Renting an Apartment is Just Better

 

With all the renting choices out there nowadays how is anyone supposed to know which option is best? Today we will talk about the benefits of renting an apartment and why this might just be the best alternative for you and your family. Let us consider location, management, contracts, and safety.

Apartments are found everywhere. It seems that wherever you look another apartment community has found its way into the city. This is good for competitive pricing and variable floor plans, but you’ll have your work cut out for you in finding the perfect home. Because apartments can be found just about anywhere, you are not restricted in your location which makes your commute to work possibly easier and your ability to find an affordable place in your choice area more feasible.   Apartments are now found in urban and suburban areas. You are also not restricted to just a few design options, and so you can find something that truly suits all the needs of your family. Lofts are typically located only in industrious parts of town and command higher prices.

 

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 11.47.35 AM

Unlike with condominiums, apartments have management companies with managers on duty to resolve issues of safety and concern. They often even employ an on call community officer. The manager also takes care of repairs so that you don’t have to deal with having a broken dish washer or a security lock that doesn’t work. Because the manager oversees all the property in the community, he is held accountable by a number of people ensuring a responsible manger. An owner of a condominium is usually only answerable to one or two tenants, and though the HOA is supposed to handle issues of external repair, safety and concern, they can take longer because of voting hassles.

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 11.49.14 AM

Many condo owners don’t have detailed contracts and some don’t offer contracts at all; therefore, you are not legally secure should something go wrong. Apartment communities are in the business of renting 24/7, 365 days a year. The contracts offered by the managers are binding and so you can be rest assured that you have legal recourse should the apartment community neglect their responsibilities.

You will have a constant home for the next 7-12 months, depending on your lease and you will have the right to quick repairs.

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 11.50.50 AM

Because apartment communities are in the business of renting, and only renting, they have a system of background checks already in place. The manager will check previous employers, credit history, criminal history, and more. Sometimes apartments are able to do this thoroughly because they go through the court system, do interstate checks for criminal and civil courts. Often the apartment is contractually obligated to do these security checks for their tenants. The thorough background inquiry can let you and your family feel safe that no one in the community has a dangerous past.

 

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 11.52.46 AM

Make sure you consider all the benefits of your choice apartments in downtown Dallas!

7 copy

Follow the Frog Every Weekend!

 

 

 

Fresh Foods While Living in an Apartment

In todays fast paced world, fresh is becoming a nonexistent word. Between fast food at every block and microwavable meals at every grocery store, our country has become one of instant food consumption. What if we could enjoy the taste and nutrients fresh food has to offer, while not sacrificing much of our time in preparation and cooking?

Gardens can become difficult to manage and so many people opt out of having one at all; however, what if the garden was a manageable size on a porch or balcony? Repurposing your old shoe organizer, chairs, buckets, dressers, bread pans, old containers, or mugs as places to grow plants, vegetables and fruits as well as for gardening storage will give you a whole new outlook. The gorgeous colors and smells will invite you outside every time you are home.

 

Screen Shot 2014-07-01 at 11.40.40 AM

Carrots, cabbage, bush beans, cucumbers, lettuce, snap peas, and radishes are some of the easy-to-grow vegetables for your garden. It won’t take much to get these fresh foods healthy. If you are a fruit lover try strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, dwarf figs, blackberries, Goji berries, and currants. Use small containers to keep the growth controlled. Imagine coming home to a fresh fruit salad.

 

Screen Shot 2014-07-01 at 11.43.04 AM

But what is a fruit salad without mint? Try fixing a frame over your porch wall or outside door and hang old glass jars or let a few pots sit on your kitchen window sill. Mint, basil, chives, dill, garlic, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage and thyme are just a few of the easy-to-grow herbs that won’t take too much of an effort, but will add more flavor and nutrients to any dish you cook.

 

Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 3.16.45 PM

You might also try frequenting your local farmer’s market for fresh vegetables and fruits that you can’t grow personally. This not only supports local farmers in your area, but you will be supplied with many fresh, favorable foods. Sometimes you can even find jars of honey. The produce provides real flavors, and in-season produce like corn in the summer or pumpkin for fall. Local farmer markets often offer an array of foods you don’t find at your supermarket such as red carrots or watermelon radishes or quail eggs. You know where your food is coming from and that the meat you buy has not been raised with hormones or antibiotics. Because there is little transportation involved at these local markets when compared to supermarkets, you will also be helping the environment.

 

Screen Shot 2014-07-01 at 12.27.47 PM

 

When is the best time to cook? With our busy schedules, finding time for meals can be stressful. Most people have free time on the weekends and so the best day to preplan for meals is often Sunday. Whether after church or early in the morning, going over a few recipes that you would like to eat during the week will help get you started. An alternative to cooking every day is to prepare your meals on Sunday as well. Think of three main dishes you want that week. Double up on the recipe so it is enough for two days. Perhaps a chicken pasta, burritos, and Asian beef with snow peas. Utilize your fresh vegetables and herbs. Make sure all the meat and vegetables are cut properly and measured correctly. Add your spices, cook pastas and rices, fill and roll the burritos. Store all the prepared food in tupperware or plastic bags and place in the freezer or fridge. When Monday hits, all you have to is take out the tupperware of chicken pasta and cook in the pan. When Tuesday arrives, you cook the beef and then your burritos are done. Thursday lets you wind down after work when all you have to do for dinner is pour the tupperware of rice, beef, and vegetables into a Wok and stir.

 

Screen Shot 2014-07-01 at 12.29.02 PM

Maybe you need a break on Sunday and do no cooking? Postpone the routine to Monday and host a dinner party! Invite several families over who will bring at least one meal each with drink. Provide entertainment, plates, and dining area. Not only will your taste buds thank you for the varied ingredients, you will open yourself to learning more recipes and have additional ideas for your own cooking weeks.

Whether you grow a garden in your downtown Dallas apartment or rely on the local farmer’s market, taking time to eat right will make you a happier and healthier person.

7 copy

Follow the Frog Every Weekend!

 

Noise Control in Your Apartment

Noise Control in Your Apartment

      Whether you have kids or live alone, noise control may be an issue if you live in an apartment. Perhaps you like to have the television or the radio on at high volumes in the evening as you cook in the kitchen? Maybe your kids enjoy playing games in the living room when they get home from school? If you’ve had noise complaints in the past or if you fear you might in the future, a few of these tips below could be useful for you to avoid any possible problems.

Screen Shot 2014-06-28 at 6.05.48 PM

    How to soften the sounds of television and radio:  Many times the loudest sounds traveling from the electronic equipment is the bass. If you insist on having the radio or television on loudly so you can hear it better because you are in another room or just hard of hearing, you might try making sure the bass is turned to a lower level. This will help keep the sound from permeating into your neighbors quarters.

Another tip is in sound proofing your living room. One way of practically sound proofing is to make sure your living space is carpeted or has plenty of wool rugs. This helps to absorb sounds. Thick curtains and wall tapestries can also aid in this goal. Another way to achieve sound proofing is in creating white noise. Try using a fan in the room, an air conditioner unit or an air purifier. Because of the background noise, this may help muffle some of the sounds from the television or radio and soften the noise for your neighbors a bit.

You might also try muffling the speakers with a towel to lessen sound sharpness. Using a towel to cover a few vents temporarily will also reduce the sound travel if the television will by very loud one evening. Another suggestion is to place the television or radio in the kitchen while you cook so the volume doesn’t have to be on so high.

Some of these ideas you might also offer to a neighbor who is too loud.

Screen Shot 2014-06-28 at 6.06.23 PM

How to keep your kids quiet: Kids need to keep their bodies and minds active and for many parents this can become a point of frustration in appeasing their children’s needs versus keeping the noise level down for neighbors. If you are in this category try a few of these easy suggestions.

Form an Activity Center in the corner of your living room by putting a small table with two child sized chairs there. Keep a treasure chest of activities close by that require sitting and thinking. Coloring books with crayons, building Legos, building things out of recycled materials, a mini radio with headphones, play dough, and board games are just a few ideas. Box up each activity and store it in the treasure chest.

Another suggestion for those children who need lots of physical movement is to first make sure they have their shoes off when inside and second to have an after-school schedule set for physical activity where they can run around on the playground for thirty minutes before heading inside into the apartment.

Screen Shot 2014-06-28 at 6.06.40 PM

For parents who can’t be home to supervise their child on the playground, try setting up an indoor, quiet gymnastic routine with your child that is practiced on the weekends while you are there and which your child performs during the week on his or her own shortly after school. This can be anything from stretches to simple leg lifts and arm circles, to even yoga. This regular exercise everyday really can make a difference. Tell them you will watch the final routine on the following Saturday. This gives them a goal to aim for as well as keeps their bodies active. This hour after school performance will keep them healthy and the later part of your day and evening hopefully more quiet as neighbors start to come home from work.

If your kid(s) would like to have several friends over at once and you think there is a good chance that it might get rowdy, one suggestion is a McD’s playground outing.  This way you get to keep them from making too much noise in your apartment but at the same time allow them let loose.

We hope these tips will help you in your downtown Dallas apartments!

 

7 copy

Follow the Frog every Weekend!

 

A Studio or a Loft?

What is the difference between a studio and a loft and how does one decide which is best for his or her own needs?

Let us take a look at studio apartments first. Studios typically run in size about 200-400 square feet. They are usually boxy and have partitions for the bathroom and kitchen. Sometimes they even have a foyer. While studios are known for combining the living room, kitchen and bedroom they can have various floor plans that will make them vary greatly.

Screen Shot 2014-06-12 at 11.29.49 AM

Specifically studios just combine the living space and bedroom. So, you can find studios where the dining room is set aside by a small wall, but that is rare. You can also find studios that even offer a separate area with for a washer/dryer unit or offer a porch and even a sauna, though these require some searching.

Some studios have a kitchen while others have none at all. Most studios have their own bathroom, but in rare cases the room might not have a bathroom either. If the studio does not have a bathroom or a kitchen, then those facilities are typically supplied as a common area shared by other tenants.

Studios lack open floor plans, because they typically have partitions. Because the space of the studio is more boxy, the windows and ceiling are generally not so big. A studio sits inside of privately owned apartment buildings and is found in towns where the population is growing, even in the suburbs.

Screen Shot 2014-06-12 at 11.51.52 AM

So how does a loft differ from a studio?

Lofts have an open floor plan and are often more spacious than studios because they don’t have interior walls or partitions. A loft has higher ceilings and can be much bigger in square footage than a studio because of the openness the space offers. Typically lofts run a higher cost of rent each month compared to their studio counterpart.

Lofts are popular in urban areas, because housing and space is much more expensive. They are also considered more high class than a studio. Studios can pop up anywhere from an extra room in a house to a room in an apartment. Lofts are made when an old factory or warehouse is converted into space for living. Instead of destroying the factory or warehouse, they are utilized to generate rent. This makes lofts more rare and thus more expensive and considered more elite than a studio.

Because factories and warehouses have architectural differences compared to apartments and homes, this allows for loft spaces to have amazing ceilings, larger windows, and gorgeous open floor plans. As you can see in the image provided, there are two bedrooms but they are built into the living and dining space and are not closed off as they would be in a one bedroom.   

Screen Shot 2014-06-12 at 12.01.27 PM

Why would anyone want a studio or loft? Aren’t they crummy and cramped? Well it turns out that those words described smaller rooms of the past, but in today’s modern age the mini-pad or micro-unit, studio and loft are not only cool, they are cost effective. For those of you who don’t know already, a mini-pad or micro-unit is another name for a studio and the terminology is most often utilized by New Yorkers.

People who have little money or are frugally minded will enjoy the idea of a studio or loft. Minimalists, long-distance commuters and people who spend very little time at the apartment will also benefit from the layout a studio and loft have to offer.

Neither is ideal for a family, but if you do a lot of entertaining or just like a more cozy open space to live in then a loft is probably for you. If you are looking for a place for a single person to simply study for school or just go to work then a studio is more likely your best choice. If you like to live in a most industrial area then lofts are for you. If you like the feel of a neighborhood and a residential community then you will enjoy the studio.

Whether you are searching for a studio or loft in downtown Dallas, remember your needs and evaluate which will best suite you!

7 copy

Follow the Frog every weekend!

 

What Does Size Have To Do With It?

 

In America many people are told that bigger is better, but what do you really prefer? Are you  partial to the size a palace offers or would you prefer an area just big enough for a bed and a few items? Often bigger just means more expenses and problems to solve, so we should really think carefully about what we need to use the space for month to month. Everybody is different and this remains true for what preferences a person has for room size as well.

Screen Shot 2014-06-08 at 1.52.16 PM

Apartments come in all shapes and sizes, so considering the perfect community for you can become daunting. Most apartments can range in size from 300 to 2000 square feet, depending on the location, community, and floor plan. So, how do you know what is right for you? You must ask yourself, “How much space do I need for myself, for my family, and for my furnishings?”

Studious and stylish or crafty and homey, studios offer a cozy small size where a common area generally keeps your bed and sofa. The studio today is often an attractive option for people who are frugal minded. Studios usually offer square footage somewhere between 300 and 400 and so in some circles, especially in New York, the studio is called a micro-pad. However, a small room and low rental price is perfect for some people, especially when you don’t have much furniture or a family to take care of in that space. If guests are also not a priority then this sized room might be best for you. If you like the small size of studios, but want a more square and open space than the studios in your area have to offer, you might also consider a loft.

One bedroom apartments offer privacy for renters who want to have a door between their bed and the living area. The square footage can range from 400 to 1000. This appeals to tenants who might have guests over on a regular basis and want that added bedroom privacy and for renters who might have more furniture. A drawback on a one bedroom is that you might be spending more money not only on rent, but also on electric since they typically have more square footage than studios. This is something to keep in mind before you decide.

Screen Shot 2014-06-08 at 1.54.13 PM

While 700 to 2000 is a big range to choose from for a two bedroom, you will have to be careful when picking out which two bedroom apartment best suits you. If you want an apartment with a window in every room, space in the bedrooms for not only a bed but for extra furnishings and a walk in closet, you are looking at most likely a 1000 square foot minimum. If you don’t mind sacrificing the walk in closet and having limited space in each bedroom, then you could opt for a two bedroom at less than a thousand square feet.

However, you must also consider your needs in the living and dining spaces. If you have a large dining table then you may need a big dining room and if your sofa wraps around the entire living room wall or you have a piano or pool table then your living room will need to be suitably sized for the extra furnishings as well. If you’re looking for a small two bedroom, those extra rooms can quickly add on size.

 

Screen Shot 2014-06-08 at 1.55.08 PM

Perhaps the furniture is not where you need the extra space, but for your children? If you want a large area for your kids to safely play indoors or you want a porch for plants, this will also need to be accounted for in the square footage.

All these needs quickly add up and extra space means more money per month, so before you go out and sign a lease please make sure you consider all the relevant facts of your life and what size apartment would best suit you in apartments of Dallas.

7 copy

Follow the Frog every weekend!

 

 

 

 

What’s Your Apartment Layout?

When you look for an apartment you might not put much thought into an apartment layout, but depending on your needs and family size the layout could end up being very important. Perhaps you are a single man who invites many guests over each week? Maybe you are a married couple with one small child? Or perhaps you share a space with your sister or friend and don’t keep much company? How you live and who you live with are key factors in determining the best floor plan for you in your apartment.

Studios and lofts often offer a cozy space where your bed, dining table and kitchen all share a common area. If you are a single person who doesn’t keep many guests, this kind of living arrangement will appeal to you. Also, students on a budget and people who need to pinch pennies may find a studio or loft very suitable.

The layout of most studios and lofts is open so if you are the kind of person who needs some privacy when guests visit, keep this fact in mind. Some rooms may have short walls that protrude from the main wall to help divide space, but not most. Therefore, if you are a single person on a tight budget who still wants to have many guests over, try looking for a layout that has these short inside protruding walls which can be used to keep a private bedroom.

Below on the left is a layout where the kitchen and bathroom are separated from the bedroom and living areas by a wall. The kitchen is roomy because of this division. If cooking is important to you, this type of layout may be essential. However, if a small kitchenette is adequate for your living arrangements, the middle floor plan shows that you don’t have to sacrifice having a foyer. If you like to hang coats, hats and lay shoes next to the door, then you may need one. Still, if you’d rather have more living and bedroom space and give up the access to a kitchen then the last floor plan might appeal to you more.

Screen Shot 2014-06-01 at 4.06.35 PM  Screen Shot 2014-06-01 at 4.04.48 PMScreen Shot 2014-06-01 at 4.10.13 PM

If you plan on sharing the apartment with your child or with a friend then you might be better suited for a one or two bedroom. Some parents like having their baby or toddler in a crib beside their bed. In this case, a one bedroom is enough and other considerations for the layout might be where the bedroom is in relation to the rest of the home. Sometimes, the living room and bedroom are divided by the space of the kitchen. In this case, you might prefer relaxing in your bedroom while your young child plays in the living room. This distance could offer you some desperately needed quiet time. However, you may prefer a living room which is directly next to the bedroom on the floor plan, enabling you to walk in quickly and hear what is going on in the next room easily. Still, you might want a layout that offers a large porch or sunroom in addition to the bedroom and living space for some extra gardening or a room for your child to play.

Screen Shot 2014-06-01 at 4.42.16 PMScreen Shot 2014-06-01 at 4.41.41 PM

Screen Shot 2014-06-01 at 4.41.54 PM

Perhaps your older child needs his or her own room, or you live with a sister or friend? In this case you might have to opt for the two bedroom. You need to think about where each room is in connection to the other. If you plan on getting a roommate, you might want him or her at the opposite end of the apartment from your bedroom. However, if you plan on using one room for your child you might want that bedroom as close to your own as possible so you can keep your eyes and ears on the child’s room.

Some tenants boast that their current one bedroom feels larger than the two bedroom they once had, simply because of the layout. This is because if the two bedroom tends to have a vertical floor plan where one room is connected to the other in a straight line, the apartment can feel long and cumbersome. A friend of mine once had an apartment where after the front door she walked straight into the kitchen and from there she would walk right into her bedroom. She had to go through the first bedroom to get to the lounge and then to the following second bedroom.

Contrasting her bad floor plan to a one bedroom which feels larger… if the one bedroom layout from the front door leads into a foyer which opens up into a living room with open walls revealing a kitchen, you will already feel more space. The square arrangement versus the vertical arrangement can make a big difference.

In the end, you must do your homework when exploring your downtown Dallas apartment options and think about all your needs as well as those who will be living with you, who will be visiting and ultimately if the apartment feels like home.

 

7 copy

Follow the Frog every Week!

Why Renting is Better than Owning

Whether you live in an apartment, loft, or house the question remains,  “Is it better to rent or to buy?” Often this question is best answered when considering a multiple list of factors. How long do you plan to live in the area? How well do you know your area? Is your job secure or do you see yourself doing something else down the road? Do you mind having the bulk of your money tied up in a home? Have you considered all the hidden costs? Do you mind handling upkeep and maintenance responsibilities?

Because many people like to move around you have to think about how long you want to stay in a particular location. Some people are content never leaving the city they grew up in and know after college they want to live near the old neighborhood. Perhaps family and old friends live in walking distance.

But for most people, traveling and exploring your world is like second nature. Maybe you’re restless or just see yourself somewhere else than you currently live. If you only plan on staying in a place for a few years because you would like to travel elsewhere, than buying a place is not such a good idea. Selling can be difficult and when you add in closing costs and every expense put into the home you will likely lose more than you’ve gained.

Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 8.20.49 PM

Renting allows you to be flexible and changeable. Maybe you are not sure exactly where you want to settle just yet. You have the ability to just move. Or maybe you are not sure about the neighborhood where you plan to live. If you’ve only visited the location or have only spent a bit of time there you may not really be aware of all the pros and cons of living there. You might find that the cons far out weight the pros.

Often someone has to live in an area for at least a year to know whether the place is a good choice for them. Become familiar with the traffic, the people, the lifestyle before settling on it. Renting lets you do this without any huge financial commitments and you can feel at ease knowing the neighborhood might not work out and you may just need to relocate.

Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 8.24.37 PM

Jobs are essential when paying the bills and if you have an added mortgage to pay you will need to have a reliable job. If you are not happy with your current position and see yourself working somewhere else soon or if you fear the employers might be laying off employees in months to come, then these are very good reasons to not buy a house.

When you buy a house, you become responsible for the mortgage, taxes, and insurance every month. If you miss too many payments the bank can repossess your house—a home you might have already put tons of money into—and between the down payment and the equity you’ll find that a bulk of your money is likely tied up in the house.  Additionally, if you do not pay your taxes, your home can be foreclosed on as well if you do not pay your insurance, this will likely violate your loan agreement.

Screen Shot 2014-05-26 at 9.10.19 AM

If you need your money to be more liquid and not tied up, or if you feel your job might not be as reliable as you like to keep up on mortgage payments then renting is a good idea. Renting frees you so that you don’t have to fear that down the road you might just loose your place as well as the bulk of money you left as a down payment.

Owning can often mean owing. Not only do you owe the bank for your loan while you’ve tied up the bulk of your money in the downpayment, but also property tax, home insurance, and possible HOA fees as well. All these extra fees add up and while you can take a tax deduction on mortgage interest and property tax, you’ll find these additional fees make owning more expensive than renting.

Screen Shot 2014-05-26 at 9.13.16 AM

When you rent you are free of having to pay HOA fees, home insurance and property tax, not to mention the large down payment. Also, if you want the bulk of your money to work for you in mutual funds, stocks or simply safe at the bank in a CD you have this option. So, if you want to save instead of paying out on various hidden costs with buying a home, renting is an excellent choice.

Other hidden costs which can be typically avoided if you rent include general maintenance such as plumbing, HVAC, electrical, plus water, garbage, sewage, and pest control.  All these expenses add up and can really cut into your savings.

Instead of owing to own, consider that apartment renting is better than buying and look at apartments in downtown Dallas to find a community to suit all your needs.

7 copy

Follow the Frog every weekend!

 

 

Why Apartments are Better than Houses

At first glance some people might say houses are better than apartments. However there are a number of reasons that illustrate why apartment communities are more suitable than housing.

The first obvious motivations have to do with upkeep. Most woman will tell you that the dust never ends. No matter how much we dust, there is always more to clean. Each day ensures more. The more rooms and furniture, the more dust there is to clean. Because apartments tend to be smaller in size than houses, dusting and cleaning the home in general usually tends to be an easier job in an apartment.

 

Screen Shot 2014-05-18 at 12.14.31 PM

Upkeep also applies to the yard, garbage and the pool. If you live in a house you are responsible for tending to the yard and ensuring the grass is mowed and the garden is pleasant in appearance. Many neighborhoods have strict regulations regarding this. If you have a green thumb you may enjoy the gardening aspect, but mowing can be a chore. In an apartment you don’t have to worry about the lawn and if you like gardens or herbs you can plant your own on your porch or in your kitchen. Please see our article Make a Garden in your Rental to learn more.

 

Screen Shot 2014-05-18 at 12.14.56 PM

Likewise, if you live in a house and have a pool you will need to take charge of the chlorine and PH balance as well as clearing out the fallen leaves and cleaning the dirt in the pool. Most people use a Creepy Crawler to help with this, but this is another expense and when it breaks you will also need to pay for repairs. Apartment communities usually have pools and someone else in charge of maintaining it. You only have to enjoy and relax.

Garbage pick up and pest control are other benefits of living in a complex. The manager of the complex takes care of these concerns for you. In a house, you will have to make sure you pay the bills for each and ensure that you follow the schedule. Garbage usually goes out on specific days. If there is a bug problem, apartment management will have to handle it and you won’t be out costs.

Another bonus to living in an apartment instead of a house is that the property manager handles any other general maintenance issues as well such as faulty plumbing, a broken dish washer, air condition failure, electrical problems. As soon as you move into a house, you become the sole person accountable for everything. This means upkeep, replacing broken items, and installing new parts that are needed. These duties take time, thought and money to resolve.

 

Screen Shot 2014-05-18 at 12.15.45 PM

Apartments generally have less space than houses. Smaller areas are easier to manage, and they allow for more secure living because you can see most of the space and hear what is going on in near by rooms. In houses, the area can be very big, dividing you from the other rooms by many yards. Often, you can’t hear what is going on in the next room and if you have kids this can be a noticeable drawback.

 

Screen Shot 2014-05-18 at 12.16.21 PM

The difference in size is also amplified when you are alone. Bigger spaces tend to have more strange sounds and echoes, and are often scarier to stay in when alone. Houses also tend to have more doors and windows to secure which means more ways for burglars to break in and because there are many rooms this makes it harder to recognize if there is an intruder.

You must also consider that the more space you have to live in, the more furniture you will need to buy or rent. This can be a huge cost and drawback. Compare filling up a house with two bedrooms (usually more), two bathrooms, a living room, dining room, kitchen, large porch and possibly an office space with that of a smaller apartment. An apartment with two bedrooms, one and half baths, a small kitchen with a linked dining/living room unit, and a tiny side porch is much easier to fill. The square footage is significantly lower.

You could save hundreds or even thousands. Who says bigger is better? Big deals often come in small packages, so check out the apartments in Dallas and see how you can not only live more comfortably but how you can save money as well!

7 copy

Follow the Frog Every Weekend!

Why rent an apartment in Houston?

Why would anyone want to rent in the  Downtown Houston apartments as opposed to somewhere else in America?

For one Houston has the highest growth in jobs over other cities. It ranks number two in the number of Fortune 500 headquarters the city offers. Many of these companies are leaders in energy. Its booming oil and gas industry offers a variety of jobs to those looking for work and with the changes in energy as our country merges in more green sources, even more jobs will be created.

 

Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 8.12.35 PM

Are you an astronaut or a rocket scientist? If you are in the field of the sciences or are in the health care profession, Houston also has the highest concentration of people in this field. Don’t let your health qualifications go to waste, use them in Houston and make the most out of the money you earn.

In Houston, the percentage of jobs recovered through March 2013 was 230.5% as compared to Dallas which fell in at the number two spot with 164.2%. Washington hangs in the third spot. But New York, Miami, Chicago, and Los Angeles all fall below the top five. Because of this job growth, unemployment is way below the national average.

If you are looking for employment, Houston is the place to be now!

Houston land is affordable! One of the reasons for this is because there is simply so much land. Another reason is because Houston didn’t experience the housing bubble like other cities in the nation did. Therefore, apartments are more reasonably priced in Houston than in many other international and cosmopolitan cities in the country. If you look for a place uptown then there are many fine apartments to choose from now and if you can’t find something you like now, something else is bound to just pop up soon.

Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 8.12.22 PM
The cost of living is also low. The price to go out to eat or buy a ticket for the theater is lower when compared to New York or Los Angeles or other major cities. For this reason, the money earned stretches farther in Houston than other comparable cities. This means more savings for you.

They have amazing taco trucks and other food trucks in the area. Because of the international background of the people living there, from Indian, to Asian, to Texan, there is a wide variety of delicious cuisine to choose from in the area. In fact Houston recently surpassed New York in the diversity of ethnic peoples.

Sports fans will get their fix from the city with a rich sporting culture or by dimly listening to the wide range of sports radio offered there. Houston has teams in every major sport except hockey.

Everyone knows the Dallas Cowboys and cheerleaders. Also try following the Houston Texans, Houston Rockets, Houston Astros, or the Houston Dynamo. The Houston Astros even advanced to the world series in 2006.

Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 8.12.06 PM

Everyone wants to visit because of the Livestock Show and Rodeo, cultural landmarks like the Astrodome and the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, the grass-roots arts organizations that produce unique work on shoe-string budgets, and beautiful parks. All of this makes this city a unique for everyone. If you are a park lover, than you should know that Houston has more parks than her leading city counterparts. The way the city is structured is very sensible as well. A driver will have to try hard to get lost in Houston. There are no crazy street layouts.

But above all of this, the Houston people are some of the most friendly, especially for a metropolitan area! You will never find a polite taxi driver in New York or Los Angeles.

If you have never thought about Houston as a place to live or even for a visit, consider it today. You won’t regret it.

Follow the frog every weekend!

7 copy

 

How to Avoid Apartment Nightmares

How to Avoid Apartment Nightmares

If you want to rent a downtown Houston apartment, there are a few rules one should consider as with renting an apartment anywhere.

One should always look at the apartment they plan to rent before signing a lease and moving into the room. Many times we are fooled by pretty photos online and believe this is enough to make us confident about the place.

 

Screen Shot 2014-03-16 at 2.28.38 AM

However, without a true first hand inspection of a place we are opening ourselves up for all kinds of problems. For example, does the apartment community have a roach or rat infestation? Is the plumbing up to par? Is the garbage facility sufficient? Is there mold in the kitchen or rooms? Are the entryways into each apartment clean and open? Is the pool gated and locked up properly?

Many of these questions and others cannot be answered by simply gazing at information online or by asking the administration office over the phone. Sometimes people are misinformed themselves. After you have done a thorough inspection yourself, then you can feel confident the apartment community will be suitable.

Screen Shot 2014-03-16 at 2.32.15 AM

 

One should always get promises in writing before signing the lease and moving into the room. If you notice upon inspection that repairs are needed and the landlord promises to fix this after you move into the room, be sure to get it in writing before signing the lease.

If you find yourself repairing things the landlord promised to do, then you may have the legal right to deduct the costs of repairs from your rent. This is titled, “repair and deduct.” However, you should first check with your local state’s laws.  Typically only major repairs fall into this category and you must first give the landlord a written complaint with enough time to handle the problem before doing it yourself.  It is a good practice to keep all your receipts and written notices for future reference.

But what if the issue is not with the apartment or the administration…What if the problem is with the neighbors?

If you have a neighbor who is throwing a party every night or a neighbor who plays music well into the next morning, or an upstairs guest who walks very loudly, there are a few steps one can take to resolve the matter.

One of the reasons for visiting your community before you sign the lease is so that you can talk to people in the community area. Ask them lots of questions. You can usually get a feel for a place by how people respond and so you will get the red flags ahead of time and know what to expect.

Screen Shot 2014-03-16 at 2.36.09 AM

But if you didn’t get any feedback about loud neighbors and you’ve moved in already….you can first try knocking lightly on the wall where the noise is and sometimes this is enough to make them quiet down.

The next step would be to speak with this neighbor directly or to leave a note. Ensure to communicate the problem you are having with your neighbor in a clear fashion so that the neighbor understands the situation.  Work together on acceptable alternatives and be flexible.  Remember, you are living in an apartment community with others and not at your own private residence.

If these approaches do not work, then more drastic measures are needed. You have the option of talking with the landlord about this matter.  There are usually rules about noise in apartment communities late at night, so this might be an option to get further support in order to quite your noisy neighbor.  Alternatively, you could request the landlord to move you into a comparable unit away from this neighbor if possible.  This is a less confrontational approach,  however if this is not acceptable to your situation, then have the landlord speak to the neighbor on your behalf and/or have them leave a notice of complaint on their door.

Screen Shot 2014-03-16 at 2.39.33 AM

If all else fails, you can resort to filing a complaint with the police and your landlord each and every time your noisy neighbors are out of control.  Perhaps this will eventually be enough to get a resolution.

I hope this helps you avoid any future nightmares when you rent and as always, please stay tuned for our next article in the coming week!

 

7 copy   As always, follow the frog next weekend.