Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Skinny On SureDeposits

You may have had a leasing agent offer you a SureDeposit in lieu of a traditional security deposit. Many renters are confused by just what a SureDeposit is, and what the benefits and risks are associated with taking this option.  We have decided to use this opportunity to take mystery out of SureDeposits so that renters like yourself can make an informed decision.

What is a SureDeposit?
In a traditional deposit, money is paid by the renter to the landlord to ensure that if they damage the apartment or break their lease the landlord has a pool of money from which to pay for those damages or collect all or a portion of the unpaid rent.  Traditional deposits are typically refundable given no damage or outstanding rent, and can range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to 2x monthly rent depending on many factors like the age and quality of the apartment, whether you are bringing pets, your qualifying situation, etc.

SureDeposit is marketed as a way to secure your apartment with a lot of less out-of-pocket expense. With a SureDeposit you will pay a much smaller amount than the traditional deposit in the form of a non-refundable fee.  What this fee does is provide the apartment with a guarantee that should you leave your apartment with damage or unpaid rent the SureDeposit provider will pay the difference up to the agreed upon amount, like a guarantor.

So lower upfront cost and the SureDeposit provider pays for any damage.  Great, right?  Well…

What SureDeposit is not is a way to get out of paying for damage to your apartment or unpaid rent. All your non-refundable fee does is assure the property they will get compensated for damage or unpaid rent.  However, if the property has to claim on the SureDeposit, you are then legally obligated to repay the SureDeposit provider for the amount they had to pay the property.

Who offers them?
SureDeposit is still a very new alternative and although it is growing with popularity not all apartment communities have adopted this method. There are several companies that issue SureDeposit, Assurant Specialty Property being one of the most recognized. Not all rental properties accept SureDeposit, and if they do, they will likely work with specific providers. Make sure to check with your leasing agent for a list of approved companies.

What is all the confusion?
If you read about SureDeposit online you probably heard from many disgruntled renters who felt either deceived or confused as to what they had signed up for.  Many renters take this option thinking that SureDeposit is like an insurance policy where they pay a little upfront and when they leave SureDeposit will cover any damage done to their unit or any unpaid rent. Not the case at all! If your landlord is left having to submit a claim on your behalf you will have to pay it back or be subject to legal ramifications.

Who is it good for?
SureDeposit may be a good alternative for people who would struggle to cover the deposit, but are SURE they will stay in good standing with their apartment and leave it as pristine as it was when they moved in. It is especially beneficial if these renters also plan to rent at the same apartment long term since the SureDeposit fee is only paid once and is good for the life of your tenancy. In these cases, you will have paid a small fee to avoid having a large portion of your money tied up.

Who is it bad for?
If you have a history of having all or a portion of your deposit not returned, SureDeposit is  probably not a good option for you. Why? Because you will pay the non-refundable SureDeposit fee, and you will still be responsible for paying for any damages to the apartment either directly to your landlord or to the providers of your SureDeposit if they pay a claim on your behalf.  If you had paid the traditional deposit you would only be liable for the damages and would not be out the non-refundable fee too.

Keep in mind….
Even if you take the option of the SureDeposit, at the end of your lease your landlord will assess any damages that would traditionally be taken out of your deposit.  You will have the option to settle with the community directly and often this your opportunity to dispute the landlords assessment

Still not sure if SureDeposit is right for you? Be sure to check out some of our favorite sites for more information.

We understand that renting an apartment can be a financially draining experience and move-in fees can add up. Today SureDeposits offer renters an option to replace those large security deposits which can help to lower the stress and chaos that comes with moving. If you lack the funds to secure an apartment an apartment finder can help guide you towards apartment communities with more affordable security deposits or one that accept SureDeposit.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Unconventional Ways For Renters To Hang Art

Nothing is more disappointing than renting an apartment and then later finding out that you have nail-unfriendly walls. Here are 3 creative ways to help transform your space, while leaving your apartment walls untouched!

Buy an oversized piece of artwork that you can place on a credenza or on the floor.
Source: ApartmentTherapy
Display your prints and decor on a bookshelf or get creative and use existing pieces of furniture already in your apartment.

Source: DesignSponge
Use removable command hooks or the infamous washi tape.

Organizing your prints does not have to feel overwhelming, nor does looking for a place to call home. Contact our apartment finders and let them help you find the perfect apartment for you and your budget!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Tips For Green Living In An Apartment

Happy Earth Day! Lack of homeownership is no excuse for not keeping a green household. We often think of going green as something you can only do as a homeowner when infact living environmentally friendly is actually easier for renters and can cost a lot less. For those of you ready to go green at home then here are 3 eco-friendly things you can start doing today!

Use organic products
Going green is not only about putting solar panels on your roof and planting trees in your yard.  Just because you rent rather than own doesn’t mean you cannot see value from green living. Apartment dwellers have the same responsibility to this planet, and have many opportunities to be a eco-friendly consumer. As a renter you can easily switch to energy efficient bulbs, buy eco-friendly household products, limit your use of plastic, and recycle your unwanted furniture.

Buy indoor plants
Plants are a great way to go green. Indoor houseplants will not only help improve the air quality in your apartment, but they can also help keep an apartment cooler during those hot summer months. Try placing a larger plant in front of a window to help block out unwanted sunlight. It is just a simple fix for the environmentally minded renter in you!

Reduce the use
Try to limit cranking up the thermostat in your apartment during those peak times. Turning it back 10 to 15 degrees for at least 8 hours can save you up to 15% a year on your electricity bill.  Turning off lights when you leave a room, utilizing as much natural light as possible, and unplugging chargers or appliances when not using them will add a lot of savings while helping conserve energy.  

We’d love to hear all your green living tips in the comment section below. Speak out and share!

Renting should never limit your options for living green. Our apartment finders are experts in working with apartment dwellers who enjoy green living with the convenience of renting! Contact us today!

To learn more about sustainable living or get more involved visit

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Organizational Tips For Small Space Living

For many apartment dwellers organizing a small space can sometimes feel like a challenge. If you recently decided to jump onto the tiny home movement then here are 3 small space necessities for you. These organizational tips will help any tiny space feel larger, more functional, as well as more comfortable.

Let lots of natural light in.
The smaller the space the more natural light you need. Avoid covering up your windows with heavy or dark curtains. The light will make the apartment feel open and a lot more welcoming.

Source: Re-Nes

Use multi-use furniture.
Your first priority in a small space is to avoid the clutter! If you are serious about small space living then you need to make sure to invest in multi-functional furniture. The less the better, in this case at least.
Source: Wayfair

Go vertical.
Since your floorspace is limited you need to utilize your vertical space. You might feel tempted to put stuff away, but use shelving to proudly display your personal belongings.

Source: OrganizedLiving
Just because you are limited on space does not mean your apartment cannot be organized. Our apartment finders are experts in working with renters who would like the most spacious apartment for their budget. If you are looking to save money in your next apartment then contact our apartment finders and let them help find you the perfect sized apartment for your budget!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Common Misconceptions About Renters Insurance

Homeowners are twice as likely to purchase insurance versus the average renter. While renters insurance can help protect your belongings, we understand that all the legal jargon can be a turn off. We debunk the 2 most common misconceptions about renters insurance for you so that you get it NOW and it can save you LATER!

Misconception 1: I don’t need it because my landlord is insured.
You landlord’s insurance policy only covers the structural damage to the building, not your stuff. Your landlord is not responsible for the damages to your stuff nor does it protect you.

Misconception 2: I don’t own enough to warrant the expense.
Many renters think that renters insurance is too expensive and do not want to take on another added monthly cost. Much to renters surprise you can obtain an insurance policy for around the cost of having a pizza delivered to you each month for dinner. Even though it might not seem like a lot of stuff in your apartment, the average 2 bedroom renter has around $30,000 worth of personal belongings.

Renters insurance is one of the most affordable types of insurance, yet many apartment dwellers are left uninsured. Our licensed apartment locators can help clear up any confusion and guide you through the entire process- from the apartment search to renters insurance. Give us a call and let our apartment finders help you find the best place to call home!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Garden Tips For The Apartment Dweller

Today more and more people are choosing apartment living. Nothing is more satisfying than growing your own garden and there are many benefits to apartment gardening. For the garden lover in you here are 4 inspiring tips for even the smallest balcony or patio.

Utilize your vertical space
Apartment dwellers are often limited on their indoor space let alone outdoors. Get creative with containers and use all of your vertical space. Use hang baskets and multi-level plant stands to help green up your space.
Opt for low maintenance succulents
If this is your first time gardening or you aren’t sure you can dedicate the time to your garden then opt for low maintenance plants. They will require very little water and lots of sunlight, making it a perfect solution for the busy apartment dweller.

Source: IDAInteriorLifestyle
You do not have to spend a lot of money to have a nice garden. Don’t toss out those old containers and upcycle them in your garden. It will help add some color and personality to your space.
Make it mobile
Make sure you can move your garden around your patio or balcony and that you are able to bring your plants indoors when temperatures begin to dip.
Need more ideas? Check us out on Pinterest: Grow A Garden In A Small Space.

Renting should not prevent you from trying out your green thumb. There are many gardening tips that work even on the smallest space - indoor and outdoor. Our licensed apartment locators are experts in working with renters who are garden lovers and can help you find the perfect place to call home. Call our apartment finders today!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Most Expensive Neighborhoods In San Antonio For Renters

WOW! Did you know that every day 140 people move to San Antonio. Now that's a lot of people all looking for one thing - a place to live! With the rise in population growth along with the rise in home prices, many residents turn to renting. 

Today renters are faced with a rise in rent due to low vacancy rates and the influx of new multi-family developments. The climbing rent rate even has some San Antonio renters paying more than the recommended 30% of their monthly income on rent. Good news is that San Antonio is still a very affordable rental market, and there are still many neighborhoods renting on or even below the city medium. If you can't afford to find yourself financially burdened by rent then here are the two most expensive neighborhoods in San Antonio to put on your radar when you rent your next apartment.

Congratulations downtown San Antonio on nabbing one of the most walkable spots in Texas! This area of town can also be crowned as the most expensive neighborhood to rent in the Alamo City. Downtown is the heart of the city, and home to some of the oldest neighborhoods in the city. With a two-bedroom unit costing renters approximately $1,600 a month, they top this list at almost $700 above the city average. One thing is for sure about downtown living, it has come a long way in just a decade.

Olmos Park, located in the north central submarket of San Antonio, follows close behind downtown with the second most highest rent rate. Known for their cute cottage like rental units, a two-bedroom unit in this area of the city will set you back $1,300 a month.

Despite the rising rent, the Alamo City provides no shortage when it comes on where to rent. You do not have to feel burdened by the cost of rising rent in San Antonio. Our apartment finders are knowledgable of the city's apartment inventory and can help guide you through the entire apartment hunting process. Contact us and let our licensed apartment locators help find you the best apartment for your budget!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Make Your Apartment Look Better Without Spending A Cent

Are you looking to improve your small space without spending a cent? Changing the look of your apartment does not have to cost you a fortune. If you have the itch to change things up a bit then check out these 3 simple decorating tips that take just a little imagination and energy but no money at all.

This is an instant way to transform a room. Do not be afraid to mix up furniture from different rooms. Try swapping out rugs or changing the direction of your sofa. Just remember to spread the weight throughout the room so that it will feel more natural and light.
2. Clear counter space
In a small space the clutter on counters can take away from the view of the apartment. Try to limit what is on your counters to essential items that you only use daily. Everything else needs to find a home out of sight. Minimizing accessories is an easy, no cost way to give a room a face lift!
Source:Better Homes & Garden
3. Remove heavy curtains
Maximizing the natural light in your apartment can make all the difference. Bright rooms can make us feel happier and also add a degree of warmth to a room. Removing curtains is a great way to brighten a dark room minus the paint.
Source: Patahome
No matter the size of your budget, every apartment is worth decorating. Contact our apartment finders and let them help you find the perfect apartment for you and your budget!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The Essentials Needed To Complete An Apartment Application

We all know the apartment search process can be very stressful and can often trigger a variety of emotions ranging from anxiety to confusion,even anger. After you find that perfect apartment, your next step will be to begin the application process. Having these three essential items readily available to your landlord during the application process will help you rest assured that someone else does not beat you to the apartment of your dreams.
1. Bring your checkbook.
Most landlords will screen a prospective tenant by requiring them to complete an apartment application. However, the application alone cannot determine a renter’s reliability.  Therefore landlords usually also run a background check and review your credit history. When you submit your application you will be required to pay an application fee, so have your checkbook handy. Many apartments will accept credit cards for your application fee, but they will likely charge a small fee for that service.
2. Don’t forget your photo identification.  
You will be required to verify your identity on your rental application, so make sure to bring your driver’s license. If you do not have a driver’s license then you will need another form of photo identification such as a passport, military ID, state issued ID.  Your potential landlord will likely use your official identification to review your rental history and help determine your creditworthiness.
3. Show proof of ability to pay rent.
Your landlord will want to verify that you have a job or the funds to pay the rent. You may need to provide current paystubs or bank statements during the application process to show that you can afford the apartment. It’s important to be honest when disclosing your financial information.  Remember most financial advisors recommend that your rent does not exceed 30% of your monthly income.  

Applying for an apartment can be lengthy, but having your application in order can help speed up the process.  Our licensed apartment locators can help you land the perfect apartment and navigate your application as quickly as possible.  They are knowledgeable of qualification requirements and are able to provide you with a list of apartment choices that fit your standards and criteria, ultimately saving you time and money on wasted application fees.

*A version of this article was previously published on Angie's List.

Friday, April 1, 2016

3 Creative Tips For Organizing Your Winter Gear

H-E-L-L-O Spring! 

If you’ve recently dug around in your closet and found shorts mixed in with your heavy winter sweaters then it just might time to think about storing away your winter garments. It is very important task that we sometimes find ourselves dreading, but it is important that when it is done it’s done right! We understand this is no easy task so here are three smart tips on how you can keep your winter wear so fresh and so clean and also so organized. Trust us, your spring wardrobe will thank you!

Make a Purge and Keep Pile
Pull everything out of your closet and take inventory. Next, sort it by season. Take your winter pile and purge anything you will not wear next year. Everything is fair game - coats, boots,heavy sweaters, and scarfs. Think of the space in your closet as real estate and what you are wearing this season should take up the “prime” spot.  We feel less is always more, but you should set up your organizational system with what works best for you. Finally, make sure to clean every garment you are going to store away to keep discoloration from occurring. 

Color Code Each Season
Make it easier on the eyes (and memory) and purchase a different color plastic containers for each season. Trying staying away from vacuum sealed bags as they do not let some fabrics breath. If you are limited on space then try using a suitcase to store away your winter gear and don't forget to utilize under bed storage. Based on your space availability decide how to store it all away!

To Hang or to Fold, that is the Question
Pay close attention to the fabrics in your winter clothing. Fabrics such as cashmere and wool should be folded if you do not want to stretch them out. Also pay close attention to your hangers because they also can help preserve your winter wardrobe for next year. For example, keep your silks and cottons on padded hangers. We want your winter wardrobe to last for many seasons to come!

Organizing your winter wear does not have to feel overwhelming and neither does looking for a place to call home. Our licensed apartment finders are experts in working with renters who need to get the most out of their closet space, while also staying on budget. Give us a call today and let us help you find a place to call home.