Renting for Two: 3 Apartment Hunting Tips for Couples

It’s not hard to find countless tips and best practices for apartment hunting online, but what if you’re looking for the perfect apartment space for you and your significant other?

While apartment hunting individually or as a couple can be similar in many ways, there are certain factors to consider that are unique to approaching the process as a pair – just like deciding how to spend the holidays or making big purchases. If you’re launching into an apartment hunt with that special someone, check out these 3 things that’ll make the process faster, easier and more enjoyable for both of you.

1.  Know Your Apartment Negotiables & Non-Negotiables in Advance

Discuss apartment search as a couple in advance

This is a largely ignored step that can save couples a ton of hassle and disagreements. Before launching into your couple apartment search, make sure to write separate lists of each of your apartment negotiables and non-negotiables. Then, combine all your non-negotiables into one list and make this your starting point. If the list seems too long, try to cut it down by eliminating items that both of you don’t feel strongly about. Completing this exercise before going into the process will be instrumental in avoiding nasty surprises later on.

For example, are there certain locations that won’t work for one of you? Is a community pool a necessity or are both of you willing to forgo that amenity? Questions like these can help both partners get on the same page and narrow down the apartment search criteria – separating the necessities from the “icing on the cake” items will help speed up the apartment search process tremendously.   

2. Split the Apartment Search to Double the Efficiency

Researching separately when apartment-hunting as a couple

Okay, we get it, you do everything together. However, when it comes to apartment hunting as a couple, this may not be the most efficient strategy. We suggest maximizing the fact that there are two of you – you can cover twice as many locations, online resources and showings if you split the search process between the two of you. While there will be times when you need to research a listings site or attend an apartment appointment as a pair, tackling some of the legwork separately can make your apartment search twice as effective.

To avoid any miscommunication or confusion, make sure to keep each other in the loop through cc’d emails, pictures and regular touch bases. As far as visiting apartments solo, that’s what FaceTime is for.

3. Establish a Soft Timeline

Establish a soft timeline for apartment search

When you first decide to rent, you’ve most likely discussed a feasible timeline for research, appointments, application process, etc. However, it’s best not to place a hard deadline on when to make a decision. Unless there are factors such as a new job or the birth of a child to consider, it’s best to leave plenty of room for research, discussion and changes of heart. Renting an apartment as a couple should never be approached in a rushed fashion, and if one person isn’t 100% on board with a particular place, it’s best to wait rather than try to convince them otherwise.

Apartment hunting with a significant other can be an exciting time but can turn ugly if both parties aren’t open to reaching common ground. It’s important to consider your partner’s point of view while being clear about your own needs and non-negotiables. As long as you know what to stand firm on and what to let go, you’ll be moving into both of your dream apartment in no time!

Finding the ideal apartment is a big part of the puzzle when moving as a couple but there are many other moving-related tasks to consider as well. If you’re moving in the near future, check out CableMover’s Custom Moving Guide for personalized tips, tools & timelines for your move – your way. 

Guest blog by CableMover

Truck or Movers? How to Make Moving Easy

Congratulations, you’ve found a great new apartment!

Before you settle in, you must go through the inevitable moving process. If you opt to do the moving yourself, there are a number of factors you must consider. Number one: how am I going to get my stuff from here to there? Before you jump the gun and rent a truck, consider the following items.

Big move on the horizon? Pack up every last belonging and plan to rent or purchase a dolly.

Big move on the horizon? Pack up every last belonging and plan to rent or purchase a dolly.

If you plan on renting a truck…

Thinking about renting a truck for a DIY move? Consider these factors:

Distance

For the most part, if you’re staying in the same place or making a short move (from the city to the suburbs), a rental truck makes sense.

However, if you’re moving across the state or out-of-state, make sure the company offers one-way trips. That way, you can drive the truck from your original destination and leave it at the new one. Before renting, make sure to check whether or not the company charges large fees for driving out-of-state or not returning to the pick-up destination.

You can estimate your U-Haul rate here.

Size

Once you have decided you’re renting a truck, make sure to get the right size. You don’t want to be driving around an extra-large truck for no reason, but by the same token you don’t want to choose a truck that’s too small to safely fit your belongings. Make sure to consult your truck rental company before settling on a vehicle.

Time

Make sure to reserve your truck for the correct length of time. If you think your drive will take two days, reserve the truck for three. You don’t want to be hit with crazy overage fees.

Also, book your truck as far ahead of time as possible. Trucks can be hard to nail down, especially during peak moving season (May through September).

Vehicles

If you have several vehicles, you may need to rent a trailer and a hitch to tow them. Make sure to have the correct materials to transport your motorcycle, boat, or extra car safely.

Moving Materials

Once all of your moving transportation is set up, you need to think about the actual items you are moving. Buy dollies, pads, and packing materials to avoid damaging any furniture or decor. You’ll also likely be able to rent these items from your moving company.

If you are thinking about hiring movers…

Movers are a fantastic option if you have more flexibility in your budget. Professional movers can move more quickly, safely, and easier than you can, even with the help of your friends and family in tow. Here are our top 3 ways to save money when you hire movers:

Move in the “off-season” 

Although the end of July and early August are prime moving seasons for students, if you can move in less busy moving months or in the middle of the month, movers usually have more availability. This can translate to lower rates!

Book movers as early as possible

The closer you try to book movers to your move, the harder it is to a) find ones who are available and b) find them at an affordable price. Aim to book a moving company as far in advance as possible to secure lower rates and enjoy that priceless gift: peace of mind. At least two weeks in advance is recommended.

Settle up ahead of time

It’s easy for additional charges to spring up during the moving process if you use movers. Most movers charge for extras like packing, unpacking, flights of stairs, long-distance carrying, or multiple pickups. Remember to be as transparent as possible about the conditions of your move, and confirm all charges before movers get started so you aren’t taken by surprise.

Read our blog post on How to Save Money with a Moving Company for even more top tips! 

 

First Apartment Essentials: Checklist and Guide To Finding and Moving Into Your First Apartment

Moving into your first apartment? Feeling stressed? Check out this First Apartment Essentials checklist and guide to finding and moving into your first apartment, from 1stlake.com.

Congratulations! You’ve finished college. Enter the inevitable post-grad dilemma: “Now What?” While career and relationship issues are a bit more complex, you can at least get a grasp on your living logistics. Whether you’re stressing about moving because your lease is up at the end of the summer, or you’ve enjoyed relaxed, rent-free living with the parents until now, refer to these tips for finding and moving into your first apartment.

Before Moving Into Your First Apartment…

For those who are taking their time adjusting to life after college and haven’t yet made the big move to apartment living, there are some first apartment essentials to consider. Keep these questions in mind when it’s time to start thinking about moving out of Mom and Dad’s.

Be smart about your budget.

Most experts will tell you when looking for an apartment for rent; the rent should be no more than 25-30% of your annual income. While you might be dying to move into that two bedroom luxury apartment, you may not be able to afford it and should take many factors into consideration. Budgeting realistically for your new apartment, and finding one that suits your needs, is key.

Take the time to examine what your exact income is after taxes and subtract your expenses. Include food, household supplies, phone, car payment and insurance, credit card bills, clothing, gas, internet, healthcare, school loans, entertainment, and an extra category for “miscellaneous” for those unexpected expenses. What you have left is the rental budget for your new place. Some management companies, like 1st Lake Properties, Inc. include a flat rate for certain utilities per month, others you may have to pay separate.  Keep this in mind when considering monthly expenses.

Consider roommates carefully.

Choosing who you’re going to live with should not be taken lightly. With the right roommate, sharing a space can be a breeze and really fun, but if they’re the wrong choice, it can end badly. Before agreeing to live with someone you didn’t know before, make sure to spend some time with them first and decide if you’ll be able to get along and live in harmony. On the other hand, living with your best friend can also be tricky. Best friends don’t always make the best roommates. It’s up to you to decide what’s best.

Is it a good location?

While you’re apartment hunting, be sure to consider how close the location is to work, grocery stores, hospitals and entertainment. You might find your dream apartment, but it’s not worth it if the location is a nightmare.

What facilities are available?

Does the house or apartment you’re looking to rent have what you need, like washers and dryers, an alarm system, dishwasher, garbage disposal or outside space? Decide what is important for you to have.

You should never move into an apartment for rent before at least touring the community. It’s most helpful to view the layout of the apartment as it gives you a good idea of where and how much furniture you can have. Sometimes the actual apartment is not available to view, in these cases its best to see an interior to view the fixtures and finishes.

Turn knobs, open and shut doors, and open windows. Do you get a cell phone signal inside your apartment? Don’t be afraid to test all of these things out when you’re looking at potential apartments. While it may feel awkward, it is a very necessary step in making sure your new home is right for you. Ask as many questions when touring apartments as you need. You should be happy and comfortable and the tour should be a good experience.

Lease Items to Consider

Once the hard part is over and you’ve decided on your brand new first apartment, take the time to read the lease from cover to cover. Since this is your first time renting, you probably aren’t familiar with the legal lingo, try to familiarize yourself with it before showing up for the lease signing. Don’t be afraid to take your time combing through the details, and ask the agent about any questions or concerns you may have. Sometimes, simple clarification can lend to a huge peace of mind.

If you’re unclear about what your future plans may be long-term, ask about the possibility of a short lease term. Everything from re-painting the walls to what kind of roommates you can have is typically covered in the language of the lease. Reading the small print can make a big difference.

Moving into your first apartment? Feeling stressed? Check out this First Apartment Essentials checklist and guide to finding and moving into your first apartment, from 1stlake.com.

Free Printable First Apartment Checklist

Download our free printable first apartment checklist to make your move a breeze.

Furnishing Your First Apartment Cheaply

Many first-time apartment renters may find it hard to furnish their new apartment on a budget. While many of us would like a comfortable and stylish home, finding the finances to do so can be tough sometimes. Thankfully, there are many resources and decorating ideas available for furniture shoppers without a lot of money to spare. It is possible to have a stylish apartment without a lot of funds! Finding everything you need simply requires a little hunting, a dash of luck, and a bit of scrutiny!

Begin by digging through your local classified ads. Whether you’re looking at your local paper or at a local site online, make sure you check in on all the ads you can find. Once you have some free time, devote a day or two to hitting up local flea markets, thrift shops or second-hand stores.

Sometimes neighborhood garage sales, yard sales, or rummage sales can yield amazing vintage finds, perfect for decorating! If you’re at a neighborhood sale, don’t be afraid to ask about the history of the item or why they might be getting rid of it. You can never be too cautious, and most owners are more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

If you lack the time to peruse local resources or simply haven’t had any luck when doing so, online sales and auctions are always a possibility. However, do your research and try to stick to more reputable sites when buying larger items. If you’re unfamiliar with the website or source, there is a possibility of it being a scam. Even if the site is reputable, there are also risks involved. Generally, you will not be able to inspect the item in person before buying it and sales are usually final. You should also take into account how much shipping costs will be before bidding on or buying an item online. Depending on how much shipping costs will be it may be cheaper to simply buy the item closer to home at a local store.

Whether you’re buying online or in person, it’s always important to inspect your item closely and thoroughly! Pull out drawers, look underneath the piece of furniture, and test doors. If the seller doesn’t allow you to inspect the item, don’t buy it! Even if the price of the item is cheap, you should expect it to be of good quality. Don’t be pressured into buying a sub-standard item!

Lastly, don’t be afraid to haggle with the seller. This can be most effective when buying from a garage sale, yard sale, or rummage sale. Most times, the owner of the item is simply looking to get rid of it. As long as you remain realistic when haggling, you can generally come to an agreement on a lower price. If you do a little research and have a working understanding of the going rate for the item you’re trying to purchase, this can help you immensely. Stand your ground, but be fair. If the seller refuses to lower the price, you can always shop elsewhere.

If you keep your wits about you and search thoroughly, you may find it easier than expected to make your home look stylish on a budget. Your new apartment should reflect your personality and be a comfortable place to call home! Have fun searching for the perfect furnishings and trust your instincts when buying everything you need for your new apartment home!

Remember: rent comes first!

Without a place to call home, your other expenses might as well go out the window. Make sure to prioritize rent above all else when payday comes. If money is tight, try to trim down by seeing what expenses you may be able to cut down on or remove completely from your expenditures. If you have a cell phone and no longer use your home phone very much, switch to cell phone only. If you’re going out to eat too much, try cooking at home instead to save money. There are always solutions to trimming your expenses down to help make ends meet.

Enjoy your first apartment!

Renting your own place for the first time can be exciting and perhaps stressful. If you take the time to make sure your apartment and lease are right for you, budget your expenses, make sure your utilities get turned on, and plan for the unexpected, transitioning into this new step in your life should be a smooth and fun process.

1st Lake = A Great Choice for Your 1st Apartment

Now that you’ve made all the important decisions about renting your first apartment after college, it’s time to start looking! Search for the perfect apartment in the greater New Orleans area at 1st Lake Properties and check out our map to see what 1st Lake location works best for you!

Be sure to also download our free printable first apartment checklist to ensure you make the move with everything you need.

Moving Tips: 5 Apartment Search Considerations

1st Lake Properties has over 9,500 excellent apartment options for you to choose from in the metro New Orleans, Northshore and Baton Rouge areas.

But, before you even start looking for your next apartment, make sure you are taking the proper steps.

In order to pick the best 1st Lake property, follow these guidelines:

welcome mat apartment search

Budget

This may seem like a no-brainer, but planning out what you can realistically afford each month isn’t easy. You need to think about all expenses such as credit card and student loan payments, groceries, car insurance and spending money. Once you’ve calculated these items, subtract them from your monthly income, find a realistic budget, and stick to it.

Commute

When you find an apartment you really love, it is easy to overlook the long commute. Don’t. Long commutes can translate into lost time with family and high gas mileage payments. Try to find a place close to your school or office.

Amenities

One of the perks of apartment living is all the extra features that come along with your rental fee. What interior/exterior amenities are important to you? Do you want a washer/dryer, swimming pool, or fitness center? Many of our apartment communities have fantastic fixtures, so keep an eye out when apartment searching.

Neighborhood

Location is one of the most important factors of apartment hunting. Some people want to be in quiet neighborhoods, while others want to be around a thriving nightlife.

If you aren’t already familiar with your future neighborhood, do as much research as possible. Consult our neighborhood guides to find the right location for you:

Excess Belongings

If you are serious about moving, even if you don’t have an exact moving date set, start getting rid of all of your excess belongings now so you’ll have less to do once the time comes.

If you found this article helpful, share it on Facebook or Twitter and ease a friend’s apartment hunting woes.

Related posts: Renting a Moving Truck, Moving to New Orleans, Space Saving Tips for the Kitchen.

 

Moving Tips: How to Save Money With A Moving Company

If you have the budget to hire a moving company, they can be a very helpful and convenient service as opposed to moving everything from your old apartment to the new one by yourself. In order to save money and make the move as efficient as possible, here is a checklist to follow before hiring movers and during the moving process.

moving company

Photo courtesy of washingtonian.com

Lighten your load – Because moving companies charge by the amount they have to move, to save money, it’s best to only have them move what’s necessary. A good practice anyway before moving is to hold a yard sale to get rid of anything you don’t want to bring with you in the move, which will also reduce the number of items you need to move and make you a little money at the same time.

Choose when you move carefully – If you can move in less busy moving months or in the middle of the month, there will be more availability and possibly lower rates from moving companies.

Book movers early – Try to schedule the move and book the moving company as far in advance as possible to avoid higher rates. More than two weeks ahead is ideal.

Flexibility – Be open to the times that the movers can pick up your boxes and when they can drop them off at your new apartment. This might result in a discount and it is also best practice to allow enough time in the day for the movers to arrive and load.

Confirm all charges in advance – Some additional charges may accrue during the move depending on how many services are required during the process. Some of these charges include packing, unpacking, multiple pick-ups, long-hauls, expedited service, long distance carrying, or a special vehicle for locations that are not accessible by a standard moving van or truck.

Compare other companies – Shop around to make sure you pick the best deal for the job. Compare pricing and inclusive services from a few different companies to make the most cost-effective decision.

Make sure everything is packed – Be ready for the movers before they get there by making sure all items are completely packed. If movers have to pack themselves, extra fees will likely be added to the bill.

Looking for a great new apartment? 1st Lake Properties has tons of options in the New Orleans area, Northshore and Mississippi!

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