Do Renters Pay Property Taxes | ApartmentSearch

Hundred dollar bills fanned out in persons handsSo you just signed a new lease, huh? Congratulations! Renting an apartment equals freedom. You’re free from landscaping responsibilities, maintenance costs, and mortgage payments!

However, there’s one expense that confuses renters and homeowners alike—property taxes. If you’re like most, you’ve probably wondered, “Do renters have to pay property taxes, too?” ApartmentSearch is here to explain.

What Are Property Taxes For?

Real estate owners must pay property taxes to support their municipalities or townships. Local leaders direct property tax income towards community needs such as:

  • Maintaining infrastructure and amenities like roads, libraries, parks, hiking trails, etc.
  • Paying the salaries of city workers and public safety officers

Since renters use roads and receive protection from the same police force that protects homeowners, then tenants pay property taxes, right?

Not exactly. To understand if renters pay property taxes, you must first understand what rent covers!

What Renters Pay

At the start of every month, apartment tenants across the country hand over their hard-earned money to a landlord. Those funds cover their rent for the following month.

The amount of rent you pay isn’t an arbitrary number made up by your landlord. When determining how much to charge for monthly rent, landlords and property managers usually consider the following costs:

  • Maintenance supplies and salaries
  • Landlord insurance
  • Cost of utilities for shared spaces
  • HOA fees
  • Local property taxes

The amount of property taxes your landlord pays depends on the home or apartment’s assessed value and the local tax rate. That’s why many property owners calculate rent as a small percentage of the property’s market value (usually 0.8% to 2%). Accordingly, in cities where home values are rising, rent is increasing, too!

So, while your landlord factors property taxes into your monthly rent, you are not personally on the hook to the local municipality. The legal obligation belongs to the property owner and not to his or her tenants.

A Quick Tour of Property Taxes

A look at some recent property tax data published by USA Today underscores the squeeze landlords can feel—and subsequently pass along to you.

Here’s a snapshot of average annual property taxes around the country:

  • Texas – $4,660
  • Minnesota – $2,752
  • Missouri – $1,923

The state with the highest average property tax of them all? Homeowners find it in New Jersey—along with a bill for a whopping $8,477. If you’re in New Jersey and wonder why your rent is so high, taxes could be to blame.

Find Rent That Fits Your Budget

From Seattle to Washington D.C., rental housing prices are on the rise! However, cheap rent isn’t impossible to find. Use ApartmentSearch to sort and filter apartments by monthly rent and find the right place at the right price.

Source: blog.apartmentsearch.com

How to Get Cheap Car Insurance

How to Get Cheap Car Insurance – SmartAsset

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For many people, car insurance is a major expense category in the household budget. And because it’s against the law to drive without car insurance, it’s not a budget item that can be eliminated unless you’re willing to go car-free. That doesn’t mean, though, that you’re stuck paying sky-high rates. Here’s how to get cheap car insurance. 

Learn about personal loan rates. 

How Insurance Companies Set Car Insurance Rates

Like health insurance, car insurance comes with both premiums and deductibles. The premiums are what you pay the insurance company every month to maintain your coverage. The deductible is what you’ll pay when you start making claims, up to a certain annual cap of, say, $1,000.

It’s worth noting that most people who say they want cheap car insurance mean that they want car insurance with low monthly premiums. But, as with health insurance, there’s a risk to having a policy with low premiums and a high deductible. In the event of a serious accident, you’ll have to meet that deductible. So, one way to get lower premiums is to opt for a higher deductible, but this is only a safe strategy if you have enough liquidity to cover your deductible in the event of an accident.

When car insurance companies set insurance premium rates they take several factors into account. These include applicants’ age, gender and driving history, as well as the type of car the applicant drives and the driver’s state of residence. While you can’t change your age, there are other steps you can take to get favorable rates from car insurance companies.

Types of Coverage

Insurance companies charge more for comprehensive car insurance than they do for basic coverage. In most states you’re required to have liability insurance to cover any damage you do to another car or driver. The extent of that coverage requirement varies by state. In most states, you’re not required to have insurance to cover damage to your own car, or injuries you might suffer in an accident.

If you choose to add insurance coverage for yourself, you can opt for comprehensive coverage or collision coverage. Collision coverage, as the name indicates, covers damage from an accident with another car or an object, and in the event that your car flips. Comprehensive coverage covers things like theft, vandalism and natural disasters, too.

So, while you’ll almost definitely need to buy liability coverage to cover other drivers’ damages, you might not need to buy physical damage coverage for your own vehicle. It will depend on the terms of your lease if you’re leasing a car, and on your own assessment of the risks you face.

If you’re buying a valuable new car, you’ll probably want comprehensive coverage. If you’re paying cash for an older, used vehicle, you can probably get away with a more basic level of coverage. Whatever insurance option you choose for yourself, be sure to comply with state laws relating to liability insurance for any damage you might do to another driver. Once you have a car insurance policy, carry proof of insurance with you in your vehicle at all times. 

How to Get Cheap Car Insurance Rates

In the long term, one of the best ways to get cheap car insurance is to be a safe, responsible driver. The worst drivers have high rates because the insurance company needs financial compensation for the high likelihood that it will have to pay out in the event these drivers get in an accident. If you have a spotless driving record, keep it up. If you have some accidents or tickets in your past, they shouldn’t drive your rates up forever. If it’s been a few years since your last incident, you can try calling your insurance company and asking for a lower rate, using your recent, safe driving record as a bargaining chip.

Another way to get cheap car insurance is to use the same insurance company for more than one type of insurance and get a discount for your loyalty. For example, you can contact the insurance company that provides your homeowners insurance, life insurance or motorcycle insurance and ask if the company can give you a good deal on car insurance. If you have more than one car, you can bundle the insurance coverage on both vehicles.

Your credit score will also affect your car insurance rates, just like it affects the rates you’re offered when shopping for a mortgage. If your credit has improved since you last bought car insurance, you may be able to negotiate your way to cheaper car insurance. And if you pay your car insurance premiums and bills on time and in full, you’ll build up goodwill with your insurer and might qualify for promotional rates.

If you don’t drive very much during the year, you might get cheaper car insurance from a usage-based plan than you would from regular car insurance. Track your mileage before you start shopping for car insurance and see if your low mileage makes you eligible for a better deal.

If you’re under 25, you’ll pay higher premiums, all things being equal. That’s because insurance companies judge young drivers to be riskier drivers. You can get lower rates by joining your parents’ plan, or by using your good grades to get a discount on rates, if your insurance company offers that option. Once you reach your mid-20s there’s no reason to keep paying the high rates that insurance companies levy on young drivers. You can ask your insurance company to lower your rate, or shop around for insurance from another provider.

Finally, the type of car you drive can affect your car insurance rates. Big, powerful and flashy cars are more likely to trigger high car insurance rates because the insurance company assumes you’ll be more likely to speed in that kind of vehicle, and that the vehicle will be a target for theft. Vehicles with high repair costs (such as foreign-made cars) may be more expensive to cover, too. In some states, having a used car will mean lower rates because rates are affected by your car’s replacement value. But in other states, rates are based on vehicles’ safety features, so having an older car won’t necessarily help you get cheap car insurance. If your car has special safety and/or anti-theft features, you may qualify for cheaper car insurance on that basis.

Bottom Line

If you don’t have a vehicle or you’re thinking about getting a new (or used) car, it may be worth doing some research to find out which kinds of cars will get you the lowest car insurance rates. And if you’re paying a lot for car insurance now, you may be able to get cheaper coverage by negotiating your premiums or switching providers.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/andresr, ©iStock.com/ipopba, ©iStock.com/kate_sept2004

Amelia Josephson Amelia Josephson is a writer passionate about covering financial literacy topics. Her areas of expertise include retirement and home buying. Amelia’s work has appeared across the web, including on AOL, CBS News and The Simple Dollar. She holds degrees from Columbia and Oxford. Originally from Alaska, Amelia now calls Brooklyn home.
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Source: smartasset.com

11 Questions to Ask When Renting a Room | ApartmentSearch

woman posting "room for rent" sign on wooden fenceAre you renting a room in someone else’s apartment? Or, maybe you’re considering renting out a room in your apartment. Either could be a smart way to cut down on housing expenses.

Renting a room comes with its fair share of risks, though. Ask these 11 questions to ensure your rental situation is safe and satisfying.

1. What is the exact rent?

Follow Up: Are there other move-in fees? How and when do you pay rent?

It might sound self-explanatory, but make sure you confirm the rent before you sign anything. Ask if you’re responsible for any other fees, like a security deposit, a pet deposit, or pet rent—if applicable.

Confirm the date rent is due each month, and check how your landlord would prefer to get paid. Some prefer a written check, while others are fine with a cash-paying app or direct deposit.

2. What utilities will you be paying?

If you’re splitting everything with your roommate(s), get a general estimate for how much utilities will cost each month. It’s important to consider utilities when planning your housing budget.

3. How long do your potential roommates hope to fill the room?

Follow Up: How long is their lease?

Find out how long the room could potentially be yours, and how long they’re planning on staying in the unit. If you’re looking for a permanent place and they want to move out in six months, it might not be the best choice.

If you are planning on renting short-term, check out CORT furniture rental, where you can rent entire bedroom sets without commitment. This is a perfect option for renters who are moving from room to room, city to city!

4. How often do they clean?

Are they neat freaks, or do they clean once a year? How clean are you? It can be hard for super tidy people to cohabitate with messy people, and vice versa. Keep that in mind, and don’t be afraid to ask!

5. Is this a more quiet/low-key house, or a “party” house?

Follow Up: If it’s the latter, is the party here or outside the apartment?

It’s important to learn about the “vibe” of the house before moving in. If you work early in the mornings, it’s good to find out now if your potential roommates host raging parties six nights a week.

6. What do they do for work?

Follow Up: What’s their average day look like?

It’s good to consider your future roommate’s schedule when figuring out how you’d fit into the living situation. Are they gone from sun up to sun down every day? Do they work nights or work from home?

7. Do your potential roommates smoke?

Some people are bothered by the smell of smoke, and some even have health conditions (like asthma or allergies) that are exacerbated by smoke. Double check if anyone in the apartment smokes if that would bother you.

8. Are there any general “house rules,” spoken or unspoken?

Follow Up: Is there a cleaning schedule? Is there a curfew or quiet hours?

Do they take turns doing the dishes, mopping the floors, or vacuuming the living room? Is everyone quiet after 10 PM? Is the refrigerator a free-for-all or is it every man for themselves? Make sure you know exactly what you’re signing up for if you end up renting their room.

9. Do they have any pets, or are they considering getting any?

Find out if you’ll be sharing the space with any furry friends. This is especially important if you’re allergic or if you’re bringing your own pet into the mix.

10. Are they still friends with their old roommates?

Follow Up: Why is this room available?

You can learn a lot about potential roommates with this question. If their old roommate moved out because they wanted somewhere quieter or cleaner (or they just didn’t gel), it’s good to know.

11. What are their biggest pet peeves?

If you’re a social butterfly and they can’t stand visitors, that may be an issue. If you’re messy and they can’t stand clutter, you may have conflict. Find out what pushes their buttons, and figure out if you’d be a good fit.

Renting a room is a great way to save some money and meet some cool people! At ApartmentSearch, we want you to find what you’re looking for, no matter what your ideal living situation looks like. Find a room on your own search for cheap studios and one-bedroom apartments today.

Source: blog.apartmentsearch.com

The Cheapest Places to Live in Washington

While people may think of Seattle when it comes to living in Washington, the state is more than just the Emerald City.

When it comes to finding the cheapest places to live in Washington, you don’t have to give up the benefits of urban life in exchange for affordable rent.

There are many cities and towns across the state where you’ll still find outstanding restaurants and culture with rent prices well below the statewide average.

Washington state average rent prices

Rent for a one-bedroom apartment across the state averages $2,069 per month, a decrease of 7.1 percent from the previous year.

The cheapest cities in Washington for renters

While some people prefer the cultural center of Washington in Seattle, the average rent price is always on the rise. As a result, Washingtonians are heading east for new opportunities and more affordable housing.

Instead of having to look for another small apartment at higher prices every year, you can find the perfect spot to call home while also enjoying community attractions.

10. Richland

richland washington

  • One-bedroom average rent price: $1,320
  • Average rent change in the past year: -19.37%

Just shy of 125 years old, Richland has a vibrant history, from the days when local Native Americans helped feed the Lewis and Clark expedition to being home to the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. As the southeast Washington city approaches 60,000 residents, it continues to build on its reputation as one of the best cities to live in the state.

With a great park and trail system, you can explore the area along the Columbia River. The city hosts outdoor concerts during the summer months, as well as being home to an outstanding theater scene. It has a vibrant cultural environment, including the REACH Museum. Enjoy a delicious meal at any of its excellent restaurants.

9. Pacific

pacific washington

Source: Rent.com / 112 Tacoma Blvd S
  • One-bedroom average rent price: $1,295
  • Average rent change in the past year: N/A

Located about 30 minutes south of Seattle, Pacific is a small community, with about 7,000 residents. With a suburban feel, Pacific is often mistaken for being part of nearby Auburn. A true bedroom community, Pacific offers a small-town atmosphere, while having restaurants, shopping and dining options available in a short drive.

An excellent city to raise a family, Pacific is home to a good school district, as well as a nice park system, highlighted by Pacific City Park, situated along the White River.

8. Moses Lake

moses lake washington

  • One-bedroom average rent price: $1,287
  • Average rent change in the past year: 31.32%

With more than 100 miles of shoreline, Moses Lake is an inviting area to live and explore. Named in honor of Chief Moses, a leader of the Sinkiuse-Columbia nation, the central Washington community has long been known for its agricultural roots. However, that’s changed over the years, as major companies have moved to the region. Still maintaining a small-town feel, Moses Lake keeps growing, as its population nears mid-20,000.

With a culinary scene that challenges any larger city, you’ll find outstanding fare at eateries such as Michael’s on the Lake, with a casual-elegant style, as well as Rock Top Burgers and Brew, which offers a casual family dining environment.

7. SeaTac

seatac washington

  • One-bedroom average rent price: $1,249
  • Average rent change in the past year: -3.64%

While several people may confuse the city with the airport because of its name, SeaTac is far from an airport town. With about 29,000 living in a 10-square mile area, SeaTac might look like a densely-populated suburb perfectly situated between Seattle and Tacoma, but it is, in fact, its own city. As part of Seattle’s Southside, SeaTac offers plenty of green space, such as Highline Botanical Garden, with seven small gardens offering beautiful views.

Only a 20-minute commute to Seattle, SeaTac offers families an opportunity to live outside the city, while also enjoying the perks of nearby major attractions, such as the Woodland Park Zoo and Seattle Aquarium.

6. Kennewick

kennewick washington

  • One-bedroom average rent price: $1,137
  • Average rent change in the past year: -14.47%

With an estimated 85,000 residents, Kennewick is one of the state’s fastest-growing cities. As the largest of the Tri-Cities (Pasco and Richland are the others) in southeastern Washington, you can find more than 150 wineries within a 60-mile radius of Kennewick, showcased with its Columbia Gardens, a riverfront urban wine and artisan village featuring two wineries and four tasting rooms.

Historic downtown Kennewick includes impressive restaurants, shops and art galleries. Seattle may have the Kraken, but Kennewick roots on the Tri-City Americans ice hockey franchise.

Kennewick is one of the best and cheapest places to live in Washington and is perfect whether you’re single, a couple just starting out or a family looking for a new place to call home.

5. Spokane Valley

spokane valley washington

  • One-bedroom average rent price: $1,117
  • Average rent change in the past year: -15.69%

As Spokane’s largest suburb, Spokane Valley is also one of the cheapest places to live in Washington. With a great nature scene, the area is perfect for hiking trails and kayaking rivers during the summer and hitting the slopes at Mt. Spokane for skiing, snowboarding and cross-country skiing, or just about any other winter sport you can think of. With Dishman Hills Natural Area, the Spokane River and other outlets, such as Centennial Trail, nature enthusiasts enjoy exploring the region.

Located between Spokane and Coeur d’Alene, ID, Spokane Valley offers a great area to raise a family. Known for its shopping, locals also enjoy the majestic views, as well as the culinary scene the three cities offer.

4. West Richland

west richland washington

  • One-bedroom average rent price: $1,032
  • Average rent change in the past year: -2.72%

With a vibrant winery scene in the area, West Richland offers an excellent location for wineries. More than 50 vineyards call the Red Mountain region home, producing outstanding varieties each year. While the city of about 12,000 is a popular destination for wine aficionados, it’s actually considered one of the best cities to raise a family in the state.

As one of the cheapest places to live in Washington, West Richland is part of the larger Tri-Cities metropolitan area, along with Pasco, Richland and Kennewick. With the close proximity to the larger cities for dining, sports and cultural events, West Richland offers a suburban lifestyle, along with public park and nature experiences.

3. Parkland

parkland wa

Source: Rent.com / Garfield Station
  • One-bedroom average rent price: $1,024
  • Average rent change in the past year: 15.01%

Home to Pacific Lutheran University, Parkland sits in the shadow of Mt. Rainier. You’ll pass through the Tacoma suburb any time you head to Mt. Rainier National Park. However, not to be outdone, Parkland is home to its own natural attraction, the 4.5-acre Parkland Prairie. With 15 varieties of wild grasses and flowers, it offers nature fans an opportunity to explore the outdoors in an urban environment.

As one of the cheapest places to live in Washington, Parkland is a great location to raise a family, with an excellent education system and only a 45-minute commute to Seattle. With about 35,000 people, Parkland has worked with nearby Midland and Spanaway to create improved community services, such as transportation, shopping and public parks.

2. Spokane

spokane washington

  • One-bedroom average rent price: $1,023
  • Average rent change in the past year: -14.81%

Probably the most famous spot in Spokane is Spokane Falls. The spot offers a rich view in one of the cheapest places to live in Washington. Riverfront Park features a variety of attractions, including the Numerica SkyRide, a gondola ride that takes you from the park past the scenic falls and through downtown before returning to the park. Spokane ranks as one of the best natural locations in the country, with several hiking trails, kayaking and canoeing opportunities and winter sports.

Sports fans will enjoy cheering on college basketball powerhouse Gonzaga University. And foodies will love Spokane’s eclectic dining scene, ranging from upscale eateries to casual dining. Finally, you’ll also find unique coffee houses, such as Atticus Coffee and Gifts, named for a character in “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

1. Cheney

cheney washington

  • One-bedroom rent price: $810
  • Average rent change in the past year: -10.50%

Cheney is best-known for Eastern Washington University’s all-red football field. However, it’s also one of the cheapest places to live in Washington. Cheney, with a population of nearly 13,000, is about 17 miles southwest of Spokane.

As part of the Inland Northwest, Cheney offers the feel of a small town while minutes from the larger cities of Spokane and Spokane Valley, with their perks of being larger cities. Cheney is also a family-friendly community, with a parks and recreation department offering programs designed to help children develop skills and talents.

The 25 cheapest places to live in Washington

With communities, such as Gig Harbor, Tacoma, Bremerton and Des Moines, on the list, the 25 cheapest places to live in Washington feature fun and friendly cities. While the entire state is seemingly awash in natural beauty, each city brings its own special charm and uniqueness to help you decide where to live.

Methodology

Rent prices are based on a rolling weighted average from Apartment Guide and Rent.com’s multifamily rental property inventory of one-bedroom apartments. Data was pulled in December 2020 and goes back for one year. We use a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each individual unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets.

Cities with insufficient inventory were excluded from this report.

The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.

Source: rent.com

What To Do This Weekend

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activities-to-try-this-weekend

Weekend plans look a lot different nowadays, eh?  I’m sure you are as sick of reading stories that begin with,  “In these unprecedented times” or “Our new reality.”  So I’m going to skip the intro and the explanation …You are being a hero by staying home and protecting the health of your family and that of your neighbors.  Thank you!  Let me reward that good behavior with a list of a few things to keep you entertained this weekend.

Absurd Planet

It’s a ridiculous tongue in cheek nature show on Netflix.  There are plenty of adult jokes disguised as nature facts.  It’s child safe and adult approved.  The whole family enjoyed it!  If you are looking for a program the whole family can enjoy, add Absurd Planet to your watch list.

Watch Party

Speaking of Netflix, did you know you can watch a movie with friends long distance?  Check out  Netflix Party. It synchronizes everyone’s video playback and adds a chat feature.  If you and your significant other aren’t quarantining together, this is certainly a fun date night option, too!

Date Night Dinner & Dessert

If you are homebound with your significant other, you’re probably ready to spice things up.   Tasty did a great feature of creating a three-course meal from the pantry.  I was impressed….especially when one of the courses was peanut butter cookies!  Follow along and cook a great meal or just get inspired to create your own pantry date night!

Stretch

We are sitting still so much more than usual.  You need to give your joints and bones and muscles some love! Stretch them out!  There are plenty of free stretching videos on YouTube and the like, but my number one recommendation is the Peloton App.  They are offering a 90-day free trial right now, after that it’s $13/month.  The full body stretches are 5-15 minutes long giving you plenty of options.  Additionally, they have meditation, boot camp, running, and walking programs.  (and no, I’m not an affiliate…I just think it’s a great app)

Try A New Summer Recipe

Yeah, cooking isn’t a groundbreaking suggestion.  Approach it a little differently today.  Think of it as a meditation.  Take your time cleaning and cutting the fresh veggies or fruit.  Maybe watch a Youtube video first and learn a new technique.  Then when you are ready, take on one of these yummy summer recipes.

Dance 

Last week I took a dance lesson to learn the moves to the Tik Tok ‘Savage’ dance. The instructor was amazing…I was a *mess*!  But I haven’t laughed that hard in a while…and it used up a lot of energy!  You can find plenty of lessons on YouTube or you can try a virtual class with Diva Dance DC.  You can literally dance like nobody is watching! And who knows…maybe you will find some hidden talent!

Phone a Friend

….not for your sake, but for theirs.  People are getting cabin fever.  They need each other.  Scroll through your phone and find the friend that you know lives alone or the friend you know wishes they were living alone, and give them shout.  It doesn’t have to be a Zoom happy hour and it doesn’t have to be an hour long.  You can simply share a happy memory you have with them.  Small interactions and gestures go a long way right now.  

That’s it for this week.  As I find specific events or awesomeness, I will share a new post weekly!  If you have ideas or events to include next week feel free to send them my hollib@apartminty.com or @Apartmentalist on Instagram.

Be Well!

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What to Do With Your Weekend -May-2020
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What to Do With Your Weekend -May-2020
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It’s another weekend of staying inside and we are all looking for something to do. Here are a couple ideas to keep you and the family entertained and happy….learning a new language or reading new books *not* required!
Holli Beckman
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Apartminty
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Source: blog.apartminty.com

Make it Rain with These Temp Spring Break Jobs | ApartmentSearch

Employee stirring drinksAre you staying in town for spring break? Stop mindlessly swiping through your friend’s tropical social media stories, and instead take this time to turn your FOMO into mo’ money! While your friends drain their accounts, why not cushion yours? Save up for next year’s trip to Cancun with these spring break jobs.

Camp Counselor

Camp isn’t just a summer thing! Local art studios, schools, gym, and libraries often host weeklong programs for spring break. For parents who have to work over their child’s vacation, this is the perfect solution – and one of your best ways to make money over spring break.

Checking local camp websites is a great place to start looking for these types of opportunities, as well as the “seasonal” or “temporary” pages on employment websites. You can also look for advertised programs and camps, and email your resume straight to the person in charge.

Seasonal Help

Is your town a spring break destination, with amazing sights, music festivals, and tourist attractions? If your city gets a significant influx of visitors during spring break, popular local businesses will be looking for extra help in a variety of roles, from working the front desks to running a cash register to bartending to cleaning up. Check local employment websites, social media pages, and bulletin boards to scout out these opportunities, and don’t hesitate to ask for applications at places you know get wildly busy.

Babysitting & Pet Sitting

It can be harder to find a short-term 9-to-5 gig if you don’t live somewhere that gets tourists over spring break, but you can typically find babysitting and pet sitting opportunities anywhere.

With so many kids out of school, there are a ton of families who need childcare. Additionally, families that go on vacation often need someone to watch their furry friends! For you, their need is a business opportunity! Post a profile on websites like Care.com or Wag and advertise your services via friends and neighbors to help you land a gig.

Event Staffing

Many cities take advantage of the beautiful weather and time off school, hosting special events for spring breakers. With these events come plenty of jobs! Keep your eyes peeled for events like music and film festivals, concerts in the park, charity galas, as they always require temporary workers to set up, take tickets, serve food, and so on.

To find these sorts of opportunities, make sure to check job search engines and venue websites regularly. If you want to work a specific event, try reaching out to an organizer directly!

Gardening & Landscaping

Winter is over, the urge to spring clean is in the air, and everyone is getting the yard ready for summer. Accordingly, many landscaping companies will hire seasonal help to handle the increased number of customers!

If you don’t mind a little bit of manual labor and know your way around a lawnmower — you can spend your spring break helping one of these landscaping companies. If you’re not a fan of the outdoors (or manual labor), many gardening and landscaping companies need office workers during the spring, as well.

Ride-Sharing/Food Delivery

If you’ve got a car that’s in good condition and you don’t mind driving, spring break is a great time to make some extra cash through ride sharing or food delivery gigs. Services like Uber, Lyft, Door Dash, Postmates, and Grubhub make it easy to sign up via their websites and start making money in no time.

While these are just a few of the most common temporary spring break jobs available, they certainly aren’t all of them! Before winter rolls into spring, make it a habit to regularly check job search engines like Indeed, Monster, and SimplyHired, as well as local social media pages, for these seasonal opportunities. Apply early to anything that interests you, so you don’t miss your shot at spring break bucks!

Don’t let staying home for spring break get you down. Instead, view it as a financial opportunity, and the chance to try your hand at a new job! (It’s also the perfect time to finish your spring-cleaning!) Follow ApartmentSearch on Facebook and Twitter for more great information for renters!

Source: blog.apartmentsearch.com

What Is Gap Insurance, and What Does It Cover?

What Is Gap Insurance, and What Does It Cover? – SmartAsset

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When purchasing or leasing a new car, you have several insurance coverage options. When selecting coverage, you will likely know if you want to have collision coverage or not, but will you know what gap insurance and whether to select that option? If you are driving your owned vehicle or a leased one, and it is totaled, your collision coverage insurance will cover your vehicle’s cash value. The coverage will help you to purchase a another car. However, what if you owe more on your car than it’s worth? That is where gap insurance comes in. Here’s what you need to know about this type of coverage.

What is Gap Insurance?

Gap insurance protects you from not having enough money to pay off your car loan or lease if its value has depreciated, and you owe more on your car than it is worth. It is optional insurance coverage and is used in addition to collision or comprehensive coverage. It helps you pay off an auto loan if a car has been totaled or stolen, and you owe more than its worth. Gap insurance might also be known as loan or lease gap coverage, and it is only available if you are the first owner or leaseholder on a new vehicle.

Some lenders require individuals to have gap insurance. In addition to collision and comprehensive coverage, gap insurance helps prevent owners and leasers from owing money on a car that no longer exists and protects lenders from not getting paid by a person in financial distress.

How Gap Insurance Works

If you buy or lease a new car, you may owe more on the vehicle than it is worth because of depreciation. For example, let’s say you purchase a new car for $35,000. However, a year later, the car has depreciated and is only worth $25,000, and you owe $30,000 on it. Then, you total the car. Comprehensive insurance coverage would give you $25,000, but you would still owe $5,000 on the vehicle. Gap insurance would cover the $5,000 still owed.

Without gap insurance, you would have had to pay $5,000 out-of-pocket to settle the auto loan. With gap insurance, you did not have to pay anything out of pocket and were likely to purchase a new car with financing.

What Gap Insurance Covers

Gap insurance covers several things and is meant to complement collision or comprehensive insurance. Gap insurance covers:

  • Theft. If a car is stolen and unrecovered, gap insurance may cover theft.
  • Negative equity. If there is a gap between a car’s value and the amount a person owes, gap insurance will cover the difference if a car is totaled.

Gap insurance also covers leased cars. When you drive a new, leased car off the lot, it depreciates. Therefore, the amount you owe on the lease is always more than the car is worth. If you total a leased car, you’re responsible for the fair market value of the vehicle. If you lease, you can purchase gap coverage part way through your lease term, although many dealerships require both comprehensive and collision coverage and strongly recommend gap coverage.

What Gap Insurance Doesn’t Cover

Gap insurance is designed to be complementary, which means that it does not cover everything. Gap insurance does not cover:

  • Repairs. If a car needs repairs, gap insurance will not cover them.
  • Carry-over balance. If a person had a balance on a previous car loan rolled into a new car loan, gap insurance would not cover the rolled-over portion.
  • Rental cars. If a totaled car is in the shop, gap insurance will not cover a rental car’s cost.
  • Extended warranties. If a person chose to add an extended warranty to an auto loan, gap insurance would not cover any extended warranty payments.
  • Deductibles. If someone leases a car, their insurance deductibles are not usually covered by gap insurance. Some policies have a deductible option, so it is wise to check with a provider before signing a gap insurance policy.

Reasons to Consider Gap Insurance

There are several situations you should consider gap insurance. The first is if you made less than a 20% down payment on a vehicle. If you make less than a 20% down payment, it is likely that you do not have cash reserves to cover them in case of an emergency and that they will be “upside down” on the car payments.

Additionally, if an auto loan term is 60 months or longer, a person should consider gap insurance to ensure that he or she is not stuck with car payments if the vehicle is totaled.

Finally, if you’re leasing a car, you should consider gap insurance. Although many contracts require it, the vehicle costs more than it’s worth in almost every situation when you lease.

Is a Gap Insurance Worth It?

Gap insurance keeps the amount that a person owes after buying a car from increasing in case of an emergency. Therefore, if someone does not have debt on his car, there’s no need for gap insurance. Additionally, if a person owes less on his car than it is worth, there’s also no need for gap insurance. Finally, if a person does owe more on a vehicle than it is worth, he may still choose to put the money that would be spent on gap insurance every month toward the principal of his auto loan.

If a person owes more on his car than it is worth and would be financially debilitated by having to pay the remainder of his car payments if his vehicle was totaled or stolen, then gap insurance might be a saving grace.

If the extra cost of gap insurance strains your budget then consider ways to keep your vehicle insurance costs down without skipping gap insurance.

The Takeaway

Gap insurance covers the amount that a person would still owe on a vehicle after it is stolen or totaled, and after comprehensive insurance pays out. It prevents people from continuing to owe on a car that no longer exists. While it doesn’t make sense for everyone to purchase gap insurance, it is often smart for people who have expensive vehicles that are worth far more than a person owes. It is also something to consider when you are leasing a vehicle.

Tips for Reducing Insurance Costs

  • If you need a little additional help weighing your insurance options, you might want to consider working with an expert. Finding the right financial advisor that fits your needs can be simple. SmartAsset’s free tool will match you with financial advisors in your area in five minutes. If you’re ready to learn about local advisors to help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • You may want to consider all the insurance options available that are suitable for your unique situation. By doing so, you save money. A free comprehensive budget calculator can help you understand which option is best.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/ljubaphoto, ©iStock.com/Kileman, ©iStock.com/gustavofrazao

Ashley Chorpenning Ashley Chorpenning is an experienced financial writer currently serving as an investment and insurance expert at SmartAsset. In addition to being a contributing writer at SmartAsset, she writes for solo entrepreneurs as well as for Fortune 500 companies. Ashley is a finance graduate of the University of Cincinnati. When she isn’t helping people understand their finances, you may find Ashley cage diving with great whites or on safari in South Africa.
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Source: smartasset.com

Top 10 U.S. Cities for Dating | ApartmentSearch

Silhouette of a couple overlooking a cityAre you looking to settle down in more ways than one? If you’re not sure where to find love, but you’re certain you want to, check out the best cities for dating and find out what makes them hotspots for singles!

1. Atlanta, GA

Atlanta takes the number one spot on the best cities for singles list according to WalletHub. The many downtown bars are popular spots for ready-to-mingle singles. If that’s not your scene, look for love while enjoying a delicious and boozy brunch. If you’re more of the outdoorsy type, try the BeltLine – a 22-mile concrete trail with excellent city views and all the chances to run (or jog) into your soulmate.

2. Austin, TX

It’s no secret that Austin is one of the hottest spots in the U.S. As a growing tech hub and the home to the University of Texas, it’s no wonder so many young (and mostly single) professionals feel at home here. Many ATX residents live an active lifestyle thanks to the lakes, biking/walking trails, and scenic hiking spots. It seems there’s always something going on, whether it’s a music festival, a party boat, free yoga in the park or a fun run that ends with brunch. All these activities mean endless opportunities to meet your soulmate!

3. Boston, MA

Boston is one of the oldest cities in the U.S., but its dating scene is anything but outdated. TownCharts reports that almost 70% of Boston’s population is legally single, increasing your odds of finding the perfect match! It even made it into Forbes list of best cities for singles. The quaint historic neighborhoods and waterfront views make the perfect setting for any love story.

4. Charlotte, NC

If you’re looking for your Southern belle or gentleman, look no further than Charlotte. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, people are flocking to Charlotte, NC, with a plan to settle down — probably because of the lower cost of living. There are plenty of family-friendly things to do, and this major North Carolina city is full of Southern charm, Southern food, speakeasies, and crafted cocktails, all of which make for a great first date!

5. Chicago, IL

According to TimeOut, singles make up 60% of the Windy City’s population (that’s a big dating pool). With its architecture, arts, dining, and diversity, it’s one of the most exciting cities to explore while you find your person! It’s also been voted Conde Nast Traveler Best Large City in the U.S. three years in a row — so even if you find yourself single on Valentine’s Day, it can be a great place to be!

6. Denver, CO

People seem to love Denver’s laid-back vibes and opportunities for outdoor recreation. An up-and-coming city, Denver has experienced steady population growth in the last few years. If you’re thinking about moving here, you should probably love two things: hiking and beer. But if you don’t, it probably won’t take long for you to find something (and someone) to fall in love with.

And if single males are your target audience, you may have an advantage in “Menver,” according to an article by KUSA, since the city seems to have a surplus of unattached men.

7. Minneapolis, MN

Representing the Upper Midwest at number seven is Minneapolis! While many singles love this city’s arts and nightlife, it also boasts beautiful parks, craft brews, and a romantic riverfront skyline — can you say perfect first date? Plus, living within reach of the polar vortex means you’ll always have an excuse to bundle up and snuggle with your Minnesotan sweetheart.

8. Nashville, TN

You don’t have to be a country music fan to move to Music City — but you will probably learn to love it! The nightlife and live music bring out all the single ladies (and lads), so grab your boots and your sense of rhythm for a night on the town. You might even get a phone number or two!

9. San Francisco, CA

San Francisco may be pricier than other cities on this list, but don’t let that keep you away! With many lively nightlife activities and an active daytime scene, you can just as quickly bump into your soulmate at the club or on the street. San Francisco residents enjoy walking, biking, or taking public transportation to get around this beautiful, bustling city. Not to mention, romantic getaways are easy with Wine Country just next door.

10. Seattle, WA

Seattle is one of the most populous metro areas in the U.S. Like San Francisco, the cost of living is higher, but so is the average salary. It’s full of cool spots to meet people, like Pike Place Market, Pioneer Square, and the Waterfront. Sure, it’s known for its endless rainy season, but that’s the perfect opportunity to have a movie-moment kiss in the rain. Plus, Microsoft and Amazon headquarters keep the economy booming and attract many young professionals you can take home to your parents.

Now that you know where to find love — find an apartment you can fall in love with on ApartmentSearch. Start looking today — no strings attached!

Source: blog.apartmentsearch.com

How to Interview & Pick a Trustworthy Roommate | ApartmentSearch

Two friends sit in a cafe chatting over coffeeWhether you’re the interviewer or the interviewee, the roommate search can be awkward. Rest assured: living with a bad roommate is even worse.

ApartmentSearch is here to help. We’ll walk you through the best way to interview a potential roommate so you can find one that you like and trust.

1. Attract potential roommates with a great roommate ad.

The first step to finding a wonderful roommate is attracting the right people through a roommate ad. This is your chance to spell out exactly how nice the apartment or room is (if you’ve already got a place), why you’re such a great roommate yourself, and what you’re looking for in a roommate.

By posting a thorough roommate ad, and knowing how to respond to one, you’ll narrow down candidates before it’s even time to start interviewing.

2. Ask questions about the topics you care about most.

You’ve probably got a long list of questions you want to ask your potential roommate, but prioritize the things you care about most. Consider the things you want in a roommate, as well as the things that would be absolute deal breakers for you—then ask multiple questions about those topics!

If you care about cleanliness, ask them:

  • How often do you clean your current space?
  • How do you feel about splitting up chores in the apartment?
  • How tidy are you on a scale of 1 to 10?

If you want to become friends, ask them:

  • Are you still friends with your old roommate?
  • What do you like to do for fun?
  • What does your average weekend look like?

If you want your home to be relaxing and quiet, ask them:

  • What does a typical day look like for you?
  • How often do you plan to have guests over?
  • Do you have a significant other who will spend a lot of time here?

Everyone is looking for something different in their living situation, so the more questions you ask, the better idea you can get about a person, their intentions, and what it would be like to share a space with them.

3. Look for red flags.

Keep your eyes peeled for little things that could become big things over time.

Is this person abruptly breaking a lease because of a fight with a roommate?
Are they unemployed or currently homeless?
Do they talk over you or interrupt you?

These might seem minor during a roommate interview, but they could foreshadow problems down the road like a volatile relationship, late rent payments, or disrespect.

4. Keep an eye out for good signs, too!

On the other hand, note the good signs, too.

  • Do they watch all the same TV shows as you?
  • Does the conversation flow smoothly?
  • Do they seem responsible, mature, and warm?
  • Is their work schedule compatible with yours?

If you want to find a roommate that you can trust and befriend, these are all great signs. Don’t overlook them in the interview!

A great roommate can make your apartment living situation so much better. Once you interview the perfect roommate, search for the ideal apartment together on ApartmentSearch. Start building your roomie bond today!

Source: blog.apartmentsearch.com

How to Get Rid of Cigarette Smell

The struggle is real.

Getting rid of the cigarette smell in your apartment is a common question. But the smell is only the beginning of the problems that residual smoke can cause.

Smoking materials contain toxins like ammonia, arsenic, formaldehyde and acetone. American Cancer Society reveals that there are thousands of chemicals in tobacco smoke. More than 70 are carcinogenic and can potentially cause cancer. Several are radioactive. The chemicals in cigarettes contribute to heart disease, respiratory problems and stroke.

Even if you aren’t in the room with a smoker, the scent, the health risks and the toxins can linger in the air for hours. The exhaled chemicals create a sticky residue. The residue combines with other indoor pollutants, clings to surfaces and infiltrates carpets and air ducts. The chemicals can even contaminate dust.

The chemicals that linger on surfaces and absorbed into objects is thirdhand smoke. You can’t eliminate thirdhand smoke by opening a window or putting out an air freshener. Unless you scrub or replace every item in your home or seal thirdhand smoke in under a new coat of paint, it poses a lingering threat to your health.

Get rid of the cigarette smell before you even move in

The best time to deal with cleaning up thirdhand smoke is before you move in. A thorough check-in is an important part of the move-in checklist. So, if your new home smells smoky during your walkthrough, insist that your landlord or property manager resolve the issue right away.

If the smell is definitely emanating from your apartment (and not drifting in from neighbors who smoke) the property might shampoo the carpets, deep clean, scrub the walls and provide air purifiers. If the smell is very strong, replacing the carpet and repainting the walls may also be required.

Once thirdhand smoke has infiltrated an apartment it’s very difficult to get rid of. So, resist the urge to live with the smell or hope it goes away on its own. It won’t.

How to get rid of the cigarette smell in your apartment

If the smell is minor or if you’re cleaning up an apartment you already live in, there are several ways to banish that cigarette smell from your home. It isn’t enough to simply mask the odor. You have to clean every surface, absorb and neutralize the smell and purify the air.

1. Throw away the source of the smell

cigarettes

To get rid of the cigarette smell in your apartment, first, toss out all the smoking materials. Then clean out everything they’ve touched and anything you don’t want to keep.

  1. Put the contents of ashtrays into a garbage bag. Make sure you wet the remnants down first to eliminate fire risk.
  2. Tie up the garbage bag and remove it from the apartment.
  3. Throw away unsmoked cigarettes, cigars and pipe tobacco. If you just quit, you don’t need any additional temptation. And keeping extras on hand will just encourage guests to smoke forcing you to clean all over again.
  4. Toss out anything that’s too smoky to salvage or that you don’t want to commit time to clean. That can include furniture from a smoking area, ashtrays or porous items like magazines, newspapers and cardboard boxes that soak up the smell.
  5. Set aside garbage cans for cleaning.

2. Increase airflow

open windows

Still, stale air makes that smoky smell even more potent. So, get the air moving to help things smell fresh.

  1. Open windows to get the air flowing.
  2. Place portable fans in the windows of the smokiest rooms.
  3. Make sure the blades are blowing out, pulling the smell outdoors.
  4. Run the fans for a full day, if possible. If it’s too cold, try for an hour or two at a time.

3. Sprinkle and steam

steam cleaner

If you can’t wash it by hand or throw it in a washing machine, try a sprinkle of baking soda and a steam cleaning. It’s simple but effective.

  1. Sprinkle a thin layer of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) on rugs, carpets, mattresses and sofas and anything else that can’t easily be laundered. The molecules in it bind to odors, neutralizing them.
  2. Let it sit for several hours (or even a full day) when there’s no foot traffic.
  3. Vacuum up baking soda residue.
  4. Repeat the process if the smell persists.
  5. Then, steam clean carpets and upholstery if the label says it’s safe to do so. You can rent a cleaner or purchase your own at a big box store.

4. Wash what you can

washing clothes

A run through the washing machine is a quick and easy way to eliminate odors. Be sure to check labels to make sure everything is machine washable.

  1. Launder all clothing that’s been exposed to smoke.
  2. Then, move on to bedding.
  3. Don’t forget to remove decorative items like tablecloths, pillow covers and washable couch cushion covers.
  4. Dry items outdoors, if possible. The sun’s UV rays also break down odor-causing compounds, so a little sunshine will help.

5. Scrub all the hard surfaces

scrubbing hard surfaces

After you’ve cleaned or discarded clothing, textiles and other soft items, move on to hard surfaces. Pay particular attention to walls, counters and floors. Don’t forget about ceilings, windows, window sills and light switch covers. The smoke residue will be sticky, so you’ll have to scrub.

You can make your own natural cleaners or purchase heavy-duty cleaners at the local home improvement or hardware store. Leave options like sodium phosphate to your landlord or to the pros they hire, since it can damage paint, metal and wood finishes. Here are a few of the most popular natural options you can make at home.

Using vinegar to remove cigarette smoke smell

Vinegar is a very effective smoke residue remover. Fill a bucket or spray bottle with a solution made of two-thirds distilled white vinegar and one-third water. This will effectively clean most surfaces.

  1. Spray walls, floors and counters with the water and vinegar solution.
  2. Wipe clean with a sponge or soft, clean rag, rinsing frequently.
  3. For windows, use a 50-50 water and vinegar mix and wipe with a newspaper or lint-free cloth.

Using ammonia to remove cigarette smoke smell

For tougher stains and residue, try an ammonia solution. Just take care to make sure the mixture isn’t too concentrated. And never combine it with bleach or cleaners that contain bleach. It can result in toxic fumes that cause headaches and seizures.

  1. For counters and floors add a tablespoon of ammonia for every cup of water.
  2. Wear protective gloves and open the windows to additional ventilation.
  3. Test in an inconspicuous place before applying to surfaces.
  4. To protect painted walls, reduce the concentration to 1/4 cup of anomia per gallon of warm water.
  5. Let it sit on surfaces or walls for a few minutes, then wipe it off with a clean sponge or rag.
  6. Follow with a rinse of warm water.

6. Don’t forget the ventilation

replacing air filter

To get rid of the cigarette smell in your apartment, you need to clean every space, no matter how small. That includes the spaces that move air through your home. Turn off the power before you start disassembling.

  1. Put in a maintenance request for a clean furnace filter.
  2. Vacuum out the ducts so polluted dust doesn’t move through the ducts into the rest of the apartment.
  3. Scrub the air vent covers and registers to remove dirt and grime.
  4. Wipe down the vents in air conditioning units.
  5. Clean all fan blades, fixtures and light bulbs on ceiling fans.
  6. Gently remove vent covers on the microwave and range top in the kitchen.
  7. Vacuum or dust inside.
  8. Wash the fan covers with soap and water.
  9. Put in a maintenance request to clean out exhaust fans in the bathroom, as well. This is a little more complicated, so your landlord may prefer you let the pros handle it.

7. Clean overlooked items

cleaning window blinds

Once you’ve tackled the big items like furniture, carpets, walls and counters, it’s time to think small. Make sure you’ve scrubbed all surfaces, even the overlooked ones.

  1. Look high and low. The tops of kitchen counters and baseboards are dust magnets.
  2. Wipe down little things like lamp bases, towel racks and window blinds.
  3. Place un-washable items outdoors in the sun (or by the window) to let the UV rays neutralize the smell.
  4. Put a cup of baking soda in a garbage bag with any items you can’t wash, like books or important papers. Let them sit in a sealed bag for a day, then shake off the powder.

8. Neutralize odors

baking soda

As we’ve already learned baking soda and vinegar can effectively get rid of cigarette smells. But activated charcoal works, too. Use all three to help neutralize odors in your apartment.

  1. Place bowls of baking soda around the room to absorb the smell in particularly pungent areas. The baking soda will eventually reach a saturation point, so you may have to rotate fresh bowls in.
  2. Boil a pot of vinegar on the stove for a few hours to neutralize the smell of stale cigarette smoke. (Don’t worry, the smell of vinegar will fade in time.)
  3. Purchase small bags of activated charcoal at home improvement and hardware stores and set them around the apartment.

9. Purify the air

air purifier

Once you’ve removed or neutralized the odors and cleaned the surfaces as well as you can, turn your attention to the air itself. An air purifier that meets HEPA standards will filter out 99.97 of larger particulates like many of those found in cigarette smoke.

  1. Set up purifier with approved HEPA filters.
  2. The most effective options also have an activated charcoal filter to filter out smaller particles, as well.
  3. Change the filters as recommended.

Snuff out the smoke

These cleaning, deodorizing and air purifying tips can help you get rid of the cigarette smell in your apartment. They can help whether you’re moving into a new home or refreshing your existing space.

Source: rent.com