Renting your first apartment or relocating to a new city are very exciting milestones. Your head is probably full of plans about living near the city’s nightlife or furnishing your new place with the very latest from Pottery Barn. Hold those thoughts … at least just for a minute. There will be plenty of time for all the fun stuff, but first, you need to take a hard look at your finances and see what type of apartment you can afford. Here are some practical guidelines when planning your budget.
- Think 50/30/20. This ratio is a bit more realistic than the outdated 30 percent rule, as it takes into account all of your monthly expenses, not just rent. Fifty percent of your net income should go to essentials such as rent, food, transportation and utilities. Thirty percent is for your fun stuff like subscriptions, entertainment, memberships, clothes, etc. The remaining 20 percent should go towards savings and paying down debt such as student loans or credit cards.
- Watch for extra deposits and fees. Moving into a new apartment is more than just paying rent. In the beginning, be prepared to pay an application fee and for the leasing company to run a credit check. The good news is that these are pretty nominal, usually ranging from $20-$35. There will also be a security deposit and if this is the first time establishing utilities in your name, you may need to pay deposits for those. These days, more apartment complexes require a pet deposit and a small monthly pet rental fee.
If you are relocating, there will be moving expenses, if your company won’t cover them. Lastly, most apartments raise rental rates at least once a year. These can vary from $15-$250+. Usually, they cover increased property taxes and maintenance fees, but amounts at the higher end could be expected if the apartments underwent some major upgrades or renovations. Don’t be caught by surprise, so plan accordingly.
- Location. Location. Location. If you are moving for a new job or just uprooting in general, think carefully about the cost of living in the area you’re moving to. A tiny studio apartment in New York City is going to be 2-3 (or more) times more expensive than a two-bedroom in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Rental rates can also vary widely within the same city. An apartment on the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri, will cost 2-3 times as much a larger place 1 mile away in Midtown.
- What are you paying for? Many rental rates factor in any amenities such as a swimming pool, on-site health club, coffee bar, dog park, community clubhouse, covered parking and more. Think carefully about which of these extras you will actually use. If you belong to a gym, you can cancel your membership and work out at the apartment complex, which should save you some money or at least break even.
Washers and dryers save money on laundromats (and those annoying quarters!) and time as you can do your laundry at home. If social events aren’t of interest to you, steer clear of places that focus heavily on resident activities. Your commute to work should be another consideration. You might pay a lot more to live closer to your job or if you like public transportation, how close is the apartment to a bus stop or train station? Working from home may require a second bedroom.
There is a lot to consider when renting an apartment, but hopefully these tips will help prepare you for planning your budget for the big move. Once you are settled in a place you can comfortably afford, it’s time to get into the fun stuff like outfitting the apartment with furnishings and other decorative and personal items that make your new home uniquely yours!
Fall and winter aren’t that far off, so now is a good time to start preparing your apartment for the colder months ahead. Ohio winters are harsh and even if your apartment has a good central heating system, oftentimes, it’s not enough to keep the frigid temperatures at bay. Soothe yourself with warm sweaters, cozy blankets and hot beverages, but if you need some extra ways to keep your apartment warm during the winter, here are some easy and inexpensive tips.
- Curtains. You can find insulated curtains anywhere. Many of the big box stores sell them and you can also order them online. Curtain panels are available in all colors and sizes and are reasonably priced. Another idea is to use shower curtains. They are even cheaper and you can use the liners as an additional layer of insulation. Keep the drapes open during the day on windows that face the south and west to let in as much sunlight as possible
- Draft “Snakes.” These are narrow fabric tubes that are filled with materials such as batting or small pellets to make them flexible enough to mold against windowsills or in the area between the bottom of the door and the floor. You can find these in many styles — whimsical animal shapes, emblazoned with funny sayings, etc. Add some inexpensive fun décor to your apartment while shutting out drafts.
- Rugs and carpets. If your apartment has hardwood or linoleum floors, throw rugs or small carpets can add a pop up color as well as extra warmth. You can find carpet samples or area rugs practically anywhere and in prices to fit any budget.
- Weather stripping. You can find easy-to-apply weather stripping at any hardware or home improvement store. It comes in many varieties to conform to the needs of your apartment. You can apply the weather stripping to windows and doors and remove it in the spring.
- Plastic film. Your hardware or home improvement stores are also good places to find plastic film to apply to your windows and balcony or patio doors. The film comes in all sizes and it easy to apply using tape and a blow dryer. The film not only keeps in heat in the winter but can help keep your apartment cool during warmer months.
- Programmable thermostat. If your apartment doesn’t have a programmable thermostat, ask your property manager about installing one. Some utility companies will even give them away for free or at a greatly reduced cost.
- Fireplace. If your apartment has a wood-burning or gas fireplace, it will really help keep the place warm. Just use it prudently and close the damper when not in use.
- Space heaters. Space heaters can be a great way to supplement heat during cold months, but they also are the cause of the majority of wintertime house fires. Use space heaters cautiously. Never place a space heater near combustible materials like paper, blankets, furniture or drapes. Keep children and pets away from the space heater; never leave your space heater unattended and turn it off when you aren’t going to be home.
Hopefully, you can take some of these ideas and use them during the winter if your apartment feels drafty and cold. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to achieve extra warmth and you can use your ingenuity to add a creative, cozy touch to your apartment during the long winter months.
The Sydney at The Ave
The Sydney is a compact studio apartment that packs a lot of living into 539 square feet. From the moment you set foot inside, you will be completely charmed by this cozy living space. The living and dining area has plenty of room for furnishings and you can add a sofa sleeper, Murphy bed or full-sized bed — your choice. The kitchen features cabinets made of reclaimed two-toned wood products, granite countertops and Energy Star-rated stainless steel appliances, which include a refrigerator, stove, garbage disposal and dishwasher. All of these finishes give the kitchen a sleek, modern feel.
The bathroom includes a full-sized tub and shower and low-consumption water features, which underscore The AVE’s commitment to green living. The Sydney isn’t short on storage as it has a large closet that is perfect for clothes and other items. Oversized windows let in plenty of natural light that make the space feel larger. All that is missing are you personal touches — and you. Visit The AVE online for a virtual tour and to submit a contact-free rental application. We look forward to meeting you!
Amenities (availability contingent on local COVID restrictions):
- Free 24/7 Starbucks coffee bar
- Fenced dog park
- On-site car wash
- Outdoor fire pit
- 24-hour fitness center with complimentary classes
- Pool table and volleyball court
- On-site professional management
- Online submission of rent and maintenance requests
- Package acceptance
- Planned community events that focus on philanthropy and social well-being
- Easy commute via SR 71
- Walk to neighborhood shops and restaurants
Contact The AVE property staff to learn about floorplan availability and to take a community tour. You can easily check for vacancies and apply online. If you are looking for an affordable studio apartment, consider The Sydney.
At Vision Communities, we are committed to creating the best apartment communities for you and your family. We feature multiple, pet-friendly apartment layouts, in desirable communities such as Clintonville, Westerville, and Worthington. For more information about our communities, contact our team to get started.