Renting Tips for College Grads

Young Woman Moving OutGraduation is over, your college career has come to a close and now you’re ready to get out on your own. Before you can really take off in your career you need a steady place to live. Finding an apartment can be a little stressful, especially if this is your first time living away from home. To help you get started, here are a few apartment-hunting tips for the newly graduated.

Make a Budget First

Don’t even bother looking at apartment listings until you know what you can afford. That means sitting down and creating a budget. Do you already have a job? You’ll need that income to determine how much you can afford. Also, remember your apartment manager is going to look at your income too — and they may require you to make a certain amount to qualify for the rent. You don’t want to spend your entire check on rent, so make sure you have enough for rent, food, utilities, transportationand other expenses.

Make Sure You’re Application Worthy

There are a few things that you need to check up on before you start filling out applications. First, check your credit report and make sure there are no errors or negative reports. Then, get your rental history in order — if you have rented before. Last, make sure your employment history is up to date and you have paycheck stubs to present to the manager with your application.

Location Matters

You might find a great apartment that has all of the amenities you want and it’s a great price, but if you have a two-hour commute to your new job, where is the benefit? Make sure you’re picking an apartment that is in close proximity to your new job, close to other neighborhood amenities (gas stations, grocery stores, etc.) and isn’t in a shady part of town. If you’re moving to a city you don’t know, drive around a little and get used to the area — and make sure it is a place you really want to live first.

Know the Costs

There are costs associated with renting that a lot of first time renters aren’t aware of. Some costs you’ll need to verify with the apartment manager include:

  • The amount of security deposit required
  • Any pet deposits required
  • What utilities you will pay in addition to your rent
  • Application fee (and whether or not it is refundable)
  • First and last month’s rent



Jun 2014

How to Get More Exposure for Your Rentals

Right Facing For Rent Real Estate Sign Over Clouds and Sunny SkyIt’s hard to get exposure for your apartments — unlike retail stores that can advertise sales, you have to rely on location, reputation and amenities. While you might not be able to hack off your prices, there are other ways you can get people in to look at your apartments and consider filling your vacancies. Some may cost a little money, some may require you to do a little leg work, but by maximizing the exposure your units get, you can increase the likelihood you fill your vacancies fast.

Host Special Offers

When holidays or special times roll around, have special offers. For example, for Christmas, you could offer $50 off for signing a lease as a Christmas gift. Special offers don’t require you to lower prices year round. Also, a special offer during a holiday is almost expected by consumers, which means they will be out searching for apartments and those offering holiday deals.

Create a Blog

Blogs help personalize your rentals. They let consumers know that real people are in your leasing office. You can use a blog to also promote your apartments, show off new amenities, etc. If you happen to have a special going on, use your blog to promote that special. Because your current residents are likely to follow the blog, bringing them up to speed on promotions could result in a referral.

List Online

If you aren’t listing your apartments online, now is the time. Most future renters look online for listings rather than the newspaper. You can show off what you have to offer, use pictures, and even list your specials through your online listing. But, make sure you’re clear about any rental rates, special offers and amenities. Take your time crafting your advertisement and use quality pictures too. The more time and effort you put into your online listing, the more likely people are to consider looking at your apartments.

Use Social Media

Facebook, Twitter and even Pinterest are all great for exposure. Share photos from your apartments, preview new and upcoming offers, and even use social media to grow awareness about your apartment complexes. Social media accounts are free and can help increase exposure.

Offer Coupons or Incentives

Sometimes people need incentives to rent. For example, you could offer $50 off next month’s rent for signing a lease. Or you can offer new renters a gift card to their favorite restaurant or clothing store for signing a lease with you. The more incentives you have out there, the more likely renters are to at least check out your vacant units.


Jun 2014

Five Expenses Apartment Dwellers Can Axe

No more debtThose small monthly expenses can add up over time — making it harder to pay your bills or even save money. While there are expenses you cannot easily cut — utilities, grocery or rent — there are other non-essential expenses that every apartment dweller can live without.

Cable TV

If you don’t need it, why pay for it? Cable bills can be up to $200 per month and most people don’t even spend enough time watching it to justify the payment. If you are struggling to pay your other bills, try cutting the cable and using a cable-alternative app or streaming service. If you really don’t watch TV that much, cut the streaming too. You would be surprised how much money you’ll save. Yes, it might seem weird going without TV, but once it is gone, you might notice how much more you have to take up your time.

Quit the Beauty Salons

It’s alright to get your haircut, but if you’re visiting the salon monthly to have your nails, eyebrows and hair fixed up, maybe it is time to cut back. You can even visit local beauty schools to have your haircut — these usually only charge $10. It might be scary to have a student cut your hair, but rest assured they have instructors with years of experience watching over them.

Quit Smoking

Cigarettes are expensive and unhealthy. Buying even just a pack a day equals about $150 per month. Use that money elsewhere, like toward paying off your debts, buying food, etc. Plus, your overall health will improve when you quit smoking.

Don’t Add to Your Current Credit Card Debt

Stop using your credit cards. If you can’t afford to pay cash for your dining out or going to the movies, it is time to stop doing them until you can. Using credit cards means you’re adding to your monthly expenses, but also adding the amount you really pay for those activities — thanks to your interest rate.

No More Eating Out

Eating out is expensive, while cooking at home can save you big. For example, dining out for dinner could cost you $15 to $20 each time — while for that much you could serve up a whole day’s worth of meals at home.

It’s not always easy giving up what you really love to save some money, but once you do give it up and notice you have more funds in the bank account, you’ll quickly see why people cut unnecessary expenses.

Jun 2014

How to Make Friends with Your New Neighbors

friendly-women-drinking-coffeeMoving into a new apartment complex can be daunting. You’re surrounded by new neighbors and you have to re-establish yourself in a new area. Luckily it is easier to adjust to a new area when you live in apartments — because everyone is close by and you have more candidates to add to your friend pool. So, if you find yourself being a little shy, here are some tips for making friends with your new neighbors.

Start Up the Conversation

If you see a new neighbor in the hall, near the mailboxes or even in the parking lot, approach them and talk to them. While that might seem obvious, use these opportunities to get talking with your neighbors. It helps you get to know who you’re living by, who you might be sharing a wall with, etc. Just by starting the conversation, you will be surprised to see just how easy it is to make new friends.

See About Community Groups

Most community centers offer group activities, such as sports or recreation. These are great for meeting new people in the area, networking and even opening up the door to new opportunities. Whether you love politics or you’re just looking to shoot some hoops at the local gym, you can meet new people who share similar interests with you. You might be surprised at how many people have also just moved to the area.

Try Social Networks

Social networks are becoming a fast way to meet new people in your new area — especially if you have moved from another state. Facebook, Pinterest and even a new social media network like Nextdoor can help you find people around you. Be cautious about the information you give out on these networking groups though — and only give out your personal information to people you know and trust.

Work and School

If you have moved for a new job or you’re attending a new school, seek out friends there. Most of the people you go to school with will live in the same area — or close to the same area — as you do. Your co-workers may have more of a commute, but you still interact with them every day and may be able to establish some friendships.

Remember It Takes Time

Moving to a new area is daunting. It will take time to adjust to the quirks of your neighborhood and even your apartment complex. Be patient and don’t try or expect to make a dozen new friends the first week you’re there.

Jun 2014

5 Things to Decide Before Apartment Hunting in Oxnard, CA

Real estate market - young couple looking for real estate to renYou’re ready to find a new place in Oxnard, CA. But, before you start the hunting process, there are a few decisions you have to make. Moving out for the first time is exciting, but it can be a real nightmare if you don’t take the time to do it properly.

Did You Set a Budget?

Oxnard is one of the cheaper areas to live in Ventura County, but rental rates are on the rise. Before you start hunting for apartments, sit down and set your budget. How much can you afford for a one bedroom? Two bedroom? You should not spend more than 30 percent of your monthly income on rent. This ensures you have enough money left over for utilities, groceries and other bills you might have.

What Neighborhood Do You Want?

Oxnard is a fast growing metropolis. You will have small suburban neighborhoods as well as apartments located in the downtown area. Oxnard is also known for having a few questionable areas. So, you may want to acquaint yourself with the different areas of Oxnard first. Create a list of your ideal neighborhoods — making sure they’re not only safe, but in close proximity to work or school.

Are You Getting a Roommate?

Southern California is known for its high rental rates. Sometimes to make that rent tolerable, getting a roommate can help. If the Oxnard neighborhood you’re looking at is a little pricier (such as the areas with new apartments or right off the harbor), you may want to consider getting a roommate to help you foot that monthly bill. It is a good idea to get a roommate before you actual hunt though, that way you know what you get is something you both can afford.

List the Amenities You Absolutely Must Have

Some of the newer apartment complexes in Oxnard are full of amenities like a fitness center, laundry in the apartment units, and a pool. Older apartment complexes, however, come with no amenities. You’ll want to list the amenities you cannot live without and then list those that are optional and would be nice. This will help you narrow down your choices as well.

Coast or Inland?

Oxnard does span from inland out to the coast. If you want to live closer to the water, expect a higher rental rate than the apartments located further away. Remember that you can always go inland and drive — a 10-minute drive to the beach could save you a few hundred dollars each month.


Jun 2014