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8 Tips to Help You Rent Your Dream Apartment

8 Tips to Help You Rent Your Dream Apartment

More and more people are renting instead of buying ever since the housing bubble burst. Meanwhile, rent prices have steadily increased! For many, renting is the only option, because the barrier to saving up a down payment and getting a (sustainable) mortgage is too high. But renting doesn’t have to mean going without, whether you’re single or a growing family! There’s always a diamond or two in the rough, if only you know where to look. Here are 8 tips to help you find and land your dream apartment.

1. Ask around.

Ask everybody. There have been numerous studies showing that everyone in the country (arguably the world) is connected within six degrees of separation. As in, you know somebody who knows somebody… who knows everyone else.

A lot of people own properties that they rent out, and those people have friends. The big idea here is that you never know what’s available, or what might be coming available soon, until you ask. My wife and I once got a 3,000+ sqft renovated home for a bargain, because so-and-so that we knew had helped out the owners before. Chances are someone you know knows someone else with a steal of an option!

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2. Commit during this season.

Budget constraints are often the determining factor for getting the space you want and need. Rent contracts are usually cheapest during November, December, and January. Take advantage of it! I once got a 30% lower monthly rate just because we signed in January. If you can manage it, wait to sign a deal until one of these months, because you’ll likely be able to get a lot more bang for your buck.

3. Set up an IFTTT recipe for new Craigslist listings.

Craigslist is a goldmine of, well, just about everything, including places to rent. An IFTTT recipe is basically an automated notification system. So you can set it up to hear about every, say, 3 bed 2 bath option under $1500, and get an email whenever a new listing meets that criteria. You can always find a great deal on craigslist, but you’ve got to be quick.

4. Check the announcements.

Most neighborhoods, communities, campuses, local organizations, etc. have some sort of hub for announcements and info specific to their group. Maybe it’s a newsletter, an online blackboard, or a weekly coffee shop flyer. Whatever it is, these announcement hubs can be gems of opportunity. In some cases, this will be the only place an apartment or home is listed.

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I once found a glorious (and cheap) cottage in a wealthy neighborhood by checking my alma mater’s blackboard. That was the only place they listed it. The owners also ran a landscaping company. The place was immaculate, and within easy walking distance to parks, restaurants, and scenic hiking trails. Definitely find and check the announcement boards. It might be the only place your dream apartment is listed!

5. Look into furnished options.

Furnished options can be ideal, even if you already have furniture. After all, what makes a home a dream home is usually what fills it. And if the owners have done a good job of that, take advantage of it! I’ve used HomeSuite to find furnished listings before, but you should keep an eye out everywhere else you look, too. You may even be able to cover the rent by selling what furniture you already have!

6. Read online reviews for flexible landlords.

When you’re renting, landlords are your superheroes. Would you rather have Thor or Loki? Any rental site worth its salt will have a section for reviews on its listings. Is the landlord friendly? Quick? Flexible on price? Willing to compromise or make changes for their tenants?

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The person you rent from can easily be the difference between a dud and your dream apartment. I once rented a place that came to have mold and a broken HVAC. The landlord was entirely neglectful, and the whole thing was a nightmare. If I’d just checked the online reviews, I would have seen how bad they were without having to experience it firsthand.

7. Follow up with the owner(s).

After you view a potential home, keep a running dialog. Build a relationship. Show the owners/managers that you’re interested and that you’re a respectable person or family. They’re generally willing to cut deals or help you out if they like you and trust you.

An email asking about the neighborhood noise because you tend to be a quiet homebody, or a blurb about how this will be a perfect spot for a basketball hoop for your son can go a long way. We had new appliances installed in a place once, simply because we had a great relationship with the owners and asked for something more energy efficient than the current decades-old appliances. It was great!

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8. Don’t give up.

Timing is everything. The difference between you getting your dream home and having to settle could be the few days before a current tenant announces they’re leaving. If you can help it, don’t settle for something you won’t be ecstatic about. Don’t give up! Be patient. Your dream apartment is out there waiting for you, even if someone else is using it at the moment.

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Kenneth Burke

Director of Marketing

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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