.

Cities that have a large number of employees that work for tech companies have already seen rental prices decline as some employees have moved in with their friends or family members, while other people have moved because they have been laid off and have not been able to obtain another job yet.

Tech hubs are already seeing a decline in rental prices

Even in cities where rent has typically been more expensive, such as Mountain View, CA, where demand remains relatively stable, prices have declined. Apartment Guide’s data shows that rental prices have declined on average to $4,229 for a two-bedroom apartment and $3,285 for a one-bedroom unit as of May 2020. That’s a decrease of 19 percent and 12 percent, respectively, compared to May 2019.

In addition, the apartment vacancy rate in San Francisco, home to many Silicon Valley companies, has nearly doubled to 6.2 percent in May, compared to 3.9 percent three months ago, according to RealPage, a Richardson, TX-based apartment data company.

3. Demand for affordable housing will rise

A large number of companies have furloughed or laid off employees, prompting more people to seek more affordable housing such as cheaper rent.

The supply of affordable housing remains constrained in the U.S. and the number of available apartments or rental homes is “nowhere near where we once were in 2009 following the recession,” Pepperney said.

In some high-priced markets, such as Manhattan or San Francisco, there’s an expected shift to increase the supply of affordable rents.

“In these markets, the supply of affordable housing is constricted and the pressure is on to offer less expensive options, especially as we move forward and the need to accommodate for a remote workforce becomes more of a reality,” he said. “As far as the trickle down to middle America, it’s early to say, but it’s possible.”

Even owners of luxury apartment buildings, ones that offer valet parking or a doorman, will have to pivot to the rental housing trends caused by the pandemic and offer more incentives to draw more people in, such as free parking, a free month of rent and additional amenities.

house for sale

4. Rental housing trends up as home buying trends down

The number of homes sold in May declined, the third month of consecutive decline since the pandemic in March, according to data from the National Association of Realtors. The number of homes sold declined by 10 percent compared to April and a whopping 27 percent from 2019 as potential homeowners are wary about the future of the economy and how fast employers will start hiring employees again.

The decline in home sales compared to 2019 is the largest dip since 1982 when mortgage rates were historically high at 17 percent or higher. In May, only 3.9 million homes in the U.S. were sold, the slowest month since 2010.

As consumers remain unemployed for more than 90 days, some have used their savings that could have been used as a down payment for a home to pay for rent, food and other necessities, as the federal stimulus payments and state unemployment funds were insufficient to cover their monthly bills.

The demand for renting, however, has not subsided and vacancies have remained steady with pre-pandemic levels. “The need and desire to rent aren’t going anywhere anytime soon,” Pepperney said.

A new rental housing trend that’s likely to emerge is how renters use the space in their apartments and homes. Creating an office in a bedroom or dining or living room often is not the “most productive option” because of noise and other factors, according to Pepperney.

As people’s leases are set to expire, many renters are likely to look for an apartment or house with more space, such as a second bedroom since working at cafes or libraries remains a rare option for the majority of U.S. cities.

“This could mean renting a larger home or a two-bedroom apartment where the second bedroom doubles as a guest room and an office room.”

Potential homebuyers are worried by the current economy

As the impact of the pandemic lingers, the number of people who believe it’s a good idea to purchase a house in a weak economy has declined. A Gallup poll conducted April 1-14 showed that only 50 percent of people believe it’s a good time to buy a home, compared to 61 percent who agreed with the sentiment during a survey conducted in April 2019 (actual dates: April 1-9).

rental housing trends chart about homebuyer sentiment

Homebuilding in May declined compared to expectations, as many companies halted or lowered the amount of construction, even though this sector was deemed an essential service. In May, housing starts increased to 4.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 974,000 units last month, according to the Commerce Department, but declined by 23.2 percent on a year-on-year basis.

Housing starts dipped the most in April by 26.4 percent and by 19.0 percent in March.

However, applications for mortgages rose to almost an 11.5 year high in June as employers hired back 2.5 million workers in May.

New housing construction may be slower to rebound

Economists and other experts said a recovery in the housing industry could take several years and even up to a decade.

Both single-family and multi-family housing starts have fallen significantly from cyclical highs prior to the pandemic and total housing starts are now at levels last seen in late 2014/early 2015, said Brad Dillman, chief economist at Cortland, an Atlanta-based multifamily investment and management firm.

Since mortgage rates remain historically low and with an estimated shortage of housing, activity for housing starts activity will likely “resume to the degree builders are confident in a labor market recovery,” he said.

The number of people moving tends to slow down when labor markets weaken or the economy is in recession, Dillman said.

“However, with housing shortages and a potential labor market rebound, it’s difficult to say how much the pandemic will affect migration trends … There is evidence that the pandemic has contributed to marginal migrations out of COVID-19 hot spots, but how long-lived these will be is also open to question, especially as the cost of living adjusts.” – Brad Dillman, chief economist at Cortland

Since it’s less important for employees to live close to their offices, the number of people moving in 2020 or 2021 could decline.

“The idea of a remote workforce is becoming more common and studies have shown the trend is expected to continue rising post-pandemic, even at companies that did not offer remote work pre-pandemic,” Pepperney said.

5. High-end rental prices will continue to dip

As the economy remains on shaky footing, consumers are likely to remain renters because of the flexibility of the leases and the likelihood that rental prices will continue to dip. This is likely true not just in large cities that tend to attract tech and younger workers, but throughout the U.S., landlords and property managers will probably not only lower monthly rents on their more expensive units but will also provide other incentives to people to prevent them from moving to another location to nab a deal.

Employees remain concerned about the future of their jobs, whether companies will start another round of layoffs in the fall and if they might have to dip into their savings. Even historically low mortgage rates are not enough to attract people to buy their first home since getting approved for a mortgage could be challenging, especially in states like California and New York, where higher prices for homes require individuals to obtain jumbo loans.

Long-lasting effects of the coronavirus on rental housing trends

The impact of the coronavirus on the rental market and recession will be long-lasting and could push down rental prices past 2021 as consumers remain concerned about their future employment and financial futures. This will make renting an apartment an attractive option for people considering a housing or lifestyle change.

The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.

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Published at Tue, 30 Jun 2020 13:05:53 +0000

RentHop NYC Market Report: Rents Are Going Down in New York City and Manhattan Is Losing Renters

RentHop NYC Market Report: Rents Are Going Down in New York City and Manhattan Is Losing Renters

The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically altered life in New York City. The MTA system grapples with billions of dollars of deficits with historically low ridership, and many people, who once called New York City home, are now breaking their leases and leaving the epicenter due to concerns over a potential second wave, burden of high living costs amplified by unemployment, and changes in company remote working policies.

After a few painful weeks with severe declines in leasing activities and high vacancy, the NYC rental market seems to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. While still slow compared to previous years, the rental market has shown some signs of recovery in the past month, including more inventory hitting the market. In this report, we will analyze the current state of the rental market and offer some insights for people who are looking to move in the coming weeks.

For the First Time in Years, Rents Are Dropping

Calculated using thousands of listings advertised in the past 30 days (May 12 to June 11), the median 1BR rent in New York City currently sits at $2,645.3, down 1.3% from $2,681 during the same period in 2019. This downward pressure is largely caused by reduced demand and an increasing amount of rental concessions offered by landlords grappling with tenant retention and high vacancies. The anemic demand and competition for tenants are forcing some landlords to double their incentives, going from 1 month free to 2 months free on certain units and lease terms.

We are also seeing a growing number of no-fee apartments on the market, whether advertised by rental agents or directly by landlords. Prior to the pandemic, around 58% of the listings on RentHop were no-fee. This number has since increased to 64%.

For those who are staying in the city with expiring leases, now might be a good time to start your apartment search. We expect that the rental trends will continue as New York City struggles with unprecedented job losses, an outflow of residents, and the economic turmoil due to the coronavirus lockdown.

Inventory Flows Back In, Approaching the Pre-Pandemic Level

While April has historically been the beginning of busy real estate sales and rental seasons, the market has been flat this year. Due to the COVID-19 lockdown and pause of real estate showings, the number of active listings on RentHop dropped dramatically within a week after the start of the stay-at-home order. By mid-April, the number of active listings on RentHop had lowered 20% to just around 20,000 on average each week.

Since then, inventory has been growing steadily. The number of active listings first peaked the week of May 4 to May 10 since COVID-19 and has generally been trending upward. This implies that inventory is now flowing back, and renters now have more options to choose from.

Renter Inquiries Recovered to the Pre-Pandemic Level

Unsurprisingly, the coronavirus outbreak exerted downward pressure on the rental market in the city of New York. Daily inquiry count started dropping exponentially in early March, and by March 20, the day when the PAUSE order was announced, the daily renter inquiry count had fallen over 60% below the pre-pandemic daily average.

But things quickly started to turnaround by early April. This upward trend continued through May, with May 12 being 26% higher than the daily average prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. And while the recent BLM protests have had an impact on market activities, generally speaking, the number of renter inquiries is reaching the pre-pandemic level. We expect this upward trend to continue in the coming months, driven by pent-up demand as people who have held off moving are now restarting their apartment search process.

Leads, however, seem to be shifting from Manhattan to Brooklyn. As shown in the chart below, the top 5 most inquired neighborhoods last year were all Manhattan neighborhoods, such as Hell’s Kitchen, FiDi, and the East Village. The rankings changed drastically this year. Four out of the top five neighborhoods are located in Brooklyn, and the fifth one is Astoria, Queens. This shift might be evidence that the city may be seeing an outflow of residents from Manhattan to more affordable and less populated neighborhoods in outer boroughs.

Published at Tue, 16 Jun 2020 14:00:37 +0000

The Ultimate College Apartment Checklist: From Finding a Place to Moving In

The Ultimate College Apartment Checklist: From Finding a Place to Moving In

If you’re getting ready to look for your first college apartment, you’re probably feeling a mix of joy, excitement and even a bit of stress at the task ahead of you. It’s only natural, as renting your first apartment will definitely require a little work. That’s why we put together the ultimate college apartment checklist, packed with everything you need to know to help you move into your first apartment quickly and easily. From establishing a budget to checking the place and watching out for scams, here’s how to find and lock in the perfect new home. 

Jump to:

What’s my moving and renting budget? 

College Apartment Checklist - Budget

The first step on your college apartment checklist is your budget, which you need to figure out before you begin your apartment search. That’s because most of the following steps will depend upon how much money you can and are willing to spend on your future rental. 

But, how do you establish a budget? First, consider all of the costs involved in securing and maintaining your new apartment, and separate your budget into two categories:

Upfront costs 

Upfront costs refer to one-time payments that you generally pay before you move into your new home. For example, landlords and property managers usually have:

  • Move-in fees: These fees cover the first and last month’s rents.
  • Security deposit: It covers any damage you may cause, and will be refunded if the apartment is in good condition when you move out.
  • Application fees: Some properties have an application fee to cover the cost of your background and credit checks. 
  • Holding fees: Landlords may charge this fee to hold your rental unit for a specific period of time prior to signing a lease.
  • Pet fees: Most properties will ask for a pet deposit to cover potential damage, while some will add an additional fee for pet rent.

At the same time, if you plan to use a moving company to transport your belongings to your new place, budget for these services, too.

Recurring costs

Recurring costs refer to the payments you will have to make on an ongoing basis, usually monthly. These largely depend on the amenities your building offers and the arrangement the property has in place regarding utilities. In this category, consider:

  • Rent: How much can you afford to spend on rent? If you have a regular income, establish your budget with a rent affordability calculator. If you don’t, you will also need a co-signer, like one of your parents. 
  • Utilities: Most likely, you’ll split these with the landlord. For instance, most buildings will include water, sewage and garbage in the cost of your rent, while you’ll be responsible for covering the electricity, gas and internet/cable bills. To get an idea of how much you should budget if you’re moving out of state, check out this utility cost breakdown by state
  • Amenities: While apartment buildings are offering an increasing number of amenities which are covered by rent, some buildings may also feature luxury services as add-ons. 

What are my needs as a renter? 

Once you’ve figured out your budget, it’s time to list your needs for your college apartment checklist. But, even before you consider your needs, do some research on the city you want to move to in order to see how much apartments usually go for and what amenities they include. For instance, on rentcafe.com, you can find average rents for each city, as well as use the filtering options in the search bar to look into different types of apartments, amenities and neighborhoods. 

After you get an idea of what the rental market looks like, answer the following questions to guide you in your apartment hunt:

What size apartment am I looking for? 

If you’re renting alone, consider whether you want to rent a one-bedroom apartment — which offers more space — or a studio apartment, which is more budget-friendly. Alternatively, if you’re moving in with roommates, determine how many bedrooms you’ll need. 

Renting Small: Main Differences Between Studios and One-Bedroom Apartments

How long will I be renting? 

Rental apartments are typically leased for a fixed period (usually one year) or on a month-to-month basis, and there are pros and cons to both. For example, a yearly lease will get you the best deal on rent. Fixed-term leases also ensure you’ll pay the same amount throughout your lease. Conversely, in monthly contracts, the rent can change each time you renew. What’s more, a one-year contract will protect you from undue evictions, while a monthly lease means your landlord could decide to end your contract from one month to the next. However, a month-to-month lease does offer more flexibility by allowing you to move out whenever you want to without penalty. 

Where will I be renting?

Do you have a car or will you be using public transportation to get to school? With a car, you can move anywhere. But, if you’re planning to use public transit, make sure your apartment is located near a bus, subway or train station.

Meanwhile, consider the type of neighborhood you want to live in. Are you looking for a quiet, residential spot, or do you want to live in the heart of the action? Do some research on the neighborhoods in the area to find the right fit for your needs. Also, remember to check how safe these neighborhoods are. 

What amenities do I need?

Buildings and apartments offer different amenities, and it’s up to you to decide which ones you really want. Below are some of the perks to consider when you’re looking for an apartment. Establish which amenities you absolutely need on your college apartment checklist, and which aren’t necessary, but would be nice to have. This will enable you to be more flexible in your search and to stay on budget. 

  • Appliances: Do you need an in-unit washer and dryer or a laundry room? Are you looking for an apartment with a dishwasher? 
  • Furnishing: Do you need a pre-furnished apartment? These rentals are certainly easier to move into, but they also come with more expensive rents. 
  • Pet friendliness: Do you plan to take a pet with you to college? If so, you’ll need to search for pet-friendly apartments.
  • Air conditioning: While you likely won’t need this one in colder areas, if you’re moving to an apartment in L.A., for example, you’ll definitely need an A/C unit.
  • Parking: If you plan on taking a car with you, try to find a place with a parking space. Street parking isn’t always available and, in some cities, it’s notoriously difficult to find a free spot. 
  • Outdoor spaces & swimming pools: This largely depends on your lifestyle preferences and if you can spare the extra budget for a rooftop garden, a communal terrace or a swimming pool. 
  • Fitness centers: Do you need to have quick access to the gym? Apartment buildings are increasingly offering gyms as an amenity, so you might want to take advantage of this. 

How do I find and assess an apartment?

College Apartment Checklist - Apartment Search

Searching for the perfect apartment is no easy feat. But, if you follow the steps above, you’ll find a great place faster than you might think. 

Furthermore, one of the most important rules in apartment-hunting is considering multiple options. So, make sure you check out a few places before making a final decision. This way, you’ll get to know the market better and get the best possible deal. 

When to start your apartment search

While you can find an apartment at any time of year, you’re much more likely to get a better deal on rent and to tick all the boxes on your college apartment checklist if you start your search early. To get the best possible price for your future apartment, begin your search at least 60 days prior to your move-in date. Also, note that Google Search data shows that May, June and July are peak months for renting — which means you’ll have more competition and prices will be higher during this period. 

How to choose the right apartment

Once you find an apartment that fits your budget and your needs, it’s time to see it in person. When you arrive, ask your guide about the history of the property, the neighborhood and the neighbors. 

Then, during your walkthrough, make sure everything is in working order. Thoroughly inspecting the unit will ensure that you get what you’re paying for and that you’re not moving into a place that will need extra work after you move in. In particular:

  • Examine the walls and floors to see if they have any cracks, holes or leaks. If you find any, take note of or photograph them so you can let the landlord know they were there prior to your occupancy. 
  • Make sure all the lights and light switches work and that they don’t have any burn marks around them.
  • Check to see if the thermostat works. Turn on both the heat and the A/C to confirm that they’re in proper working condition.
  • Monitor the windows and doors to check for drafts.
  • Look for any signs of mold in the apartment.
  • Take note of any smells and investigate the source. 
  • Make sure everything in the bathroom is in working condition. Turn on the faucets and shower to check the water pressure and the drains. 
  • Turn on appliances to make sure they work correctly. 
  • Check the cabinets for any squeaky or wobbly doors. 

While you’re there, take a walk through and around the building to get to know the property and the neighborhood. After all, you won’t be living in a vacuum.

How do I review and sign a lease?

College Apartment Checklist - Lease

When you find the perfect apartment, lock it in as soon as possible. You can opt to hold it for a while (as explained earlier), but when you’re ready to move in, you’ll have to provide certain documents and sign a lease agreement. 

What documents do I need?

Normally when renting an apartment, landlords will expect you to provide your rental and credit history. However, real estate professionals are aware that they’re managing apartments in a student area, and typically, when you have no or very limited credit history, a co-signer will be required.

Additionally, be prepared to provide your landlord with the following information: 

  • Your social security number and birthdate
  • Pay stubs or bank statements to prove your income if you have a job
  • A co-signer’s information if you don’t have a credit or rental history  
  • Personal references 

How do I review the lease?

Even if you think you’ve found your dream apartment, scrutinize the lease agreement so you know what you’re legally committing yourself to. Specifically, check the terms of the lease carefully and ensure the things you talked about with the property manager or landlord are included. Then, discuss the questions below with the person you’re signing the agreement to make sure they’re in line with your college apartment checklist:

  • How do I make the payments?
  • Are there late fees? If so, how and when are they charged?
  • Which utilities are included in my rent? 
  • Are there any circumstances under which you can enter my apartment without notifying me first? 
  • How do you manage repairs? Is there a separate process for emergency repairs?
  • How much advance notice do you need if I decide to move out?
  • Under which circumstances would my security deposit not be refunded? How long does it take to refund a security deposit?
  • Do you have a guest policy? What are the terms? 
  • Can I sublet the apartment outside of the school year? 
  • If I move out in the middle of the month, will you prorate my rent? 

The Nitty-Gritty of Paying the Fair Amount – Prorated Rent Explained

How do I get a roommate?

College Apartment Checklist - Rommates

If you plan to share your apartment with a roommate, do everything you can to pick one who you’ll be happy living with. While there’s no exact science to choosing the perfect roommate, consider the following to make sure you’ll live in harmony:

What type of relationship are you looking for? 

Do you just want someone to pay half the rent, or are you looking for a person you can become friends with? If it’s the latter, you might want to talk about your goals and interests to see if you have things in common to bond over. 

Do your personalities match? 

Even if you’re both fantastic people, certain personalities just don’t work well together, so try to find someone with a temperament similar to yours. For example, if you don’t like to party, you’re probably better off with someone similar. On the other hand, if you’re a social butterfly, you might want to look for someone more extroverted and upbeat. 

Do you have similar cleaning habits? 

Some people are avid cleaners and organizers, while others care less about these things. You and your roommate should have similar expectations in this area. Otherwise, both of you might end up disgruntled. 

Do you have healthy communications with each other? 

We all have our quirks and anxieties, so it’s essential to find someone you can easily communicate with. Even if you end up being the best of friends, you still need to make sure you can talk about the good and the bad without fear or aggression. Because temperament defines communication more than your morals or values, this can be a problem even among the best of us. 

To find the perfect roommate, browse local Facebook groups and message boards. Or, check out these roommate apps, which can help you find your ideal match while taking the hassle out of the search. Then, once you’ve found a potential roommate, here are some questions to ask to see if you’re going to get along well.

How do I protect myself as a renter? 

Avoiding Scams

Unfortunately, as is the case with any housing option, you might run into scams or people who don’t have your best interests at heart. That’s why it’s important to learn how to avoid scams and protect yourself while renting.

Beware of scams

The first rule in avoiding scams is that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. That’s why you should always use reputable websites like rentcafe.com, which has 100% verified listings. 

However, if you use websites that don’t verify their listings, get to know the area you’re renting in, especially when it comes to pricing. For instance, if the price of an apartment is much lower than you’d expect in a specific neighborhood, research it carefully. Below are a few scam-checking steps for your college apartment checklist:

  • Check the rental company and make sure it has a credible website. Google its name alongside keywords like “scam,” “review” or “complaint.” 
  • If you found the apartment on a listing website, make sure it’s also listed on the rental company’s website, if they have one. 
  • Ask for identification when touring to make sure you’re talking to a professional working at the company that manages the property. 
  • Never pay with cash or wire transfers. Only make payments to real entities that you can track and follow up with. 
  • Never give out your personal information to someone who hasn’t identified themselves.

If you come across a sketchy property or apartment and think it may be a scam, report it to the police to help others stay safe. 

Renter protection laws 

Know what your rights are so you can protect yourself in the event that anything happens. Each state has different rules regarding renter protections, so be sure to understand yours. 

On a federal level, you are protected against discrimination of any kind, and your landlord is obligated to make reasonable accommodations for you if you have a disability. You also have the right to safety. As such, your property manager or landlord must quickly make any repairs in the event that your home poses a danger to your health. 

When it comes to evictions, your landlord can only begin this process if you break the terms of the lease. In this scenario, they would have to inform you of your wrongdoing first and then offer you the opportunity to correct the issue. Only after you fail to do so can they file an eviction proceeding in court, while also giving you notice so you can participate. When you receive these notices depends upon the individual state laws. If your landlord wins the case, you will be evicted. You’ll also likely be ordered to pay any late fees and cover the costs to repair any damage you may have caused.  

Finally, your landlord cannot withhold your security deposit unless you break the terms of the lease and cause damage to the rental. Once again, each state has specific legislation as to how large this deposit can be and when it should be returned to you. 

How Not to Lose Your Deposit – The Superhero Edition

Renters insurance

Renters insurance is an added cost, but it should definitely go on your college apartment checklist. Just like any type of insurance, it will save you a lot of time and money if you need it. This is also why some buildings require you to have renters insurance before you move in. 

Renters insurance generally costs between $12 and $25 a month, but it compensates up to $30,000 in property damage and $100,000 in liability damage. Therefore, if disaster strikes, it will cover both your medical bills and the cost to replace your belongings. At the same time, if something happens to your apartment and you have to leave it, renters insurance typically covers a few nights in a hotel or the cost of a temporary rental. Finally, you’ll also be compensated even if you were responsible for the damage.

Next steps on your college apartment checklist  

Moving Out

Once you’ve found your new home and signed the lease agreement, it’s time to make a college apartment checklist for your move! To pack mindfully and have everything ready to go on moving day, follow the steps below:

  • Start getting the furniture and items your new apartment is missing. If you have one or more roommates, make sure you check with them first, so you don’t end up duplicating necessities.
  • Set up all the utilities you will manage — such as internet and cable — so you can use them as soon as you move in. 
  • If you have a car, ensure your insurance policy and check-ups are up-to-date, and change the oil if you haven’t in a while.  
  • Cancel any memberships and subscriptions you have in your old hometown, and look for alternatives near your new home.
  • Divide your belongings into essentials and nice-to-haves, and make a donation pile for the things you won’t need again. Pack up the essentials first, and then move on to the nice-to-haves. If you don’t have much space, consider leaving items that may be easily replaceable in your new town. 
  • Get packing supplies. To save time and money, buy these after you know what you’re taking with you.
  • Pack an essentials kit to get you through the first couple of days when you’re still unpacking your things. This should include any medications, personal care items, electronics and chargers you will need immediately. 
  • Get all the supplies you’ll need to clean your apartment and don’t forget trash bags and other home necessities. 
  • Make sure all of the important people in your life have your new address.

And, there you have it, the ultimate college apartment checklist to make your move a stress-free experience. Remember to carefully assess your needs, use reputable websites with verified listings and check out at least a few places before making a final decision. Now, go out there and find your new apartment!

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Published at Fri, 19 Jun 2020 09:30:02 +0000

7 Little Games To Play With Your Dog In Small Spaces 

7 Little Games To Play With Your Dog In Small Spaces 

If you own a dog in an apartment, you have surely run into the difficulty of combining adequate exercise with the space restrictions that come with apartment living. Especially during poor weather or long winter evenings, it can be tricky to get your dog tired enough.  

Unfortunately, lack of mental and physical stimulation not only results in a bored dog, but can actually create behavioral issues such as reactivity towards other dogs, frequent potty accidents or separation anxiety. 

It is much easier to prevent these than to fix them — which is why these indoor dog games are the perfect way to tire out your dogs and keep them happy and healthy. Even just five minutes of playing with your canine friends every day will make a noticeable difference in their behavior and focus. 

Jump The Leg 

Sit on the floor, stretch one leg out in front of you and put your foot against a couch or wall. Now toss treats to both sides of your leg, so that your dog has to jump over it to get them. This repeated bouncing motion is very tiring for dogs — akin to humans jumping straight up in the air over and over — and even a few minutes of this will leave your dog panting. Make sure that you only play this on a surface with good traction, to prevent any accidents. 

Crate Race 

training dogs inside

Put a treat in your dog’s crate. Show him and let him run into the crate to get the treat. Repeat this a couple times. Now you put the treat into the crate and walk a couple of steps away with your dog. Formulate a call like “Ready… steady… go!” and let him run into the crate. Repeat this a couple times. 

If your dog is good at the last step, you can move further and further away from the crate. Eventually you can let him race to his crate even from another room or the hallway. Running to his crate and eating the treat will become more challenging and fun the further you move away. 

This game is not just fun for your dog, but will also strengthen the positive association with the crate and make it a happy place for your dog. Especially for apartment dogs, it is very important to be able to settle quietly and happily in their place. 

Blanket Trick

dog games with blankets

Take a blanket or beach towel and put it on your floor. Now hide some treats underneath it and let your dog figure out how to get to them. Dogs are not naturally good at understanding that they have to lift one corner to gain access to the cookies underneath. Solving this food puzzle will really work your dog’s brain. If he solves it, repeat it a couple times. Repeating brain games will teach your dog to pay attention to his thinking process and strengthen his memory. Over time you will also see a positive effect on his overall obedience skills from this, because the better he can think and remember, the better he will behave overall. 

Pillow Tower 

Take several pillows. Start out by stacking two pillows and luring your dog up on them with a cookie. If this proves to be no challenge, take a third pillow! It is tricky for your dog to jump up and keep a proper balance, as the softness of the pillows will make the little tower unstable. In competitive dog sports, exercises on unstable surfaces like this are used frequently to increase the dog’s strength and coordination. By practicing your dog’s skills in these areas, you can challenge him in novel and creative ways.  And if your dog is successful with three pillows, try four or even five! 

Treat Burrito 

Take your blanket or beach towel again and put it on the floor in front of you. Distribute treats on it. Now take one end and roll up the blanket, just like a yoga mat. When you have it all rolled up, present it to your dog. Now it is her turn to figure out how to get all the treats inside the treat burrito. Again, unrolling it usually does not come to the dog’s mind right away, so the puzzle fun will keep her entertained for quite a while. 

Sniff Box 

dog searching box for treats

Take a cardboard box and fill it with crumpled-up newspapers. Now drop treats in there and let your dog use scent to find them. This is a great activity especially for anxious dogs, as sniffing is a very calming activity. In fact, just a few minutes of sniffing can significantly lower a dog’s heart rate and reduce stress. If your dog is afraid or nervous, daily sniffing can vastly improve the overall mood and behavior.  

Cookie Bopping 

Note: this might be a game that you only play in the bathroom, as it can get messy.

Take a salad bowl and fill it with water. Now put some treats in there, or even just your dog’s regular dry food. Let her dive in to get the goodies. This game can be a real thinking challenge and also strengthen your dog’s confidence. Many dogs start out not understanding how they can get the treats and only learn over time to effectively snatch them out of the water. 

How Often Should You Play? 

little games for dogs

You can play these games with your dog every single day. Your dog will let you know when it becomes too much: If he is noticeably unmotivated or slow, you should take a day off. Different dog breeds vary a lot in how much and how often they want to play and train. While some dogs from working breeds such as German Shepherds can play all day long, others — for example a Pug — want to have their well-deserved breaks. 

Just like people, dogs have a daily rhythm of activity and rest. They usually are most awake in the mornings and evenings. Especially at night, they can be pretty pushy and needy for attention. Try out the games above during this time and see if it makes your dog calmer and easier to manage.  

If you have more than one dog, you might need to separate them for the games so that they do not interfere and show resource guarding tendencies. If the dogs enjoy the games they might become pretty protective over the treats. It is best to be safe and not let them get into any struggles over whose turn it is. 

About the author: Steffi Trott is the founder of SpiritDog Training, an online dog training program. She strives to bring positive, science-based and fun training to dog owners all over the world. She lives with her own three dogs in Albuquerque, NM. They compete in the dog sport of agility and enjoy playing games together daily. 

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Published at Thu, 28 May 2020 08:30:02 +0000

LOOKING FOR HAPPINESS DURING COVID-19

LOOKING FOR HAPPINESS DURING COVID-19

LOOKING FOR HAPPINESS DURING COVID-19

Is there a bright side to the global Covid-19 pandemic? Should we even think about looking for a bright side? The answer is absolutely “yes”. The downside of this situation can feel overwhelming and desperately sad. There is no shortage of bad news, but there are many reasons and benefits to remaining hopeful now and moving forward.

All over the world people found ways to connect during social distancing. From the Italians who sang arias from their balconies to neighborhoods in the US who met on their streets for dance offs.  We learned to use new technology such as Zoom or Facetime for virtual happy hours and dinners. From a safe 6 feet apart, you can go for walks with friends and family.  Have balcony fun and get to know your neighbors that live in your apartment building. My daughter has befriended a senior lady on the second floor of her apartment building. This daily interaction reduces isolation especially for her and creates smiles.

Do you feel the silence?  During snowstorms when plane traffic is halted, silence feels like a warm blanket. Now the birds are in their element with less cars and planes in the air. With more time in our lives to explore new interests, bird watching as a hobby is on the increase. They are much easier to hear and spot when we do not need to filter through all the man-made noise. We can rediscover nature.

We can see clearly now and breath better in many cities all over the world. The media shows us photography of blue skies in Los Angeles. NASA says that the atmosphere is significantly cleaner. With the reduction of non-essential travel, the drop in pollution has been significant worldwide.  Cleaner air promotes better health for people suffering from asthma and other respiratory related illnesses. This year with the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, we are seeing many places with the best air quality in decades.

Did you catch up on all the projects that you thought that you never had time to do before?  I have cleaned and organized everything from my attic to the linen closets and the food pantry. I thought that I had plenty of canned goods only to find that a can of green beans expired in 2018. My hurricane provisions from 2019 had expired too. Knowing exactly where I stood with non-perishables will help me be ready for hurricane season 2020. Catching up on my “to do list” had given me a feeling of accomplishment and control during a time when we have no control over a global pandemic. It was a more positive way to spend my time than binge watching news and obsessing about the pandemic. Trust me I spent too much time going from streaming news to local news providers. (Source: Bright Side)

To find the bright side of the any bad situation, it is best to try to have a positive attitude. It will not be an easy thing to do. Even if it is only for a few minutes a day, looking for the bright side can help you not to go down into a rabbit hole of despair. There are so many health benefits with a positive outlook. Can you chat with a senior shut in? Could you donate to a non-profit or support local shops and restaurants? Can we find ways to sustain clean air and continue to commit to a healthier global environment? That remains to be seen. I know that some good will result from Covid-19 pandemic. But it will be up to each of us as we find the new norm to be positive. I’m betting on us to win!

Published at Thu, 07 May 2020 12:21:47 +0000

EVERYDAY PEOPLE WITH SUPERPOWERS!

EVERYDAY PEOPLE WITH SUPERPOWERS!

EVERYDAY PEOPLE WITH SUPERPOWERS!

Have you ever met a real live hero? When we were children, our heroes were larger than life. Take Superman for instance a fictional character created in 1938 with Action Comics. He had the following powers: superhuman strength, agility, heat vision, X-ray vision, superhuman breath that could freeze things or blow like the wind. Best of all he was “the man of steel” who could fly! We have been idolizing heroes in movies, books and folklore for centuries. We could sure use one now to swoop in and solve all our problems.

But now due to Covid-19, we are seeing a new brand of hero. Or are we seeing everyday people doing random acts of heroism? We have been studying heroism for years. What happens during a dangerous event that causes that one person to risk his own life for someone he has never met? In a crowd the “herd mentality” where most people do not want to get involved as it none of their business, makes anyone who steps up to help a hero. Mr. Rodgers said “Always look for the helpers” when in trouble.

Cardinal Property Management carefully navigated through the uncharted waters of the pandemic by creating transparency between their corporate office and their on-site management teams. Through discussion and surveying their employees about concerns and fears, Cardinal Group created a benevolence fund called “Cardinal Heroes”. Their people can nominate a coworker that they believe has acted as a hero. These are leasing and maintenance teams on the front lines in apartment communities without any superpowers doing extraordinary acts of heroism. This has given their teams a sense of pride and a feeling of community in a time when it is too easy to go down the rabbit hole into despair.

Nurses, doctors and emergency first responders unlike Superman did not even have enough personal protective equipment to handle the onslaught of sick overwhelming their hospitals. Then heroes from all over the country began to sew masks and create makeshift PPE out of what seemed like thin air. People trained in any related medical industry went to help on the front lines at great personal risk. First responders were working double shifts even with the very real fear of their own health and safety. But like Superman they had the power of their convictions and the courage to see them through.

From the people who are employed by grocery and pharmacy stores, to our on-site property management teams helping to keep our apartment communities open, these people are unsung heroes. Seemingly normal people who under the most extraordinary of times provide vital services so we may have a roof over our heads and food on our bellies. Churches and food banks and their parishioners are providing food to their communities. Celebrities and young children are donating time, PPE and funds to help the close to 15% of unemployed workers due to social distancing mandates and business closers. So, you see we all have the superpowers of love, creativity, compassion, bravery, strength of conviction and valor. Superman would be proud of us! He knows that there is a little bit of him in all of us. Will you be  a superhero to someone?

Published at Thu, 14 May 2020 12:30:48 +0000

How to Work From Home in an Apartment

How to Work From Home in an Apartment

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many apartment dwellers into a unique work situation. Widespread stay-at-home orders have forced everyone except for essential workers to work from home, and for people who previously worked in offices alongside their coworkers, the sudden transition to a work-from-home lifestyle may be challenging. How can you recreate an ergonomic, efficient workspace in your apartment? What can you do to make your apartment office feel like your actual office? Here are some tips that can help you work from home in an apartment.

work from home apartment

Organize and arrange your work-from-home desk

Whether you’ve repurposed a folding table into your work-from-home desk or are struggling to make proper space on a small desk you’ve long had, you can optimize any surface for minimal workflow interruptions if you organize and arrange your workspace properly. Manage your cables and wires with twist ties or cable management organizers. Invest in a filing cabinet to keep papers and other office supplies from taking up precious desktop area. Move any items not fully necessary for work to another part of your apartment.

Expand or rethink your work-from-home surface

If you find that the desk you’ve long had in your apartment is too small, there’s nothing wrong with buying another small table to give yourself more working space. Conversely, if your desk just isn’t working for you, you can consider setting aside a portion of your kitchen countertop, living room coffee table, or another apartment surface as your work-from-home space. You can even switch to a standing desk if you think you can go through a full day of work without sitting. No matter where you find that you have the most space for your work-from-home operations, your primary goal should be to create a dedicated office space.

Get high-quality work-from-home equipment

If you’re using a folding chair from your living room or a bar stool from your kitchen as your work chair, you’ll be surprised how much better your workday will flow if you invest in a proper office or computer chair. Likewise, if you’re struggling to make space for all your tasks and software platforms on your laptop screen, buying an extra monitor might help you to keep your desk organized. 

You should also buy additional lighting if you have to work from home in a part of your apartment that isn’t as well lit. Good lighting is correlated with not just increased productivity but less strain on your eyes, lower fatigue levels, and fewer headaches. It can also be vital for ensuring that you appear professional in any video calls you make for your work.

Work from home like you’re working from the office

Besides equipment concerns, one of the biggest shocks that can accompany the shift to working from home instead of the office is how much it can blur the line between work and the rest of your life. That’s why it can be important to set boundaries and routines that simulate an office working experience. 

When you wake up, go about your usual morning routine – including putting on an outfit you’d normally wear to the office – before starting your work. Set work hours and include breaks in them. Do everything you can to separate your work-from-home space from distractions, whether the snacks in your kitchen, the TV in your living room, or any roommates with whom you live. Working from home may not immediately feel comfortable, but if you treat your time on the job as though you’re actually in the office, it might feel like your usual routine soon enough.

Published at Tue, 26 May 2020 13:26:33 +0000

Life Insurance and Health Insurance: What You Need to Know

Life Insurance and Health Insurance: What You Need to Know

As you get older, you learn that monthly expenses can start to add up once you start including costs of insurance. Having adequate insurance provides peace of mind in knowing that if something were to unexpectedly occur, you and your family are financially protected.

Because life and health insurance are technically optional, many question whether or not they actually need to pay for these policies each month. We will discuss the basics of both life insurance and health insurance to help you determine which coverage works best for your individual situation. 

Life Insurance 

Life insurance is important to have, especially once you obtain assets or start a family. The main purpose of life insurance is to pay out a death benefit to your chosen beneficiary or beneficiaries to replace lost income, medical expenses, and outstanding debts in an unexpected passing. You may be offered life insurance through your employer, but in the case that this coverage is not sufficient enough to supplement your income, you may choose to look into private life insurance policies. 

There are various types of life insurance to consider and because the different types can serve different purposes, it is best to take into account your financial status, lifestyle and reason for purchasing life insurance to determine which policy works best for you. The two main types of life insurance are term life and whole life policies.  

life insurance policies

Term Life Insurance 

Term life insurance policies are set for a certain number of years (anywhere from 10 to 30 years) and expire once the term ends. If you were to pass away before the end of the term you selected, your beneficiary would receive the death benefit payout that you chose when you selected the policy. However, if you do not pass away during the term of the policy, your coverage expires. You will pay for this policy with either an annual or monthly premium that has been determined based on your coverage amount, term and other factors such as your lifestyle and health status.  

To obtain a term life policy, you must take a medical exam where underwriters will look at various health risk factors, which will weigh into the cost of your premium. Term life insurance policies are usually less expensive than whole life policies because there is no cash value to the policy. Remember that since term life insurance policies take your age and health into account, younger individuals can lock in a much lower rate by purchasing life insurance earlier in life. 

settling insurance policies

Whole Life Insurance 

A whole life insurance policy, which can be referred to as a permanent life insurance policy or cash value policy, has three main types of policies to choose from — whole, universal and variable. Whole life insurance policies essentially serve two purposes: to provide a death benefit to your beneficiaries to cover your lost income, final expenses and outstanding debts. This type of policy can also be used as an investment because part of the premium you pay will go into a tax-deferred savings account that you can borrow upon at a later date if you choose to do so.  

Remember that if you borrow against the policy, that will reduce the death benefit amount. Because whole life insurance is also used for investment purposes, the premium will be much higher than a term life insurance policy. However, if you choose to cancel the policy after you have paid for it, you are entitled to some of the cash value.  

mother son playing

Determining the Type of Policy to Choose 

While there is no right answer to this, it’s important to consider the personal reasons for purchasing life insurance. If you are looking for an investment and are financially stable enough to fund a whole life insurance policy, this may be the right choice for you. However, if you are looking to provide support for those that depend on you financially at a lower rate, a term life insurance policy might prove to be a better option. 

Certain individuals could benefit from purchasing a term life insurance policy, such as new parents looking to provide protection to their minor children for a given period of time. Newly married or engaged couples who might be combining assets or obtaining property together and depend on the other’s income to pay for these assets are also good candidates for life insurance. Another group of individuals who could benefit from a term life insurance policy specifically are aging parents who are looking to subsidize care that their adult children may have provided or to leave a legacy through their life insurance once they pass.  

aging citizens insurance

Lastly, a group that is often overlooked for obtaining life insurance is college students or young adults whose parents may have cosigned on a private student loan with them. This is because if a student unexpectedly passes before the debt is paid, the parents could be left responsible to pay the remaining balance. 

Health Insurance 

Health insurance subsidizes medical expenses such as prescriptions, doctor visits, surgeries and hospital stays by contributing to some or all of these expenses that you may incur. The types of health insurance available can vary greatly. Still, it is important to consider the costs associated with purchasing a policy and the costs associated with not having a policy. 

Health insurance can be obtained privately, through the government, or through an employer, so it’s important to check the regulations in your state to determine the best option for your coverage. Many states offer financial assistance to help pay for premiums if you make below a certain amount of money. If you are under 26, you can stay on your parents’ health insurance even if you are no longer considered financially dependent or don’t live with them. 

happy mother daughter

If this is not an option or you are over 26, most employers will offer some form of health insurance that you can opt into once you start working for the company or after a waiting period ends. This is usually less expensive than purchasing a private plan, and sometimes employers have different levels of coverage that would best suit your needs. Consider your personal health needs when looking into a plan and carefully read the terms of each option that is available to you. 

If you are younger and relatively healthy, you might be able to get away with carrying a catastrophic policy with a high deductible either through your employer or state’s marketplace. A catastrophic policy has lower monthly premiums but has a higher deductible that must be met before you have any coverage. For example, if you go to the doctor once or twice a year, you would most likely pay for the price of the visit in full but would have saved each month on paying higher premiums. However, if you have a major health issue occur, you will only owe up to the deductible, which could save you thousands, considering you wouldn’t be responsible for the full price of the medical issue. 

doctor appointment assessing health

Furthermore, if you have a spouse or children, you are eligible for a family plan or a spousal plan that also covers their medical costs. Remember to compare your company’s health insurance offerings to your spouse’s to make sure your family is obtaining coverage that makes the most sense. Look into the different tiers of plans offered and consider how much you go to the doctor’s in a given year to make sure that you are not over-insured and paying more than you need to have the highest level of coverage. 

Once you hit certain milestones in your life, it is important to be adequately insured to protect your future financial stability, your family and your assets. Life and health insurance both serve this purpose by protecting your income and your health while also giving you added peace of mind. Remember that with careful consideration and research, you can ensure that you are adequately covered without paying extra for this coverage, giving you peace of mind for your future. 

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Published at Thu, 21 May 2020 10:11:35 +0000

Biden Gains Momentum in Manhattan and Brooklyn, While Trump Continues the Lead in Staten Island

Biden Gains Momentum in Manhattan and Brooklyn, While Trump Continues the Lead in Staten Island

Former Vice President Joe Biden shocked the world with his Super Tuesday revival, and he is now on the right path to the Democratic nomination against President Donald Trump in November.

Thanks to the wide support he received from Black voters and the consolidation among Democratic moderates, Mr. Biden seized primary victories across the nation, clinching wins in key states such as Michigan, Florida, and Arizona. Now, the question is no longer Bernie vs. Biden, or progressive vs. moderate, but more so if Mr. Biden could unite the Democratic party and beat President Trump.

Each quarter we at RentHop review the fundraising data released by the FEC with the hope of providing insights to voters. Our study for Q4 2019 for key cities such as Des Moines and Las Vegas shows that a city’s contributions might align with the outcome of the caucuses and primaries, and we believe that it would also shed light on the general election.

 
Below are our key findings in New York City for Q1 2020:

  • From Jan 1, 2019 to Mar 31, 2020, Biden attracted 6,382 unique donors, whereas Trump gained 3,656 unique donors.
  • With Mayor Pete dropping out of the race, Manhattan voters shifted their support to Biden. As of Q1 2020, the Biden campaign attracted 4,845 unique donors in Manhattan, a 112% growth from 2,281 at the end of Q4 2019.
  • While Brooklyn, as of Mar 31, 2020, was still Sanders’ base, the number of unique donors contributing to Biden’s campaign jumped 232% this quarter, from 249 to 826.
  • Among the 217 zip codes included in this study, 201 are blue zip codes. Meanwhile, Biden leads in 99, or 46% of the zip codes. We expect this number to continue to grow as Democratic voters consolidate their support.
  • 17 NYC zip codes are becoming “bluer”, including 11434 (Queens), 11691 (Queens), and 10310 (Staten Island). This means that the Democratic support is growing in these zip codes.

Which Candidate Does Your Neighbor Support?

The interactive map below highlights New York City and its zip codes. More detailed, the map shows where each zip code stands, politically, and which presidential candidate is leading in each zip code. You can click on the zip code polygons or select from the drop-down menu to learn more. For a more detailed analysis of how candidates are doing in the same zip code, view the corresponding interactive line graph above the map.

 

Blue zip codes are zip codes where the aggregated number of unique donors of all Democratic candidates (including past candidates) is higher than the number of unique donors received by Republican candidates (including Trump, Sanford, Walsh, and Weld), and red zip codes are areas where the Republican candidates attracted more unique donors than all Democratic candidates combined.
 

Looking at the map and the chart above, we can tell that Senator Bernie Sanders was the front runner in the City of New York in Q1 2020, but as Vice President Biden seized primary victories in other states and positioned himself as the presumptive party nominee, more donors were turning to his campaign. In March, the Biden campaign attracted over 2,000 unique donors, pushing the total unique donor count to 6,382 as of March 31, 2020, around 74% more than what Trump had attracted.

When breaking down the contributions by borough, we can see that Biden’s unique donor base composes largely of Manhattan voters. In fact, of the 10 zip codes where Biden gained over 100 unique donors in Q1 2020, nine are located in Manhattan. 76% of the donors who have contributed to Biden’s campaign are in Manhattan. While Brooklyn, as of Mar 31, 2020, was still Sanders’ base, the number of unique donors contributing to the Vice President’s campaign jumped 232% this quarter, from 249 to 826.

Trump’s fundraising effort, on the other hand, seems to be slowing down in New York City. From Jan 2020 to Mar 2020, Mr. Trump only gained 20% more unique donors in the city. Of all the unique donors the incumbent President has attracted in the past six quarters, 31% are from Manhattan, and 28% are from Queens.

Democrats Are Taking Over these Zip Codes

 
In addition to analyzing which candidate leads in each zip code, we also noticed that certain zip codes are becoming “bluer” from Q4 2019 to Q1 2020. In total 17 zip codes went from neutral to blue, whereas the Republican party has yet to successfully flip any zip codes in New York City. Below are some highlights of these zip codes.

  • Zip code 10271 (Manhattan): Democratic donor share went from 50% to 86%. Four of the donors contributed to the Sanders campaign, and two to other past Democratic candidates. Trump attracted one unique donor in this zip code. Biden, meanwhile, has yet to generate anything in this zip code.
  • Zip code 11434 (Queens): Democratic donor share went from 50% to 78%. Seven of the unique donors contributed to the Biden campaign, and six to Bernie 2020. Trump attracted five unique donors in this zip code.
  • Zip code 11417 (Queens): Democratic donor share went from 47% to 61%, making it a light blue zip code. Trump, however, is still the unique donor leader in this zip code, with 10 unique donors as of Q1 2020.
  • Zip code 11691 (Queens): Democratic donor share went from 50% to 62%, making it a light blue zip code. Trump, however, is still the unique donor leader in this zip code, with a total of 11 unique donors compared to Biden’s four as of Q1 2020.
  • Zip code 10310 (Staten Island): Democratic donor share went from 50% to 60%, making it a light blue zip code. Most of the Democratic support in this zip code, however, was driven by past Democratic candidates, such as Pete Buttigieg, Tulsi Gabbard, and Bernie Sanders. Biden received contributions from only three unique donors in zip code 10310, compared to Trump’s 15 as of Q1 2020.
Biden Thrives in these Zip Codes

As he became the presumptive Democratic nomitee against President Trump in November, Biden finally started gaining momentum in New York City after months of flat numbers. Below are some of the zip codes where the Biden campaign saw the most quarter-over-quarter growth.

  • Zip code 11225 (Brooklyn): 14 unique donors, +1300% Q/Q
  • Zip code 11205 (Brooklyn): 11 unique donors, +1100% Q/Q
  • Zip code 11203 (Brooklyn): 9 unique donors, +800% Q/Q
  • Zip code 11358 (Queens): 9 unique donors, +800% Q/Q
  • Zip code 10037 (Manhattan): 11 unique donors, +450% Q/Q
Unique Donor Leaderboard – Biden

 
Below are the top 10 zip codes where Biden received the most support.

  • Zip code 10023: 96% Blue, 428 unique donors contributed to Biden’s campaign.
  • Zip code 10024: 97% Blue, 400 Uunique donors
  • Zip code 10021: 93% Blue, 358 unique donors
  • Zip code 10128: 93% Blue, 328 unique donors
  • Zip code 10028: 91% Blue, 282 unique donors
  • Zip code 10011: 98% Blue, 277 unique donors
  • Zip code 10025: 98% Blue, 272 unique donors
  • Zip code 10022: 89% Blue, 243 unique donors
  • Zip code 10003: 98% Blue, 219 unique donors
  • Zip code 11201: 98% Blue, 209 unique donors
Unique Donor Leaderboard – Trump

 
Below are the top 10 zip codes where Trump received the most support.

  • Zip code 10314: 51% Red, 101 unique donors contributed to Trump’s campaign.
  • Zip code 10022: 11% Red, 100 unique donors
  • Zip code 10028: 9% Red, 91 unique donors
  • Zip code 10128: 7% Red, 83 unique donors
  • Zip code 11209: 24% Red, 81 unique donors
  • Zip code 11375: 18% Red, 75 unique donors
  • Zip code 10312: 56% Red, 72 unique donors
  • Zip code 10021: 7% Red, 70 unique donors
  • Zip code 10065: 11% Red, 69 unique donors
  • Zip code 11235: 41% Red, 69 unique donors

Methodology

The campaign donations data was retrieved from the FEC covering all individual contributions dated between Jan 1, 2019 and March 31, 2020. The city and zip code shapefiles were retrieved from the U.S. Census Bureau. In terms of unique donors, we deduped by names, zip codes, and committee names. We adopted 5-digit zip codes for this report as not all candidates collect 9-digit zip codes. People who have changed their names or moved in between donations could artificially inflate these numbers.

Frequently Asked Questions about Our Election Studies

 
1. Why would Trump be leading in a Blue Zip Code?

This is related to the nature of the primary. As we all know, there were as many as 31 Democratic candidates competing for the nomination, and so the support was divided among them. Meanwhile, while the Republican Party has 3 candidates running, all the support is gravitating towards Trump, and therefore he alone could receive support from more unique donors than any single Democratic candidate. Now that Joe Biden is the likely nominee, we should start seeing some changes.

2. Why should we care about unique donors?

While the dollar amount raised is important for candidates, we believe that it is more crucial to understand how many unique donors each candidate has attracted, as each unique donor potentially means one vote, and by measuring donor counts, it gives us a better idea of how many people support each candidate.

3. How is the party majority calculated?

The party majority is calculated using the aggregated unique donor count of a party and the aggregated unique donor count from Jan 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020. For instance, if Democratic candidates attracted a total of 200 unique donors, and the total number of unique donors within a city is 500, the Democratic share would be 40%. In terms of the color shades, purple areas are whether neither the Democratic candidates combined nor Trump has more than 55% of the donors. Light blue and light red represent zip codes where the party has 55% to 70% of the donors, and blue or red represents a majority of 70% and more.

Published at Wed, 06 May 2020 13:20:39 +0000