Monday, June 30, 2014
Securing your apartment is your first line of defense against getting burglarized or worse. Zillow.com helps you make sure your castle is a fortress.
The most important life-saving items you need to have in your apartment are smoke detectors and a carbon monoxide detector. However, they won't do you any good if the batteries aren't working. Be sure to test your detectors when you first move in and to change the batteries when the time changes in the Spring and the Fall.
If your building has a single outer door, call your landlord immediately if the locks don't work. Those outer doors are the first bit of security keeping criminals from entering your apartment. Also, if you have buzzer and a stranger buzzes and asks to be let in, don't do it. Either don't answer the buzzer or go and see who is trying to get in. If you just let anyone in, you are inviting solicitors at the best and criminals at the worse to harass yourself and your neighbors.
If your door doesn't have a deadbolt, ask your landlord to install one that extends into the door frame far enough to keep burglars out and always use it. When someone comes to the door, look through your peep hole to see who it is and if you don't know them, don't open the door. If your peephole has paint on it, scrape it off or put in a maintenance request.
Additionally, if you live on the first floor, be sure all your windows can lock or have grates. Also, never leave your blinds or curtains open when you're away from home, just as you wouldn't leave valuables out in plain sight in your car. Finally, get renter's insurance just in case you are the unfortunate victim of a break-in.
Thursday, June 26, 2014
This is the second in a series of articles titled ‘Minimum Commute, Maximum Lifestyle’ and will be focused on International Business Machines Corp.(NYSE:IBM). This series focuses on area employers and rental options located nearby so employees can reduce their commutes to work.
Thousands of people move to Austin or relocate within Austin every year because of job changes. In a city growing by 110 people per day, the complaint we hear most often centers around traffic. The majority of the renters we see are hoping to find an apartment that fits their lifestyle and allows for a reasonable commute to their place of work. With that in mind, we wanted to give some insight into Austin’s largest employers and the rental options that surround them.
IBM manufactures and markets computer hardware and software as well as offering infrastructure, hosting, and consulting services. Founded in 1911, the company has its headquarters in Armonk, New York, and employs 435,000 employees around the globe, about 100,000 in the United States and over 6,000 in Austin. The Wall Street Journal reports that the $2.3 billion sale of IBM's computer-servers business to Lenovo, a Chinese company, is on hold pending U.S. government concerns about possible security problems with IBM's x86 servers, which are used by the U.S. Government in their communications networks and in data centers that support the Pentagon's computer networks. IBM is publicly traded on the NYSE under the symbol IBM.
IBM employs people in a variety of positions at its Austin offices, including Software Developer (median salary $56,465 for a Software Developer I), Software Engineer (median salary $58,658 for a Software Engineer I), Product Manager (median salary $88,730 for a Product/Brand Manager), Java Developer II ($80,893 for a Java Developer), IT Specialist ($82,173 for an IT Project Coordinator), and Security Analysts (median salary $77,774 for a Systems/Application Security Analyst). All salary figures from Salary.com for 78758, IBM’s zip code.
The Domain, an upscale outdoor shopping mall, is adjacent to IBM and provides employees with many options for dining and shopping. For lunch, The Steeping Room has vegan, gluten-free, and traditional options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Tacodeli is nearby on Burnet Road and is a popular breakfast and lunch destination for their unique, delicious tacos and salsas made in-house.
IBM employees looking for a place to have happy hour with coworkers have many choices, including Cru Food and Wine Bar, which has daily specials like free pizza with the purchase of a bottle of wine on Mondays and a small plate happy hour featuring $3 off glasses or wine flights nightly. McCormick & Schmick's has an incredible happy hour menu, including $6 cocktails and a cheeseburger and fries for just $3.99.
Live in one of the gorgeous apartment communities near IBM and avoid traffic.
- Mesa Verde Apartments are just half a mile from IBM via Burnet Road. Built in 1994, 1-2 bedroom apartments are available and range from 658 to 1,222 square feet. Apartments feature spacious layouts, full size washer and dryer connections, double pane windows, and 9' ceilings with crown molding. This gated community has an indoor racquetball court, enclosed off-leash dog park, and two Sand Volleyball Courts.
- The Barrington at Park Place Apartments were built in 1985 and are also half a mile from IBM via Burnet Road. Efficiency to two bedroom apartments ranging in size from 375 to 946 square feet are available. Units feature granite countertops, brand new cabinetry, wood plank flooring, washers and dryers, and patios or balconies. The complex has a heated spa, swimming pool, and is surrounded by a 7 mile hike and bike trail.
- Verano Luxury Apartment Homes are less than half a mile from IBM and within walking distance via Burnet Road. Built in 1995, apartments from 1 bedroom to 3 bedrooms and 642 to 1011 square feet are available. Apartments feature alarm systems, washer/dryer connections, ceiling fans and balconies. This gated community provides easy access to public transportation, has a business center, night patrols, and on-site maintenance.
- Villages at the Domain are 3 minutes away in the heart of the Domain and were built in 2009. Apartments range from 507 square feet for a one bedroom to 1,618 square feet for a 3 bedroom and feature plank or hardwood flooring in the kitchen, 10-12 foot ceilings, garden tubs, and brushed nickel hardware. The community has onsite FXfit trainers with CrossFit, Yoga, and FX Classes, private luxurious courtyards and fountains, and covered parking.
- IMT at the Domain was built in 2012 and is just a quick 9 minute walk away from IBM. With studio, one, and two bedroom apartments ranging in size from 497 to 1230 square feet, features include 4-star Energy rated interiors, oversized windows, and granite countertops. Community amenities include walking distance to the Domain, a saltwater pool with continuous waterfall, outdoor community media deck, outdoor firepits, and an on-site social calendar director.
- Residences at the Domain are a 13 minute walk away via surface streets and feature studio to two bedroom apartments ranging in size from 611 to 1721 square feet. Built in 2007, the complex has package receiving, high-speed internet, covered parking, and short term leases are available. Apartments feature garages, private courtyard spaces, garden tubs, and additional storage.
- Northland at Stonehollow was built in 1995, is 5 minutes by car or 6 minutes by bus from IBM and features 1-3 bedroom apartments from 602 to 1,352 square feet. Units have detached garages, crown molding, ceramic tile entries, oversized tubs, walk in closets and full size washer and dryer connections. The community features an elegant clubhouse, three swimming pools, a theater room, and greenbelt views in some units.
- Lincoln Oaks Apartments, built in 1984, are a 6 minute drive from IBM via surface streets and have 1-2 bedroom units ranging in size from 542 to 979 square feet. The community has neighborhood jogging trails, covered parking, social activities, a fitness center, and a hot tub. Units have a laundry room with full size washer/dryer connections, vaulted ceilings, wood burning fireplaces, designer color schemes, and outside storage.
- Bradford Pointe Apartments are 6 minutes from IBM, were built in 1984, and have one to two bedroom apartments from 481 to 917 square feet. Amenities include limited access gates, a complimentary coffee bar, a gift wrapping station, a DVD Rental Library, a newly constructed playscape and Bradford Pointe was the 2013 Apartment Ratings Top Rated Apartment Complex.
- The Kenzie at the Domain is a brand new community just two minutes by car or 11 minutes on foot from IBM. Studio, two bedroom, and three bedroom apartments are available and range from 516 to 1600 square feet. Apartments feature washer and dryers, undermount farmhouse sinks, decorative glass tile backsplashes, and wood style plank flooring.
These communities are just a few of the rental choices available to IBM employees. Our database features the most accurate and up-to-date pricing and availability for thousands of apartments across the city. We know that finding an apartment that allows for a short commute to work, has the amenities you want, and fits into your budget can be difficult. Our job as apartment locators is to provide valuable insight into each of your rental options so you can choose the best apartment the first time. Our services are free for our clients and can save you valuable time when you are searching for a rental. Call 512-258-8224 today to schedule your appointment or visit www.austinapartmentsnow.com to find out more about our apartment locator services.
Thursday, June 19, 2014
Your electronics need extra care when it comes time to lay out on the sand. You may enjoy going to the beach, but all that water, sand, wind and sunscreen can be a death knell for your phone, tablet or camera. Apartment Therapy.com makes sure you and your gadgets survive the summer!
If you prefer to read your magazines or books on a screen rather than paper, make sure you bring the best device for the job. The Kindle has an eInk display which keeps the print dark and glare from being a problem, even in bright sunlight. So ditch the iPad and bring your Kindle on vacation to enjoy the latest trashy summer read.
Of course you wouldn't bring your phone, tablet or other portable electronic into the water, but that doesn't mean it won't get splashed or a gust of wind won't knock sand into its seams. Prevent catastrophe by keeping your gadgets in ziplock baggies.
Want to groove while you swim? Bring a small waterproof speaker. That way you can tote along your tunes wherever you go and make sure your picnic has a great soundtrack.
Sunscreen can wreak havoc on technical devices' finishes, so before you answer a call or snap a photo, make sure your hands are nice and dry.
Finally, sun can do a number on your electronics, so keep them in the shade to prevent them from getting too hot. Also, just bring the bare necessities. You are supposed to be enjoying nature, right? Don't get too plugged in and keep some of those tech toys back at home.
Friday, June 13, 2014
Think you don't have space for a garden just because you live in an apartment? Think again! By choosing plants that thrive in an indoor environment, you can have your own garden with zero outdoor space. Just follow Zillow's helpful tips.
Place your garden in a light-filled area or use HID, high intensity discharge, lights to grow your plants. If possible, locate your plants on a durable floor such as tile. If you have no choice but to put your garden on carpet or wood, make sure you protect your floors from water damage by putting down plastic or a tarp. Whatever you decide to grow, plant it in potting soil specifically designed for indoor plants.
Herbs are a great choice for indoor gardens. Just fill a pot with the right type of soil, plant your chosen herb seeds, and place in an area that is exposed to about six hours of sun a day. Tomatoes are also wonderful to grow indoors, especially cherry and grape tomatoes. You can even grow tomatoes upside down from the ceiling if you don't have a lot of extra space.
Salad greens are another tasty option for your apartment garden. They're easy to grow and are short-season crops, meaning you can continually harvest them by just planting a little more every couple of weeks. Make sure the soil your lettuce is in is moist but not soggy. Watering from the bottom using a watering tray every other day will work in most environments.
Another good plant to choose are radishes. Great for beginning gardeners because they are easy to grow, they can be put in nearly any pot that's at least a foot in diameter. You'll have radishes ready to enjoy in 3 weeks and can continue enjoying them by just planting more every week or two.
Finally, green beans can be grown indoors, but they do require at least six hours of sun a day. If you don't have that level of sun, grow lights can do the trick and you'll have tasty green beans to eat in a couple of months.
The Texas Property Code requires smoke detectors in all apartments and other rental units. The Austin Tenant's Council provides the details of Texas law for the number of detectors required and how tenants can get them installed if they are missing, repaired, or replaced.
At least one smoke detector is required outside of every bedroom. If the bedrooms are all on the same hallway, it is okay to put just one smoke detector in the hallway so it is still in the immediate area of the bedrooms. If one or more bedrooms are on a level above the living and cooking area, the smoke detector for those bedrooms has to be put in the center of the ceiling right above the top of the stairwell. Efficiency units are required to have a single smoke detector.
If smoke detectors are missing when a tenant moves in, they can request the landlord install them, preferably in writing.
It is the landlords responsibility to inspect and test all the smoke detectors when the tenant moves in and whenever the tenant requests an inspection or reports a malfunction. Such a request or report should also be put in writing, even if not required by the lease. However, if the smoke detector is damaged by the tenant or his guests, the landlord doesn't have to repair or replace the unit unless the tenant gives them the money for the repair or replacement first.
The Tenant can take the landlord to court and/or terminate the lease and move out if the landlord won't put in a smoke detector, or inspect or repair one, within a week of getting a written request.
A tenant can be held responsible for any damages that result from a non-working smoke detector if a tenant doesn't replace the battery in a smoke detector, or intentionally disconnects or damages a smoke detector.
The tenant has to be current on rent before requesting installation, testing or repair of a smoke detector; if either party files suit in court just to "harass the other party", they can be fined a civil penalty of one month's rent plus $100, plus lawyer's fees and court costs; the tenant is unable to give up the right to a smoke detector, even in the lease; it is the tenant's job to replace batteries if the smoke detector was working when they moved in; and finally, if required by a hearing-impaired resident, the tenant can request a smoke detector that is capable of alerting a hearing-impaired person in the bedrooms it serves.
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Smoking or Non? It's an important issue to decide for your apartment, whether you are the one who smokes or your roommate is the non-smoker. Even if both of you smoke, there are a lot of good reasons to consider making your apartment a no smoking zone. eHow.com addresses some common roommate etiquette rules such as smoking.
By keeping smoke outside, you prevent a lot of problems. Smoking can aggrevate allergies, and the smell can permeate all your furniture and even the walls and carpet. These odors are difficult to remove when your lease is up and your landlord may take it out of your security deposit. If someone falls asleep with a lit cigarette or drops a lit cigarette around flammable materials, it can even start a fire. The best policy, even if your roommate says they are okay with it, is to smoke outside.
Before allowing anyone to smoke in your apartment, check your lease to be sure it isn't prohibited, and to ensure you follow any rules about it. Make sure anyone who smokes in your apartment, including guests, are careful and completely extinguish any smoking materials. Don't smoke in bed and prohibit your roommate from doing the same.
Finally be open to revisiting your policy. If one of you quits smoking, for example, it's highly unlikely they will want to continue to allow smoking inside your home. There's no one one more militantly anti-smoking than someone who's just given it up! If you're the quitter, be kind to your roommate who still smokes and if you're the one who still smokes, be respectful when you request a change of the status quo. You may find that you are no longer compatible as roommates, but still try to be civil with one another until the end of your lease.