Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Roommate Etiquette: Bills


Don't get stuck holding the bills each month with your roomies.  wikiHow has smart tips on #SplittingBills with roommates so you can avoid a fight over money.

Discuss payment obligations around every aspect of your relationship, including rent, utilities, groceries and any maintenance fees and costs.  Come to an agreement on how the cable or satellite bill will be paid.  If one of you doesn't watch television, are they still required to pay?  If not, what happens if that roommate gets sucked in by the tv and winds up watching it too?

What about the thermostat?  If one of you hates to be cold and will continually turn up the heat, should they be required to pay more?  What if one of you works from home and is in the apartment all day?  That roommate will be using more utilities so a case could be made for them paying a larger share of the bill.

If one of you has a significant other that is often at the apartment, should they have to contribute?  What if one of you goes on vacation, will they still be required to pay the bills while they are out of town?

Once you've decided the split of bills, decide who will pay what and how that person will be reimbursed.  Also decide what happens if one roommate is late or doesn't pay?  Is there a short grace period or will you charge your roommate a penalty if they don't pay?  What if they never pay, will they be forced to move out?

Finally, draw up a contract putting all the details in writing so you don't have to get into a "he said/she said" situation.  Then make sure to track your expenses so it's always clear where you stand.  Open communication is the best way to make sure there are no hard feelings between roommates on bill paying.

Need help finding an apartment with a great roommate floorplan?  Give Apartments Now a call today at 512-258-8224.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Roommate Psychology


Curious about what result living with a roommate can have on you?  The New York Times reports on the body of research on how your #apartment mate can affect you, from research done on first year college roommates.

With female roomies, if one roommate is heavier than the other, the thinner roommate tends to gain less weight on average than those with a thinner roommate.  The reason is that four out of five overweight roommates are on a diet and these habits rub off on the thinner roomie.

In male roommate pairs, if one roommate is depressed, the other roomie may become more unhappy themselves.  This tends to happen when the depressed student doesn't express his feelings.  It doesn't mean that the non-depressed roommate will develop depression, however.  There is no such transference between roommates if they are female.

If one roommate brings a video game console to college, it will lower the other roommates grades because they will study an average of half an hour less than those without a video game console in their room.  These leads to grade averages that average 0.2 lower than students without gaming consoles.

If a non-drinker rooms with a drinker, they are more likely to become a drinker as well, leading to lowered grades.  On the positive side, if roommates are of different races, this leads to increased tolerance for people of other races and diversity in their friend pool.

Need help finding an apartment with plenty of room for a roommate?  Give Apartments Now San Antonio a call today at 210-558-7377.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Sharing Clothes with a Roommate


#SharingClothes with a roommate is a great way to double your wardrobe, but there's a right way to do it.  Before you go snooping in your roomie's closet, check out Lauren Conrad's suggestions for smooth sharing!
First of all, ALWAYS ask first!  Never borrow anything without asking.  Even if you're just sure they'll say yes, you need to get permission before even going into their closet.

Second, return the borrowed item in the condition it was in when you borrowed it.  Wash it or dry clean it before you put it back.  Be sure to return it in a timely manner. You need to do the same for all shoes, purses and accessories as well.  Clean dusty shoes, wipe down purses, etc.  

If you damage something you borrowed, repair it or replace it before returning it.  Also, own up and be honest, don't try to hide what happened.

Ready to find an apartment with large enough closets for you and your roomie?  Give Austin Apartments Now a call today at 512-258-8224.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

So You Want to be a Landlord

#RentingOutARoom can be a great way to have a larger #apartment or have more money to pay your mortgage.  It's also a convenient way to get extra income if you have run into an emergency like losing your job.  Money Crashers.com guides you through the process and helps you avoid possible pitfalls.

The first step is to look at your space and see what you can rent out.  The best choices are bedrooms with a private bathroom.  It may even be worth it to move out of your master suite if it has an attached bathroom so you can earn more in rent. 

Look at local rental rates to find out what is a reasonable charge and then place an ad.  Craigslist is a great site to use to advertise a room for rent.  Include pictures and be very specific about the accommodations.  Include any bonus features like a hot tub or pool.  Also, be specific about other rules such as no noise after a certain time or that your renter must be a non-smoker.  If you are a woman who lives alone, you may even want to specify females only.

Interview applicants that come from your ad.  Request proof of employment or proof that they are a full time student, and ask about their living habits.  Be sure to listen to your intuition if someone feels "off".  Call references that the potential tenant provides and their previous landlords.  Ask if their rent was paid when due every month and if they left their apartment in acceptable condition.

Once you've narrowed the field down to a person you think is the one, do a criminal background and credit check.  There will be a cost associated with this, but you can recoup at least some of your expenses through an application fee and there's nothing worse than discovering you've rented your room to someone with a long list of crimes in their past.

Set all the boundaries and regulations for your agreement down in writing and make sure you both sign.  Include monetary concerns as well as access concerns like kitchen and common area availability.

Need help finding an #apartment with space for a roomie?  Give Apartments Now San Antonio a call today at 210-558-7373 for the latest on move-in specials, vacancies and amenities at all the best San Antonio apartments!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Drowning Out Roommate Noise


Got a #LoudRoommate?  Check out eHow's article on drowning out loud roommates and make your #apartment a quiet zone once again!

Use white noise.  If shutting your door isn't enough, try a fan, a white noise machine, or a cd that plays relaxing noises like a waterfall and put it right next to your bed. You can also download a white noise app on your phone and use that.

Buy noise-canceling earplugs to block out all extra noise so you can sleep in silence.  When you're awake, you can use headphones to listen to your own music, but be careful not to turn the music up so loud that you damage your hearing.

Use soundproofing curtains in front of windows, door frames and shared walls.  This will absorb some of the sound coming from the other parts of your apartment.

Don't just suffer in silence, though.  Talk to your roommate about how loud they are being and how it is affecting you.  You just might be able to get them to be quiet.

Need help finding a quiet apartment for one?  Give Austin Apartments Now a call today at 512-258-8227.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Handling a Noisy Roommate


If your roommate is noisy and keeps you from sleeping, studying, or just generally enjoying life, it's time for action.  eHow.com helps you find a solution.

First of all, talk to your roommate.  They may not realize how noisy they are being.  Don't get angry, but in an even tone tell them you need more quiet.  Be sure to site specific examples.  That may be enough to get them to change their ways.
Set rules for when noise is acceptable and when it is not so that all of you are agreeable.  If they can't play the drums after 11pm, you can't start doing step aerobics in the living room at 5am.

Talk to the neighbors.  If your roomie is being so loud it's disturbing the people who live around you, then you have extra evidence when you approach your roommate. 

Try a white noise app on your phone, earplugs, or even a white noise machine to drown out your roommate's noise.  Also adding rugs and drapes will help muffle sound.

If your roommate still isn't willing to change their ways, consider whether you need to find a new place to live or send them packing.

Need help finding a new #apartment to get away from a #NoisyRoommate?  Give Apartments Now San Antonio a call today at 210-558-7377.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Decorating with a Roommate


If you are sharing your #apartment with a roommate, you'll have to decorate your new pad together.  Even if your decorating styles don't mesh perfectly, you can make a cohesive home with advice from William Paid.com.  Keep in mind you can always decorate your room in your own personal style, so let the common areas be a place of compromise.

You and your roommate will need to discuss what furniture each of you is bringing to the apartment and then you'll need to put any pieces you aren't using in storage or perhaps in a sympathetic family member's garage.  If the furniture doesn't match in style, utilize sofa covers, fabric and other decorations to make them look more cohesive.

Talk about color schemes and try to find out what your roommate likes in decor.  Then find a way to meet in the middle and collaborate on decorating your place.  Compromising will make your relationship even stronger.  If you just can't agree, divvy up rooms, i.e. one of you takes the kitchen and the other takes the living room.

After you've got a sense of what you need for your place, go shopping for furnishings together.  You'll get a good sense of your roommate's taste and you can show them what you like.  Seeing things in person will likely spark some things you have in common.  It's also a great way to get to know each other better!

Need help finding an apartment where you and your roommie can live in peace?  Give Austin Apartments Now a call today at 512-258-8224 for the latest on move-in specials, vacancies, and amenities!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Dividing Bills Between Roommates


#SplittingBillsWithRoommates can be a great source of conflict.  But it doesn't need to be.  Check out U.S. News and World Report's tips for managing finances with roommates to avoid painful fights.

Have a discussion about finances before you sign the lease together.  Decide how expenses will be divided.  Who will be the one paying for utilities?  What's the deadline for the other roommates to pay their share?  Will everyone be buying their groceries separately or together? 

The easiest way to split bills is evenly.  Sure, one party may watch more cable tv than the other, but maybe that person takes quicker showers, so it's a wash in the end.  To avoid a mathematical nightmare, it's best to just split expenses evenly.

There are some things that will be used by everyone, so the best strategy is to share them.  Toilet paper, trash bags, light bulbs, dish soap and cleaning products should be purchased together.  The easiest way to make that happen is to take a trip together to the store one time each month to get more of these staples and divide the costs evenly.

Sign a roommate agreement so everyone is clear on how expenses are to be split.  Then, once you are living together, track expenses.  There are even apps out there that will let you do this easily and send email reminders so you don't have to hound your roomie for money.

Need help finding that perfect apartment?  San Antonio Apartments Now can help!  We've got the latest information on move-in specials, vacancies, and amenities at all the best apartments in town.  Give us a call at 210-558-7377 today!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Austin the Most Expensive Rental Market in Texas


Austin is the most expensive city to be a renter in Texas, according to a study from the National Low Income Housing Coalition.  On average, a two bedroom apartment costs $1,074 in Austin, compared to $913 in Dallas and $926 in Houston.

Natalie Young, manager of our sister office A Plus Apartments, was interviewed for KVUE's article on the subject.  Rent has been on the rise in Austin and will continue to rise as competition gets even stronger.  With 100 people moving to Austin on a daily basis, it's unlikely that new construction can keep up with demand.

Rents continue to rise and a lot of long-time Austinites aren't seeing their salaries increase enough to keep up.  Many are having to move into an older apartment, a smaller apartment, or an apartment in a different part of town to make rent affordable.

There is a good news, though. An apartment locator can help you navigate the tight rental market with up-to-the-minute knowledge of the vacancies and move-in specials at area communities.  So give Austin Apartments Now a call today at 512-258-8224 and let us help you beat the odds.