Apartment Living

June Sets Record For Number of NYC Renters Looking to Sublet Their Apartment, Breaking Previous Record Set in May

June Sets Record For Number of NYC Renters Looking to Sublet Their Apartment, Breaking Previous Record Set in May

Originally posted on July 13, 2020 10:00 am

Updated on July 21, 2020 9:15 am

In May we reported a record spike in new NYC sublet listings in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on RentHop’s apartment listing data running through the end of June, we can now confirm that June’s total sublet listings broke the previous record set one month prior in May.

This sudden spike in sublet listings may be considered early evidence the city is witnessing an outflow of residents to the suburbs or other metropolitan areas, likely as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic and increased ability to work from home.

In this report, we’ll analyze the recent uptrend in new sublet listings on RentHop and highlight their outsized distribution in wealthy neighborhoods, particularly those in Manhattan1.

Sublet Listings Break Records, again, in June

As previously reported, the total sublet listings in May 2020 increased a whopping 110% as compared to the total sublet listings of the previous month (April 2020). This was the greatest acceleration in new sublet listings we have ever recorded on RentHop. While May was a record-setting month, June 2020 saw 3% more sublet listings than May 2020, and 114% more sublet listings than the average for the first four months of 2020.

This enormous uptick cannot be explained by seasonality. June 2019 saw a mere 0.3% increase in total sublet listings as compared to the average for the first four months of 2019. Even controlling for seasonality, June 2020 stands as the greatest single month of new sublet listings ever recorded in RentHop’s 11-year history.

Wealthy Neighborhoods Seeing the Largest Spike in Sublet Listings

In June 2020, wealthy neighborhoods, particularly those in Manhattan, saw a steeper upward deviation from their 2020 sublet average than neighborhoods in the outer boroughs.

The major NYC neighborhoods with the most significant spikes in new sublets in June 2020 vs. the average for the first four months of the year were Astoria (600% above average), Yorkville (440%), Williamsburg (419%), West Village (306%), Chelsea (289%), and Battery Park City (240%).

1. As used in this study, “sublet listings” are listings created by apartment renters seeking to find a new tenant to take over the remainder of their apartment lease. In NYC, finding a subletter is widely considered the most effective way to get out from under a lease without paying the steep contractual penalties triggered by an outright lease break.

Published at Mon, 13 Jul 2020 14:00:49 +0000

Apartment Living

RentHop Rental Report Q2 2020 – Rents Dropped 5% in Manhattan

RentHop Rental Report Q2 2020 – Rents Dropped 5% in Manhattan

The NYC housing market continues to suffer in Q2 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic persists. Given the unprecedented health, economic, and social disruptions inflicted upon the city, it should come as no surprise that NYC apartment hunters are changing their preferences as to where to live and landlords are forced to adapt by reducing rents.

According to the RentHop Rental Report this quarter:
  • Median 1BR rent fell 5% year-over-year in Manhattan as demand plunged. Some luxury neighborhoods saw the most drastic decline in demand, including Murray Hill (YoY demand -72%), Chelsea (-67%), and Tribeca (-67%).
  • The impacts of the pandemic on the housing market were less severe in outer boroughs, specifically in Brooklyn and Queens. Both boroughs saw only 8% dip in terms of lead volume, with some neighborhoods experiencing growing demand such as Forest Hills (40%), Crown Heights (26%), and Astoria (10%).
  • As COVID-19 becomes part of the normal life, outdoor space is now the hottest amenity in New York City, replacing doorman and gym. Interest for private outdoor space grew 59.3% year-over-year.

Manhattan Market Softened, with Median 1BR Rent Lowered by 5% Year-over-Year

The coronavirus pandemic has had severe impacts on the New York City housing market. Many neighborhoods across the five boroughs experienced price reduction due to reduced demand. Specifically, in Manhattan, one of the most expensive real estate markets in the nation, rent dropped in most luxury neighborhoods, including Chelsea, Flatiron, and NoMad. The borough saw a 5% decrease in median 1BR rent, and some premium neighborhoods saw even more drastic cuts, as landlords increased concessions to attract renters. The weak demand will likely continue as the pandemic remains a threat and companies extend their remote-working policies.

Renter Interest Shifted to Outer Boroughs

Meanwhile, rental demand seemed less affected by COVID-19 in outer boroughs. In Brooklyn, specifically, searches were only down by 8.1% year-over-year, and some neighborhoods farther away from the city center even saw spikes in inquiries, including Ocean Hill (+70.1%), Central Slope (+40.5%), Crown Heights (+26.1%), and East Flatbush (+15.8%). In Queens, similarly, demand was slightly affected by the pandemic, pushing the searches down by 7.8% year-over-year. Demand, however, soared in affordable neighborhoods including Steinway (+48.2%), Forest Hill (+39.6%), and Astoria (+10.5%).

Private Outdoor Space Became the Hot Amenity, Replacing Doorman and Gym

Doorman and gyms had long been key features driving the rental rates in New York City until COVID-19 hit. Now, people tend to avoid large residential rental buildings to minimize the risk of catching the coronavirus. According to our renter search data from April 17 to July 16, 25% of the searches involving private or common outdoor space, while only 14.6% of the searches included doorman and 11.2% gym. While elevator remained one of the more popular features, the demand fell by 6.2% when adjusting to listing and lead volumes.


Released on a quarterly basis, the RentHop Rental Report analyzes the NYC rental market using the platform’s rental listings and traffic data. The lead volume, most inquired apartment type, and year-over-year changes are determined based on inquiries sent by renters visiting the RentHop site. The median asking rent is calculated using all listings created between April 17, 2020 and July 16, 2020, across all apartment types, whereas median 1BR rent is calculated using only one-bedroom listings created during the same time period. Please email for a detailed report covering all NYC neighborhoods. Note that unlike other RentHop studies that analyze and summarize data using the Neighborhood Tabulation Areas, the RentHop Rental Report adopts a more granular neighborhood shapefile for the analysis, which is consistent with the listing search criteria on the consumer side.

Published at Tue, 21 Jul 2020 13:00:05 +0000

Apartment Living

Before and After: A $3,000 Kitchen Redo with IKEA Cabinets and Farmhouse Style

Before and After: A $3,000 Kitchen Redo with IKEA Cabinets and Farmhouse Style

Megan Baker

Home Projects Editor

Megan is a writer and editor who specializes in home upgrades, DIY projects, hacks, and design. Before Apartment Therapy, she was an editor at HGTV Magazine and This Old House Magazine. Megan has a degree in Magazine Journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. She is a self-taught weighted blanket connoisseur.

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Published at Mon, 03 Aug 2020 21:00:07 +0000

Apartment Living

Pros‌ ‌and‌ ‌Cons:‌ ‌Partial‌ ‌or‌ ‌No‌ ‌Kitchen‌

Pros‌ ‌and‌ ‌Cons:‌ ‌Partial‌ ‌or‌ ‌No‌ ‌Kitchen‌

In our Pros and Cons series, we weigh the advantages and disadvantages of important decisions that apartment dwellers are making every day. 

Some people living in small apartments may struggle with properly storing their belongings and groceries in tiny kitchens. In bachelor apartments, a traditional kitchen stovetop and oven are absent, sometimes replaced instead by a hot plate or a small electric range. In other apartments, there is no kitchen at all, just a bedroom and bathroom (and perhaps enough space for a small living room). Though apartments with a partial or just no kitchen are rare, they’re certainly not unheard of – here are the pros and cons of no kitchen or a partial kitchen in an apartment. 

Pros cons no kitchen

Pros of no kitchen or partial kitchen in an apartment

Lower rent

Apartments with no stovetop or kitchen tend to be cheaper – in some cases, far cheaper – to rent than their traditional kitchen-boasting counterparts. Compounding the lower rent is that, with no stove or oven, your utility bills will likely be lower too. 

Fewer to no grocery runs

If you don’t like taking the time and effort to make grocery runs, you may find yourself needing to do so far less often when you live in an apartment with a partial or no kitchen. A partial kitchen will at most have a mini-fridge and a few cabinets, inherently limiting the amount of food you can store – and, in turn, mostly cutting grocery runs out of your life.

Less mess

Kitchens can be among the messiest parts of an apartment (though bathrooms certainly give kitchens some competition in this category). When you have a partial or no kitchen, you have to contend with far fewer grease stains, stovetop and floor food scraps, and potentially food-loving pests.

More creative cooking methods

Just because you don’t have a kitchen doesn’t mean you can’t cook at all. You just have to get creative about it. Electric appliances such as slow cookers, pressure cookers, microwaves, convection ovens, and hot plates can give you plenty of cooking capacity if you use them safely. You can also make all sorts of meals in slow cookers and pressure cookers that wouldn’t be as easy in a traditional kitchen, so a partial or no kitchen can be an unexpected portal to new culinary experiences.

Cons of no kitchen or partial kitchen in an apartment

Fewer cooking options

Of course, an apartment with a partial or no kitchen gives you far fewer cooking options unless you choose to buy appliances. You thus might be limited to meal options such as salads, microwavable frozen dinners, or simple one-pot recipes such as pasta. Your favorite oven casserole recipe will have to wait until your next apartment. 

Less space for food prep and storage

If you do go the salad or pasta route, you’ll still need some counter space for chopping vegetables or a sink for draining your pasta. Of course, your bathroom will have a sink, but walking all the way from your kitchen to your bathroom sink might get old quickly. And if your counter space is devoted to housing your kitchen electric appliances, your salad prep routine might prove tough.

Challenges with dishwashing

In a partial kitchen, you might have a sink, but this isn’t always the case. Without a sink, not to mention ample counter space for a dish drying rack, you might struggle to wash and dry your dishes and other food prep items. And when delivery and takeout aren’t constant options, lacking proper dishwashing abilities can be especially stifling.

Reliance on delivery and takeout

In an apartment with a partial or no kitchen, relying on delivery and takeout can become almost inevitable. While certainly convenient, delivery and takeout tend to be much more expensive than buying groceries and making your own food. If you’re considering a kitchen-less apartment primarily for budgetary reasons, you may want to consider the impact of relying too much on delivery or takeout on your finances as well.

Would you live in a kitchen-less apartment? If you’ve lived in an apartment with a partial or no kitchen, how did you make it work? Share your stories in the comments!

Published at Thu, 23 Jul 2020 13:23:26 +0000

Apartment Living

The $0 Way to Always Have Real Flowers at Home

The $0 Way to Always Have Real Flowers at Home

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission.

Have you ever purchased an exquisite bouquet and wished you could keep it forever? Does the thought of watching fresh florals droop and die a slow death in your vase make you sad? Or are you just drawn to the look of dried flowers in a vase as a statement piece? No matter your motivation, there is no denying that when it comes to decor, dried flowers are here to stay.

My grandmother was always hanging flowers to dry or pressing a flower into a book (we still find some tucked in pages every now and then). And with the return of grand-millennial style, it makes sense that dried flowers are making a comeback.

“Drying flowers is just a great way to reuse something and upcycle material that you already have, and it’s another type of home decor that’s gotten explosively popular in the last couple of years,” says Suzanna Cameron, founder of Stems Brooklyn, an eco-conscious florist and flower shop in Brooklyn, New York. She adds that drying flowers is not only cost-effective, but it’s a process that can take your floral arrangement from a weekly replenishment to a piece of art that can live in your home forever.

It’s important to note that some dried flowers you might find at a home decor store may have been processed using harmful chemicals to achieve a bright, non-natural color—but the good thing (for the environment and your wallet) is that you can dry your own flowers without using any chemicals. “Nature gives us so many beautiful colors that dry with a lot of integrity,” says Cameron. That’s why she has taken to drying her own flowers at Stems Brooklyn. Here, her tips to help create your own dried floral creations at home.

What you’ll need to dry flowers

Cameron notes that a perfect place to dry flowers would be a closet.

Start the drying process when the flowers are at full bloom

“Once the flower is fully open, that’s when you want to take it out to dry. Don’t wait until it droops,” Cameron warns. That could cause you to lose petals as the flower dries. Cameron says you’ll know the flower is fully open when the petals are soft and it hasn’t started to brown or droop.

Remove foliage from flowers

Leaves don’t dry well and will end up looking crispy, so it’s better to pull them off before drying. Gently pull away any leaves or foliage from the stem below the bloom.

Hang the flowers upside down

Use your twine to hang your flowers from the rod in an upside-down fashion (bloom closest to the floor). 

If you are drying multiple flowers at once (five to 10 stems), Cameron suggests arranging the heads of the flowers at different levels so that they will each have room to dry without compromising their form by pushing their heads into each other. Once you figure out the arrangement, add your twine around the bunch as you would with a normal bouquet.

Because of the full shape of a bouquet, hanging from a closet rod or other pole is ideal—that way, all sides of the bouquet are exposed. If you hang from a hook or nail, the head will inevitably be pressed against the wall to some extent.

As mentioned, a closet is a great place to dry flowers, but wherever your chosen space is, make sure that it’s not receiving direct sunlight; this can take away some of the colors from your flowers. A cool, dark place is best.

The length of the drying process depends on the flowers. Chamomile can dry in just a few days, while a peony might take two weeks or longer. Look to the petals to determine if your flowers are dry: if there’s still any softness in the petals, leave them be. The good thing is that you can’t over-dry flowers, so if you’re feeling extra cautious and want to dry your flowers for a month, that’s okay.

Arrange your dried bouquet

Once you take down your dried flowers, then it’s time to arrange them. Don’t fret if some petals get damaged during your first try. “Flowers are so fragile, it’s really tricky to arrange with dried flowers and not have them make a mess,” says Cameron. “They’re going to get messy when you arrange, them and that’s okay.”

If you get super frustrated during this step, you can try to dry an already-arranged bouquet next time, so long as all of the flowers in that arrangement are suitable for drying.

Cameron says that in general, florals with a thick, woody stem tend to dry best. She suggests using roses, lavender, peony, chamomile, delphinium, statice flowers, and eucalyptus (which actually doesn’t have to dry upside down; you can simply arrange it and let it dry out).

Others like pampas grass and pussy willow branches dry beautifully, but eventually start to shed.

Avoid flowers that contain mostly water, such as tulips, hyacinth, or tropical ginger flowers. 

How to care for your dried flowers

Now that you’ve dried a sentimental flower or created a dried flower statement bouquet that belongs in a museum, Cameron says there are just a few things to note for upkeep. If your dried arrangement starts to collect dust, you can gently clean it using a very soft dusting cloth.

Keep your arrangement out of direct sunlight in order to uphold its coloring. And remember: Don’t put them in water. “I know it’s silly to say that, but people will ask me, ‘What do I do? Do I put them in water?” says Cameron. The answer: no. Just display them in your favorite vase or holder, and let them “live” on forever.

Pressing flowers vs. drying flowers

If traditional drying is not your thing, but you do want to save a special flower (that happens to be fairly flat, dainty and not necessarily wooden-stemmed), pressing flowers and placing them in a double-sided glass frame is a great way to hold onto a precious flower or to change up your home decor.

To press a flower, pluck a flower at full bloom, and remove any excess moisture by patting with a dry paper towel; it’s best not to pick a flower right after a rainfall, since it will have more excess moisture. Place the flower in between two white pieces of paper inside a heavy book, and within two to three weeks, you’ll have a pressed flower.

Rosina from Forever Petal says that naturally flat flowers, such as pansies and violets, will work best for this process. “Experimenting is super fun, even colorful weeds and leaves work super well,” she says. “The beautiful thing about flower pressing is that nature provides so much goodness and any color you want to work with.”

After your flowers have been successfully pressed, you can place them in a double-glass frame to enjoy. As with traditionally dried flowers, keep your pressed flower frames out of direct sunlight or damp areas.

And if you happen to forget to take your pressed flower out of the book, perhaps your grandchild will find it one day and smile at the thought of you preserving a piece of beauty.

Published at Tue, 14 Jul 2020 17:30:06 +0000

Apartment Living

How We Designed Our Dream Yard

How We Designed Our Dream Yard

Today I have a very special reveal for you, 10 months in the making. Considering the renovation of This Old Victorian took five years to reveal, this is progress. Our house is obviously a special find in and of itself, but it was actually the yard that really drew us to the property. It is so rare to find any kind of outdoor space in San Francisco – or any major city for that matter. Having found it, we wanted to maximize every square inch. For nearly two years we’ve worked on a complete dream yard redesign and I get to finally share the full tour of the completed space with you NOW! Buckle up, this is an in-depth tour. I do hope you enjoy it.

The best way to get a picture of the yard’s Before status is to CLICK HERE. But I’ve included a pic or two below to give you a sense of the vibe. Think mish-mash jungle with very little truly usable space. It was akin to a secret garden, but sadly not a functional one, particularly for small children.

How We Designed Our Dream Yard on Apartment 34 How We Designed Our Dream Yard on Apartment 34How We Designed Our Dream Yard on Apartment 34
In the built-in seating area surrounding the gas fire pit, pillows are clad in my only source for outdoor fabrics, Sunbrella. Sunbrella offers an amazing array of outdoor fabrics that allow you to get the style you want without sacrificing the durability you need.

The After is a complete 180!!!

The objective for this yard makeover was three-fold: maximize the usable outdoor space, create a feeling of seamless indoor-outdoor living, and add the maximum number of usable elements we can enjoy daily.

I think we achieved all of these goals and then some. We did that by packing as many different functional components into the design as we could, including outdoor dining, built-in seating, a fire pit, grill, hot tub, vegetable garden, office space and off-street parking. I’m thrilled to say that we accomplished our primary goals without having to make any major design sacrifices. It was a feat that took patience and painstaking work, but in the end, I think it’s all worth it.

Let’s take a closer look.

How We Designed Our Dream Yard on Apartment 34
Outdoor pillows from Room & Board clad in Sunbrella fabric offer a soft spot to relax around the Bol fire pit from Paloform. The planter beds behind the retaining wall are filled with Mediterranean-inspired choices including rosemary, olive, and fig trees. 

Creating an outdoor space that looks like this was a massive undertaking. With a project of this scale, I knew immediately that we had to call in professional help. This was not a do-it-yourself type of situation. Thankfully, I found Beth Mullins of Growsgreen Design to execute our vision.

One of Beth’s key design decisions was to work with the existing elevations in our yard – of which there are many – rather than fight against them. While working with the existing levels still required massive excavation and then reconstruction of the space, the decision allowed Beth to create distinct zones throughout the yard that flow beautifully from one to the next. A uniform color palette of black, untreated wood (a yellow cedar that will naturally patina to a light gray), concrete, and greenery keeps everything feeling connected.

How We Designed Our Dream Yard on Apartment 34How We Designed Our Dream Yard on Apartment 34

Sunbrella has been my go-to for outdoor textiles to create a comfortable, welcoming feel to each moment in our yard. Sunbrella is the gold standard for high-performance outdoor fabrics – but I love that they don’t sacrifice style. I was thrilled to partner with Sunbrella on this project. Adding Sunbrella to your yard is easy. You can find Sunbrella everywhere from Room & Board to Serena & Lily and even small designers. I recently discovered the small woman-owned Sien +Co and love the added dimension their gorgeous handmade Sunbrella-clad pillows add to our yard.

Having added the bevy of outdoor-friendly cushions, the cantilevered wraparound bench is what I call our sit back and chill area. The bench serves as both seat and table, allowing for spots to play games, enjoy a drink, or even cat nap! But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Let’s back this renovation train up a bit.

How We Designed Our Dream Yard on Apartment 34

There were so many technical elements that needed to be addressed with this dream yard renovation. The grade changes of course, but also irrigation and drainage, engineering, electrical, let alone all the demo and structural work that took place. Did I forget to mention a giant palm hand to be craned in over the top of our house?! Yeah, that happened – successfully thank goodness. The challenges were endless.

The image above is a perfect example of how complicated this yard design really is. It combines multiple elevations, an in-ground cedar soaking tub, gorgeous concrete and woodwork, a second cantilevered seating area, and design choices to create a connection to the grilling and hang-out space above. Every decision you see here was intentional and meticulously considered, from the angle of the decking boards to the raw treatment on the concrete, down to the placement of the lights and hot tub control panel. I just love how all the different lines and angles play with one another.

Let’s also pause to have a convo about our opaque fence! It’s definitely one of the major design moments in the yard. It was inspired by the original fence we were replacing. It was an old, yellowed corrugated plastic that was completely gross, but I loved that it allowed light through. It always brought a beautiful glow into the space that I didn’t want to lose. Thankfully, I had a major moment of inspiration when I visited the design studio of my friend Tina Frey. She used an amazing opaque material to separate spaces in her studio. So I knew it existed! After a lot of searching, Beth found a product most often used in greenhouses and that is what she used to create our fence. I love how the shadows of the trees dance in the mornings. It’s truly unique.

How We Designed Our Dream Yard on Apartment 34

Now let’s discuss this project’s timeline. After the initial design phase, where we finalized all the schematics and selected a lot of the design elements, demolition began in August 2019. Demo took nearly two months. I cannot even tell you the amount of dirt, rock, brick, and hardscape that was yanked out of here. I’ve included a couple of in-process shots below just to give you a sense. I basically lived in a mud pit for four+ months.

How We Designed Our Dream Yard on Apartment 34How We Designed Our Dream Yard on Apartment 34

After demo was finally complete, the structural work slowly began. This included framing and pouring the reams of concrete retaining walls, the undergirding for the decking, a climate-sensitive irrigation system, running electrical, and more. Planting was done in stages so some of the plants have had nearly six months to establish.

How We Designed Our Dream Yard on Apartment 34

Once the rebuilding began, it took nearly six months before the yard really looked like it was put back together – and of course, Coronavirus slowed work down even more. Thankfully we were able to button up the majority of the finish work in the nick of time.

How We Designed Our Dream Yard on Apartment 34How We Designed Our Dream Yard on Apartment 34

To create an Apartment 34 studio space, Beth brought in Modern Spaces & Sheds to create a mini 10ft x 10ft office I get to call my own. I love the Shou Sugi Ban detailing on the building’s exterior – I’ll be sharing video of how it was done on Instagram. A full studio tour is also in the works – as soon as I finally finish the inside! Sadly, that design work has also been significantly slowed due to Coronavirus. But to have a space I can retreat to for work has been the biggest gift during this difficult time. Now if it only came with invisibility built in….but I digress.

That gorgeous chaise you see in the image above is from Room & Board and it offers the perfect place to lay black and relax with a glass of rosé at the end of a long workday. Or at lunch. Or really whenever. We’re quarantined for goodness sake!

How We Designed Our Dream Yard on Apartment 34

I fought really hard to put in the cedar soaking tub and I couldn’t be happier that we did. It’s the most incredible way to unwind at the end of the day.

How We Designed Our Dream Yard on Apartment 34

All of the built-in seating allows us to keep the need for additional furniture to a minimum. A super comfy bench pad with Sunbrella fabrics creates the perfect spot to lay back while keeping an eye on my son playing in the soaking tub. I wasn’t afraid to go with a white pad because Sunbrella fabrics are so durable and so easy to clean. Just a little soap and water gets out most stains. We’ve put this yard to heavy use since SIP started and I haven’t even had to clean the Sunbrella cushions yet!

How We Designed Our Dream Yard on Apartment 34

We tapped into existing plumbing to add an outdoor shower to the exterior of the office space. A hidden french drain below the decking handles all the drainage issues. The beds are planted with native grasses, dwarf olive trees, and creeping rosemary that will eventually fill in and cascade over the concrete retaining walls.

How We Designed Our Dream Yard on Apartment 34

We also added potted trees to create even more dimension and interest around the decking. These pictures were taken just after my gorgeous dogwood tree finished its spring bloom.

I’ve always loved a good Adirondack chair, so I was a sucker for the modern Emmet Rocker from Room & Board. I added seat pads in black Sunbrella fabric but I think I also want to get a second set of Sunbrella seat cushions in white. It’s nice to have a contrast, but I’m also a big fan of white on white. This seat is a favorite spot to enjoy a morning coffee or late afternoon cocktail. I kept the look of the outdoor furnishing modern to complement the modern meets historic vibe I used on the house’s interior.

A fresh concrete pad will eventually become a little mini-basketball court for our son to practice his free throws as he gets older. It’s currently a great place for chalk drawings and zooming around toy cars. We opted to forgo any lawn in our yard to limit water consumption and maintenance. Eventually, we will add in some flowering plants but the goal is to keep the space fairly monochromatic. Beth recommended we layer slowly over time.

How We Designed Our Dream Yard on Apartment 34

As you move to the front along the side of the house, we added built-in raised garden beds, painted to match the fencing. It’s been so fun to have our own mini-vegetable patch. Carter selected everything we’re currently growing. Built-in drip irrigation means our veggies actually have a shot at surviving! The grasses, rosemary, and palms planted along the perimeter of the yard will continue to fill in over the years.

How We Designed Our Dream Yard on Apartment 34

The design of our yard makes me smile on a daily basis, but what I love most about this outdoor space is how much we use it. All of it. That is the hallmark of truly good design. We want to be in this space. It works incredibly well for us. I’m sad we’re not currently able to share it with friends and family as was the original intention, but having an outdoor oasis has been our primary survival mechanism during Shelter In Place. And with no end real end to this pandemic in sight, we will be relying on this space for months to come.

How We Designed Our Dream Yard on Apartment 34

The Skagerak Fuori Trolley above is another favorite entertaining accessory. Even if I’m only entertaining myself. It’s the perfect serving cart and adds to my modern vibe. Since it’s made of teak and powder-coated metal it’s also meant to stand up to the elements.

How We Designed Our Dream Yard on Apartment 34

This pea, mint and burrata salad is going to be a go-to all summer long! Recipe coming soon.

How We Designed Our Dream Yard on Apartment 34

I am fully aware how insanely lucky we are to have this outdoor space to help us ride out this crazy time. I had never worked on an outdoor project before and it brought an even deeper appreciation for the art of landscape design and has introduced me to another world of outdoor furniture and accessories. I’m certainly not in a rush to do another yard project of this scale – instead, I plan to cherish our dream yard every single day.

I so hope you enjoyed this tour. If you have additional questions feel free to hit me up in comments!

For all our posts about my yard redesign, CLICK HERE.

landscape designer beth mullins growsgreen / photography by seth smoot / styling by kendra smoot

This post is in partnership with Sunbrella. Thanks for supporting posts that have kept Apartment 34’s doors open. If you’re interested in collaborating with us, please CLICK HERE.

Published at Thu, 09 Jul 2020 19:01:58 +0000

Apartment Living

8 Summer Vacation TV Episodes to Stream

8 Summer Vacation TV Episodes to Stream

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission.

Summer is here but it’s not quite the same. The novel coronavirus has not only changed the way people work, but it has also changed the way people vacation. Sure, countries are beginning to open to tourists and you could technically still travel, but it’s probably not wise to risk getting infected for a few short days of fun in the sun. I’ve put together a list of amazing television episodes that’ll make you feel like you’ve just stepped off the plane to a new destination without having to leave your couch. And the best part? It’s totally risk-free. 

So, grab your suitcase, fill it with snacks, and let’s stream some of the best vacation TV episodes available.

Destination: Summer camp

There’s nothing like a little nostalgia to improve your summer in quarantine. The “Wet Hot American Summer” canon includes the first day at Camp Firewood, the last day of camp (the original 2001 film), and a reunion, ten years later.

Insecure: Season 4, Episode 7 “Lowkey Trippin’”

Destination: Mexico

Season 4 of “Insecure” offered a little bit of everything, including a super sexy baecation for Andrew (Alexander Hodge) and Molly (Yvonne Orji). There was sun, sand, and hotel sex, which are the three key ingredients for the perfect romantic getaway. If you’d prefer a girl’s trip, revisit Season 3’s “High-Like.”

Friends: Season 9, Episode 23 “The One in Barbados”

Destination: Barbados

Follow everyone’s favorite non-ethnically diverse group of “Friends” on a trip to Barbados, where Monica (Courteney Cox) get cornrows, Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) and Joey (Matt LeBlanc) explore their feelings for each other, Charlie (Aisha Tyler) kisses Ross (David Schwimmer), Chandler (Matthew Perry) kicks butt in ping-pong, and Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) reunites with the love of her life.

Sex and the City: Season 3, Episode 13 “Escape from New York”

Destination: Los Angeles 

In this episode, Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) and the rest of the ladies decide to take a trip to the city of Angels, where they realize there’s nowhere like home. The episode features a host of hilarious cameos from Hugh Hefner, Matthew McConaughey, and Carrie Fisher.

Saved by the Bell: Hawaiian Style

Destination: Hawaii 

In this four-part miniseries, Zack (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) and the gang head to The Hawaiian Hideaway, a hotel run by Kelly’s (Tiffani Thiessen) grandfather. At the airport, they run into Mr. Belding (Dennis Haskins) and a group of principals and later convince them to stay at The Hawaiian Hideaway to increase revenue for Kelly’s family. There’s a rich businessman plotting to buy and demolish the Hideaway and Screech (Dustin Diamond) is believed to be a god to the natives.

If you’re a huge fan of the Bayside Bunch, you can also dive into season 4, which mostly takes place at the Malibu Sands Beach Resort. Remember when Zack fell in love with Leah Remini’s Stacey Carosi? 

The Brady Bunch: Season 4, Episodes 3 “The Tiki Caves”

Destination: Hawaii 

Here’s the story of a man named Brady, who took his family and their maid to Hawaii and got cursed by an ancient tiki. The family is forced to deal with surfing injuries, a hostage situation, and a bunch of other unexpected issues. Eventually, everything gets resolved in the three-part vacation special (the first two episodes don’t appear to be streaming), which also featured several famous cameos.

The Golden Girls: Season 4, Episode 16 “Two Rode Together”

Destination: Disney World 

Dorothy (Beatrice Arthur) and Sophia (Estelle Getty) take a much-needed trip to Disney World, but the two women have very different expectations for the trip. Dorothy is looking to reconnect with her mother by taking a stroll down memory lane, but Sophia just really wants to ride Space Mountain. 

90 Day Fiancé: The Other Way

Destination: All around the world

If you’re looking for a less touristy trip, then TLC’s “90 Day Fiancé: The Other Way” is for you. This season, you’ll travel to Jordan, Mexico, India, Colombia, and Ethiopia as you follow the stories of American citizens who’ve decided to relocate in the name of love. The series airs weekly but is also available to stream online.

Published at Tue, 07 Jul 2020 17:45:00 +0000

Apartment Living

Home Buying and Selling During the Pandemic: What You Need to Know

Home Buying and Selling During the Pandemic: What You Need to Know

Technology and good-old-fashioned creativity are helping agents, buyers, and sellers abide by COVID-19 health and safety practices while getting deals done.

Some buyers are touring houses virtually. Others visit in person while remaining at least six feet from their agent. Sellers are hosting open houses on Facebook Live. Appraisers are doing drive-by valuations. Buyers are watching inspections via video call. Masked and gloved notaries are getting signatures on doorsteps.

“We have had to make some adjustments, for sure,” says Brian K. Henson, a REALTOR® with Atlanta Fine Homes / Sotheby’s International Realty in Alpharetta, Ga. “Everyone is trying to minimize face-to-face interactions. There have been some delays, but mostly, deals are getting done, just with tweaks.”

Here’s what home buying and selling during the pandemic looks like.

Showings Go Virtual

The rules around in-person showings vary by city, county, and state. Some allow them and some ban them. Check with your state, county, and local government to get the latest on business closures and shut-down rules.

Agents have conducted home tours via FaceTime and other similar tools for years. But these platforms have proven invaluable for home buying and selling during the pandemic. Real estate sites report a surge in the creation of 3D home tours. Redfin, a real estate brokerage, saw a 494% increase in requests for video home tours in March.

“I’ve done several FaceTime showings,” says Henson. He conducted virtual showings before COVID-19, too. He recently closed a deal on a home the buyers only saw on video, he says, but hasn’t yet done so during the pandemic.

In places where in-person showings are allowed, agents wipe down door handles, spray the lockbox with disinfectant, and open up the house, closets, everything for a client. “We leave all the lights on so no one touches switches, and we don’t touch cabinets or doors during showings,” Henson says.

Safe-Showing Guidelines

The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, which produces HouseLogic, recommends only one buyer enter a home at a time, with 6 feet between each guest. NAR also recommends agents have potential buyers wash their hands, or use hand sanitizer when they come in the door. They should also remove their shoes. No children should be present at showings, either.

“We’re living in extraordinary times and unusual circumstances. If you have the ability to work, you have to be creative,” Mabél Guzmán, a Chicago real estate agent, told NBC News. Guzmán, who is also vice president of association affairs for NAR, has put together a video offering tips and strategies for virtual showings during the pandemic.

Down Payment Help

Many organizations offering down payment assistance to first-time home buyers have temporarily suspended the programs or changed the rules. You can check the status of programs in your area at the Down Payment Assistance Resource site.

Desktop, Drive-By Appraisals

Appraisers are essential workers in many areas, so home valuations are continuing. But often remotely. New, temporary rules from the Federal Housing Finance Authority allow drive-by and desktop appraisals for loans backed by the federal government.

In a desktop appraisal, the appraiser comes up with a home estimate based on tax records and multiple listing service information, without an in-person visit. For a drive-by, the appraiser only looks at the home’s exterior, in combination with a desktop appraisal. The Appraisal Foundation has put out guidelines for handling appraisals during the pandemic. Here’s the FAQ.

And here are specific new appraisal guidelines by agency:

On the other hand, some private lenders still require in-person appraisals, which are allowed even in areas with shutdown orders. Private lenders hold about 35% of first-lien mortgages, according to the Urban Institute

When appraisers come to your home, they should adhere to Centers for Disease Control guidelines, including wearing gloves and a face mask, keeping at least 6 feet apart from anyone in the home, and asking if the homeowners have been sick or traveled recently to a COVID-19 hotspot.

Inspections Via Live Video

Inspectors are now often working alone, no buyers in tow, and using hand sanitizer and alcohol wipes. The National Association of Certified Home Inspectors advises inspectors to videotape their inspection so clients can watch it at home later, or to use FaceTime or other live video chat apps to take their clients along on the inspection, virtually. They can also call clients with their findings after they’re done.

The American Society of Home Inspectors has also issued guidelines for inspectors so they keep themselves and the homeowners safe while providing an accurate assessment of a home’s condition.

Mortgage Rates and Locks

With mortgage rates fluctuating quickly and closing times taking longer than usual, some lenders are extending mortgage rate lock periods. You can grab a good rate and hang on to it even if your lender takes longer than usual to process your loan.

But the protocol depends on the lender and the loan. Some lenders are offering this for all loans; others for refis. Check with your lender about its policy.

Related: How to Get Home Financing

Employment Verification

An important step in getting a mortgage is proving the borrower has a job. In pre-coronavirus days, lenders called the borrower’s employer for a verbal verification.

The Federal Housing Finance Authority, which oversees Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and federal home loan banks, has relaxed the rules for loans backed by the federal government because so many businesses are closed.

Lenders for federally backed loans now accept an email from an employer, a recent year-to-date paystub, or a bank statement showing a recent payroll deposit as proof of employment.


Home buying and selling during the pandemic means real estate agents can conduct the final walk-through via video with their clients. Or they can just open the home and have buyers walk through on their own. Henson says he still accompanies his clients, but stays six feet away and has them wash their hands when entering and exiting the house. Everyone’s wearing masks, too.

And, of course, when the buyers take possession, they should disinfect.

Remote Notarization Depends On Where You Live

About one-half of states have permanent remote online notarization (RON) policies. These allow a notary and signer in different locations to sign electronic document, usually by use of video apps like Zoom or FaceTime. Notaries will watch you sign either a paper document or do an electronic signature on an e-doc, via camera.

Some states have rolled out temporary rules allowing RON. Here’s a state-by-state list of notary law updates, and the type of remote notarizations allowed. The number of states allowing remote notarization could grow as federal and state pandemic legislation expands.

Closings Get Creative

Traditional closings, where everybody gathered around a big table to sign the final papers, are no longer possible. Title companies and banks are getting super creative in dealing with the limitations.

A Minnesota company, Legacy Title, rolled out a drive-thru closing service at one of its offices in an old bank branch building. The title company rep sits in a bank teller window and handles the closing papers while the customer sits in their car. Legacy completed 14 closings in the first week it offered drive-thru service.

Then there are drive-by closings, where the entire transaction takes place in cars. Masked and gloved notaries meet buyers in parking lots and pass documents through car windows.

“I had a closing where the buyer sat in her car the whole time. The attorney came out to her car, gave her paperwork, had her sign in her car, and my buyer never got out of her car,” Birmingham, Ala., agent Isaac McDow told WBRC television.

Says Georgia-based agent Henson, “I’ve had closings the last three weeks [that] I’ve been asked not to attend. There was one where the seller signed two days before buyer. Then the seller came back two days later and signed.”

Henson, who is also licensed in New York, has had to extend closing dates on two sales there since. Co-op boards won’t let non-residents into buildings ­­­– not even an electrician who needs to make repairs as part of an issue that came up in the inspection. He left the closing with an open-ended date.

“It’s all about being really flexible right now,” he says.

TIP: Find out if your county recording office can complete the deal online.

Student Loan Relief

Finally, if you’re also trying to swing your student loan payments, know that federal student loan borrowers get an automatic six-month break in loan payments from April 10, 2020, through Sept. 3, 2020. Thanks to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, they also won’t be charged a dime of interest in that time.

Learn more at the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau’s site.

Keep in mind that payment suspension only applies to federal loans owned by the Department of Education. Some help may be available to borrowers with private student loans and other loans (like Perkins Loans and Federal Family Education Loans) that aren’t covered. But it’s not automatic. Reach out to your student loan servicer for information.

So, Should You Buy or Sell?

The real estate industry is creatively and safely responding to the situation, and mortgage rates remain low. Your agent is a great source of information about home buying and selling during the pandemic to help you feel comfortable. But, ultimately, it’s a question only you can answer.

Related: 5 Questions to Ask Your Agent When Buying a House

Published at Fri, 01 May 2020 21:31:14 +0000

Apartment Living

Home Tour: Old Hollywood Glamour Made New

Home Tour: Old Hollywood Glamour Made New

Tour this house filled with Hollywood history on apartment 34

I remember bookmarking Brigette Romanek’s house after I spied the climbing wall she built in her daughters’ room in Arch Digest. Thankfully, I never showed it to my son because I know that’s all he’d beg for till the end of time. While Brigette’s home is actually a piece of major Hollywood rock n’ roll history (apparently it was a recording studio at one point and every musician you could possibly name has once partied here), it’s the first place Romanek put her unique design perspective to work and it launched her business, Romanek Design Studio.

That’s why it doesn’t surprise me that this self-taught designer’s business is flourishing. In less than two years, Romanek has been name to the AD100 List and is currently juggling more than a dozen projects across residential, commercial and hospitality. She designed the first LA boutique for clothing brand The Great and Chef Ludo’s restaurant Petit Trois and even a home for Queen Bey and JayZ, among many other projects.

Tour this house filled with Hollywood history on apartment 34

But I’m particularly enamored with Brigette’s own abode. It’s another amazing example of how you don’t have to let your space’s architecture limit your style. You might think a house this grand has to be traditional, formal and stuffy. Instead, Romanek has created a perfect mix of vintage and contemporary design pieces – think Jean Royère, Apparatus Studio, Pierre Jeannert, Knoll, Faye Toogoode and more all mashed together with modern art and functional pieces that can really be lived in.

The sunroom is a beautiful bright space to enjoy breakfast.

Tour this house filled with Hollywood history on apartment 34 

A relaxed sectional, vintage rug and Apparatus table lamp are a great mix of casual and elevated styles.

Tour this house filled with Hollywood history on apartment 34

I also love how Romanek uses color in subtle, yet striking ways. Her book collection is the means to add vibrancy to this otherwise neutral library. The pops of blue and pink mimic the colors you see in the artwork dotted throughout the rest of the house.

Like the colorful vintage abstract painting serving as the focal point in her formal dining room.

Tour this house filled with Hollywood history on apartment 34

There’s an art to Romanek’s mixing that could end up jumbled and too disconnected in the wrong hands, but she does an amazing job connecting tones, lines and textures that pull disparate pieces together.

Tour this house filled with Hollywood history on apartment 34

But what I really love about Romanek is that she’s self-taught. Less than 7% of all interior design degrees are going to Black Americans, but Romanek did not let that stop her. Instead, she pursued a passion and champions constant learning and self-improvement. Too often women use a lack of experience or formal education hold them back from starting their own businesses – a concern that doesn’t seem to hinder men nearly as much. Brigette is a wonderful example of simply jumping in and trying – obviously to great success. This is a great article about her journey.

Tour this house filled with Hollywood history on apartment 34

I’m certainly getting a ton of inspiration from this house – from wanting to add a more eclectic mix of art to This Old Victorian, coveting an impressive indoor tree and considering starting my own jumbo crystal collection!

I’m excited to watch where Romanek Design Studio goes from here.

For out entire Home Tour archive, CLICK HERE.

images by nicki sebastian for jenni kayne

Published at Tue, 16 Jun 2020 15:50:13 +0000

Apartment Living

The Ultimate College Apartment Checklist: From Finding a Place to Moving In

The Ultimate College Apartment Checklist: From Finding a Place to Moving In

If you’re getting ready to look for your first college apartment, you’re probably feeling a mix of joy, excitement and even a bit of stress at the task ahead of you. It’s only natural, as renting your first apartment will definitely require a little work. That’s why we put together the ultimate college apartment checklist, packed with everything you need to know to help you move into your first apartment quickly and easily. From establishing a budget to checking the place and watching out for scams, here’s how to find and lock in the perfect new home. 

Jump to:

What’s my moving and renting budget? 

College Apartment Checklist - Budget

The first step on your college apartment checklist is your budget, which you need to figure out before you begin your apartment search. That’s because most of the following steps will depend upon how much money you can and are willing to spend on your future rental. 

But, how do you establish a budget? First, consider all of the costs involved in securing and maintaining your new apartment, and separate your budget into two categories:

Upfront costs 

Upfront costs refer to one-time payments that you generally pay before you move into your new home. For example, landlords and property managers usually have:

  • Move-in fees: These fees cover the first and last month’s rents.
  • Security deposit: It covers any damage you may cause, and will be refunded if the apartment is in good condition when you move out.
  • Application fees: Some properties have an application fee to cover the cost of your background and credit checks. 
  • Holding fees: Landlords may charge this fee to hold your rental unit for a specific period of time prior to signing a lease.
  • Pet fees: Most properties will ask for a pet deposit to cover potential damage, while some will add an additional fee for pet rent.

At the same time, if you plan to use a moving company to transport your belongings to your new place, budget for these services, too.

Recurring costs

Recurring costs refer to the payments you will have to make on an ongoing basis, usually monthly. These largely depend on the amenities your building offers and the arrangement the property has in place regarding utilities. In this category, consider:

  • Rent: How much can you afford to spend on rent? If you have a regular income, establish your budget with a rent affordability calculator. If you don’t, you will also need a co-signer, like one of your parents. 
  • Utilities: Most likely, you’ll split these with the landlord. For instance, most buildings will include water, sewage and garbage in the cost of your rent, while you’ll be responsible for covering the electricity, gas and internet/cable bills. To get an idea of how much you should budget if you’re moving out of state, check out this utility cost breakdown by state
  • Amenities: While apartment buildings are offering an increasing number of amenities which are covered by rent, some buildings may also feature luxury services as add-ons. 

What are my needs as a renter? 

Once you’ve figured out your budget, it’s time to list your needs for your college apartment checklist. But, even before you consider your needs, do some research on the city you want to move to in order to see how much apartments usually go for and what amenities they include. For instance, on, you can find average rents for each city, as well as use the filtering options in the search bar to look into different types of apartments, amenities and neighborhoods. 

After you get an idea of what the rental market looks like, answer the following questions to guide you in your apartment hunt:

What size apartment am I looking for? 

If you’re renting alone, consider whether you want to rent a one-bedroom apartment — which offers more space — or a studio apartment, which is more budget-friendly. Alternatively, if you’re moving in with roommates, determine how many bedrooms you’ll need. 

Renting Small: Main Differences Between Studios and One-Bedroom Apartments

How long will I be renting? 

Rental apartments are typically leased for a fixed period (usually one year) or on a month-to-month basis, and there are pros and cons to both. For example, a yearly lease will get you the best deal on rent. Fixed-term leases also ensure you’ll pay the same amount throughout your lease. Conversely, in monthly contracts, the rent can change each time you renew. What’s more, a one-year contract will protect you from undue evictions, while a monthly lease means your landlord could decide to end your contract from one month to the next. However, a month-to-month lease does offer more flexibility by allowing you to move out whenever you want to without penalty. 

Where will I be renting?

Do you have a car or will you be using public transportation to get to school? With a car, you can move anywhere. But, if you’re planning to use public transit, make sure your apartment is located near a bus, subway or train station.

Meanwhile, consider the type of neighborhood you want to live in. Are you looking for a quiet, residential spot, or do you want to live in the heart of the action? Do some research on the neighborhoods in the area to find the right fit for your needs. Also, remember to check how safe these neighborhoods are. 

What amenities do I need?

Buildings and apartments offer different amenities, and it’s up to you to decide which ones you really want. Below are some of the perks to consider when you’re looking for an apartment. Establish which amenities you absolutely need on your college apartment checklist, and which aren’t necessary, but would be nice to have. This will enable you to be more flexible in your search and to stay on budget. 

  • Appliances: Do you need an in-unit washer and dryer or a laundry room? Are you looking for an apartment with a dishwasher? 
  • Furnishing: Do you need a pre-furnished apartment? These rentals are certainly easier to move into, but they also come with more expensive rents. 
  • Pet friendliness: Do you plan to take a pet with you to college? If so, you’ll need to search for pet-friendly apartments.
  • Air conditioning: While you likely won’t need this one in colder areas, if you’re moving to an apartment in L.A., for example, you’ll definitely need an A/C unit.
  • Parking: If you plan on taking a car with you, try to find a place with a parking space. Street parking isn’t always available and, in some cities, it’s notoriously difficult to find a free spot. 
  • Outdoor spaces & swimming pools: This largely depends on your lifestyle preferences and if you can spare the extra budget for a rooftop garden, a communal terrace or a swimming pool. 
  • Fitness centers: Do you need to have quick access to the gym? Apartment buildings are increasingly offering gyms as an amenity, so you might want to take advantage of this. 

How do I find and assess an apartment?

College Apartment Checklist - Apartment Search

Searching for the perfect apartment is no easy feat. But, if you follow the steps above, you’ll find a great place faster than you might think. 

Furthermore, one of the most important rules in apartment-hunting is considering multiple options. So, make sure you check out a few places before making a final decision. This way, you’ll get to know the market better and get the best possible deal. 

When to start your apartment search

While you can find an apartment at any time of year, you’re much more likely to get a better deal on rent and to tick all the boxes on your college apartment checklist if you start your search early. To get the best possible price for your future apartment, begin your search at least 60 days prior to your move-in date. Also, note that Google Search data shows that May, June and July are peak months for renting — which means you’ll have more competition and prices will be higher during this period. 

How to choose the right apartment

Once you find an apartment that fits your budget and your needs, it’s time to see it in person. When you arrive, ask your guide about the history of the property, the neighborhood and the neighbors. 

Then, during your walkthrough, make sure everything is in working order. Thoroughly inspecting the unit will ensure that you get what you’re paying for and that you’re not moving into a place that will need extra work after you move in. In particular:

  • Examine the walls and floors to see if they have any cracks, holes or leaks. If you find any, take note of or photograph them so you can let the landlord know they were there prior to your occupancy. 
  • Make sure all the lights and light switches work and that they don’t have any burn marks around them.
  • Check to see if the thermostat works. Turn on both the heat and the A/C to confirm that they’re in proper working condition.
  • Monitor the windows and doors to check for drafts.
  • Look for any signs of mold in the apartment.
  • Take note of any smells and investigate the source. 
  • Make sure everything in the bathroom is in working condition. Turn on the faucets and shower to check the water pressure and the drains. 
  • Turn on appliances to make sure they work correctly. 
  • Check the cabinets for any squeaky or wobbly doors. 

While you’re there, take a walk through and around the building to get to know the property and the neighborhood. After all, you won’t be living in a vacuum.

How do I review and sign a lease?

College Apartment Checklist - Lease

When you find the perfect apartment, lock it in as soon as possible. You can opt to hold it for a while (as explained earlier), but when you’re ready to move in, you’ll have to provide certain documents and sign a lease agreement. 

What documents do I need?

Normally when renting an apartment, landlords will expect you to provide your rental and credit history. However, real estate professionals are aware that they’re managing apartments in a student area, and typically, when you have no or very limited credit history, a co-signer will be required.

Additionally, be prepared to provide your landlord with the following information: 

  • Your social security number and birthdate
  • Pay stubs or bank statements to prove your income if you have a job
  • A co-signer’s information if you don’t have a credit or rental history  
  • Personal references 

How do I review the lease?

Even if you think you’ve found your dream apartment, scrutinize the lease agreement so you know what you’re legally committing yourself to. Specifically, check the terms of the lease carefully and ensure the things you talked about with the property manager or landlord are included. Then, discuss the questions below with the person you’re signing the agreement to make sure they’re in line with your college apartment checklist:

  • How do I make the payments?
  • Are there late fees? If so, how and when are they charged?
  • Which utilities are included in my rent? 
  • Are there any circumstances under which you can enter my apartment without notifying me first? 
  • How do you manage repairs? Is there a separate process for emergency repairs?
  • How much advance notice do you need if I decide to move out?
  • Under which circumstances would my security deposit not be refunded? How long does it take to refund a security deposit?
  • Do you have a guest policy? What are the terms? 
  • Can I sublet the apartment outside of the school year? 
  • If I move out in the middle of the month, will you prorate my rent? 

The Nitty-Gritty of Paying the Fair Amount – Prorated Rent Explained

How do I get a roommate?

College Apartment Checklist - Rommates

If you plan to share your apartment with a roommate, do everything you can to pick one who you’ll be happy living with. While there’s no exact science to choosing the perfect roommate, consider the following to make sure you’ll live in harmony:

What type of relationship are you looking for? 

Do you just want someone to pay half the rent, or are you looking for a person you can become friends with? If it’s the latter, you might want to talk about your goals and interests to see if you have things in common to bond over. 

Do your personalities match? 

Even if you’re both fantastic people, certain personalities just don’t work well together, so try to find someone with a temperament similar to yours. For example, if you don’t like to party, you’re probably better off with someone similar. On the other hand, if you’re a social butterfly, you might want to look for someone more extroverted and upbeat. 

Do you have similar cleaning habits? 

Some people are avid cleaners and organizers, while others care less about these things. You and your roommate should have similar expectations in this area. Otherwise, both of you might end up disgruntled. 

Do you have healthy communications with each other? 

We all have our quirks and anxieties, so it’s essential to find someone you can easily communicate with. Even if you end up being the best of friends, you still need to make sure you can talk about the good and the bad without fear or aggression. Because temperament defines communication more than your morals or values, this can be a problem even among the best of us. 

To find the perfect roommate, browse local Facebook groups and message boards. Or, check out these roommate apps, which can help you find your ideal match while taking the hassle out of the search. Then, once you’ve found a potential roommate, here are some questions to ask to see if you’re going to get along well.

How do I protect myself as a renter? 

Avoiding Scams

Unfortunately, as is the case with any housing option, you might run into scams or people who don’t have your best interests at heart. That’s why it’s important to learn how to avoid scams and protect yourself while renting.

Beware of scams

The first rule in avoiding scams is that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. That’s why you should always use reputable websites like, which has 100% verified listings. 

However, if you use websites that don’t verify their listings, get to know the area you’re renting in, especially when it comes to pricing. For instance, if the price of an apartment is much lower than you’d expect in a specific neighborhood, research it carefully. Below are a few scam-checking steps for your college apartment checklist:

  • Check the rental company and make sure it has a credible website. Google its name alongside keywords like “scam,” “review” or “complaint.” 
  • If you found the apartment on a listing website, make sure it’s also listed on the rental company’s website, if they have one. 
  • Ask for identification when touring to make sure you’re talking to a professional working at the company that manages the property. 
  • Never pay with cash or wire transfers. Only make payments to real entities that you can track and follow up with. 
  • Never give out your personal information to someone who hasn’t identified themselves.

If you come across a sketchy property or apartment and think it may be a scam, report it to the police to help others stay safe. 

Renter protection laws 

Know what your rights are so you can protect yourself in the event that anything happens. Each state has different rules regarding renter protections, so be sure to understand yours. 

On a federal level, you are protected against discrimination of any kind, and your landlord is obligated to make reasonable accommodations for you if you have a disability. You also have the right to safety. As such, your property manager or landlord must quickly make any repairs in the event that your home poses a danger to your health. 

When it comes to evictions, your landlord can only begin this process if you break the terms of the lease. In this scenario, they would have to inform you of your wrongdoing first and then offer you the opportunity to correct the issue. Only after you fail to do so can they file an eviction proceeding in court, while also giving you notice so you can participate. When you receive these notices depends upon the individual state laws. If your landlord wins the case, you will be evicted. You’ll also likely be ordered to pay any late fees and cover the costs to repair any damage you may have caused.  

Finally, your landlord cannot withhold your security deposit unless you break the terms of the lease and cause damage to the rental. Once again, each state has specific legislation as to how large this deposit can be and when it should be returned to you. 

How Not to Lose Your Deposit – The Superhero Edition

Renters insurance

Renters insurance is an added cost, but it should definitely go on your college apartment checklist. Just like any type of insurance, it will save you a lot of time and money if you need it. This is also why some buildings require you to have renters insurance before you move in. 

Renters insurance generally costs between $12 and $25 a month, but it compensates up to $30,000 in property damage and $100,000 in liability damage. Therefore, if disaster strikes, it will cover both your medical bills and the cost to replace your belongings. At the same time, if something happens to your apartment and you have to leave it, renters insurance typically covers a few nights in a hotel or the cost of a temporary rental. Finally, you’ll also be compensated even if you were responsible for the damage.

Next steps on your college apartment checklist  

Moving Out

Once you’ve found your new home and signed the lease agreement, it’s time to make a college apartment checklist for your move! To pack mindfully and have everything ready to go on moving day, follow the steps below:

  • Start getting the furniture and items your new apartment is missing. If you have one or more roommates, make sure you check with them first, so you don’t end up duplicating necessities.
  • Set up all the utilities you will manage — such as internet and cable — so you can use them as soon as you move in. 
  • If you have a car, ensure your insurance policy and check-ups are up-to-date, and change the oil if you haven’t in a while.  
  • Cancel any memberships and subscriptions you have in your old hometown, and look for alternatives near your new home.
  • Divide your belongings into essentials and nice-to-haves, and make a donation pile for the things you won’t need again. Pack up the essentials first, and then move on to the nice-to-haves. If you don’t have much space, consider leaving items that may be easily replaceable in your new town. 
  • Get packing supplies. To save time and money, buy these after you know what you’re taking with you.
  • Pack an essentials kit to get you through the first couple of days when you’re still unpacking your things. This should include any medications, personal care items, electronics and chargers you will need immediately. 
  • Get all the supplies you’ll need to clean your apartment and don’t forget trash bags and other home necessities. 
  • Make sure all of the important people in your life have your new address.

And, there you have it, the ultimate college apartment checklist to make your move a stress-free experience. Remember to carefully assess your needs, use reputable websites with verified listings and check out at least a few places before making a final decision. Now, go out there and find your new apartment!

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Published at Fri, 19 Jun 2020 09:30:02 +0000