Winter Driving Tips

Winter Commuting Tips

Tips for Winter Driving

With winter rapidly approaching, or in some cases, already here, your commute to work is destined to take longer than usual. Ohio winters aren’t known for being mild, so delays and cancellations are inevitable. If your presence in the office is a must, you’ll need to be prepared for traffic snafus, long waits for public transportation, and overall hazardous traveling conditions. Since you presumably have experience in driving in inclement weather, how to dress, and how to prepare your car, (this is OHIO after all!) here are some extra tips to help make your journey to and from work a little easier and a lot safer.

Driving. Since you can’t control how quickly the streets and major thoroughfares will be cleared, or how other people drive, you can make sure that you and your vehicle are primed and ready to face the elements. If you don’t have covered parking at your apartment complex, you can cut down on scraping and brushing time if you purchase a car cover. You can easily find these online for all sizes of vehicles at all price points. Nothing like getting smacked with a drift of snow while on the interstate! Make sure your car has a full tank of gas, your phone is fully charged, and you have an extra charger in the car. It also is helpful to keep ice scrapers and snow brushes in the car as well as your apartment.

Ride Sharing. One of the best ways to save on gas and get to where you need to go is ride-sharing. Find a handful of people that work in the same area and carpool to work. You can take turns driving, which saves on gas, road fatigue, and mechanical expenses. Obviously, you need to find car-mates that have a similar schedule, but the economics alone are worth looking into. Ride-sharing can help with winter driving by reducing the number of cars that are on the road.

Public Transportation. Central Ohio has reliable public transportation options to choose from. The buses in Columbus run like clockwork and can get you where you need to be with a little patience. Learn the best bus routes and get into a routine of bussing to and from work. This provides extra time to read, listen to podcasts, or watch a show while you are commuting to work. 

Commuting to work during the winter is unpleasant but often necessary. With careful planning, you can make the experience a lot less stressful.

Choose Where You Live

At Vision Communities, our goal is to create a space you can make your own, and we have communities that are conveniently located near the place you work. If you are looking for a new apartment, be sure to put a VC community on your list to tour. We have floor plans for you to view virtually or in person. Our spacious, studio, 1 bedroom2 bedroom, and 3 bedroom apartment layouts provide cozy space. Check out our luxurious apartment floorplans in one of our communities and enjoy life at the VC. 

Schedule a tour today and see why Vision Communities is a great place to live. 

Items for your apartment medicine cabinet

Medicine Cabinet Essentials for Apartment Dwellers

Must-Have Medicine Supplies

Even if you are blessed with robust health, you never know. During cold weather months, when we’re indoors a lot more, you are exposed to more illnesses, and you don’t want to be caught off-guard if a cold or another type of virus attacks. Here are some medicine cabinet essentials you should have on hand in your apartment.

Thermometer. You can find digital thermometers online or at any major retail pharmacy.

Pain relief. Aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, etc. Whichever works best for you and plays nicely with any prescribed medications you are taking.

Gastro. Pepto-Bismol, Imodium-AD, or their generic equivalents help when a stomach bug hits. It’s also wise to keep some extra electrolyte drinks stocked up to stay hydrated. If you have gastro problems of the other variety, keep some laxatives on hand. For occasional upset stomachs or reflux, there are plenty of OTC remedies.

Colds, flu, and coughs. Nighttime cold products can help you sleep and ease congestion and coughing. You can also pick up cough syrup and cough drops to stifle a cough and soothe a sore throat. There are also effervescent tablets and dissolvable gel strips you can take when symptoms first appear. They can shorten the duration of the cold or flu. If you are prone to cold sores, Abbrevia and generic equivalents are a must.

General first aid. Isopropyl alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, antibacterial ointment, and a variety pack of bandages can clean, protect, and disinfect minor cuts and scrapes. Liquid bandage works like a charm if you get a cut on an area where it’s difficult to apply an adhesive bandage.

Seasonal allergies. There are numerous OTC (name-brand and generic) allergy remedies. Choose which one works best for you. You can also pick up nasal sprays, antihistamines, and decongestants. Just make sure to double-check the label to make sure it’s non-drowsy if you’ll be taking it during the workday.

Eye care. Allergies can also trigger itchy, watery eyes. Keep eye drops on hand for allergies and a moisturizing variety if your eyes get dry and tired during the winter. Having a bottle of eye wash solution with a cup can quickly rinse out stray eyelashes and other irritants.

Miscellaneous. You can pick and choose products according to your needs. Gauze and tape, oral gels for tooth pain, tweezers, pill cutter, masks, COVID test kits, tweezers, and topical pain relief rub.

By keeping a well-stocked medicine cabinet, you will have peace of mind that if you are hit with a minor illness or injury, you have everything you need at your fingertips. Of course, for more serious injuries or lingering illnesses, contact your doctor or visit the nearest ER or urgent care clinic.

Stocking Your Medicine Cabinet at Your New Vision Apartment

When you move into your new Vision Community apartment, these are just a few of the things you’ll want to bring with you.

At Vision Communities, our goal is to create a space you can make your own. If you are looking for a new apartment, be sure to put a VC community on your list to tour. We have floor plans for you to view virtually or in person. Our spacious, studio, 1 bedroom2 bedroom, and 3 bedroom apartment layouts provide cozy space. Check out our luxurious apartment floorplans in one of our communities and enjoy life at the VC. 

Schedule a tour today and see why Vision Communities is a great place to live. 

How to Minimize Indoor Allergens

Don’t Let Allergies Get You Down

Allergies are usually attributed to changing seasons, typically in the spring, but they can cause you misery at any time of the year. In the spring and summer, the main culprits are grass, pollen, mold, and ragweed, but allergens are present year-round. When you first turn on the furnace in the fall, it stirs up dust, dust mites, and other irritants that filter through the system. And if you or your roommate have pets, then pet hair and dander contribute to your symptoms of a scratchy throat, itchy, watery eyes, and sneezing.

There are a few steps you can take to minimize the presence of allergens in your apartment and breathe easier all year.

  1. Vacuum frequently. This is especially true if you have pets. Even if you have short-haired dogs or cats, it’s amazing how much they shed, and many people are especially sensitive to cat dander. Before you banish your furry roommates, make an effort to vacuum at least once a week, more frequently if you have long-haired pets or more than one. In addition to the carpeting, vacuum the sofas, chairs, and other soft furnishings. Using a HEPA filter on your vacuum will help.
  2. Dust regularly. Your apartment may seem more dusty during the winter and that may be due to a dirty furnace filter. Check with your maintenance staff about how frequently furnace filters are changed in your building. If you can, DIY, as you can buy furnace filters practically anywhere and you can find them at all price points. If you live near any major streets or highways, expect more dust – period. Keep all surfaces as dust free as possible.
  3. Keep your bedding clean. Wash and dry your sheets, blankets, comforters, pillowcases, etc., weekly to get rid of dust mites, pet hair, and dander. While it’s comforting to have your canine or feline friends sleep with you, they may exacerbate your allergies. Try to coax them into sleeping in a special pet bed on the floor. Shutting them out of the bedroom can lead to many sleepless nights as they get used to it, but if you can stick with it for several nights, it will help you get a more restful sleep.
  4. Indoor air filters and plants. There are many types of air filters available to fit any budget that you can order online. Just place them in your main living areas and bedrooms. Some models even serve as white noise to block out sounds and help you sleep better. Plants are always a nice addition to any indoor space. Many plants such as philodendrons, lady palm, and dracaena are attractive, low-maintenance, and known for their air-purifying properties. Plus, you can buy these varieties anywhere year-round.

Obviously, if your symptoms persist, see your physician. These are just some suggestions for changes you can implement in your apartment to help reduce indoor allergens. The good news is that the ideas listed here are all relatively low-cost or free!

FIND A NEW VISION COMMUNITY APARTMENT

At Vision Communities, our goal is to create the space you are proud to come home to. If seasonal allergies are an issue for you, we invite you to bring your air purifiers, plants or whatever you need to love your space. If you are looking for a new apartment, be sure to put a VC community on your list to tour. We have floor plans for you to view virtually or in person. Our spacious, studio, 1 bedroom2 bedroom, and 3 bedroom apartment layouts provide cozy space. Check out our luxurious apartment floorplans in one of our communities and enjoy life at the VC. 

Schedule a tour today and see why Vision Communities is a great place to live. 

Budgeting for Utility Bills

Utility Budgeting for Apartment Renters

When you’re looking for apartments, the first consideration is how much the monthly rent is. Stopping there is a big mistake that occurs with many first-time apartment dwellers. Rent is just one (albeit major) expense you have to consider when apartment hunting. The second category of expenses is utilities, which will include electricity, gas, internet, and possibly, cable. It’s becoming increasingly rare to find a property where the rent includes all utilities; in some instances, the landlord will pay for water and gas, but that perk is also dwindling.

When you’re interviewing property management companies, be sure to ask them what utilities you will be responsible for and ask them if they know the average monthly costs for current (and previous) residents. You can also do some Google research as many sites have averages for specific regions of the country. Another idea is to talk to your new utility companies when setting up your accounts.

If you’re touring the property in person, take a close look at the doors and windows, especially in an older building. Lack of storm windows, windows that don’t close properly, and doors with gaps at the threshold can all signal a drafty apartment that will be expensive to heat in the winter and keep cool during the summer.

If you live in an area that experiences extreme temperature swings such as extremely hot, humid summers and frigid winters, consider going on a level-payment plan. With these plans, the utility company averages your monthly bills and you pay the same fee every month. This works if you’d like a predictable amount to budget for; for others who may have very low summer gas bills or reduced winter electric bills, they may prefer to pay the full amount due each month.  

There are many online resources for advice on managing your utility bills, but one option to consider when moving in is to install a smart thermostat. This will probably already exist in a new build, but if not, ask your property manager if you can install one. You can program the smart thermostat to adjust the indoor heating and cooling for when you’re going to be out of the apartment for long periods, such as during the workday. The utility company can also automatically adjust your thermostat during peak usage seasons. It’s worth looking into and you can find smart thermostats at a variety of price points; in some cities, as an incentive, the utility company will give you one as well as install it for free.

Having a utility budget before you sign the lease is a preventive measure for avoiding nasty surprises when the monthly statements arrive. Doing some research in advance is well worth the effort and you may even discover some ways to save during the process.

GET COZY IN A VISION COMMUNITY APARTMENT

At Vision Communities, we want you to make your apartment your home, and whatever temperature you prefer, you’ll want to understand what to budget for your utility bills. If you are looking for a new apartment, be sure to put a VC community on your list to tour. We have floor plans for you to view virtually or in person. Our spacious, studio, 1 bedroom2 bedroom, and 3 bedroom apartment layouts provide cozy space. Check out our luxurious apartment floorplans in one of our communities and enjoy life at the VC. 

Schedule a tour today and see why Vision Communities is a great place to live. 

Artificial vs. Real Christmas Tree

Tips for Picking the Right Christmas Tree

With the holidays upon us, you may want to celebrate the season with a Christmas tree, or Festivus tree, or (name the occasion) tree. This begs the question … real or artificial? Before weighing in, you may want to check your lease or ask your property manager. Because live Christmas trees are considered a fire hazard, they may not be allowed in apartment buildings. Likewise, some municipalities may prohibit live trees (like they do grills) from multi-family dwellings. But, if you have a choice, here are some of the pros and cons of live versus artificial Christmas trees.

  1. Ambiance. There’s really nothing that can compare to a nice soft, green Douglas fir or white pine conifer. Then there’s the smell and that tarry brown sap around the cut mark. It’s also a holiday tradition for many families to make an annual pilgrimage to the Christmas tree farm or a corner parking lot to pick out THE tree. Why not carry on that tradition yourself?It’s not quite the same to go online or to the local hobby or home improvement store to peruse the artificial trees. But, you can find some beautiful artificial trees that mimic their natural counterparts, like a blue spruce or Scotch pine. They have the same soft needles and colors; all are pre-lit (bonus) and some are flocked to look like the tips were kissed with freshly fallen snow. To go with the artificial tree, pick up some pine-scented candles or wax melts.
  1. Decorating and care. It’s a TV/movie trope to watch a befuddled father untangling miles of lights to hang on the fresh Christmas tree (think Clark Griswold!) but it’s doable, especially with LED lights. One advantage of artificial trees is that they are already pre-lit. Artificial trees need assembly and the tips need to be fluffed out to look realistic, but, they don’t shed as badly as real trees do. Nor do you have to saw the tree’s base or keep turning it around to fit in the stand. Another advantage to artificial trees is that they don’t need to be watered. You need to keep a close eye on a live tree to make sure it doesn’t dry out. That’s when it moves into fire hazard territory. (NOTE: Pets love to nibble on both types of Christmas tree needles, and cats will climb a tree, real or not, so you need to watch out for that.)
  2. Allergens. Some people are highly allergic to the terpenes in certain conifers. Terpenes are the source of the pine scent and can cause symptoms like watery eyes, runny nose, and general misery. The good news is that you can find hypoallergenic varieties of live Christmas trees. Likewise, some people are sensitive to the chemicals in artificial trees. One disadvantage to live trees is that you need to keep the needles swept up and the longer the tree is up, the more it will shed. The needles don’t necessarily contribute to allergies; they are just a pain to keep on top of.
  3. Disposal. There are many methods of disposing of live Christmas trees. Before you are tempted to toss it in your apartment complex dumpster, consider putting it to good use. In some cities, you can put your Christmas tree on the curb and it will be picked up for mulching or composting to be used in municipal gardens and parks. You can also take the tree to a park or lake where it may be put in the water for a fish habitat or to curtail erosion. Artificial trees can be put in the trash, but a better idea is to donate them. If the tree is gently used, donate it to charity or take it to a thrift store.

There are many advantages and disadvantages of each type of Christmas tree. What it boils down to is your personal preference. Whichever one you choose, make it festive and make it bright and just have fun!

CELEBRATE THE HOLIDAYS IN VISION COMMUNITY APARTMENT

At Vision Communities, we want you to make your apartment your home, and what better way than to deck your halls this holiday season. If you are looking for a new apartment, be sure to put a VC community on your list to tour. We have floor plans for you to view virtually or in person. Our spacious, studio, 1 bedroom2 bedroom, and 3 bedroom apartment layouts provide cozy space. Check out our luxurious apartment floorplans in one of our communities and enjoy life at the VC. 

Schedule a tour today and see why Vision Communities is a great place to live. 

Renter’s Insurance 101

If you’re apartment hunting or getting ready to sign a lease, you have probably discovered that landlords require you to carry renter’s insurance and it’s usually non-negotiable. Renter’s insurance covers the contents of your apartment in the event of fire, water damage, vandalism, theft, etc., along with personal liability and medical expenses if someone is injured while in your apartment. Renter’s insurance does not cover the actual building or other parts of the property — that is the responsibility of the property management company. Just keep in mind that the insurance coverage for the overall property does not cover the personal contents of your apartment or storage unit (if you have one.) It’s also important to understand that if you have roommates, each occupant of your apartment needs a separate renters insurance policy.

Specifics of coverage will vary depending on your insurance company, your zip code, your deductible, and other factors. Renters insurance is a lot less expensive than homeowners’ insurance and you can usually get a good deal if you bundle your renter’s insurance with your auto insurance policy. There may be some restrictions or higher costs if you live in specific areas. For example, if your apartment is located in a flood plain or area that is prone to earthquakes, these incidents might be exempt from coverage or you may have to pay a lot more.

Keep in mind that filing a claim and getting reimbursed can take some time. That’s why it’s important that you keep an inventory of your belongings. Take photos or make a video on your phone to document what you own and make sure to keep your receipts or other documentation of what you paid for your belongings. That will make it much easier to prove what you lost when filing a claim.

While renters insurance may seem like a hassle or something that “you’ll never need,” don’t fool yourself. Anything can happen. As well, it will make it much easier for you to rent an apartment, and you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you’re covered if the unexpected occurs.

FIND A NEW APARTMENT IN A VISION COMMUNITY

At Vision Communities, we are committed to providing apartment communities that you’ll be proud of. If you are looking for a new adventure, be sure to put a VC community on your list to tour. We have floor plans for you to view virtually or in person. Our spacious, studio, 1 bedroom2 bedroom, and 3 bedroom apartment layouts provide cozy space. Check out our luxurious apartment floorplans in one of our communities and enjoy life at the VC. 

Schedule a tour today and see why Vision Communities is a great place to live. 

Tips for Composting in Your Apartment

Green living is now a way of life for many apartment dwellers and one activity you can practice is composting. Composting is a natural way to transform everyday table scraps into a nutrient-rich soil additive that you can use on house plants as well as outdoor container plants. There are many methods of indoor composting, but the simplest method is aerobic composting, where the organic manner is broken down by microorganisms that rely on oxygen. The aerobic method doesn’t attract bugs or emit nasty smells.

You can put waste like vegetable peels and scraps into your compost bin; what needs to stay out are dairy products, fats, and meat. These substances don’t compost well and will cause unpleasant odors. On the topic of odors, if you’re composting correctly, then you should only smell a slight earthy scent. The contents of a compost bin are broken down into two categories: green waste and brown waste. Green waste is well, anything “green,” which includes grass clippings, and most food waste. Brown waste is matter like dead leaves, twigs, sticks, etc. Alternately layer the green and brown waste and then add enough water to the pile so it is damp, but not saturated. Then, you need to aerate (or turn) the compost about two times a week.

There are numerous compost bins and other tools available online, as well as detailed discussions about different types of composting (such as using worms) with instructions. The best area for composting in an apartment is underneath the kitchen sink. Compost needs to be kept warm and would be unsuccessful if kept outdoors on a balcony in extreme Central Ohio weather. Once your compost is a rich, dark brown organic substance, you can use it. You can use it for your own plants or donate it. Some communities have compost piles to add to, or you could offer your compost to your local farmer’s market. Composting is an unusual hobby that requires some maintenance and patience but is also environmentally friendly and beneficial to our overall food source. So try your hand at urban composting!

FIND A NEW APARTMENT IN A VISION COMMUNITY

At Vision Communities, our goal is to create comfortable apartment communities that are sustainably built. If you are looking for a new apartment and have a green thumb, give composting a shot at your new VC apartment. Put your security deposit to use on a new Vision Community apartment. We have floor plans for you to view virtually or in person. Our spacious, studio, 1 bedroom2 bedroom, and 3 bedroom apartment layouts provide cozy space. Check out our luxurious apartment floorplans in one of our communities and enjoy life at the VC. 

Schedule a tour today and see why Vision Communities is a great place to live. 

How to Not Lose Your Deposit When You Move

Probably the biggest concern of renters when moving out of an apartment is if they will get their security deposit back. You pay your security deposit when you move in and the amount is typically the first (and last) month’s rent, along with any other charges, such as an application fee, credit check, and extra deposit if you have a pet. The purpose of the deposit is to hold the money in case it needs to be used to make any repairs to the unit after a tenant has vacated.

Getting your security deposit back shouldn’t be an issue if you follow the language in your lease and have done your best to be a responsible tenant and keep the apartment in good shape while you lived there. However, some landlords can be extremely picky or downright dishonest and explore every angle to avoid returning your security deposit.

Here are some tips to increase the odds that you’ll be paid back:

  1. Read the terms of your lease. Your lease should spell out the expectations for moving out, including giving notice, cleaning, returning keys, etc. Follow them to the letter.
  2. Clean. Clean. Clean. That means everything, including the nooks and crannies of appliances and the bathrooms. If you need to, patch any holes in the walls from hanging pictures. Don’t assume that the maintenance crew will fix these when renovating the apartment. Little oversights can ding your deposit.
  3. Refer to your copy of your move-in checklist. If your property manager used a checklist when you moved in, you should have a copy of it. Use this as your punch list when cleaning and doing minor repairs. Normal wear and tear is expected and doesn’t count against your deposit. However, major damage, especially from pets, will cost you. If possible, accompany the apartment manager when they do the final walk-through.
  4. Remove EVERYTHING. If you aren’t taking something with you to your next apartment, dispose of it. Sell it, donate it, re-gift it, or throw it away. What you do NOT want to do is overload all the dumpsters in the complex on moving day. Not only will you piss off other residents but you can expect the landlord to deduct the cost of large-item disposal from your security deposit.

When you return your keys, make sure to leave your forwarding address with your landlord, so they can mail back your security deposit. When you leave, assume positive intent that you will get your money back. However, if there are issues with the property management company and they string you along or refuse to return your deposit. make sure you have all of your documentation and consult an attorney. You can attempt to recoup your deposit through small claims court.

FIND A NEW APARTMENT IN A VISION COMMUNITY

Put your security deposit to use on a new Vision Community apartment. We have floor plans for you to view virtually or in person. Our spacious, studio, 1 bedroom2 bedroom, and 3 bedroom apartment layouts provide cozy space. Check out our luxurious apartment floorplans in one of our communities and enjoy life at the VC. 

Schedule a tour today and see why Vision Communities is a great place to live. 

Pros and Cons of Virtual Leasing

During the height of the pandemic, it was challenging for both renters and landlords to lease new apartments. Lockdowns, quarantines, and other deterrents prevented the typical apartment tour, so property managers had to get creative. Thus, virtual leasing was born. With virtual leasing, prospective tenants can see an apartment online to get a feel if it would be a good fit or not. To streamline the process even further, many property management companies across the country also adopted online leasing applications.

While virtual leasing definitely solved the problem of not blindly renting an apartment, it offers other advantages, such as saving time, but it is also not without its drawbacks. Here are some pros and cons of virtual leasing.

Pros

Saving time. Now you can curl up on the sofa in your PJs at any time and tour apartments in any neighborhood you choose. No more having to drive around and search for locations or make appointments for a showing.

Getting the complete picture. Instead of static photos, virtual tours are often 360. You get a panoramic view of the apartment, the grounds, and amenities such as a pool and clubhouse. But what you won’t see in most virtual tours are the less-attractive aspects of the property, such as the parking lot, dumpsters/trash disposal area, and mailboxes.

Look anywhere you like. With a virtual tour, you can explore other areas of town or even apartments in different states entirely. This is particularly useful if you received an out-of-town job offer or simply need a change of scenery. The online search can significantly narrow your options before you schedule an in-person trip.

Cons

Not seeing the finer details. Most photos and videos used in virtual tours are of a brand-new unit that’s move-in ready or staged. The goal is to entice you to sign a lease ASAP. What you won’t see are details such as the condition of the doors, locks, and windows, and building security. You also don’t see a complete picture of the property.

Not seeing the neighborhood. Unless you are familiar with the area you want to move to, virtual tours are pretty limited about the area outside the apartment complex. For example, is there a parking lot for residents or is it going to be a constant headache to find on-street parking? How safe is the neighborhood? What types of stores are close by?

Not meeting the apartment manager. Anybody can be charming over the phone or via chat. With virtual leasing, you don’t get to meet the property manager face to face. That may not necessarily always be a bad thing but being able to put a face with a name is more beneficial over the long term. Most humans still prefer the personal touch.

If you are looking for a new apartment, virtual leasing is a good starting point. You can find some options then schedule an appointment for an in-person tour now that most pandemic restrictions have been lifted. It’s better to see the place in person as you don’t want to get locked into an online lease — sight unseen — and be stuck in an apartment or location you hate. Combine the pros of virtual leasing with on-site visits to find your perfect new home.

FIND A NEW APARTMENT IN A VISION COMMUNITY

At Vision Communities, we have floor plans for you to view virtually or in person. Our spacious, studio, 1 bedroom2 bedroom, and 3 bedroom apartment layouts provide cozy space. Check out our luxurious apartment floorplans in one of our communities and enjoy life at the VC. 

Schedule a tour today and see why Vision Communities is a great place to live. 

Questions to ask before renting an apartment

What to Know Before Renting an Apartment

Important questions to ask when renting an apartment

If you have recently graduated and are ready to start a new job and get your own place, now is a great time to be looking at apartments. The same can be said if you want to buy a house or have sold your home and are waiting to move into a new one. Currently, it’s a seller’s market in the housing industry and mortgage rates are predicted to increase, so if home ownership is your goal, it might be best to wait it out.  An apartment offers many amenities that you won’t find in a house, like a swimming pool or fully equipped fitness center. And if you’re new to the area, apartment living is a great way to meet people and get acclimated to your new community.

One of the benefits of living in an apartment is that you aren’t locked into a long-term mortgage. Most leases renew annually and some property management companies offer month-to-month leases. You will be required to put down a security deposit, which will vary by property, and it should be returned to you when you moved out, provided that the apartment didn’t incur any major damage while you were living there. There may also be a pet deposit and if you are just starting out, you may need to pay deposits in order to establish utilities in your name.

Here are seven important questions to ask when renting an apartment:

  1. How much is the security deposit? Most apartment deposits amount to one month’s rent and you may also be asked to pay an application fee. Make sure you understand that upfront and be sure to get clarification on how you get your deposit returned when you move out.
  2. Is there a pet deposit? Many apartments now require pet deposits and some also charge a small monthly rental fee for the pet. The deposit and monthly rent are usually based on the weight of the animal, and most communities have restrictions on how many pets a resident can own. Some cities and apartment communities also have breed restrictions, so be sure that your pet is on the approved list.
  3. What are the terms of the lease? You want to be very clear on this one because it is expensive to break a lease. Are you bound to one year or can you go month-to-month? How much notice are you required to give if you intend to move out?
  4. What utilities are covered in the rent? In some communities, your rent also includes water and trash removal. Be certain to check as you don’t want to be surprised by unexpected utility bills. As an incentive, some properties offer free internet/cable services like Google Fiber. If that is the case, make sure to find out how and when the rates increase, how soon you will be notified, and if you have the option to decline this service.
  5. How are maintenance requests handled? This is important to know in advance so you will not have unrealistic expectations. Find out if there is a dedicated maintenance staff for your property and when they are available. Also, ask if there is after-hours emergency maintenance and what constitutes an “emergency.” Do residents submit maintenance requests online or do they need to call their property manager? Some properties allow residents to perform simple DIY repairs themselves and deduct the cost of any supplies from their rent.
  6. Do residents have dedicated parking spaces? This can be a huge headache for apartment residents — where to park. Are there reserved parking spots or is it a free-for-all? Some complexes charge more for reserved parking spots or carports. In addition, find out where guests are supposed to park. Guests parking in residents’ “usual” spots can get ugly quickly.
  7. What is security like? Every property is different. Some have locked outside security doors, while others have passcodes or gates at the entrance to the complex. High-rise apartments might have a concierge or on-site security guards. Check all of the windows and doors to make sure they close and lock properly. In addition, check for working smoke/CO monitors in the unit and for fire extinguishers in the hallways.

These are some tips to get you started on your apartment search. Your main goal in finding a new place to live is that it is safe, comfortable and fits your lifestyle. By gathering basic information upfront, you will understand your obligations as a resident and the responsibilities of the property management company, so your apartment life will be harmonious and stress-free.

At Vision Communities, we welcome you to explore our floor plans and find the right one for you and your furry friend. Our facilities are top-notch and based on some of our resident reviews, we think you’ll love the atmosphere, amenities, and our property management staff, all designed to give you a place you are proud to call home. There are so many amenities and things to do in and around our Central Ohio communities

Schedule an appointment to check out our spacious floor plans, and our friendly property management staff will be happy to show you around.