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Today’s Topics:



* What to ask a potential landlord when searching for an apartment


* Moving tips & warnings


* What you need to know about renter’s insurance






What to ask a potential landlord




When you go apartment shopping, most likely you take a careful look at each apartment to see if it matches your needs. You check if you like the neighborhood and does it have enough space and does it look like it is in good repair. Those are a few of the many things most people do check.


However, do you also take the time to make sure the landlord meets your requirements? Landlords come in all shapes and sizes. They range from the sweet elderly lady who is renting out the top floor of her two family house all the way to the large staff that is running a big apartment complex. Do you know if this potential landlord (and perhaps their team) have the experience and the resources to properly take care of you and the apartment you might rent from them?


Of course, the best way to find out is by asking them the right questions.


Below are the 12 Key Questions you should ask a potential landlord before you rent an apartment from them.


1.    How much money will I need to give you up front to move in? How does your amount compare to what other landlords in this market require?


2.    How do your deposit policies compare to other landlords in the area?


3.    Are your pet policies as generous as other landlords?


4.    How many total years of experience do you possess? How about those who assist you with maintenance responsibilities? How do your experience levels compare to those at competing rentals?


5.    What lease terms do you offer? Are you flexible?


6.    Do you offer rent specials or discounts of any kind?


7.    How do your rents compare with your competition?


8.    What has been your average rent increase over the past few years?


9.    What is your average response time to maintenance requests?


10.    Do you have a way someone can be reached 24 hours a day in the event of an emergency?


11.    Do you have a local office where I can stop by if I have any questions or issues?


12.    Are you willing to work with future residents that have less than perfect credit histories?


The answers to these questions are just as important as the apartment itself. After all, the best looking apartment in the world is no good if the landlord is horrible to work with. Apartments are like automobiles in that everything might be running just fine for a while, but eventually something will always come up that needs attention. When that happens, you don’t want to be stuck with a landlord that is unreachable or unable to help.


When lots of apartments all look alike, use this knowledge about your potential landlord to decide which apartment is right for you.







Moving Tips & Warnings



Without the proper planning, moving can be a big headache!


Below you’ll find quality tips on packing, finding boxes, getting a moving van and avoiding scammers.


That’s followed by a comprehensive checklist that will help you plan out what you need to do each week leading up to your move.







Moving Tips

(by HGTV)








How to avoid

moving scams

(by HGTV)








How to get a

moving van

(by Expert Village)








Where to find boxes

(by Expert Village)








How to pack a

moving van

(by Expert Village)








Who to notify that you are moving

(by Expert Village)





Moving Checklist


6 – 8 weeks before moving




·         Make an inventory of all your major possessions. This will come in handy if you are getting an estimate from a professional mover and it will also help you at your new home to determine that everything arrived safely.


·         If your employer is going to pay for your move then find out exactly what they will and will not pay for.


·         If you are planning to use a professional mover then call one (or several) to have them survey your current home and give you an cost estimate.


·         Make sure you understand what your mover’s insurance will and will not cover.


·         If you are not going to use a professional mover, then start looking for a rental truck (or friends with trucks).


·         Make a file of all your medical records (doctor, dental, vet & prescriptions) to keep with you during your move.





4 – 6 weeks before moving




·         Notify the post office that you are going to move. You can pick up a change of address form at the post office or online.


·         Plan a yard sale to get rid of all the unwanted items that you don’t want to move to your new place (donate to local charities things that don’t sell).


·         Start using up all the food in your kitchen and slow down your purchases of new food until after you’ve moved.


·         Start making a list of all the relatives, friends, and businesses that you’ll need to notify of your new address.


Don’t forget:

Electric Company

Gas Company

Water department

Telephone company

Cable/Satellite company

Oil/Propane delivery


Dry cleaner


Credit card companies

Auto loans



Insurance agent

Newspaper delivery



Department of Motor Vehicles

Social Security Administration


Veterans Administration





2 – 3 weeks before moving




·         If you are using a professional mover, confirm all the dates and specifics with them.


·         If this is a long distance move and you are driving to your new home then have your car serviced for the trip.


·         Call your local city/town hall about how to dispose of any hazardous materials you don’t plan to take with you (paints, gasoline, pesticides, bleach, etc)


·         Make appointments for appliance technicians to disconnect major appliances so that they can be moved (gas stoves, gas dryers, refrigerators with ice makers, etc).


·         Call your utility companies and set up a date to have utilities shut off (it is best to keep them on through moving day in case you need them).


·         Measure doorways in your current home and determine if any of your furniture or appliances may have to be disassembled on move out day.





1 – 2 weeks before moving




·         Give away plants to friends or neighbors.


·         Make arrangements for moving your pets. If possible, try to have them stay with a friend or relative during the actual stages of moving and unpacking.


·         Return all library books and anything you’ve borrowed from friends or neighbors.


·         Pickup all your drycleaning and any other items that are being stored, cleaned, or repaired.


·         If you are packing your own stuff then start gathering boxes and tape and bubble wrap. Start packing everything you won’t need until after the move.


·         Try and get some extra cash to have on hand for moving day for unforeseen expenses that might come up.


·         Set aside a small toolbox with essential tools in case you must disassemble furniture or appliances in order to get them out of your old home or into your new home.





The day before the move




·         If a moving company is packing your stuff, identify any items that are very fragile and will need special attention.


·         Group boxes of similar items together so they’ll be easier to find at your destination.


·         Check closets, cabinets and storage rooms for overlooked articles.





Moving day




·         Make sure all your items are put on the truck. Do a complete walk through of your old home and have a second person do the same.


·         Make sure whoever is moving your stuff has the exact destination address (and directions if needed).


·         Make sure the water is shut off.


·         Make sure all the lights are off.


·         Make sure windows are closed and locked.


·         Make sure you turned over the old keys to the necessary people.





At your new destination




·         To avoid possible damage; allow televisions, electronics, and refrigerators to adjust to room temperature for at least 12 hours before powering them up.


·         Check with your new post office to confirm they will begin delivery (check for any held mail).


·         If you have changed states, then determine requirements for automobile registration and drivers licenses.







Renter’s Insurance




No matter where you move to, you could always get that frantic knock on the door in the middle of the night telling you to hurry out due to a fire. It doesn’t matter if the apartment is older, brand new, middle income or a luxury penthouse. Fire doesn’t discriminate on who it victimizes.


No one wants to think about it, but you could find yourself sitting on the curb in your bathrobe with a plastic bag full of personal possessions and no where to go. At that point, agencies like the Red Cross will likely help you find shelter, but rebuilding your life will fall mainly on your shoulders. The vast majority of tenants don’t have renter’s insurance because they don’t think they’ll ever need it. Fire is just one reason to have a policy.


The common reasons why renters don’t seem to get a policy are:


1.    You tell yourself “What are the odds anything will go wrong and happen to me?”. In actuality, the odds are not in your favor. The Bureau of Justice Statistics state that renters are 50% more likely to be burglarized than homeowners.


2.    You tell yourself “My landlord will have insurance.” However, many renters don’t fully understand that the landlord’s insurance policy only protects the landlord’s “valuables” – which is the building itself. Your personal belongings are not covered under the landlord’s policy.


3.    You tell yourself “I can’t afford a renter’s insurance policy.” Premiums vary depending on location, the deductible you get, the insurance company, and the amount of coverage you need. However, many policies average about $10 - $20 per month. How many people are willing to spend $20 on fast food or a new shirt, but won’t spend the same amount to protect all their hard earned possessions they’ve acquired over the years?


Renter’s insurance is something many apartment renters don’t get because probably nobody has ever told them they needed it. Please take the time to look into it for yourself.


Make a quick list of all the stuff you own and how much money it would cost you to replace all those things if they were lost to a fire, a burglary or some other accident. If that dollar amount scares you then maybe you need insurance. With that list of your stuff in front of you, it is time to shop around for a renter’s insurance policy.


Start by contacting the insurance company that provides your auto insurance and ask what they offer or who they can refer you to. Also, look online by typing “Renters insurance” into a search engine or try a site like www.CheapResidentInsurance.com.


The point of this lesson is not to tell you that you must buy renter’s insurance or to tell you where to buy it, but to get you thinking about it so you can decide for yourself if you need it.



















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