Hosting a Super Bowl Party at your apartment

Planning a Super Bowl Party

Make This Year’s Superbowl One to Remember

The Super Bowl is the biggest event in sports and for good reason. After months of cheering on their favorite NFL teams, hard-core fans are ready for the coup de grace and it’s even more exciting if their team is playing. So, if you want to avoid noisy crowds and the bar scene to enjoy the big game, why not host your own Super Bowl party? You can transform even the smallest space into a festive atmosphere to cheer your team on to bringing home the esteemed Lombardi trophy.

Plan Your Food Menu

Food ranks right up there before halftime entertainment and the creative commercials. Tried and true favorites include nachos, chips with guac and salsa, veggies with dip, and of course, wings. For the main course, you can’t go wrong with chili or keep it simple, and order (early!) pizza delivery Conclude the meal with something sweet like brownies or pick up some team-themed cookies at the local bakery or grocery store.

Organize a Drink Menu

The most popular Super Bowl beverage is beer, so stock up on two or three types of beer. Non-drinkers will appreciate soft drinks, flavored sparkling water, or an NA beer or seltzer. You can fill a cooler with drinks and ice and keep it on the balcony, to save on fridge space.

Add Creative Games

As an icebreaker before the festivities begin, introduce some games. You can find plenty of ideas online, but think about NFL trivia, rate the commercials, or low-stakes betting on the final score.

Some housekeeping tips include making sure you have an adequate supply of cups, napkins, plates, and cutlery along with trash bags for easy cleanup as the evening progresses. If you have a nervous pet, keep it in the bedroom, so they won’t be frightened by the noise or try to escape your apartment. Lastly, be mindful of your neighbors and let them know in advance that you plan to entertain, then attempt to keep the noise level at a reasonable level. 

Explore a Vision Community Apartment

At Vision Communities, we encourage you to find the space you need so you can host parties with your friends and neighbors. Our property management teams work hard to create living spaces that are headache-free and places you’ll want to come home to. We have floor plans that provide your personal space and spacious common areas for you to hang out with your roommate and friends. 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. 

Decluttering for the New Year

Clean Out the Old With These Decluttering Tips

Nearly everyone begins a new year with good intentions, but few resolutions last beyond February, or March … if you’re super disciplined. If one of your goals for the new year is to declutter your apartment, the good news is that there’s no end date and it’s a process you can work on year-round. The first step is to break the task into manageable pieces and the second part of the strategy — and this is where self-discipline comes in — is to stay on top of the project, so you don’t gradually relapse into disorganization.

It’s no secret that being surrounded by clutter can negatively impact your mental and emotional health. Never being able to locate anything, running out of space, and dodging stuff as you try to move around your apartment is exhausting and a waste of time. There is a plethora of resources online that reflect the latest trends in decluttering, but instead of following mathematical rules, try good old “KISS” (Keep It Simple, Stupid), which is a design principle that was coined by the U.S. Navy in 1960. While well-worn, this adage still stands today.

Decluttering falls into three categories: keep, donate/sell, and discard. Then go room to room, take inventory of the contents, and assign them to one of the three categories. Nobody says you have to complete all of this in one weekend; work on it when you feel like it, but once you get going and see progress, you’ll be motivated to continue.

Things to Keep

If this is a kitchen gadget, item of clothing, book, etc., that you plan to use, wear, read, or otherwise consume regularly, then keep it. Don’t hang on to that jar of garam masala from 2020 that you have used once but maybe will use again if you make a curry someday. Or, that pair of skinny jeans that are too small, but will fit when you lose 10 pounds. (Besides, they are out of style right now.) The remaining tennis ball from the can you opened in Summer 2021, probably doesn’t bounce any longer. You get the picture. If you haven’t eaten, worn, read, listened to, or otherwise used it for more than a year, it can probably go.

Things to Donate or Sell

This is where the most satisfying aspect of decluttering comes into play. If it’s clothes, food, or another item that is in good condition or not expired, donate it. Inspect shoes and clothing items for scuffs, tears, and stains, and if they are salvageable, donate them. Food banks will welcome nonperishable items that are not past their “sell-by” date. Gently used electronics can be donated to thrift shops where they will be sold with the proceeds going to a good cause. If that expensive Peloton is serving as a second closet rod in your bedroom, then swallow hard and sell it. Use the money to join a gym.

Things to Throw Away

This is the pile for items that are expired, stained, torn, broken, etc. You aren’t going to DIY fix the broken Keurig and it’s probably cheaper in the long run to just replace it. You don’t need the “lucky” gym shirt from your college days that you wore when scoring the three-pointer that won the pick-up basketball game. You get the picture.

Explore a Vision Community Apartment

At Vision Communities, we want you to make your apartment your own space and decluttering is a great way to keep your space clean and stress-free. Our property management teams work hard to create living spaces that are headache-free and places you’ll want to come home to. We have floor plans that provide your personal space and spacious common areas for you to hang out with your roommate and friends. 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. 

Ways to Keep Your Apartment Warmer During the Winter

With winter upon us, temperatures plunge and heating costs soar. While your apartment is warmed with central heat and perhaps even a fireplace, staving off Ohio’s frigid temperatures can get expensive. There are some cost-effective ways you can keep your apartment warmer without breaking the bank; many of which simply involve smarter use of existing equipment and furnishings. As a bonus, some ideas add a touch of coziness that will brighten up the bleakest of winter days.

Reverse your ceiling fan.

Typically, heat rises, so during the summer, when you run your ceiling fan, the warm air rises to the ceiling, leaving the cooler air below. However, when you reverse the direction of your ceiling fan, the cold air is pulled upward, so the air closer to the surface is warmer. (Note: this works best with air ducts that release heat towards the ceiling.)

Keep the bathroom door open when you shower.

The warm air and steam will escape to other rooms, which will increase the temperature as well as the humidity level. Speaking of humidity, warm moist air will feel more comfortable, so you could add some portable humidifiers around your apartment. As a plus, the increased humidity will help soothe dry itchy skin and your houseplants will love it.

Use your drapes wisely.

If it’s not terribly cold outside, leave your drapes open on sunny days to take advantage of natural warmth, then close them at night when the temperature drops and on bitterly cold days. Take it a step further by purchasing insulated drapes or curtains in a seasonal color such as winter white or cranberry. You can also warm up your décor with plush throws and pillows or colorful shaggy area rugs.

DIY weatherproofing.

You can use door stops in the space under your door to keep drafts away. You can also find plastic film to place over your windows and balcony doors to add further insulation. Make sure to clear it with your property manager first, though.

Winter doesn’t need to feel like months of gloom and chill.

With a little ingenuity, you can keep your apartment warm while reducing your energy costs. At the same time, you can transform your apartment into a cozy space where you can enjoy the beauty of winter and count down the days until spring.

Young woman joyfully decorates a small Christmas tree in a cozy apartment, bringing festive holiday cheer to a smaller space with creative decorations and ornaments.

Holiday Decorating Ideas

The holidays are here and there’s no better way to get in the mood of the season than by decorating. And don’t think that just because you live in an apartment you can’t indulge in the fun. There is plenty you can do to transform a smaller space into a winter wonderland. All you need is a little creativity. There can be something rewardingly therapeutic about taking the time to add a little holiday cheer to your humble abode. Here are some ideas especially attuned to smaller spaces.

Small Christmas trees.

Don’t despair that you can’t haul a 7-foot-plus Douglas fir up the stairs and try to cram it into a corner in your apartment. You can find small Christmas trees crafted from all types of materials such as wood, bottle brushes, or an artificial tabletop tree with LED lights. (You can even find miniature ornaments and lights.) Group small trees together on tabletops or a fireplace mantel if you have one. (Bonuses: No watering a live tree or vacuuming up dead needles.)

Bowls of baubles.

Find a large clear glass bowl and fill it with Christmas baubles, pinecones, fir fronds, and a small string of battery-powered LED lights. You’ll have an instant centerpiece for the dining room or coffee table or fireplace mantel. You can also apply the same idea to a lantern. Add to the enjoyment by sourcing bowls, lanterns, or other vessels at thrift shops or hobby stores.

Winter floral.

‘Tis the season for poinsettias and Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera) add a splash of color to any space. The traditional hue for poinsettias is red, but you can find one in pink, cream, variegated, and even blue or orange, although the latter two shades are artificial. Christmas cacti sport a cascade of fuchsia and coral blooms, and you can keep them year-round. With proper care, your Christmas cactus will reward you by blooming next holiday season. 

Wreaths and floral garlands.

A popular social media trend is to deck your doorways with an evergreen garland and add festive bows and LED lights. Choose real or artificial and use hangers that won’t damage the walls. A scented live wreath hanging on your front door will welcome you home with its piney fragrance after a long day of work or running errands.

So, deck the halls and enjoy the season. Pour a cup of hot cocoa, light some bayberry candles, and take refuge in your festive, cozy holiday hideaway!

Add a Coffee Bar to Your Apartment

How to set up a coffee bar in your apartment

There‘s just nothing like a hot cup of coffee to get going in the morning or if you need an afternoon break or need to stay awake to complete a tough work assignment. Enjoying a cup of coffee is also a great way to socialize with friends, coworkers, and neighbors. Sometimes, though, you don’t feel like standing in line or spending big bucks for a bespoke caffeinated beverage, and as far as that swill that passes as “coffee” goes in the office, by mid-afternoon, it’s a hard pass. With all that in mind, for a little money and a touch of creativity, you can create a coffee bar in your apartment for when you want to gently acclimate to the morning, entertain guests, fuel working at home, or simply relax.

Kitchen island coffee bar

If you have a kitchen island, this is easy. At one end of the island, set up your coffeemaker and other small appliances you may use, such as a grinder or toaster. Find a wire holder for coffee pods and a mug rack or place your mugs on a pretty decorative tray. Arrange your sugar, sweetener, honey, spoons, plates, napkins, spoons, and whatever else you may need on the tray as well. Take it a step further by finding some unique canisters and containers to keep the sugar and other items in. This keeps everything organized and adds some interest and color to an otherwise utilitarian space.

Rolling kitchen island

If your apartment doesn’t have a fixed island, then pick up a portable work island online or at most big box or home stores. You can choose from many finishes, such as wood or metal, and even customize it to suit your taste or complement the rest of the décor in your apartment. Organize your coffeemaker, syrups, serveware, and condiments on the shelves in a manner that’s practical for easy use. The beauty is that you can roll the island out of the way when it’s not in use.

Bar cart

This is the same concept as a rolling kitchen island as it’s a portable option for a coffee bar. You can buy bar/coffee carts most anywhere but have some fun with it. Scour thrift shops, vintage stores, and estate sales to find something unique that reflects your personality and will be a guaranteed conversation starter.

Other ideas for small spaces

Find a small tiered standing shelf unit that you can tuck into the corner of a countertop, or use baskets, colanders, or hanging metal produce baskets. Attach an under-the-shelf cup rack to hang coffee mugs or visualize a different use for a common object. Dress up the area with fun signage or a low-maintenance plant.

With a little money and a lot of imagination, you can create a coffee bar in your apartment. You’ll save money, time, and probably a lot of calories. It will also make the experience of enjoying your favorite seasonal beverage at your favorite coffee shop all the more special.

Explore a Vision Community Apartment

At Vision Communities, we try to make the apartment experience as easy as possible, and we want you to make your apartment your own space. A coffee bar is a great addition to your kitchen, with all of the utensils and ingredients you need to make a great cup of coffee. Our property management teams work hard to create living spaces that are headache-free and places you’ll want to come home to. We have floor plans that provide your personal space and spacious common areas for you to hang out with your roommate and friends. 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. 

Washer/Dryer Maintenance Tips

How to maintain your washer and dryer

Most modern apartments now come with washers and dryers or washer/dryer hookups. It’s a major advancement from older buildings, where residents must haul their laundry to a laundromat, or if they are lucky, down to shared machines in the basement. Whether your washer and dryer come with the apartment, or you need to buy your own, don’t take these timesavers for granted. Like all major appliances, your washer and dryer need a little TLC and routine maintenance to ensure peak performance and even more importantly, to properly clean and preserve your clothes.

Here are some easy tips for keeping your washer and dryer in pristine condition.

Keep the lid or door of the washer open when not in use

Whether your washer is top- or front-loading, leave the lid or door open when you’re not using it. This allows the washer to dry out and can prevent the growth of mold and musty odors.

Clean the washing machine

For normal use, you can clean your washing machine once a month. Fill the machine with hot water and 3-4 cups of white vinegar (or bleach if it’s been a while). Let the machine run for 2 minutes to mix the water and vinegar, then pause the activity for 30-60 minutes. Let the cycle resume after that to drain out all the water/vinegar mixture. The reason why you should regularly clean your washer is because minerals and other deposits from hard water can build up inside the washer. In addition, your washer picks up dirt, bacteria, and other foreign matter from your clothes. Yuck. Enough said!

Clean the lint trap in the dryer

Make a habit of cleaning the lint trap each time you use the dryer. Lint build-up can be flammable. You should also wipe down the drum as well to remove any stray lint.

Clean out the dryer duct

The duct discharges hot air from the dryer outdoors and lint, dust, and other debris can build up and cause a clog, which is also a fire hazard. To clean the duct, dislodge it and clean it with a rotary brush. How often you do this depends on how often you use your dryer or if you’ve just dried items made of fabric that pills or otherwise creates a lot of lint.

Maintaining your washer and dryer will extend their life and can reduce the frequency (and cost) of repair bills, not to mention, it will keep your clothes in pristine condition.  Your property manager will also appreciate your efforts to take care of the appliances you are using in your apartment, which will go a long way to fostering a good relationship with your apartment community’s management and maintenance teams.

Explore a Vision Community Apartment

At Vision Communities, we try to make the apartment experience as easy as possible, including including washer/dryer hookups in our units. Our property management teams work hard to create living spaces that are headache-free and places you’ll want to come home to. We have floor plans that provide your personal space and spacious common areas for you to hang out with your roommate and friends. 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 DIY Maintenance

DIY Tips for Your Apartment

One of the many benefits of apartment living is that you don’t have to worry about maintenance. It’s pretty easy to submit a maintenance request online and then wait for it to be completed. And sometimes, you do have to wait, especially during the change in seasons when many apartment maintenance crews are spread thin attending to HVAC problems throughout the apartment community. In some cases, maintenance staff is responsible for covering more than one property. Fortunately, there are many minor maintenance problems that you can easily handle yourself. With a few common and inexpensive tools, you can save yourself the wait and frustration by learning a few DIY tasks.

Clogged drains

Hair is the culprit of most bathroom and shower drains. You can unclog those drains yourself with a hair weasel. These are long, thin strips of plastic with one serrated edge. You slip the hair weasel down the drain and the serrated teeth will grab the hair so you can yank it out.

Clogged kitchen sink and garbage disposal

Many times, these problems go hand in hand. A clogged kitchen sink could be caused by debris plugging up the p-trap under the sink and this can be solved by using a plunger to force the clog through the pipe and into the waste disposal system. If the problem is the garbage disposal, press the reset button at the bottom of the unit; if that doesn’t work, use the Allen wrench that came with the disposal to turn the rotor and release the clog. As a note of caution, don’t use a commercial drain cleaner unless it’s OK with your property manager as the harsh chemicals may damage the plumbing.

Clogged toilet

Again, a plunger can usually dislodge clogs. Clogs can be prevented by not flushing anything down the toilet other than toilet paper. This means diapers, feminine hygiene products, cigarette butts, facial tissue, etc.

Changing light bulbs

Unless your apartment has lighting that requires specialized bulbs, you can easily change these yourself.

Changing smoke/CO detector batteries

In some jurisdictions, city codes require property managers to provide batteries for residents. Whether they are provided or you buy them yourself, it’s easy to change the batteries and they need to be changed twice a year. Scheduling a battery change during the changes to and from Daylight Saving Time and Standard Time is a good reminder.

These are just a few simple maintenance tasks residents can perform themselves. Leave major repairs such as malfunctioning appliances, major water leaks, electrical concerns, or issues with doors or windows to the maintenance crew. And always double-check your lease or with your property manager before you attempt any DIY maintenance project that extends beyond the simple basics. While they may appreciate you taking care of the small stuff, they won’t be so happy if you transform a simple problem into a major repair.

Explore a Vision Community Apartment

At Vision Communities, we want try to make the apartment experience as easy as possible. Our property management teams work hard to create living spaces that are headache free and places you’ll want to come home to. We have floor plans that provide your personal space and spacious common areas for you to hang out with your roommate and friends. 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. 

Design Apps For Apartment Decorating Ideas

Design Apps Your Apartment

Moving into a new apartment is exciting, but what if you have little time, interest, or aptitude when it comes to decorating? Watching home DIY shows sends you into a cold sweat and you are too busy to pour through websites and magazines. What do you do? Well, you can create a stunning apartment that you will love to come home to with your phone. That’s right. There are numerous apps available to help you choose furniture, lighting, accessories, and more. Here are a few popular apps that can be used on Android and iOS.

View these Apps for Apartment Design Ideas

Foyr Neo

Foyr Neo is the preferred design app of more than 50,000 interior designers worldwide. You can create floorplans in seconds with 3D drag-and-drop models, so you know exactly what your room will look like. While Neo is targeted toward professionals, design enthusiasts will enjoy the robust features this app has to offer. A 14-day free trial is available, then there are three monthly membership tiers, including one for personal use.

Amikasa

With Amakasa, you can choose a color palette, select furniture, and design a functional layout.  If you don’t like it, then it’s easy to change and you haven’t set foot in one store or spent a dime. This app is available for Android and iOS and costs 99 cents. That’s right. Other perks include a newsletter and space to share ideas with fellow Amikasa users.

IKEA Home Planner 2.0

BEFORE you tote that IKEA furniture home and begin the assembly marathon, it would be helpful to see how it will look in your apartment. This app is free to download on Android or iOS devices, and you can choose any room in your apartment to furnish and design. Next, select items from IKEA’s extensive catalog to try them on for size in your floorplan. This will save you time and energy by eliminating a hike through the store or repacking and returning merchandise that didn’t work out.

Pinterest

You probably have a Pinterest board for your hundreds of recipes and other ideas, but if you enjoy browsing, you will find tons of ideas that you can tweak and make your own. Just keep in mind that these are only ideas and the app doesn’t include features like 3D renderings, etc. Pinterest is free and available for Android and iOS systems.

Apartment design and decoration have some limitations as you probably won’t be able to change the paint colors or flooring, but you can choose furnishings and accessories that reflect your style. If the process seems overwhelming, these apps can simplify the process. If you are into design, then you can polish and perfect your ideas, and then bring them to life.

Explore a Vision Community Apartment

At Vision Communities, we want you to make the space your own. These design apps can help you create a layout that makes you proud to come home to every night. We also work hard to create a community where you can connect with others and amenities that add value to your living experience. We have floor plans that provide your personal space and spacious common areas for you to hang out with your roommate and friends. 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. 

Creating Workout Space in Your Apartment

Tips for creating a workout space in your apartment

Fitness centers are a popular amenity at apartment complexes, with many of them offering 24/7 access and extras such as CrossFit workouts and yoga classes. The selection of equipment available will vary widely in different communities, which can influence if and when you choose to work out there. If you have a specific fitness regimen, don’t feel like going out in inclement weather, or just prefer to work out solo, then, you can set up a home gym in your apartment.

Your setup can be as bare-bones or as elaborate as you like, but before you hop online to start shopping for gear, first check your lease or with your apartment manager, especially if you live on an upper floor. There may be limits on equipment weight and concerns about possible noise.

Room and storage of workout equipment

If you have a two-bedroom or larger apartment, you may be able to convert one bedroom into a workout room. You can store your equipment in there. If you don’t have that luxury, then you’ll need to get a bit more creative. If you have any furniture, such as an ottoman, that doubles as storage, then you can stash small weights, bands, and yoga straps in there. If your furniture isn’t super-heavy and better yet, on casters or wheels, then you can easily move it out of the way when you want to exercise. You can also stash workout equipment under the bed or in closets.

Standalone workout equipment

If you have the space and budget, you can look into one of those all-in-one machines with an adjustable bench, weights, bars, and more. Other options include a Peloton, elliptical trainer, or other cardio/weight equipment. Before you make the investment, make sure you’ll actually use the equipment, otherwise, you’ll end up with an expensive catch-all for dirty clothes! If you’re uncertain, then think of using the apartment community’s fitness center.

Three pieces are all you need

If you are serious about working out in your apartment, you can get your weight training in by investing in three pieces of equipment. First, you’ll need a collapsible RID (rest, incline, decline) bench. These are specifically designed to fold flat to store under a bed when not in use. Next, you’ll need weights. If you don’t have room for a full rack of weights, try adjustable weights. You can easily move up or down in weight and they are easy to store. Lastly, install a pull-up bar over one of your doorways. (This is another case when you should check with your property manager before installation.)

Explore a Vision Community Apartment

At Vision Communities, we have an onsite gym at all of our communities. If you prefer to work out alone in your apartment, you’ll have plenty of space to create your own workout space. We work hard to create a community where you feel at home and want you to enjoy your space. We have floor plans that provide your personal space and spacious common areas for you to hang out with your roommate and friends. 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. 

Kitchen Bar Seats For Your Apartment

The best bar-style seating to use with a kitchen island

Work islands are popular in contemporary interior design — especially with open-concept floor plans — and serve as the focal point of the kitchen. Not only are they highly functional for food prep and storage, but they can also serve as an informal eating area. You can use your work island as a coffee nook, breakfast bar, or an actual bar area. But before you can sit down and enjoy a cuppa or glass of wine, you need something to sit on. Here are some tips for selecting bar seating.

You can find bar seating practically anywhere — online, big box stores, and home goods and furniture stores. If your budget is limited or you’re looking for something unique, try scouting thrift stores and estate sales.

Style

This boils down to whether you want stools that have a back or are backless. If you plan to spend a lot of time sitting at your island or you entertain a lot, stools with backs will be more comfortable.

Dimensions

Take careful measurements before you start shopping. Your bar seating should be 12 inches lower than the height of the bar. For example, if your island is 48 inches tall, then the stools should be 36 inches tall. And, a good rule of thumb is that each seat needs about 24 inches per person, which will determine how many seats you can comfortably sit along your island.

Materials

Metal and wood are good choices for the frame, as they are durable and complement most decorating schemes. For fabric, choose something easy to clean, such as vinyl, or splurge on leather. If you prefer fabric, select a color or print that doesn’t easily show stains and if the fabric isn’t already treated with a stain/water-resistant finish, you can spray it yourself with readily available retail products.

A work island is a functional and fun element of any apartment, and you can take advantage of its multiple uses. With the right preparation, you can make the area as casual or formal as you like, with your choice of seating.

Explore a Vision Community Apartment

At Vision Communities, many of our 1BR, 2BR and 3BR floor plans feature a bar space for you to entertain guests, create a workspace, or like many of us, pile up the mail. Find the perfect bar stool seating to complement your kitchen space at one of our apartment communities.

At Vision Communities, we work hard to create a community where you feel at home. We have floor plans that provide your personal space and spacious common areas for you to hang out with your roommate and friends. 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 Plants for Apartment Dwellers

Tasteful, realistic artificial houseplants

Once you’ve signed the lease, received your key, and done all the other heavy lifting, now comes the fun part … decorating! Nothing adds a pop of color or a touch of freshness like houseplants. But what if you’re one of those people who can’t even grow an air plant? Well, you are in luck! Gone are the day-glow green plastic plants of the past, that were “rooted” in tacky flimsy planters. The artificial plants you can find today are tasteful and mimic their live counterparts so well that few people can tell the difference. Even better, artificial plants require no maintenance except for an occasional dusting and they come in high-quality planters that will complement any décor. Artificial plants are also ideal for allergy sufferers, parents of small children, and pet owners. Moreover, if you travel frequently, you don’t have to worry about plant care while you’re out of town.

You can find a selection of houseplants practically anywhere — online, big box stores, and even lawn and garden centers.

Here are some popular varieties of artificial plants that are suited for a desk or end table or if you want something that makes a statement when you walk in the door.

Fiddle leaf fig tree

These tall, majestic trees feature slender stalks and abundant dark green leaves. They look great in an entryway.

Golden cane palm

This is another tall plant with sweeping medium-green leaves that mimic palm fronds. Live varieties of this plant tend to shed a lot, which makes their silk cousins a bargain.

Aloe vera

The problem with live aloe vera is that it’s tricky to find the water balance, which is a common issue with succulents. An artificial version removes the guesswork, and you can enjoy the pump stalks which range in color from medium yellow-green to dark green with white dots.

Other succulents

You can also choose other artificial succulents such as flowering cacti or non-flowering varieties. Most come in planters with fake sand and pebbles. Artificial succulents look great on a table or countertop.

Pothos

The pothos is a common houseplant that comes in a variety of colors — medium-green, dark green, or white and green marbled. The trailing vines dress up a mantel or can also be displayed in a hanging basket.

This is just a sampling, but you can find artificial houseplants in colors, shapes, and sizes to suit your taste and budget. You’ll enjoy fresh-looking low-maintenance greenery for years to come and no one will be none the wiser!

Explore a Vision Community Apartment

At Vision Communities, we want you to make your Vision apartment your own, and artificial plants can be a great addition to your budding decor. We work hard to create a community where you feel at home. We have floor plans that provide your personal space and spacious common areas for you to hang out with your roommate and friends. 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. 

Vacation Planning for Apartment Dwellers

Vacation is a time for getting away from the stressors of daily life and relaxing. A change of scenery can do wonders for the psyche and half the fun is the anticipation and preparation. There are plenty of online resources for arranging your travel, lodging, sightseeing, and even how and what to pack. However, you can’t just up and leave your apartment unattended for weeks at a time. Here are some steps you need to take before you can truly leave your cares behind and enjoy your vacation.

Let your landlord and neighbors know

This depends on the norms of your apartment community and terms of your lease. Some leases stipulate that you need to inform your landlord if you won’t be occupying your apartment for a designated period of time. At the same time, let one of your nearby neighbors know you’re going to be away and ask them to keep an eye on your place during that time.

Arrange for pet care

Ask a friend, family, or neighbor in your building to look after your pet while you’re on vacation. From feeding fish to walking your dog, your pets will need regular care while you’re away. Doggie hotels are becoming very common, and you can board your canine companion in luxurious surroundings while you’re away; some facilities even have “doggie cams” so you can see live feeds of your best friend being pampered. Cats would be happier staying home with an occasional drop-in by a caretaker but there are extended stay places for felines, too. If your pet of any species needs daily medication, etc., it is then better to board them at a facility where they can receive regular veterinary care.

Adjust the thermostat, unplug unused appliances, and clean out the fridge and freezer

You can keep your apartment a little warmer or cooler while you’re on vacation. Unplug all nonessential appliances as they are an energy drain and why pay for power that you’re not going to be using? As well, clear out the refrigerator and freezer of anything past its shelf life, freezer burned, perishable (like produce), etc. You don’t want to come home to the sight of wilted lettuce, moldy cheese, etc.

Prepare for your return

You will appreciate this step after the fact. Clean up your apartment, change the beds and linens, vacuum, and pick up some easy freezer meals you can just pop in the microwave. You will probably be too tired to grocery shop or cook once you get home. If you have to return to work the day after you return, then plan what to wear and have your backpack or briefcase ready to go.

Enjoy your well-earned vacation. If you put the same amount of energy into getting your apartment prepared for your absence and return, you’ll have peace of mind that you can seamlessly segue back into your regular daily life with as little disruption as possible.

Explore a Vision Community Apartment

Vision Communities has the amenities and facilities to help you leave for vacation with peace of mind. We work hard to create a community where you feel safe, especially when you head out of town. We have floor plans that provide your personal space and spacious common areas for you to hang out with your roommate and friends. 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. 

Meeting People in Your Apartment Community

Finding New Friends at Your Apartment Community

Moving into a new apartment complex is like starting a new job or the first day of school. You’re excited, but at the same time, nervous. There are so many unknowns, like … are the other residents nice? Quiet? What are the community norms? How will you fit in? These are all very real concerns, and you aren’t the only person experiencing them. The other residents in your building will be wondering the same things about you. Getting to know your neighbors is important. There is no unwritten rule you must become besties with everybody on your floor, but having a cordial, casual relationship with a few key people can go a long way in helping you adjust to your new digs. 

Here are some tips on getting to know your new neighbors:

Introduce yourself

You can wait for a chance encounter in the hallway or at a common area like the mailbox, or just be bold and knock on their door. Most people will be happy (and relieved) you took the initiative. It breaks the ice and puts a face to the new name label on the mailbox. If your new neighbor seems receptive, once you get to know them better, you can establish a system where you look out for each other’s place, help each other out in emergencies, etc.

Make small talk in common areas

If you see someone new in the elevator, at the mailbox, pool, or other hangouts, say hello and engage in some light, casual conversation. Asking questions about the complex is a great way to start.

Take advantage of your complex’s amenities

Few people can resist a friendly dog, so taking your canine buddy for a walk on a nearby trail, around the complex, or to the dog park — are all great ways to meet your new neighbors. As a bonus, you may find someone to walk with and you could take care of each other’s dogs during vacations. The fitness center and coffee bar are also great central locations for meeting your new neighbors.

Throw an apartment-warming party

If you’ve exchanged pleasantries with a few friendly folks or just want to throw caution to the wind, hold an apartment-warming party and invite everybody on your floor. It’s kind of a gamble, but usually, one that has a big payout. Few people can resist free food and drinks and welcome a chance to step outside their apartments and mingle. (And some folks are just plain curious and/or nosy!) The worst-case scenario is you’ll have a few people show up with whom you will get to spend more quality time and may result in some new and lasting friendships.

Being the new kid on the block can be anxiety-provoking and stressful. However, if you start slowly and take a little initiative, you will soon feel right at home. As a bonus, you may find your tribe and make some fast friends!

VC Communities Are Designed For Connection

If you are looking for an apartment community that has amenities & activities that are designed for connecting with others, check out Vision Communities. We have floor plans that provide your personal space and spacious common areas for you to hang out with your roommate and friends. 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. 

Aquariums for Apartment Dwellers

Are you yearning for a pet but don’t have the time and energy for a cat or dog? Or maybe you have allergies to fur or feathers. How about fish? Of course, it will depend on the type of aquarium and fish, but aquariums can be a lot of fun, relaxing, and add a touch of color to your apartment. Before you head online or to your nearest pet shop, there are a few points to consider before you go all in on buying fish and supplies.

Check your lease

While most apartments allow cats and dogs, you should double-check if aquariums are allowed. It’s nothing personal against fish, but mostly about the size of the tank in terms of gallon capacity. No property manager wants to deal with a capsized fish tank and the resulting damage to your, and possibly, your neighbors’ apartments. That’s why some leases restrict fish tanks to first-floor units only.

Size of tank

Your budget, lease, type of water and fish, and your willingness to devote time to ongoing maintenance will determine the size of your tank. It’s wise to go no larger than a 20-gallon tank. That way, if you move or other circumstances change with your living situation, you won’t be tasked with draining a huge tank. Also, if you have a small apartment, you don’t want a huge aquarium.

Location

The aquarium must get natural light, but not direct sunlight. Excess sunlight encourages the growth of algae, which can get very difficult to clean out. Having the tank close to the kitchen sink will make it much easier to drain, clean, and fill the tank.

If aquariums aren’t allowed in your apartment or you’ve figured out that they can be a lot of work, there are alternatives. Betta fish are very popular. These colorful Siamese freshwater fighting fish come in vivid shades that will brighten up any interior and they are active and fun to watch swim around. But DO NOT buy them in pairs. Bettas are solo creatures. Goldfish aren’t just pets for children. You can adopt a school of goldfish at any pet store and enjoy hours of entertainment while expending minimal effort on care.

With creativity and planning, you can reap the benefits of having fish in your apartment. Just remember to abide by the terms of your lease and realize that pet fish, whether in a large aquarium or small fish bowl, require love and care, just like a furry or feathered pet. You’ll enjoy being entertained and relaxed while watching these beautiful aquatic creatures living their best lives.

Bring Your Fish to a VC Community Apartment

If you are looking for a new apartment for you and your fish, schedule a tour of a Vision Community. We have floor plans that provide your personal space and spacious common areas for you to hang out with your roommate and friends. 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 to Help Your Rent Application Get Approved

Apartment Application Process

Whether it’s your first apartment, your fifth, or you’re downsizing after decades of homeownership, you’ll need to complete a rent application. Property managers need to know that you have the financial resources to pay your rent each month as well as proof that you’ll be a responsible tenant. The key is to be calm and prepared at each step of the process and realize that it may take some time for the property management company to run a credit check, verify information, and possibly contact your references.

Property managers want to make sure you’re a good fit for the apartment community and vice versa for you. The process usually starts by applying online, then you’ll be contacted to let you know if you’ve been approved or denied. While that may sound intimidating, especially if it’s your first apartment or you have bad credit, there are several steps you can take to stack the odds in your favor to get your application approved. From there, you can go on a tour of the property, and if all goes well, you’ll be signing a lease and making plans to move in.

Navigating the Apartment Application Process

Include a cover letter

This would be helpful if you’re a first-time renter or have poor/nonexistent credit. If you can submit attachments with your online application, compose a short note explaining why you chose that particular property and why you would be a great tenant. If credit is an issue, you can state that you’ve had a job for x-years/months and that you are working hard to rebuild your credit.

Gather all required documentation

You will need your driver’s license, Social Security number, pay stubs, banking information, employment history, rental history (if you have one), and references.

Take steps to improve your credit

Pay down as many credit card bills as you can, which will boost your credit score. The property manager will go over your credit report and look for late payments and other delinquencies, as well as bankruptcy filings, so get things cleaned up as tightly as possible.

References

This extends to previous property managers, jobs, and banking history. See if you can track down your previous property managers and ask them to serve as references for you. Also, you can pull your employment history from your resume’ and provide names/contact info for the HR departments at those companies. Your bank can verify your account, how long you’ve held it, and how often deposits are made.

Granted, all of this may seem like a hassle or a tremendous amount of work, but remember, you’re looking for a place to live. It deserves as much or even more effort as seeking a new job. By going the extra mile, you will show your prospective property manager that you are a serious, responsible tenant whom they will be happy to welcome into their apartment community.

Apply for a VC Community Apartment

If you are ready to take the next step and apply for a new apartment, schedule a tour of a Vision Community. We have floor plans that provide your personal space and spacious common areas for you to hang out with your roommate and friends. 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. 

Finding the Perfect Roommate

Sharing an apartment with a roommate is a great idea if you can find the right person. To create an experience that you both will enjoy, consider drafting a roommate agreement. This is a document that clearly spells out the terms of living together. By having the ground rules in writing and agreed on and signed off by both roommates, you have everything in black and white when tough discussions need to happen about one party not upholding their end of the agreement.

Here are some points to include in a roommate agreement:

Rent

How will the rent be divided? This will clarify if both parties split the rent evenly and if one party pays the landlord; will one roommate be reimbursed, or will each person write a check for their portion? (Tip: If you are getting reimbursed, request a receipt.)

Utilities

In some instances, utilities are also divided evenly between roommates. Another arrangement is to have one person pay for certain utilities and the other person pay the rest. For example, if one roommate works from home and uses the internet more, have them pay for that while you pay the electricity and the two of you split the gas bill.

Quiet time

On the topic of working from home, designate quiet hours. During those times, make it clear that you don’t want to be disturbed. Likewise, if your roommate likes to go to bed early and you’re a night owl, figure out what noise levels are acceptable after specified times. Some apartment communities already spell this out in the lease.

Cleaning

Develop a chores roster, where each roommate is responsible for cleaning specific areas of the apartment. If your roommate is a foodie and loves to cook, while you prefer carry-out, they can be in charge of cleaning the kitchen.

Guests

This is where things can get uncomfortable. If you and/or your roommate have a boyfriend or girlfriend, how often will he or she be over to hang out or stay over? The same goes for friends and family members.

These are just a few major points; you can also address pets, shared items like toilet paper and food, borrowing clothing and other stuff, and how to divide the security deposit if one person caused damage. Through careful planning and screening, hopefully, you will find a compatible roommate you can harmoniously share an apartment with. Coming home from work or hanging out on the weekends will once again become a welcome respite and not a dreaded undertaking. And as a bonus, you may end up with a friend for life.

Bring Your New Bestie to a VC Community

If you and your newly-found roommate are looking for an apartment in Central Ohio, consider a Vision Community. We have floor plans that provide your personal space and spacious common areas for you to hang out with your roommate and friends. 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. 

Apartment Kitchen Maintenance Tips

How to care for stainless steel appliances & granite countertops

Two amenities of upscale apartments today are stainless steel appliances and granite countertops. These finishes are in demand because of their sleek, modern appearance and functionality. They work well in contemporary open floor plans where entertaining in the kitchen is becoming increasingly popular. With their cool tones and distinctive patterns, stainless steel and granite also lend themselves to an industrial aesthetic when it comes to selecting furnishings and accent pieces. Stainless steel and granite are easy to maintain, and the good news is that you can take care of your appliances and countertops with everyday products you already have on hand.

How to care for stainless steel

One drawback of stainless steel is that it shows smudges and fingerprints easily. Dampen a microfiber cloth with white vinegar or club soda and wipe down the appliances to remove dirt, dust, and smudges. Baking soda and cream of tartar make good “abrasive cleansers” as well and you can use olive oil or baby oil to restore shine. Commercial spray products formulated specifically for granite are available at most hardware or home improvement stores. Wipe the surface carefully, moving in one direction to prevent streaks.

What not to use on stainless steel appliances includes oven cleaner, steel wool, alcohol, or window cleaners, as they can discolor the stainless steel. Also, avoid any cleaning products with a chloride base.

How to care for granite

Although they are sealed, your granite countertops are porous and need to be treated carefully to not cause damage. Use trivets under hot dishes or pans and coasters or other protection beneath cups or glasses containing water and other liquids, as they can leave stains. The best product to clean granite countertops is mild dishwashing soap mixed with warm water, followed by a rinse of warm water. Stubborn stains can be removed by applying a paste of baking soda and water and leaving it for 15-20 minutes before wiping and rinsing. For disinfecting, mix one part of water with one part of 70% isopropyl alcohol and spray the countertops. Rinse with warm water and dry completely.

Do not use acidic products such as vinegar or lemon juice on granite countertops as they can etch and damage the surface. There are also commercial products specifically for granite countertops. 

With a little TLC, you can keep your stainless steel appliances and granite countertops in pristine condition. Showcase them with complementary copper cookware, natural crockery, and pops of black. Your appliances and countertops will continue to shine as the focal points of your kitchen, making cooking fun and extending the entertainment space in your apartment.

VC Kitchens Offer Space and Function

Your kitchen is the life of the party, so be sure to organize it to its fullest potential. If you are looking for a new apartment with top-end appliances, counter space and storage options, tour a Vision Community today. 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. 

smart storage tips for apartment kitchens

Storage Tips for Apartment Kitchens

Smart storage tips for your kitchen

No matter how spacious your apartment kitchen is, it always seems like you could use more storage space. Since you’re in a finite space that you can’t touch structurally, it may seem like there isn’t a whole lot you can do. But you are wrong! With a few hacks, you can add storage options to your cabinets and walls without causing damage to the walls or busting your budget. Your kitchen will be more organized and functional. And … you will ultimately save money. By being able to easily see what you have in stock, you won’t waste money buying food, herbs and spices, condiments, etc., that you can’t find or think you’ve run out of.

Hacks to add more storage space in your kitchen:

Use shelf risers

These are little platform shelves of various heights that you can place in your cabinets or even on your kitchen counters. They automatically add a second tier and are great for holding cups and glasses and you stack your plates and bowls beneath. Perfect for breakfast when you need to grab a quick cup of coffee and bowl of oatmeal before you head for work.

Buy a Lazy Susan

A Lazy Susan is a circular shelf that is mounted on a turntable. Place your canned goods on it and you can easily rotate the turntable for quick access. This is also a great way to manage your canned goods inventory based on expiration date. Another perk is that a Lazy Susan gets rid of the need to stack cans on cans for easier access.

Hang a Pegboard

If you have some leeway about hanging stuff on your walls, a pegboard is a great space-saver. You can hang cutlery and other kitchen implements. Depending on the size of the pegboard, you can even hang pots and pans.

Use Tension Rods Under the Sink

Tension rods are inexpensive and a no-brainer to install. Add one to the cabinets under the sink. You automatically have doubled your space and can hang your spray bottles of cleaners and extra dish rags on it.

The best news about these hacks is that they are all inexpensive and can be purchased practically anywhere. All it takes is one afternoon, and you can transform your kitchen into an organized, efficient space that will help you save time, eliminate waste, and make grocery shopping and meal prep much more enjoyable.

VC Kitchens Offer Space and Function

Your kitchen is the life of the party, so be sure to organize it to its fullest potential. If you are looking for a new apartment with top-end appliances, counter space and storage options, tour a Vision Community today. 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. 

 

furnishing an open concept apartment

Furnishing an Open Concept Apartment

Tips for furnishing an open concept floor plan apartment

Open-concept floor plans have been trending for several years now. These layouts feature one large open space that seamlessly connects the main living area of an apartment to the kitchen. This design scheme conveys the illusion of a much larger space and is ideal for apartment dwellers because they remove that aura of claustrophobia.  The beauty of open-concept floor plans is that they truly are a blank canvas when it comes to arranging furniture and decorating. While in an apartment, you are limited as far as painting, flooring, and finishes go, but there is a lot you can do to transform the space. The only limits are your creativity and budget.

Here are some decorating ideas:

Break up space with area rugs

You can place a colorful area rug on top of a neutral carpet to add a pop of color and design a living space that is separate from the kitchen. Arrange your sofa, chairs, and coffee and end tables around the area rug to create a cozy nook for relaxing and entertaining.

Choose a focal point in the main living area

In most apartments, this will most likely be a fireplace or a TV. If you have both, then mount the TV on the wall above the fireplace mantel. Or, if you don’t use a TV or have it placed elsewhere, then prop a colorful print or canvas on the mantel to instantly draw the eye.

Add a room divider

You can use an accordion screen to break up the space between the kitchen and main living area. Another idea is to place your sofa with the back toward the kitchen to automatically divide the room.

Use rounded sofa furnishings and different textures

Choosing sofas and chairs with rounded edges adds softness and warmth to your main living area. You can also add colorful throws and pillows in smooth and nubby textures (like cashmere, velvet, tweed, or boucle’)  to add interest and comfort. These accents are also easy to swap out during the changes of seasons.

Fill in with accent pieces

This is where you can unleash your creativity. Add your favorite artwork, vases, books, photos, and other small decorative items. Unique floor and table lamps augment existing lighting and add interest. And you can’t go wrong with live plants and floral arrangements.

You can readily source any of these items online or have fun visiting local thrift shops and estate sales. With a little imagination, you can transform your open-concept apartment floor plan into a functional and comfortable space that you will look forward to coming home to.

Vision Communities Offer Open Concept Floor Plans

If you are looking for a new apartment be sure to tour Vision Communities. We have many floor plans to choose from, some of which are open concept, which makes a smaller space feel big. 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. 

 

Living with a roommate vs. living alone

Roommates vs. Living Alone

Whether you’re starting out in your first apartment or an empty nester ready to downsize, the decision to live with a roommate is a big one. There are many pros and cons to weigh and keep in mind that whatever you decide, you are stuck for the duration of your lease, which is usually 12 months. Before you make a move, it’s important to do some self-reflection on your preferred lifestyle. For example, if you lived with a partner and are divorced or widowed, you may crave companionship. On the other hand, if you are coming from a noisy crowded dorm or Greek setting, you make seek solitude. It’s a very personal choice and one that shouldn’t be made in haste.

Here are some pros and cons of living with a roommate or alone:

Shared living expenses

This is the major benefit of living with a roommate. You can share the cost of rent, utilities, and other household expenses like cleaning supplies or grocery staples. This works well if both parties are financially stable and responsible. Where this arrangement can go south is if one roommate is a financial flake, unreliable, has a history of frequently being in and out of work, or carries a heavy level of debt. The option here is to ask potential roommates detailed questions about their finances (and expect to reciprocate) or if you can afford it, live by yourself.

Shared chores

Having a fastidious roommate paired with a slob made for comedy gold TV back in the ‘70s, but in reality, it rarely works out. The neat roommate will soon resent the slovenly roommate’s habits and vice versa. If you know your potential roommate already, then you should be aware of their housekeeping habits. If they give you pause, then steer clear. Either seek a roommate whose idea of a clean apartment matches yours or consider living solo.

Automatic companionship

One of the benefits of having a compatible roommate is somebody to hang out with. This is an ideal situation if you get along well and are in sync in other areas like fiscal responsibility and tidiness habits. However, if you and your roommate don’t get along, this can make for a tense living situation. The same can be said if your roommate has a boyfriend or girlfriend who is around all the time. Also, if you are an introverted personality who needs a lot of quiet and alone time, you will probably be more comfortable living alone.

By thinking through the situation, honestly assessing your lifestyle and finances, and carefully vetting potential roommates, you can decide whether you want to share an apartment with a roommate or live alone.

Vision Communities Offer Modern Apartment Amenities

If you are looking for a new apartment for yourself or for you and a potential roommate, 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. 

 

Modern Apartment Amenities

How would you like to be able to go to the gym, hang out at a coffee bar, walk your dog, and charge your hybrid without leaving home? Well, with modern apartment amenities, you can do all of that and more. In recent years, apartment community developers have stepped up their game to meet the needs of today’s renters. They have taken notice of the need for work-life balance and responded accordingly with upscale amenities. And while yes, you are paying for these perks as part of your monthly rent, if you weigh the cost and benefits of time saved, you will see they are well worth it. 

Here are some modern apartment amenities you should be taking advantage of in your community:

Online lease management and rent payment

No more trips to the leasing office or post office to sign your lease or mail your rent check. (Does anybody write checks anymore?) Review and sign your lease electronically every term and pay your rent online. You can have your rent payment automatically deducted from your bank account to make things even easier.

Onsite fitness center

Cancel your gym membership. Many modern apartment communities have fitness centers and some are open 24/7. You are no longer locked into specific hours when your gym is open or long-term membership contracts. Work out whenever you want. Some apartment communities also offer walking trails or access to parks and recreation areas.

Pool and cookout area

Most municipalities prohibit any type of grills on apartment patios or balconies. No problem. Your apartment community will have a designated grilling area and firepit for grilling or making s’mores. And while swimming pools are standard fare at most apartment complexes, these days, you will find a heated pool, often with a poolside bar area. You can do all of your swimming, sunning, cooking out, and socializing in one area. 

Special amenities for dogs 

Now you have a place to take your dog for exercising and socializing with other dogs. Many apartment communities have fenced-in dog parks and dog stations on the property for disposing of waste.  Tired of the mess and frustration of trying to bathe your dog in the bathtub? Many apartment complexes have dog wash areas that are more comfortable for you and your dog.

Other popular apartment amenities include online maintenance requests, full-sized washers and dryers in apartments, a coffee bar, community centers for hosting events, on-site recreation, hybrid car charging stations, and much more. By using the perks that are available to you, you will get the most out of apartment living and reap the benefits and rewards to enhance your work-life balance.

Vision Communities Offer Modern Apartment Amenities

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. 

 

Adding a Pop of Color to Your Apartment Without Painting

When apartment living comes to mind, do you think of a sea of white, off-white, or other bland, boring color? It’s true that apartments are painted in neutral colors to appeal to the broadest range of potential residents, but that doesn’t mean you are resigned to staring at four lifeless walls. Since most leases don’t allow residents to paint the walls, there are plenty of ways to liven up tepid décor with some easy and inexpensive pops of color. Here are some designer tips that won’t wreck your budget.

Colorful artwork

You can choose bright, bold artwork in your favorite colors to adorn your apartment walls. Support local artists by shopping at neighborhood galleries or scouring thrift shops, estate sales, and flea markets for unique finds. You can even find great reproductions, movie posters, and pop art prints online that can even be framed and shipped directly to you. Hang them with no-mark wall hooks. How easy is that?

Pillows, throws, and area rugs

Choose pillows and throws in your preferred hues to place on your sofa or chairs. Area rugs can go a long way in waking up beige or gray carpeting. A bonus: by choosing these types of soft furnishings, you can easily switch them out during the change of seasons and holidays.

Colorful sofa or chairs

Make a statement in your living room with a bold, colorful sofa or side chairs. Choose a solid color or pattern. You will be surprised how much this will elevate your mood when you come home after a long day at work or running errands.

Tapestries or temporary wallpaper

Another way to dress up a room such as your bedroom is to hang a tapestry on the wall or add temporary wallpaper. It adds interest to the room, and you can choose colors to soothe and relax you before going to sleep. Temporary wallpaper goes up easily without difficult bubbles to smooth out and peels off without leaving residue on the walls. 

You don’t need to be stuck in a boring vanilla apartment. With a little creativity and smart shopping, you can personalize your space with your favorite colors, creating an oasis you look forward to hanging out in. Say goodbye to dull walls once and for all!

Vision Communities Apartments

If you are looking for a new apartment, be sure to stop by Vision Communities for a 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. 

 

Apartment Community Dog Park Responsibilities

Sometimes, dog owners are hesitant to move into an apartment because they don’t know how or where to take their dog out for walks and to relieve themselves. Well, the good news is that most modern apartment communities have fenced-in dog parks. Apartment dog parks are a great way to get your canine companion out and about for exercise and to socialize with other dogs residing in the complex. It’s also a great way to meet new neighbors who are also dog lovers.

Before you unleash your dog and let them freely roam the apartment dog park, here are some etiquette tips to remember:

  1. Bring a leash. Although that sounds counterintuitive, you’ll need a leash to walk your dog to and from the dog park. A leash is also essential if a fight breaks out or other situations arise where you need to quickly corral your canine. It’s a safety precaution for you, your dog, other dogs, and humans.
  2. Pay attention to your dog. Sure. It’s easy to start chatting with your neighbors and get distracted but do occasionally check on your dog. You want to be alert to any signs of aggression or bullying by your dog or others. Head off any possible attacks or fights by being attuned to canine body language.
  3. Make sure your dog is spayed/neutered and fully vaccinated. Most apartment communities require residents to be current on their pets’ vaccinations as a provision in their leases. It’s easy to spread highly contagious diseases like kennel cough, and you don’t want the embarrassment or even potential liability of an “amorous” dog hooking up at the dog park; resulting in a litter of puppies to deal with.
  4. Clean up after your dog. Not only do you or other residents not want to step in smelly dog poop, but dogs eat other dogs’ poop. This is another mode of disease and parasite transmission. Some dog parks have plastic bag dispensers; if they don’t, bring your own. Use the waste containers in the dog park or on the property.

Having access to a fenced-in apartment dog park without having to leave the premises is a great perk of apartment living. By practicing good dog park etiquette, you and your furry friend can get some exercise and enjoy relaxing and socializing with your human and canine neighbors.

Vision Communities Welcomes Dogs

At Vision Communities, we know that pets are family too. That’s why we provide pet-friendly communities with amenities that cater to our furry friends. Our dog parks offer plenty of space for playtime and socialization, so your pup can enjoy life just as much as you do. With spacious studio, 1 bedroom, 2 bedroom, and 3 bedroom floor plans and luxurious amenities, living at Vision Communities is the perfect way to enhance your work-life balance. Schedule a tour today and discover why our communities are the ideal place to call home.

Minimalist apartment living tips for spring cleaning and decluttering.

Tips for Downsizing, Decluttering, and Minimalism

Whether it’s mid-winter cabin fever, spring cleaning, call it what you like, but eventually, you’ll find yourself wanting to just get rid of stuff. You might be moving, downsizing in general, or adopting a minimalist lifestyle. Whatever the reason, getting rid of unused stuff in your apartment can make a huge difference in your mood as being surrounded by clutter can make you feel anxious and claustrophobic without you even realizing it. There are several approaches you can take to shedding clutter. You don’t have to go all “Marie Kondo” and thank your belongings for their service, but taking a thoughtful approach to what’s causing your closets and cabinets to burst at the seams can make the process less painless.

There are many, many apps and blogs that go into specific details about how to declutter; there are specific formulas to follow and even entire books written on the topic. In simplest terms, a foolproof method is “keep, discard, donate.” You can set your own timeframe to determine how long an item must be out of commission to be considered, for example, if you haven’t worn a specific item for one year, or if that kitchen gadget you had to have was used only once. You get the idea. 

Keep. These are items that you frequently use, are your favorites, and are in the regular rotation in your wardrobe, kitchen, home office, etc. While you are looking at them, it’s a good time to inspect them for any signs of wear and tear and actually take them in for repair or fix them yourself, like sewing on a missing button from a shirt. This is also a great opportunity to reorganize your apartment and invest in space savers like a rack to hang pots in your kitchen, or stacking clothes hangers.

Donate. Choose a charity to take your donated items to. Before you start filling boxes and garbage bags, take a moment to carefully inspect each item. Ask yourself if you would wear or use the garment/gadget. If you no longer want torn and stained clothing or scratched, battered cookware, nobody else will. Be mindful of what you donate. If you are having trouble letting go of a specific item, take a photo of it. You can also think of your property being used and enjoyed by somebody else. 

Discard. This is for stuff you absolutely don’t want any longer. Don’t hang on to clothing that you think will eventually come back in style or will fit once you lose weight. Don’t keep condiments or spices that you infrequently use. They are probably expired or lost their potency anyway. Once you’ve made the decision, release the item. 

Getting rid of stuff is so therapeutic. So if it’s downsizing, decluttering, minimalizing — whatever you call it — will clear the path for more space in your home and you will feel a lot more relaxed in your own apartment. During these stressful times, you deserve it! 

Explore Vision Communities Spacious Floorplans

If you are looking to downsize from a house to an apartment, find a great apartment at one of our 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. 

Check out our newest property Meadows, opening in Hilliard this spring, and get a great apartment in a great area.

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

 

Relaxation Apps for Uncertain Times

It’s no understatement that we’re going through uncertain times right now. The pandemic might be winding down, but other worries such as rising costs, job security, and unpredictable weather can keep us awake at night. If melatonin, yoga, or chamomile tea are no longer cutting it, the solution may be as close as your phone. There are apps you can download to help you relax, meditate, and relieve stress and anxiety through calming sounds and music, gently spoken words, and even light stretching. These apps are subscription based, but you can usually get a free trial. It may take trying a few to find the right app, but if you’re feeling highly strung, it will be well worth the effort.

Here are a few popular relaxation apps:

Calm (stress, anxiety, sleep) 

Headspace (sleep, guided meditation)

Insight Timer (timed meditation)

iBreathe (focused breathing)

Breathe2Relax (stress relief, relaxing, centering)

Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics (based on neuroscience, not spirituality)

The Mindfulness App (meditation for beginners, sleep)

This is by no means, an all-inclusive list, but just a sampling of what’s out there, and there are tons of apps to choose from. Try some free trials to see which works best for you. If you find that nothing is helping, it might be wise to talk with your doctor or a therapist. They can recommend the best practices to help you cope with the stresses of daily living. Just remember that it’s OK to seek help, whether it’s in electronic or human form, and you’re not alone.

Creating Mindful Space

The great thing about living in a Vision Community is the space is yours to make it your own, so if you want a room to relax, meditate or practice mindfulness, Vision Communities has the floor plans for you. 

If you are looking for a new apartment, put a VC community on your tour list. 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. 

Check out our newest property Meadows, opening in Hilliard this spring, and get a great apartment in a great area.

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

How to Interview Potential Roommates

Choosing a roommate to share an apartment with is a little different than college days. In college, you either already had a buddy to share a dorm room with or you were at the mercy of the school’s housing department to assign you a random roommate. Sometimes it worked, and other times … ugh. But at least you knew that it would be short-term. When you share an apartment, you are bound by a lease, usually for 12 months, which can seem like an eternity if you’re saddled with a person who is either incompatible or irresponsible. Worst-case scenario is when your roommate just flakes out and splits, leaving you with 100% of the rent and other expenses. And, unlike college days, you can’t simply pack up and move back home.

Luckily, there is an easy way to screen potential roommates. Will you find a person who is 100% compatible? No. But you can stack the odds in your favor by conducting roommate interviews. Develop a series of questions that address: lifestyle, job/income stability, shared resources/responsibilities, and references from previous landlords or roommates. By developing a set of consistent screening questions, you can easily compare candidates’ responses. Yep. It’s just like a job interview. Here are some sample questions:

Lifestyle

Do you have a pet? Would you object to living with a pet?

How often do you have friends/family over?

Are you in a romantic relationship? How often would that person be staying over? (AWKWARD!)

What hours do you keep? Work, getting up, going to bed, etc.

Do you smoke/drink/use legal recreational drugs?

How do you spend your weekends?

Job Income/Stability

How long have you been at your present job?

How frequently do you get paid? 

How much do you currently pay for rent?

How long did you live there? Why do you want to move?

Shared Expenses/Responsibilities?

What do you believe is the best way to divide the rent and utilities?

Do you cook? Do you like to cook and eat alone or share cooking and meals?

Do you like to clean and do chores? How should we divide those duties?

Are you OK with sharing items? (e.g., vacuum, TV, etc.)

References

Feel free to ask potential roommates candidates for the names and contact info of previous landlords and roommates. Whether you call them or not is up to you. If you feel good about a person, you might go with your gut. However, it would be worth taking a deeper dive if a person speaks negatively about former roommates and apartment managers.

Sure, it seems a bit extreme, but in the end, it will be worth it. The result will be a roommate(s) who has a compatible lifestyle and values and will uphold their end of the bargain when it comes to honoring their financial and apartment upkeep obligations. You respect each other and have established healthy boundaries and who knows? You may end up with a new friend for life.

Roommates Welcome at Vision Communities

At Vision Communities, we understand that living alone isn’t for everyone and a roommate helps divide and conquer when it comes to rent, dishes, housework and more. When you find the roommate you’ve been looking for, find a great apartment at one of our 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. 

Check out our newest property Meadows, opening in Hilliard this spring, and get a great apartment in a great area.

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

 

How to Find Bargains at Thrift Shops

Part of the fun of moving into a new apartment is furnishing it. But if you’re on a budget, then Pottery Barn or Crate & Barrel excursions might need to be put on pause. But, you can source some great pieces to mix with your IKEA builds at thrift and consignment shops. No longer the graveyard for obsolete items (read: junk), second-hand stores are a treasure trove of perfectly good home furnishings and household items that with a little TLC, can be nice additions to your new home. While it’s true that discards at the end of their lifecycle are among the inventory in thrift stores and consignment shops, oftentimes, pieces are donated because the previous owners are redecorating or downsizing. Unsold items from estate and garage sales often end up at second-hand stores and flea markets.

Here are some pointers for finding bargains at second-hand stores:

Identify your decorating vibe before hitting the shops

If you have a particular aesthetic in mind, then find sources that cater to your style. In other words, don’t hit up a farmhouse-themed vendor if urban minimalism is your thing. Get to know the proprietors and vendors so they can alert you to new stock or work with you to lower their prices.

Look for real wood

A LOT of moderately priced contemporary furniture is made of medium-density fiberboard (MDF) overlaid with veneer. While there is nothing fundamentally wrong with such pieces, they aren’t known for their longevity. Natural solid wood products are more durable and retain their value longer than manufactured wood products. Don’t be turned off by scratches or chipped paint. If you like a challenge, you can strip wood furniture and stain or paint it however you like.

Check upholstered components

With a sofa or chair, inspect the upholstery for stains, tears, and signs of excessive wear. If the seat cushions have zippers, check those along with nail heads, trim, tufted buttons, etc., to make sure they are securely attached and that none of them are missing. Give a hard “no” to any furniture that smells like mold or mildew or shows any signs of pest infiltration. If you have a knack for reupholstering or replacing buttons or nail heads, go for it if the bones of the piece are viable.

Miscellaneous household goods

You can find some great sets of dishware, glasses, cutlery, and cooking gear at thrift stores. If you’re lucky, you can find entire sets, or mix and match to curate a bespoke tableware collection. The same goes for decorative items. If you’re buying a small appliance or lamp, make sure that the cords and plugs are secure and you can ask the shop owner to plug the item in to test it. Steer clear of anything with frayed cords or if it would be cheaper to buy a new product than taking a risk on a used one. (Remember the used Crockpot that caused the fatal fire in “This Is Us.”)

Don’t be afraid to negotiate

Vendors are often eager to move inventory so they can bring in new merchandise. If something has been sitting around for a while, make an offer.

With an open mind, an eye for an item’s potential, patience, and a little elbow grease, you can find some great bargains at thrift stores and consignment shops. Who knows? You might just find that gently used posh leather Pottery Barn sofa that somebody donated, and save a bundle. It’s worth a look and a fun way to get to know your new city.

Decorating your new VC Apartment

The great thing about living in a Vision Community is the space is yours to decorate and make it your own. So whether you decide to buy new or hit the local thrift shop, your apartment is yours to create, decorate, and furnish with whatever fits your style.

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. 

Planning a Spring Patio/Balcony Garden

A great way to pull yourself out of the winter slump is to start thinking about container gardening for your patio or balcony when spring arrives. Central Ohio is in zone 6, which means you can start planting after the last frost, which occurs around mid-March. It’s safe to keep plants outdoors until mid-November; however, given unpredictable Midwest weather, you’ll want to play it by ear. You can use practically anything as a planter as long as you allow for proper drainage, which in some cases, may mean drilling holes in the bottom of the vessel, or adding a special medium to allow excess water to escape.

You will also need to factor in the daily sun exposure your patio or balcony gets each day and plan accordingly. Fortunately, the selection of shade-loving plants continues to increase each season as new varieties are introduced. For even more incentive to become a container gardener, there are recommendations for planting a pollinator container garden. Do double duty; enjoy the beauty of flowering plants while simultaneously fostering the bee population. Another tip is that bright pink and red flowers attract hummingbirds if you don’t want to deal with the maintenance of a special hummingbird feeder.

Vegetables

You can enjoy tender, leafy baby greens without having to pay supermarket prices. Plant lettuce, arugula, and kale, along with radishes in the early spring and harvest them in just a few weeks. Unless you start seedlings in your apartment, most nurseries and other stores don’t start putting out herb plants until April. Basil, mint, parsley, chives, and lavender all do well outdoors in zone 6. However, don’t bother with cilantro. It’s fiddly and difficult to grow in this climate. You can grow all of the other ingredients for a salsa garden in containers, though – bell peppers, onions, and tomatoes.

Flowers

There are plenty of flowers that do well in containers in Central Ohio. Choose petunias, marigolds, dahlias, dianthus, salvia, and begonias. All of these varieties thrive in varying degrees of sunlight, are low maintenance, and also fare quite well in hanging baskets. Just mix in some trailing ivy, dusty miller, coleus, or sweet potato vines to create a balanced, eye-catching arrangement.

Pollinator plants

Some flowering plants mentioned above, such as lavender and salvia attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. When choosing flowering plants specifically for pollination, choose varieties that are nectar-rich, such as coneflowers, black-eyed Susans, cosmos, lantana, and verbena. You can consult with gardening center staff, your local conservation society, or search online for suggestions.

Thinking about reactivating your green thumb can brighten up dreary winter days and give you something to look forward to. In the meantime, you can scour flea markets and thrift shops for interesting containers and start planning your floral color scheme or edible harvest. Growing plants gives you a sense of accomplishment, especially if you can give back to nature by nurturing vulnerable species such as bees.

Gardening in your new VC Apartment

One of the perks of our apartment plans is the spacious balcony to house all of your plants. Make this year the best year yet in a Vision Community apartment and bring your pets and plants with you.

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. 

Safety Tips for Winter

Being in the throes of winter means that it’s a good time to review your winter safety plan. It’s reassuring to know that you can stay warm and cozy in your apartment once you’re in for the night, but getting to and from home, as well as being safe once you get there are worth considering. Some of the benefits of apartment living are that the maintenance team is supposed to stay on top of issues like carbon monoxide (CO) monitors and furnace filters, but there are still steps you should take to make their job easier and your daily life during the cold months safer and more comfortable.

CO monitors

In some complexes, the maintenance department is responsible for taking care of these, in others, it’s the responsibility of the resident. Make sure your CO is positioned in the right area of your apartment and that you maintain the batteries. Always pay attention when your CO monitor alerts you and take it seriously. In many cases, the beeping means the battery needs to be replaced or the monitor was triggered by excess humidity. If it continues to beep, call your emergency maintenance department or 911, open the windows, and go outdoors until the situation can be assessed.

Space heaters

Spaces heaters are a major contributor to fatal house fires each winter. If you use a space heater, spend a little more money to buy a reputable brand that has a UL rating. Don’t place the space heater close to furniture, window treatments, or other flammable objects. Likewise, don’t cover the space heater or store objects on top of it, and never leave a space heater unattended.

Driving

The “3 Ps” of winter driving are: prepare, protect, and prevent. Make sure your car is well-maintained; that means fuel levels, brakes, head and tail lights, tire tread, wiper blades, and fluid. Maintain and safe distance between your car and the ones around it and stick to a consistent, safe speed limit. However, don’t drive so slowly that you impede other vehicles such as buses. Leave plenty of room for snowplows and emergency responders. If you start to slide or skid, turn into the skid and lightly tap your brakes instead of slamming on them swerving.

Commuting

If you take a form of public transportation to work, expect delays and be patient. If you’re an infrequent or first-time commuter, plan your route and know the stops and transfer points for your arrival and departure trips. Have your bus fare ready in cash. Dress in layers as you may find yourself standing in the cold for long periods and doing more walking than usual; wear warm, waterproof boots with a deep tread and carry an extra pair of socks with you in case your feet get wet.

While few people will declare winter as their favorite season, know that it will soon pass, especially if the groundhog doesn’t see his shadow on February 2!  Common sense and taking extra precautions will keep you safe during inclement weather – both indoors and out.

Coming Home to Your VC Apartment

Your VC apartment should be your refuge, and we encourage our tenants to find ways to create all of the comforts of home in their apartments. So whether you are commuting or working from home, you’ll find the comfort of home in your Vision Communities apartment.

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. 

Christmas Tree disposal tips

Green Ways to Dispose of Live Christmas Trees

Christmas is over. The halls are undecked.  So what do you do with your Christmas tree? If it’s artificial, then simply pack it back up and store it until next season. Disposing of a live tree is a little more complicated. First, burning your Christmas tree can be problematic, since the sap is highly flammable.  Throwing your tree in the dumpster and let the municipal or private trash service deal with it may be an issue because your trash service may not pick up Christmas trees with the regular trash pickup. Check with your building support staff to see if there are special pickup days for Christmas trees. 

Here are some environmentally friendly ideas for disposing of your Christmas tree:

Donate the tree to a nature habitat. Wildlife and birds can use the discarded tree as shelter and the tree will biodegrade in its natural surroundings, thus enriching the soil around it.

Donate the tree to an area lake. Leftover Christmas trees can be submerged in lakes or ponds. They provide shelter and safety for fish and any algae that grow will serve as a food source for underwater life.

Donate the tree to your town or city. In some cities, the public works department will collect discarded Christmas trees. The trees are mulched and used in municipal parks, gardens, and median planters.

Donate the tree to a community garden. This is a great way to get rid of your tree and help feed your community. At the public allotment, the trees will be mulched and used to feed herb, fruit, and vegetable crops that can feed those living in food deserts.

Consider purchasing a live potted fir tree. You can find these at nurseries. Simply take care of the tree like you would any plant. After the season, you can donate it to a Christmas tree farm, park, or forestry service for replanting.

You can still enjoy the splendor and delightful fragrance of a fresh Christmas tree during the holidays, especially if you have a plan on what to do with it after all the festivities have concluded. By being sensitive about live Christmas tree disposal, you can complete the cycle by giving back to nature.

Celebrate This Christmas in a new VC Apartment

Whether you choose a real or artificial tree, where you place it is what really matters. When you live in a Vision Community, you have the freedom to make your space your own, and that includes decorating your apartment to celebrate the holidays.  

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. 

Getting to Know Your Neighbors

The Importance of Knowing Your Neighbors

One of the advantages of apartment living is that you have an automatic built-in network of neighbors, and possibly, friends. Where to begin? Many times, the ice is broken for you, as your new neighbors may reach out to introduce themselves and welcome you. You can also reach out to people you encounter in common areas like by the mailbox, in the elevator, or in other shared spaces like the coffee bar or fitness center. Simply greet the person, introduce themselves, and if you have questions about the apartment community, ask them. Most people enjoy an informal chat and you can pick up valuable information about your new surroundings; as a bonus, you may make a new friend.

Even if you crave privacy, it’s still a good idea to get to know the people who live around you. Here are a few reasons why:

Safety in numbers. Having trusted allies in your building can be helpful if there is a problem tenant whose actions are disturbing the peace of several residents. That way, you have a unified front to present to the apartment manager. As well, just having somebody looking out for you and vice versa goes a long way in promoting safety.

Source of assistance and support. Have you run out of a key ingredient for a recipe or need something simple like a Band-aid? It may sound clichéd, but it happens. It’s nice to know that you can pop next door or across the hall to borrow what you need and save a trip to the store for a single item. Or maybe you need a hand in assembling a piece of IKEA furniture with 1,000+ parts. That’s what a good neighbor is for.

Pet care and package pickup. It’s great to have a trusted neighbor to look after your pet if you go out of town. They can also take care of your houseplants and pick up any online deliveries that arrive while you’re away.

Companionship. It’s nice to have a close friend who’s next door or on the floor above you. You have built-in companionship to watch a big game, binge-watch your favorite show together, or go out to dinner.

Obviously, use good judgment, but give people the benefit of the doubt. If you pick up uncomfortable vibes from someone or they seem standoffish to you, that doesn’t mean they are a bad person or dangerous. They could be having a bad day or just not interested in making new friends at the moment. Meeting your neighbors and making new friends in an apartment complex takes a bit of work and ingenuity, but the benefits are well worth the effort.

We are Vision Communities

Community is in our name. At Vision Communities, we work hard to create the space and amenities to give you community spaces to connect with others. Your apartment is your own cozy space, but our coffee bars, gyms, dog parks and other common areas are designed to help you meet and make friends within the complex.

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. 

Moving From a House to an Apartment

There are a number of reasons why you may be moving from a house to an apartment. Perhaps you’re an empty nester. Maybe you’re downsizing. You could be a recent college graduate who shared a house with roommates. Regardless of the reason, it is a big adjustment. What you may be giving up in space and privacy, you will recoup with no maintenance hassles, a smaller space to keep clean and organized, and the numerous perks that go with apartment living. On the other hand, you’ll need to adjust or readjust to communal living with shared spaces and in some instances, a higher noise level, especially if you’re relocating from a suburb to an apartment in the city. If you’ve decided to make the transition, here are some steps to getting prepared.

Measure the floor space in your new apartment. If possible, see if your new landlord will let you get into the unit or an empty one with an identical layout, so you can take photos and measurements. This intel will be invaluable in helping you decide what you need to pack, purge, or purchase.

Get organized. Take inventory of what you own and if/how it will fit into the floor plan of your new apartment. Be intentional. If you haven’t worn it or used it for a long time, get rid of it. If the item is broken beyond reasonable repair, stained, ripped, outdated, etc., then throw it away. The rest? Have a garage sale, and what you don’t sell, you can donate to charity. If you’re not in a hurry to move, you can sell belongings that you no longer need or want online.

Think about storage. One downside of apartment living is that you don’t have an attic, basement, or garage for storage. Most apartments have some type of onsite storage units, but those are limited in size. When shopping for furniture and décor, choose items that can double as storage, such as a cool antique trunk that can double as a coffee table or ottomans that you can open and stash stuff inside of.

Once you’ve completed the move, you can settle into your new apartment and take advantage of all it has to offer. Check out the pool area, clubhouse, fitness center, and other amenities. A bonus is that you may meet some of your new neighbors in the process. Since you won’t be spending your free time mowing the yard, raking leaves, or shoveling snow, you can enjoy all of the benefits apartment living has to offer.

Explore Vision Communities in Central Ohio

If you are looking to make a move to a new apartment, Vision Communities has floor plans and amenities that you will enjoy. Our state of the art communities provide luxury apartments that give you space to make your own.

If you are exploring apartment options, be sure to put a Vision 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. 

Getting Your Pet Ready for Winter

Winter Pet Care Tips

Getting Your Pet Ready For Winter

When you’re preparing for the upcoming winter months, don’t forget about your pet. Even though they have a coat of fur, dogs and cats need to adjust to fluctuating temperatures. Keep your pet in your apartment as much as possible and run humidifiers to prevent them (and you) from suffering from itchy, dry skin. Offer plenty of water as well and make sure your dog or cat has a warm, dry bed to sleep on (even if it’s yours!) Here are some suggestions to keep your pet, safe, warm, and healthy during cold weather and … the over-arching rule of thumb is … if it’s too cold for you to be outside, then it’s also too cold for your pet.

Dog walking. If you have a short-haired dog, bundle them up in a cute dog sweater (NEVER try this with a cat!). They will stay warm and look stylish during their visit to the dog park. Salt and other harsh de-icing chemicals can irritate your dog’s paw pads, so liberally coat them with petroleum jelly before your walk or buy some dog booties. If you are walking near water, keep your dog on a leash. There are too many news stories about rescues of dogs that are stranded on or in frozen/icy lakes or ponds. Don’t be one of them.

Cars. Antifreeze has a sweet odor and attracts dogs and cats. Ingested even in the smallest amounts can be fatal. Avoid any areas in the driveway or parking lot, where there are puddles or residue of colored liquid that are most commonly bluish-green or purplish-pink. If your dog doesn’t wear any type of paw protection outdoors, then it’s a good idea to thoroughly wipe down their paws once they’re back in your apartment. Outdoor and feral cats like to take refuge in car engines during the winter, so it’s a good habit to loudly knock on your car’s hood before starting it up in the morning.

Grooming and bathing. Pets of both species will rejoice! Don’t bathe your dog as often in the winter to protect its skin. As indicated, heated indoor air can cause a dry, itchy coat. The opposite approach to pet hygiene cats. Even though they are “self-cleaning,” their fur (like dogs) gets thicker in the winter. You’ll need to brush your cat more frequently to slough off dead hair and skin cells, which can lead to itching and scratching. Unless your cat hates grooming, this should be an enjoyable interaction for both of you.

Feeding. Staying warm in the winter expends more energy, so it’s OK to increase your dog’s food intake. They require more calories during colder months but don’t overdo it. Consult with your vet on the best winter weather diet for your dog, based on its breed, weight, and level of activity.

Few people relish winter but cuddling with your furry friends can make it much more bearable. By taking a few precautions and consulting with your vet when necessary, both of you can experience a cozy, healthy, and safe winter season.

We Love Pets at Vision Communities

At Vision Communities, we know that your pet is part of your family, which is why our communities were designed for pet owners. We have dog parks and plenty places to walk your furry friend.

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. 

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. 

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. 

Essential Tools Every Apartment Dweller Should Have

It’s exciting to move into a brand-new apartment and one of the benefits is that you don’t have to worry about maintenance. All you have to do is go online and submit a work order. However, what if you’re trying to hang a print on the wall or assemble furniture? Those types of tasks are not covered by the apartment complex’s maintenance crew. Also, there are some simple DIY tasks that most tenants can take care of on their own, like clearing a drain or changing the batteries in their smoke/CO detector. That’s why it’s smart to assemble a basic toolkit before you move in. You can create a wish list and your family and friends can choose items as housewarming gifts. Win and WIN!

Here are some of the basics:

  1. Cordless screwdriver. The price points of cordless screwdrivers are very reasonable. Of course, you can choose manual versions, but the torque you get from the cordless model is very helpful when it comes to installing screws into a wall, putting together stubborn furnishings, etc. One end of the screwdriver is a standard head and the other is a Phillips head.
  2. Allen wrench. Speaking of furniture … A lot of self-assemble furniture comes with an Allen wrench. Those are those Z-shaped tools that have either square or hexagonal ends that come in the bag of hardware. Do yourself a favor and invest in a set of Allen wrenches. You can find a set of good-quality Allen wrenches of different sizes at any hardware or big box store or online. They will be more durable than those that come with furniture kits and you’ll always have some on hand when you need them.
  3. Hammer and rubber mallet. There are many uses for a hammer, so you want one that’s sturdy and has a comfortable handle. Hammers aren’t very expensive but spend the money on one that’s going to last. Cheap hammers that come in toolkits tend to be flimsy and fall apart after a few uses. A rubber mallet comes in handy when you need a lighter touch or don’t want to leave marks on whatever you’re trying to hammer.
  4. Step stool. No brainer. You need a step stool to change lightbulbs (even LED ones, eventually) and batteries. You can also use a step stool in the kitchen to reach high shelves in your cabinets.
  5. Plunger. Self-explanatory. You can use a plunger to unstop a clogged sink or toilet. However, don’t fall too far down the DIY plumbing rabbit hole. Do the best you can and if the problem still persists, it’s time to contact your apartment’s maintenance staff.
  6. Utility knife (aka box cutter). These come in very handy when opening boxes (think online shopping!) You can also use the utility knife to break down your boxes for recycling. It will spare your kitchen knives and scissors.
  7. Miscellaneous. Here are some more items that aren’t really tools but are the things you wish you had on hand when you discover you need them.
  • Good-quality retractable tape measure
  • Hot-glue gun
  • Super Glue/Gorilla Glue
  • Batteries in several sizes (Most smoke/CO detectors run on AA batteries)
  • Flashlight
  • Extension cords/Power Strips
  • String

You can always expand on this list to include items like an adjustable wrench or set of pliers. Once you have the basics, you can feel confident that you can tackle most move-in tasks, decorating projects, and simple maintenance on your own. Not only will you feel a sense of accomplishment, but your apartment management company will thank you for not submitting superfluous work orders that detract their maintenance staff from bigger, more pressing jobs.

FIND A NEW APARTMENT IN A VISION COMMUNITY

At Vision Communities, we have floor plans to fit any budget or family size. 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 Moving to a New Apartment

If you’ve been living in your apartment community for a while, you might decide it’s time for a change. Maybe one of your roommates is moving out or you’ve discovered that that coveted apartment with the view of the pool is about to become available. Or it could be that you’ve accepted a job out of town. In any case, it’s time to move. Whether you’re moving across the hall or across the country, moving is moving. Here are some pointers to ponder as you get ready to move into your next apartment.

  1. Contact the landlord. Whether you’re giving notice to vacate the entire apartment community or want to move into a different unit at the same location, give the notice as outlined in your lease. If you have your eye on another apartment in the complex, ask about getting on a waiting list.
  2. Transfer the utilities. Even if you’re just moving next door, you must alert your utility providers so they can switch your account over to your new address. If you’re just changing units within the same complex, you probably won’t need to pay a deposit. It’s another story if you are moving to a different state and you will have to pay deposits. If you have an apartment rented in your new city, ask your future leasing manager for guidance.
  3. Change of address. It’s the same concept. You will need to submit a change of address form to the post office. Even if you conduct all of your business online, there are still documents like voter registration/ID cards and driver’s licenses that are dispatched via snail mail. Don’t overlook this step.
  4. Insurance. Regardless of where you’re relocating to, you’ll need to notify your insurance agent of the change for both your auto and renter’s coverage. If you’re going out of state, you can usually stick with the same insurance company if it’s a major national carrier.
  5. Plan your move. If you’re doing an intra-complex relocation, ask the property manager if you can start moving your stuff early. That will save a lot of time. Get creative and use items like laundry baskets to transport your belongings. Hang your clothes inside of a trash bag (think dry cleaners) and they will be ready to immediately hang up in your new closets. You can also move room by room to keep things organized and minimize packing.
  6. Get help moving the heavy stuff. You can probably get by with using family and friends to do a short move, otherwise, you’ll need to hire a moving company. If you’re making a long-distance move, you’ll need movers that transport throughout the U.S. Make sure you get a bid that covers all expenses. For yourself, you’ll need gas, lodging, and food. If you’re moving with a pet, you’ll need to find places to stay that will allow them.
  7. Other considerations for an out-of-state move:
  • Voter registration
  • Driver’s license/Vehicle Registration
  • Medical/dental/veterinary records
  • Transferring prescriptions

“Moving is fun,” said nobody ever. But, if you’re organized and proactive, you can lessen the pain points of moving. It can be a great opportunity to get rid of stuff you no longer need or use (sell, discard or donate), and having a fresh, new apartment is always exciting, even if it’s just in the next building. Your cross-country move is an adventure and in either scenario, it’s the prologue to a new chapter in your life.

FIND A NEW APARTMENT IN A VISION COMMUNITY

At Vision Communities, we have floor plans to fit any budget or family size. 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. 

Setting up Your Home Office

While most companies have resumed working from their offices, some employees have opted for a permanent WFH arrangement. Maybe you’re one of them or do freelance or contract work where you’re based out of your apartment. Setting up shop at the dining room table may seem like the easiest option. But, if you live with roommates and get easily distracted by your surroundings, or procrastinate in general, establishing a simple home office will create an atmosphere of professionalism and help you remain focused on your work. Having a dedicated workspace also helps you to disengage from your job at the end of the day. Here are some of the basics to get you started.

  1. Establish a work area. If you have roommates who are in and out during the day or also work at home, the living and dining area is probably off-limits, which leaves your bedroom to serve as your home office. If that’s the case, then reserve a special area of your bedroom for work and work only. Even the smallest space can function as your home office. (If you live alone, then you can set up your home office wherever you like.)
  2. Get a desk. This will depend on the amount of space you have, your taste, and your budget. There are plenty of options in thrift shops, big box stores, furniture stores, and online retailers. Get a desk that’s the proper height and that has adequate room for your laptop — one with drawers is a bonus. Adjustable laptop stands can help with desktop ergonomics. Another idea is to get a rolling laptop stand where you can alternate sitting at your desk with standing while you work.
  3. Get a good chair. Don’t borrow a chair from the dining room table. You need good ergonomic support throughout the day. Adjustable mesh chairs are trending right now and are available at various price points. This is one area where you don’t want to skimp on quality and comfort.
  4. Chair/desk mat. If your workspace is carpeted, you will need a floormat for your chair. Try rolling around in your office chair on carpeting and you’ll quickly understand why you need one. You can find office floormats at office supply stores or online.
  5. Printer and stand. If the printer stand has a bottom shelf, use it as storage. You can stash extra copy paper, folders, and reference books. There are plenty of innovative office supplies you can find online that multitask, such as divided stands to hold folders and other documents.
  6. Lighting. Your rooms probably have overhead lights that don’t provide the illumination you need. Invest in some desk lamps or standing lamps to add extra light to your home office. Use a selfie ring light during Zoom meetings so you don’t look like a washed-out zombie to your coworkers or clients.
  7. Miscellaneous. Make sure you have adequate power strips and charging stations in your office, so you don’t run out of juice during an important call. To drown out the noise from your roommates and other sounds, pick some soundproofing strips for your door. As a bonus, you can save on heating and cooling as the strips prevent warm and cold air from escaping.

These are the basics to get your home office established. There are a plethora of versatile products for organization and saving space online. Get creative and design a functional space that will give you privacy, encourage productivity, and make it fun to get up and go to work — even if it’s just moving from your bed to your desk!

Join a Vision Community!

At Vision, our goal is to make your living experience as comfortable and seamless as possible. Our spacious floor plans give you the space you need to work remotely from the comfort of your apartment.

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. 

Communication Between Residents & Apartment Managers

It’s exciting to move into a new apartment, but once the initial shine has worn off, it’s time to get down to the realities of daily living in a rental. The day is going to come when you need to communicate with your property manager. It could be for a routine maintenance issue or something more serious, such as a problem that is jeopardizing the quality of living at the complex for you and possibly your neighbors. While we hope this never happens to you, here are some tips about how to effectively communicate with your apartment manager.

  1. Be polite and respectful. It doesn’t help the situation to lose your cool with the property manager, other office staff, or the maintenance team. Whether your interaction is verbal or written, maintain your composure and keep your emotions out of the conversation. Remember about attracting more flies with honey.
  2. Follow procedures. Pay your rent on time and if your property manager asks you to pay your rent online, then do so. Fewer and fewer property management companies like to deal with paper checks. The same goes for maintenance requests. Most apartment communities have online maintenance portals for this purpose. The plus side for you is that you will have a written record of your maintenance requests, should any miscommunication or disputes arise.
  3. Read your lease. Read your lease. Read your lease. Your lease should spell out how to pay your rent, submit maintenance requests, and state what minor repairs, etc., you are responsible for yourself. You will also find out what to do if you’re locked out, move-out procedures, how to operate any common security systems like a gate code, etc.
  4. Be honest. If you’re having problems paying your rent or accidentally damaged something in your apartment, inform your apartment manager and be truthful. Most property managers should be willing to work something out with you. In the long run, it’s cheaper for them to keep a good tenant, than to have to go through the whole process of renovating the apartment and looking for a replacement renter.
  5. Keep records. Keep a file of everything related to your residency. Along with your lease, keep copies of maintenance requests and all communication with your property manager. If they made a verbal promise, jot down a summary of the conversation along with the date and time. You should also follow up with them in writing and reiterate the conversation. You never know and it’s good to have documentation just in case.
  6. Be reasonable. You are not the only tenant in the complex and some property managers oversee more than one apartment community. Don’t submit emergency maintenance requests for something routine. Also, be patient. You don’t know the workload and priorities of the maintenance staff, although your apartment manager should inform you of any pending delays in resolving your issues and keep you updated.

Common sense and common courtesy will go a long way in forging an amenable relationship with your property manager. Follow the rules and document all interactions and you should have a comfortable, stress-free apartment living experience. And just in case … you will have all of the proof you need to support any claims or miscommunications.

Join a Vision Community!

At Vision, our goal is to make your living experience as comfortable and seamless as possible. We have onsite property managers who can answer your questions and get to the bottom of any issues.

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. 

Laundry Hacks for Apartment Dwellers

Few people enjoy laundry. Full. Stop. Every step seems like a chore —emptying the hamper, sorting the items, running the machine, drying, and even worse, folding and putting everything away. Use these hacks to alleviate some of the pain points associated with clothing and linens maintenance.

  1. Add a towel to the dryer. Add a clean, dry bath or beach towel to the dryer when you run a full load, especially if you are drying other towels. The additional towel absorbs excess moisture, which results in shorter drying time. This is a hack that professional laundry services use all the time.
  2. Spray clothes with vodka for an instant refresh. Fill a spray bottle with some of the cheap stuff and mist your less-than-fresh clothes for one more wearing. Just don’t overdo it, so you don’t smell like you’ve just come in from an all-nighter at the bars.
  3. Get a laundry folder. A laundry folder is a flat plastic gadget that you use to fold shirts and other items neatly and compactly, to reduce wrinkles. As a bonus, you’ll save space in your closets and drawers. You can purchase laundry folders online from multiple retailers.
  4. Trade in your dryer sheets for dryer balls. Wool dryer balls are on point right now. You toss them in the dryer with your wet stuff and let them work their magic. They reduce drying time because air circulates better. You can add a few drops of essential oil to the dryer balls to release your favorite scent.
  5. Hand wash items in a salad spinner. Most people have a salad spinner sitting around. It can act as a mini agitator for handwashing delicate items. Simply fill the salad spinner with water and a small amount of detergent and spin away.
  6. Iron clothes with a flat iron. Sounds crazy, but it works. A flat iron is perfect for getting in-between buttons on the placket of a shirt or blouse. It also works great for smoothing out hems in a hurry. Just make sure the flat iron is clean of any product build-up.

These hacks are great in a pinch and many of them can be used with items you already have in your apartment. While they won’t eliminate the need to do regular laundry, ironing, and mending, they can certainly pinch hit when you’re in a hurry. Try them and see what other laundry hacks you can come up with on your own!

Laundry Appliances are Standard at Vision Community

At Vision Communities, we have floor plans to fit any budget or family size. Our spacious, studio, 2 bedroom, and 3 bedroom apartment layouts provide cozy space plus full size washers and dryers to do your laundry in your apartment. 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. 

 

Spring Cleaning Tips For Your Apartment

Spring is finally here and it’s a great time to give your apartment a deep cleaning. While it’s fun (said nobody), if you try a few hacks and get your roommates to pitch in, it can alleviate the drudgery and cut the time you spend cleaning in half. It’s worth repeating, but you really will feel a lot better once you’ve gotten rid of stuff and cleaned up. Open the windows to air the place out and get to work!

  1. Declutter and put away winter stuff. Now is the time to pack up all your sweaters, heavy coats, boots, etc., and store them away. It’s also a great opportunity to get rid of items that you no longer wear or use. Get some boxes for “keep,” “discard,” and “donate.” It will feel great to donate to charity and you will free up valuable space in your apartment.
  2. Stock up on supplies. Now is the time to take a quick inventory of what you need. Make sure you have a multi-purpose cleaner, microfiber cloths, trash bags, and rubber gloves. Empty and clean the vacuum canister. Use a shower caddy to hold all of your cleaning supplies to make it easier to transport everything from room to room.
  3. Try natural cleaning solutions. If you don’t want to use any chemicals in your apartment, opt for solutions made of vinegar, baking soda, and lemon. The combinations are unlimited. You can find plenty of recipes online on how to mix these ingredients for numerous cleaning applications.
  4. Work from room to room, top to bottom. By tackling one room at a time, the project won’t feel so overwhelming. You can spray down the tub/shower, toilet, and countertops and let the solutions soak in while you work in other rooms. Dust ceiling fans and furniture first, then vacuum last.
  5. Go big or go home. Meaning … this is a good time to hit those forgotten areas like baseboards and behind furniture. If you’re feeling extra ambitious, you can also clean out the fridge and cabinets. Collect any nonperishable food items that you bought during the winter and haven’t used and donate them to a local food pantry.

And when you’re all finished, you and your roommates can enjoy a cold (or hot) drink and sit back and bask in the satisfaction you feel. If you follow a daily, weekly, and monthly cleaning maintenance schedule, your apartment will stay clean all summer and you won’t need to deep clean again until fall.  

Find a New Apartment in a Vision Community

At Vision Communities, we have floor plans to fit any budget or family size. Our spacious, studio, 2 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. 

 

Decorating Your Bedroom for Restful Sleep

We’ve all heard and read the reports about the downsides of poor sleeping: obesity, increased risk of diabetes and heart disease, brain fog, memory loss, and more. Plus, it just makes you cranky, tired, and irritable. There are many reasons why you can’t sleep such as insomnia, stress, or other health reasons. (In these cases, you need to talk to your doctor.) Or maybe you’re just a night owl or you live with a bunch of noisy roommates. However, in order to preserve your health and sanity, here are some decorating tips for your bedroom to help you get some quality zzzs.  

  1. Your mattress. This is one area where you don’t want to cheap out. Invest in a quality mattress. A new trend in mattress design seems to emerge every week, so you are certain to find a brand that best suits your body type and sleep style and is within your price range. Most major mattress and furniture companies offer monthly financing at reasonable rates. P.S.: While you’re shopping for mattresses, pick up a nice bed for your dog or cat. Sleeping with your pet may be cozy, but can disrupt your sleep.
  2. Lighting. You have heard all about the effects of blue light on sleep. Try to limit screen time before you go to bed. At the very least, adjust the settings to nocturnal level to help your brain transition to sleep mode. The same goes for TV if you have one in your bedroom. If you have windows in your bedroom, consider hanging blackout curtains.
  3. Temperature. This one is tricky if you share an apartment with only one thermostat. Numerous studies have demonstrated that cooler temperatures promote more restful sleep. You can help lower the temperature in your bedroom with fans and by using lighter-weight, lighter-colored bedding, such as cotton blends.
  4. Sound. If you need to drown out your roommates or other neighbors, you can buy an ambient noise machine. The bells and whistles will determine the cost, but you can block out sounds with nature sounds, such as gentle rain or crashing ocean waves. The same goes for waking up. Instead of being jarred awake by a blaring buzzer, consider being lured into consciousness by soft music.
  5. De-clutter. Being surrounded by piles of dirty clothes, shoes, boxes, and piles of random stuff can be unsettling to your psyche and disrupt your sleep. Do yourself a favor and get your bedroom organized. Donate or sell items that you no longer need or use. You’ll feel better, sleep better, and feel great if you’ve helped a local charity or added a few bucks to your bank account.

 

By making even a few small changes to your bedroom décor, you can enjoy a more restful sleep. You’ll have a tranquil place to retreat to when you want to get away from your roommates, and you’ll reap the benefits of more energy, greater productivity, and a better mood. Your roommates, coworkers, and your body will thank you.

Get a Great Night’s Sleep at a Vision Community

At Vision Communities, we have floor plans to fit any budget or family size. Our spacious, studio, 2 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 Saving on Your Apartment Energy Bills

As we eagerly anticipate spring and warmer temperatures, we also know that it won’t be long before the thermometer reading soars, and we’re figuring out ways to stay cool. With skyrocketing energy prices, everybody’s budget has taken a hit. What can you do to stay comfortable in your apartment without breaking the bank?

The approach you take depends on the age of your apartment building. Many of today’s new builds are based on green design principles that may include solar energy, tempered windows, and other features designed to work with the environment instead of against it. It may be a little more challenging with an older building, but it can work. Fortunately, most apartments come with central air conditioning and many still have ceiling fans which can work to your advantage.

Here are some tips for keeping cool during the summer.

Ceiling fans

Ceiling fans aren’t everybody’s idea of decorative lighting, but they can come in handy during warmer months. They can work in tandem with your AC to circulate the air in your apartment. Consider running the ceiling fan while you are home and have the air conditioning running. While it may sound counterintuitive to use more electricity to save on your electricity bill, it makes sense. If your ceiling fans, which use less energy than the AC unit, help circulate air, the AC will not have to work as hard, thus reducing overall costs.

Smart thermostats

Smart thermostats are trending right now. These are thermostats that will adapt to your energy usage patterns and adjust the indoor temperature accordingly. For example, if you keep the temperature in your apartment lower from 6 to 11 p.m., the thermostat will lower the AC temperature during those hours. It will regulate the temperature to be warmer during the day when you aren’t home. Ask your property manager about installing a smart thermostat. Some utility companies will install smart thermostats for free or at a reduced charge. The catch is that you allow them to monitor your utilization as part of their overall seasonal trend data.

Draperies

Light-blocking curtains are handy for keeping it warm during the winter, but they can serve the opposite purpose during the summer. Consider drawing the curtains during the times you aren’t home to block out the sunlight and heat. And forget about the notion that all light-blocking curtain panels are black or other dark colors. You can find light-blocking window treatments in a variety of colors and weights to keep your décor light and breezy during the spring and summer. If your apartment is drafty and leaks heat during the winter, then cool air is escaping during the summer. You can block the space under your front door with a towel, blanket, or piece of fabric. Get creative.

LED bulbs

Incandescent light bulbs are becoming harder and harder to find and with good reason. LED bulbs, last longer, use less energy, and are much cooler than their predecessors. The good news is that the prices of LED bulbs have gone down quite a bit so you can afford to replace all of the light bulbs in your apartment. While the initial cost may be a little higher than what you’ve paid in the past, the LED bulbs will pay for themselves through reduced energy bills and not having to replace them very often.

Hopefully, these tips will give you some ideas for when it gets really hot. If you plan now, you can seamlessly transition to summer without compromising comfort and saving money as well. The good news is that all of these hacks incorporate either something you already have or items that you can pick up for little or no cost.

Get a fresh start at a Vision Community

At Vision Communities, we have floor plans to fit any budget or family size. Our spacious, studio, 2 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. 

 

Preparing Your Balcony or Patio for Warmer Weather

Warmer weather means spending more time outdoors and that means it’s time to get your balcony or patio in shape for spring and summer. Outdoor living has been trending lately and just because you have a smaller space doesn’t mean that you can’t transform it into your personal oasis. Patio furniture and décor have become more affordable and are crafted from materials that are lightweight, durable, and can withstand the elements. Plants and lighting can also do wonders to add some green space and color to basic brick and mortar and concrete surroundings. Here are some ideas to get your balcony and patio ready for the warmer months ahead.

Proper Cleaning

Clean the inside and outside of the sliding glass doors. Use a commercial window cleaner or opt for an all-natural product like vinegar. Next, sweep away any dead leaves, dirt, and debris that have accumulated over the winter. You can also use a mild cleaner to mop the balcony floor or cement patio (since the concrete is sealed it’s safe) with lukewarm water. Wipe down the railings and any other remaining surfaces that may be dusty and dirty.

Choose the Right Furniture

Now the fun begins! If you already have outdoor furniture, thoroughly clean all of the frames and cushions. If you need to replace any chairs or tables, now is the time to grab them as many retailers have sales early in the spring. Change things up with some plush new cushions and throw pillows in fun colors and patterns.

Add Some Plants

Every patio or balcony needs some plants and you can find an abundance of low-maintenance greenery, flowers, and even veggies, during this time of year. Ohio is in Zone 6, so some plants that do well in low light include hostas, coleus, impatiens, and petunias. If your balcony gets a lot of sunlight, then try geraniums, marigolds, snapdragons, and salvia. There are now many varieties of vegetables that were hybridized for containers if you are into some urban gardening. You can find plant pots and boxes in every size, color, and composition imaginable, but don’t limit your plants to ground level. Hanging baskets are beautiful and add a touch of drama to your surroundings.

Outdoor Lighting

Now that everything is coming together, you need some lighting. If you don’t have an electrical outlet on your balcony or patio, no worries. You can find LED lights to keep the party going long after dark. Choose LED lights in strings and garlands, candles, lanterns, and even chandeliers.

Miscellaneous

Some other ideas for your balcony include indoor/outdoor area rugs, galvanized buckets for beverages and ice, flags, and citronella candles to ward off mosquitos. You can also find outdoor decor to bring it all together. 

While your apartment complex probably has a pool and plenty of options for hanging around and socializing outdoors, sometimes, you need just a little personal space to hold more intimate gatherings.  A breezy, comfortable patio or balcony is a great way to entertain or to just get outside and enjoy some self-care and “you” time.

Vision Community has Balconies

At Vision Communities, we have balconies standard in many of our floor plans. Our spacious 2 bedroom and 3 bedroom apartment layouts are designed to provide spacious inside space and a balcony for you to enjoy with friends and family. Check out our luxurious apartment floorplans in one of our communities to enjoy life at the VC. 

If you are looking for an apartment with a view, many of our floor plans come standard with a private balcony. We have communities in Columbus and Ashland, with available units for you to tour. 

How to Source Cool Furniture on a Budget

Congratulations! You’ve landed your first apartment. The lease is signed, the deposits are paid, and you have some really awesome roommates. Now, comes the fun part … furnishing and decorating your new place. The problem is … you’ve spent all your money on deposits and moving … where are you going to find cool, good-quality furniture on a shoestring budget? If you don’t have the time, patience, or aptitude to assemble imported pieces, don’t despair. Here are some ideas for sourcing nice furniture that will last a long time and that you will be proud of.

Thrift stores, antique shops, and consignment stores

This is a fun way to explore a new city. Scouring thrift stores and antique shops can be a treasure hunt. Many times, people will donate their gently used furnishings instead of trying to sell them. You can find quality pieces for a fraction of what you’d pay retail. These are the places where you can find vintage and period pieces that you’re not going to find anyplace else. If you enjoy getting your hands dirty, some pieces could use some TLC and can usually be negotiated down in price.

Estate sales

Get on the email list for some of the local estate sales. You’ll receive a notice several days prior to the sale which will include photos and descriptions of all the merchandise. Since all items in the home will be sold together, this is a great opportunity to pick up dining rooms sets or matching sectionals for a common area in your apartment. Estate sales are also great for small kitchen appliances and dishes. Typically, with estate sales, the prices are reduced each day. If you wait until the last day, you run the risk of not finding what you need; OTOH, you could find some great bargains.

Garage/yard sales

Garage sale season starts around April and runs through the fall. People may be moving, remodeling, or just cleaning out their houses. In any case, you can find some steals as prices will be much lower than what you’d find in an antique shop or estate sale. People are eager to unload their “junk” on someone else and are willing to bargain. One tip is to hit the road early and make an entire day of it.

Dumpster diving

Don’t laugh. You would be surprised at what you will find sitting by the curbside. In fact, many times, people will set items on the curb or by their dumpster in hopes that somebody else will salvage them. As the old saying goes, “One man’s trash … “ Oftentimes, you can find furniture that’s in good shape but maybe needs a coat of paint or stain or other minor repairs. Give it a try.

Online

Do some searching and you can find websites where you can buy used or hand-crafted furniture. Etsy is one example. You can find unique, bespoke pieces that nobody else will own. The only drawback to sourcing furniture online will be the shipping costs; however, some vendors will ship for free. It’s worth looking into for that one item that will make people go “Wow!”

Get creative will your furniture shopping and have fun in the process. One tip is to get friendly with somebody who owns a truck or van who can haul your treasures home for you. You will save money and have a furnished apartment that will feel uniquely home.

Vision has move-in Ready Floorplans

At Vision Communities, our 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartment units are open, spacious, ready for new to you furniture. If you are looking for a great community, learn more about living in a Vision Community and explore our available floor plans near you. 

Is a “Roommate Agreement” a Good Idea?

How a Roommate Agreement Sets Boundaries

If you are starting out in your career or have relocated to a big city, or both, you are probably going to need one or more roommates to make living in a decent apartment affordable. If you’re lucky enough to have friends to share space with, great. If not, you’re going to be living with strangers. In either scenario, having a roommate agreement in place can make your living situation much easier. Solid friendships have been blown apart from living together and if you’re going to be living with people you don’t really know, it makes sense to come from a place of common understanding.

A roommate agreement is a written contract signed by all residents of the apartment before you move in together. It covers essentials such as paying the rent and utilities, cleaning, quiet hours, guest rules, etc. You can customize the content to meet you and your roommates’ needs and there are lots of templates online that you can easily download and customize. Here are some key points to address:

Rent

The most common solution is to have all roommates split the rent evenly. However, there may be circumstances where one person has a much larger bedroom, or one person may have to sleep on a fold-out sofa in the living room. In those cases, then the rent should be divided commensurate with the amount of space each person occupies.

Utilities

This is another expense that can be split evenly between roommates. Or you could take turns paying all the utilities each month. Using a “level pay” play can keep utility expenses affordable and predictable so nobody is taxed with paying huge energy bills during summer and winter peaks.

Cleaning Schedule

Set up a roster of who will clean which areas and how often. There are even apps that will manage that for you. You can hash out loathed and preferred chores, so everybody is happy.

Common items

There are some items where it makes more sense to have a communal supply, instead of individual inventories.  Everybody can chip in to buy paper goods, spices, and cleaning supplies. You can find apps that will manage the financial side.

Kitchen time

Will you and your roommates cook and eat together? If not, then it makes sense to designate kitchen hours, so there’s no overlap. You will also need to negotiate refrigerator and cabinet space.

Noise

Discuss each roommate’s sleeping habits and work hours, especially if they work from home.  Then, designate hours where everybody will keep noise and activity to a minimum.

Pets

First, determine whether anybody living in the apartment is allergic to pets. Next, establish boundaries for areas in the apartment where the pet(s) is allowed, who is responsible for cleaning up messes, etc. The pet owner(s) should solely bear the cost of any deposits and monthly rent for pets.

Guests

This can be tricky. There need to be guidelines on having parties, as well as sleepovers. Most apartment residents aren’t comfortable with random hookups/complete strangers camping out in their space. Nor do they want to suffer through a raucous party if they are trying to work, sleep, or study.

Moving out

A roommate should give other roommates ample notice if they plan to move out. This will give everybody time to adjust and find a new roommate.

Once the roommate agreement is hammered out and signed by everybody, it’s a good idea to have regular meetings to talk about the housing situation and make any adjustments to the house rules. Have this document ready to refer to during these discussions as it reiterates what’s been agreed to and keeps communication flowing smoothly. A roommate agreement paves the way for a harmonious living arrangement with you and your fellow apartment dwellers. It will also go a long way towards keeping friendships intact.

Vision has Roommate-Friendly Floorplans

At Vision Communities, our 2 and 3 bedroom apartment units are designed to be shared with your roommates. If you and your crew are looking for a great community, learn more about living in a Vision Community and explore our available floor plans near you. 

Tips for Saving on Apartment Utilities

How to Save on Your Apartment Utilities

In today’s economic climate, everybody is keen on saving money. Add to that, the push to move towards a greener society. Combine the two and you can cut back on your utility bills and do your part in preserving our climate. Here are some ideas to help you save on your utilities without sacrificing convenience and comfort.

  1. Use energy-efficient light bulbs. These days, it’s harder to find incandescent light bulbs than LEDs. LED bulbs cost more, but they last forever. Spring for the initial outlay of cash, and you will be rewarded with longer-lasting, safer light, and lower electric bills.
  2. Control the temperature. This advice has been around forever. Turn the AC up when you leave for the day; likewise, turn down the thermostat during the winter. You can avoid that hassle by installing a smart thermostat. Most landlords will agree to make that swap. You can buy a smart thermostat or some energy companies will install them for free if you are willing to participate in their programs to have the AC and furnace automatically adjusted to correspond with peak energy hours, seasonal usage, etc.
  3. Unplug when not in use. Plugged-in appliances and devices are known as “energy vampires” as they use energy even when not in use. Make a habit of unplugging gadgets and appliances you’re not using and see your energy bills decline. You can also look into smart power strips that will automatically shut off if it detects unused devices or appliances.
  4. Keep your HVAC filters clean. Dust and debris that collect on furnace filters can impede airflow, which makes the unit work harder, thus consuming more energy. It should be the responsibility of your property management company to keep the filters changed, so ask them about their maintenance schedule.
  5. Conserve water. Resist the temptation to run partial loads of laundry or dishes. Only run these appliances when they are full. If you have dishes and cutlery you use over and over, consider washing them by hand. Another good tip is to keep the dryer free of lint. Lint buildup not only makes the dryer work harder and expend more energy, but it can also be a fire hazard.

 

Other commonsense suggestions include turning off lights and fans when you are not home and using window treatments to add warmth or cooling to your apartment when needed. You can also save money by not using electricity during peak hours which usually are in the middle of the day, but your local utility company can give you the most accurate information for your location. Every little bit counts and by doing your part, you can save money and actively participate in green living which contributes to the greater good.

Vision Energy Efficient Floorplans

At Vision Communities, our apartment units are designed with energy savings in mind, from efficient designs to Energy Star-rated appliances in each apartment. Learn more about living in a Vision Community and explore our available floor plans near you. 

Tips for Splitting Rent with Roommates

Ideas for Splitting Rent

Living with roommates makes sense, especially when you are starting out and trying to save money. Besides, it’s also nice to have somebody to talk to and spend time with. Typically, you’d think about splitting the rent evenly between all the roommates. However, in certain circumstances, that is not always the best solution, especially if you aren’t well-acquainted with the people you’re sharing the apartment with or one roommate makes a lot more money than the others. Let’s explore some alternate solutions for equitable rent splitting between roommates.

  1. Splitting the rent evenly. This situation works best when you and your roommates are close friends. It is the simplest solution to have each person pay an equal share of the rent. Just make sure that everybody agrees to this and there is no resentment if somebody has a larger bedroom, their own bathroom, or other amenities.
  2. Splitting the rent by income. This solution makes sense when there are drastic income inequities between roommates. Each person should determine what percentage of their net income they can afford for rent and have them contribute that amount.
  3. Splitting the rent by space. If you don’t know your roommates well, this idea works. You determine how much space is allocated to each person, which would be their bedroom and bathroom (private or shared). Leave out common areas. Divide that amount by the total square footage of the apartment to arrive at a percentage.
  4. Splitting the rent by calculator. Many online calculators will do the number-crunching for you and your roommates. Just follow the prompts to enter information such as income, square space, etc.
  5. Other rent splitting ideas. If one roommate has the primary suite that’s a larger bedroom with an en suite, should they pay more rent than the others? If the rent and total utilities are roughly the same, could one roommate pay the rent and the other pay the utilities? Maybe one roommate could get a break on their rent if they take responsibility for dealing with the landlord and maintenance. There are endless options.

As you can see, there are many options for sharing the rent in your apartment. Do some research and get creative, especially if you are living with roommates you aren’t particularly close to. On the other hand, if you’re living with your best buds, splitting the rent evenly may be the best way to preserve your friendships. Whatever the scenario, frequent open communication is the key to making these arrangements successful.

Vision Communities loves roommates!

At Vision Communities, roommates are welcome…just as long as they’re on the lease. Our spacious 2 bedroom and 3 bedroom apartment layouts are designed to give you your own space while providing common areas for you to hang out with your roommate(s). Check out our luxurious apartment floorplans in one of our communities to enjoy life at the VC. 

Closet Organization Ideas

Tips for Organizing Your Apartment Closet

Since sweater weather is here, now is a good time to think about reorganizing your closet so you can swap out your seasonal wardrobe. It also presents an opportunity to take inventory of your clothes, shoes, and accessories. If you are one of the few people who can say they don’t have too many clothes, pat yourself on the back. However, if you are like most people, you probably have garments, shoes, and accessories taking up space in your closet that you rarely or never wear. The general rule is that if you haven’t worn an item for one year, get rid of it. Donate it or consider selling it on one of the many gently used clothing sites. For the stuff you want to keep, here are some solutions for maximizing your closet space and keeping your clothes in tip-top shape.

Store away your seasonal items

There are two recommended ways to do this. You can buy plastic vacuum bags. Fold and place your clothes into the bags and vacuum seal them. You can stash the bags under your bed until it’s time to wear them again. Another idea is to use plastic storage containers. You can buy these almost anywhere, and they can hold a lot. They come in a multitude of colors, and you can label them, or choose clear plastic so you can quickly identify the contents.

Use shoe racks

Shoe racks fit into the bottom of your closet and can hold several rows of shoes. These are great options for sneakers, flats, and Oxfords. Some shoe racks have adjustable widths. Just fit them to the right size and put them on the closet floor.

Use the closet door as a hanger

You can buy plastic storage bags that have multiple separate compartments and hang over the back of the closet door. These are great for shoes, sunglasses, and small accessories. They are usually made of clear heavy-duty plastic, so you can easily find what you’re looking for.

Coat racks are stylish

You can use a coat rack to hang heavy coats, jackets and other bulky outwear that take up a lot of closet real estate. Having a loaded coat rack in the corner can actually add a touch of cozy charm to your entryway or living space.

Add another hanging rod

You can create two rows for hangers by adding a second rod. The second rod hangs off the upper rod and is suitable for hanging folded pants, tops, and other shorter pieces of clothing. Another tip is to use velvet hangers so clothes don’t slip off and fall on the closet floor or on top of other items.

Shelf dividers

Vertical shelf dividers can keep your sweaters and other folded items neat and in place so they don’t tumble over. Shelf dividers can also be used for handbags, hats, and other clothes and accessories that you don’t want to get wrinkled or crushed.

Hang belts and scarves

You can buy special belt hangers that are round or semi-circular. Keep your belts neat, organized, and within easy reach. These hangers are also suitable for scarves and tank tops/sports bras. Thread a round shower curtain hanger through the garment’s straps and hang it over the belt hanger.

You’ll Love Our Closets

If you are looking for a new apartment community – with lots of closet space, check out Vision Communities. 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. 

Floorplan Friday: The Rutherford

Large Two-Bedroom with Balcony

The Rutherford is a two-bedroom, two-bath apartment that features a large living space that’s ideal for spending cozy evenings in front of the TV or having a few friends over for drinks. You can enjoy your drinks or coffee on the large balcony that lets you feel the city vibe without leaving your apartment. Add some lights, plants and outdoor furniture and you’re set!

Indoors, the open space floorplan combines the kitchen, living, and dining area, which give the area a spacious, airy feeling. The eat-in kitchen has granite countertops and Energy Star-rated stainless steel appliances. The cabinetry is crafted from reclaimed wood products which give the space a rustic appeal. The unique layout of this unit adds to its charm.

Each bedroom has a full en suite and low-consumption water features, which underscore the AVE’s commitment to sustainable living. The bedrooms have spacious walk-in closets and oversized windows that let in plenty of natural light.

Your pet is welcome at the AVE and we even have a fenced dog park on the property. Contact us today to tour this 1160-square-foot unit; you can apply only. We look forward to welcoming you to the AVE community.

Other amenities:

  • Heated Pool
  • Clubhouse with Pool Table
  • Planned Social Events
  • 24-Hour Fitness Center w/ Classes
  • Volleyball Court
  • 24/7 Starbucks Coffee Machine
  • Fenced-in Dog Park

The AVE is a luxury apartment community located in Clintonville — a hub of commerce, culture, and nightlife. Don’t miss out on all that this area of town and The AVE have to offer; reach out today to schedule a tour of the Rutherford. We would love to welcome you to the community!

 

 

Dealing with Maintenance Emergencies

Apartment Maintenance Emergencies

Sometimes, life happens and you experience an emergency in your apartment after regular office hours. While apartment management wants to provide the best maintenance service possible, sometimes what a tenant considers an “emergency” isn’t. Basically, an emergency is a situation that if not immediately remedied, can cause injury, threaten health or damage the property. Your property manager may have after-hours guidelines listed in your lease or on their website. In any case, here are some scenarios where it’s appropriate to contact after-hours maintenance.

Fire or Smoke

If there is a fire in your apartment, evacuate immediately, then call 911. Notify your apartment manager as soon as possible.

Smelling Gas

If you smell gas (the odor of rotten eggs), leave your apartment right away. Call 911 once you are safely outside.

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless, so it is difficult to detect. These days, most apartments have carbon monoxide monitors and if yours goes off, leave the unit and call 911 and maintenance.

Apartment is Flooded

If your apartment is flooding, that is considered a maintenance emergency and you should call it in, no matter what time of day at night. If you can shut off the water, do so. Flooding can seriously damage your property and the building.

The following situations are not always considered after-hours emergencies:

No Heat in the Apartment

Typically, this is not considered an emergency unless it is during extremely cold weather. It will depend on the climate where you live. However, let your apartment manager know the next business day.

Air Conditioning is Out

This is also not an emergency unless it is during a heatwave or you live in a hot climate. Again, report it to your apartment manager the next business day.

No Electricity

First, make sure to check that there is not a fuse blown or that a breaker has tripped. If neither one is the problem, then call the electric company. Most likely, there is a regional outage. However, if the problem persists, contact maintenance.

No Hot Water in your Apartment

This may be considered an emergency ONLY if there has been no hot water for an extended time: days not hours. In the event of no hot water, and it is not during a contractor’s normal business hours, we may be unable to repair the problem in as timely a manner as we would like, so be resourceful in the meantime.

Clogged or Backed Up Toilet

This is considered an emergency when there is only one toilet in the apartment. You can try your best to dislodge the clog yourself with a plunger. If that doesn’t work, then call maintenance.

Getting Locked Out

Check your property management company’s policy on lockouts. In most cases, they will ask you to contact a locksmith to let you back into your unit. Most apartments now issue key fobs, which are easier to deal with than regular keys.

Living in a Vision Community

While no one likes to deal with inconveniences in their apartment, they happen. However, knowing in advance what constitutes an emergency and when to call after-hours maintenance will go a long way towards realistic expectations and minimizing frustrations. The property managers at Vision Communities are committed to creating a safe and properly functioning apartment and providing the most efficient maintenance possible. Open communication … with a side of patience … can go a long way towards reaching this goal.

If you are looking for a new apartment community, check out Vision Communities. 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. 

Bathroom Cleaning Hacks

Bathroom Cleaning Hacks for your Apartment

It’s the smallest room in the apartment, the most used and the grungiest to clean … the bathroom! There are plenty of cleaning products you can pick up anywhere, but here are some quick hacks you can use between deep cleanings. A lot of the stuff you probably already have on hand or can source the next time you do a store run. So, get ready to raid the pantry, roll up your sleeves and get to work!

Clean your shower with vinegar

Vinegar has natural antibacterial and antifungal properties. Heat some in the microwave and spray it in the shower. Rinse with water. While you’re cleaning the shower area, soak the showerhead in vinegar. Vinegar will get rid of mineral scale and calcium deposits caused by hard water.   

Remove soap scum with dryer sheets

Everybody has dryer sheets. Put a few drops of water on a dryer sheet and buff away the soap scrum. Rinse with water.  You can also use dryer sheets to clean up the faucets in the sink and shower.

Use a denture tablet to clean your toilet

Now, this is something you probably don’t have lying around the apartment, but it’s worth buying a box. Between scrubbings, you can keep your toilet bowl clean by dropping in a denture tablet. After the bubbles and foam have subsided, flush. It’s great for removing stains and rust.

Air-dry the toilet brush

The next time you scrub the toilet the old-fashioned way, air dry the brush. The water that builds up in the bottom of the toilet brush holder is just nasty. Sandwich the toilet brush between the toilet lid and bowl and let it air dry.

Try black tea to clean mirrors

Brew some strong black tea and use a soft lint-free cloth to wipe the mirrors. The tannic acid does the work. Dry the mirror with a clean cloth. Black tea is a natural alternative to ammonia-based spray products.

Hopefully, these hacks will help you when you need to quickly clean the bathroom. Who knows?  Maybe your parents are dropping by, or you’ve been nominated on the fly to host tonight’s watch party. By using products you have on hand, you will save time and money and keep the bathroom presentable between cleanings.

A Bathroom You’ll Love

At Vision Communities, we welcome you to explore our communities, floor plans, amenities and of course, our bathrooms. Many of our floorplans feature single or multiple bathrooms to clean, but with these tips, you’ll love walking into a clean, fresh bathroom. 

If you are looking for a new apartment community, check out Vision Communities. 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. 

Mixed Use community - Makley Place

Living in a Mixed-Use Community

The Benefits of a Mixed-Use Community

How would you like to live where you can walk to work (even if it’s just from the bedroom to the living room), or go out for coffee, grab a bite to eat, shop for groceries and take in an art gallery, live music or farmers’ market — without having to drive anywhere? Sounds pretty appealing, doesn’t it? You will find all of that in a mixed-use community. Mixed-use communities are the newest development in sustainable community living. Based in primarily centralized urban areas, mixed-use communities combine logistical convenience with the social connections that people crave — especially during these trying times. These developments combine residential space and commercial/retail with an area’s cultural amenities to create an all-in-one living experience.

If you live in a mixed-use community, you’ll drive less. In fact, you may not even need to own a car, especially if there are reliable public transportation options in the area. Not only will you save on car payments, insurance and gas, but you’ll also get more exercise and do your part in reducing emissions. By patronizing area local businesses, you’ll boost the economy, which is especially beneficial to small businesses that have been hit hard by the pandemic.

Mixed-Use Development Communities

Most mixed-use communities are new developments, which means that they were retrofitted or new builds that embrace energy-saving practices such as solar panels and recycling, and include among their amenities, community gardens. Community gardens are a great way to know where your food is coming from and to connect with your neighbors. And there is nothing like an outdoor concert or art opening to draw like-minded people together.

Safety is another benefit to mixed-use communities. The apartments, condos, and commercial properties are equipped with safety features such as doorbell cameras, hard-wired smoke detectors, and security systems. Neighbors also look out for one another and it has been demonstrated that crime rates have dropped in mixed-use communities. Being in a centralized location also means in most cases, closer proximity to police, fire, and EMT services.

If mixed-used community living sounds promising to you, give us a call. Makley Place offers luxury condominiums and apartments located on the northern edge of Columbus’ Short North Art District. We combine ease of living with vibrant cultural experiences and social life — with local commercial space thrown into the mix. We are leasing now, so contact us for more information and to arrange a tour.

Find out about your rights as a tenant in the state of Ohio on the Vision Communities blog.

Tenants’ Rights in Ohio

If you are getting ready to rent an apartment in Central Ohio, congratulations! There are many fun and functional communities to choose from that will suit any lifestyle. However, before you sign that lease and start packing, there are a few things you need to know that will pave the way for a congenial tenant-landlord relationship. The following are the highlights of tenant-landlord rights and obligations in the state of Ohio, from the American Association of Apartment Owners and the Ohio State Bar Association.

  1. Security deposits

This is probably the biggest point of contention between tenants and landlords. In Ohio, a landlord has the right to request a security deposit to hold the apartment until you are ready to move in. It is your obligation as a tenant to pay the security deposit. It is the landlord’s obligation to repay your security deposit after you move out. The landlord has the right to withhold any portion of all of your security deposit to compensate any damages incurred to the unit beyond “normal wear and tear” or to apply to any unpaid rent. When you give your notice to vacate, you must provide your landlord with a mailing address to return your deposit to. The landlord must return any or all of your security deposit within 30 days. If any amount was withheld for damages, you must receive an itemized statement of deductions.

  1. General tenants’ rights

Tenants are required to pay their rent on time and keep their apartments clean and sanitary. You must not also damage the property or allow your guests to damage or deface the property. In addition, you (and your guests) should conduct yourselves in a manner that will not create a disturbance or be disruptive to other residents in the building. Some examples include excessive noise, loud music or TV, using illicit drugs, etc. You must also give proper notice (usually 30 days) when you plan to move out.

  1. General landlords’ rights

Landlords are required to keep the property in good working condition and safe and sanitary. They must also supply basic needs such as running water, electricity, trash removal, etc., Landlords are also expected to keep all appliances and fixtures in good working order and make any requested repairs in a reasonable amount of time. “Reasonable” is subjective, depending on the circumstances, but general estimation is within 30 days. Some leases allow tenants to pay for their own repairs and deduct the costs from their rent.

  1. Entering the premises

This is another hot-button topic with tenants and landlords. Landlords must give tenants 24 hours’ notice if they plan to enter your apartment and do so during appropriate times of the day. As a tenant, you must comply with these requests. If a landlord enters your apartment without proper notice, you may have a legal right to recover damages.

  1. Rent increases and Evictions

Landlords have the right to increase rent by any amount to any tenant(s) on a month-to-month lease..However, they must give tenants 30 days’ notice. A tenant can be evicted for reasons such as non-payment of rent or violating the terms of your lease. Evictions are complicated and beyond the scope of this post. In the case of a pending eviction, you would be best served to consult with an attorney. However, a landlord cannot evict you or increase your rent for retaliatory reasons, such as reporting health and safety violations to city agencies.

At Vision Communities, our goal is to provide the best living experience for our tenants and the reviews that we’ve received from current and past tenants demonstrate our commitment to you. If you are looking for a new apartment and want to experience luxury apartment living, check out our Vision Communities and learn what it means to Live the VC. 

 

Learn how to reduce your utility costs in the summer without sacrificing comfort.

How to Reduce Utility Costs in the Summer

You don’t need to look at the thermometer to know that summer has arrived. As the heat and humidity soar, so can your energy bills if you aren’t careful. Summers in Central Ohio can get pretty hot and if you want to stay comfortable without blowing your budget, here are some easy, inexpensive ideas you can try to keep your apartment cool and your reduce utility costs in the summer.

  1. Unplug appliances when they’re not in use. Even if an appliance or device is turned off, it is still consuming energy. You can buy smart power strips that will completely shut off the gadget when it goes into sleep mode. 
  2. Keep the drapes and blinds closed. When it’s cool in the mornings, you might open your windows. That’s great, but when you close the windows, close the blinds and drapes, too. This will block out the sun and heat. 
  3. Insulate. This might sound counter-productive, but insulation can also keep your apartment cool.  Like in the winter, use weather-stripping around the windows to seal any gaps. You can also roll up a towel and place it against the bottom of your front door to prevent cool air from escaping.
  4. Get a smart thermostat. You can program the thermostat to raise the indoor temperature during the day when you’re not home. Towards the end of the day, the thermostat will kick the A/C on, so it’s nice and cool when you get home from work. If your apartment doesn’t already have a smart thermostat, you can buy them online and some utility companies provide them to reduce utility costs in the summer.
  5. Don’t use the oven. That’s why microwaves were invented (and carryout/delivery). Turning on the oven heats up the entire apartment and your AC has to work extra hard to cool the place down. If you must use the oven, try to do so in the evening when it’s cooler.
  6. Put your ceiling fan to work for you. As heat rises, the ceiling fan will trap it above the blades and reduce the overall temperature in the room. If you can, adjust the fan’s rotation to counterclockwise, which will provide even more cooling benefits.

Summer doesn’t last forever and you can survive the sweltering heat and not blow your budget. By implementing even just a few tips, you can reduce utility costs in the summer without sacrificing comfort.

 

Learn how to set a fair budget with your roommates.

Budgeting with Roommates

Living with roommates is no longer reserved for college days. In today’s economy, it makes sense to split expenses by budgeting with roommates, especially if you are just starting out in your career or are trying to save money to eventually rent your own apartment or buy a house. In addition to saving money, some people just enjoy companionship. Just keep in mind that expenses are the major cause of disagreements among roommates, so it makes sense to have everything in writing by drawing up a roommate agreement — which we will get to in a few paragraphs. Also, when you are looking for roommates, aim to select people who have a solid job and the income to afford the apartment. Obviously, life happens, so your roommate agreement should address contingency plans in case of job loss, relocation, etc.

Here are some of the main expenses of apartment living that you will be budgeting with roommates:

Rent

It’s usually easiest to divide the rent between each roommate. However, if one roommate has a bigger bedroom or separate bathroom, then they should pay a larger share of the rent. Double-check the clause of your lease about other residents in the apartment. Inform your property manager when new roommates move in or out. The person whose name is on the lease should be the one to pay the rent; they can collect their other roommates’ shares.

Utilities

This category is more flexible. Typically, roommates evenly divide the cost of electricity, gas, and cable/internet. A popular practice is to divvy up the smaller expenses and have each roommate pay the entire bill. This could include streaming services, water, and trash.

Pet rent

If each roommate has a pet, then split this fee evenly. If only one person has a pet, then they should pay the full amount.

Groceries and miscellaneous expenses

Food is probably the second major cause of roommate showdowns and is usually resolved by having each person buy their own food. If you are having a party or want to have a fancy dinner, then you can split up the grocery bill. Otherwise, it’s best to keep food (including condiments) completely separate. Roommates can divide the cost of cleaning supplies or you can have each person be responsible for the cleaning supply inventory for a specific room.

Finally, get this all down in writing by initiating a roommate agreement. This is a document that spells out who is financially responsible for what. It can be a simple Google doc or you can go online and find more formal templates (full of legalese). Everybody should agree to the terms and sign the roommate agreement. And if any problems surface, you have a written record to refer to when you sit down to talk.

It’s a pretty open field for tracking expenses. There are Google and Excel spreadsheets and numerous apps you can use. Some apps link to your bank and will even transfer money between roommates’ accounts for bill paying or reimbursement.

Living with roommates has many advantages. If everybody is on the same page, then your apartment life should run smoothly and harmoniously.

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. 

Learn a few cleaning hacks for the kitchen in your apartment

Kitchen Cleaning Hacks

Cleaning Hacks for Your Apartment Kitchen

Your kitchen is the busiest room in your apartment and also the one that can be the most difficult to clean. (Yes, even more difficult than the bathroom.) Your kitchen is a high-traffic area and the floors, countertops and appliances take a beating on a daily basis, especially if you live with roommates. Now before you head to the nearest discount store to stock up on cheap cleaning supplies, keep in mind that you do not own your kitchen, so you need to put some thought into how you clean it. Remember that when you move out, the property manager is going to go over the unit with a fine-tooth comb to look for any damages, which means they may have reason to hold your security deposit.

Here are some hacks that use all-natural ingredients that you can use to clean your kitchen. Most of the items you should already have on hand, but if you don’t, they are cheap and plentiful. Of course, you can also look for natural cleaning supplies at practically any store, just keep in mind that you will pay a premium for these brands and most of them contain stuff that you probably already have at home or can pick up on the cheap.

  1. Stainless steel appliances. You can restore the luster to your fridge and other appliances by using coconut or olive oil. Just pour a few drops of oil on a soft cloth or paper towel and buff your appliances. Keep in mind that stainless steel scratches easily, so avoid using scouring powder, “scrubbies” or bleach.
  2. Granite countertops. Granite can be finicky as you want to be careful to not nick or scratch the surface. A DIY solution is to use mild dish soap and warm water on a microfiber cloth. Do NOT use any acids like vinegar or citrus, abrasive scrubs, or steel wool.
  3. Vinyl flooring. First, thoroughly sweep or dry vac any debris from the floor. Use a solution of vinegar and warm water to mop the floor with a soft cloth or mop to prevent scratching. Scuffs can be buffed with jojoba oil or WD-40 and tough stains can be removed with a baking soda and water paste or rubbing alcohol.
  4. Removing greasy buildup. This sounds counterintuitive, but use grease to remove grease from your stovetop, backsplash and vent hood. Pour a few drops of vegetable oil on a soft cloth and wipe away the grease. Keep buffing then wipe away the excess oil.
  5. Microwave. The microwave is probably the most abused appliance in the kitchen and can get gross pretty quickly. Place a bowl of vinegar and sliced lemons in the microwave and let the timer run for two minutes. Leave the door closed for several minutes after the timer goes off to let the steam clean the interior. Open the microwave and wipe away all of the residue.
  6. Stovetop. If you have hard crusty stains that vegetable oil won’t get rid of, make a paste of baking soda and warm water. Leave it alone for about an hour, then wipe it away. If you’d like, you can then give the stovetop a good buff with vegetable oil.
  7. Sink. Your stainless steel sink needs slightly different care than the appliances. First, rinse the sink, then sprinkle it with baking soda. Use a paper towel to scrub the sink thoroughly, then spray on undiluted vinegar. Rinse away with plain water. You can use a toothbrush to scrub hard-to-reach areas.

It is pretty painless to clean the kitchen, but the biggest hack is to not let the situation get out of hand in the first place. There are many resources online that give great advice on how to keep your kitchen under control with daily use. Create a plan with your roommates on how to manage the kitchen during the week. You have better things to do during the weekend!

Live the Good Life in a Vision Community

At Vision Communities, our goal is to create the space for you to make it your own. We want you to feel at home when you join one of our Central Ohio apartment communities. Making your kitchen your own is part of that process. If you are looking for an apartment, check out our 1 bedroom, 2 bedroom and 3 bedroom floor plans, many of which offer a balcony space to build your own oasis. 

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

Learn where to find good roommates on the Vision Communities blog.

Tips for Finding Reliable Roommates

How to find a great roommate

Whether you need help in sharing living expenses or just enjoy companionship, finding the right roommate(s) can be tough. Gone are the days when you had instant roommates that blossomed into lifetime friendships from living in campus housing at school or roomed with a group of friends from high school. Even though things are getting a little better with the pandemic and economy, it’s important that you choose reliable, compatible roommates, especially if the relationship is for the long haul. You don’t want somebody who is looking for a place to hang out temporarily until their situation improves and leaves you hanging with unpaid rent or even worse, isn’t taking covid precautions seriously.

So, how to you find reliable roommates?

  1. Make a list. Before you start asking around, make a list of what you are seeking in a roommate. This could include financial stability, smoking, lifestyle (e.g., are they are a night owl, while you turn in at 10 p.m.), pets, food preferences, etc. This doesn’t mean that if you’re a meat and potatoes person that you can’t live with a vegan or vice versa, especially if food shopping and meal prep are done separately. You need to assess what’s important, then prioritize it. If you are a classical music fan but can tolerate EDM, then don’t sweat the small stuff. And last but certainly not least, ask them about their reaction to covid. Have they been vaccinated? Do they plan to get vaccinated? Have they had covid? Do they work in a high-risk job?
  2. Ask family and friends. Word-of-mouth is the best recommendation. Ask around and see if your family and friends know anybody who is looking for a roommate. Maybe they know a person who just left a live-in relationship or is new in town. People you trust and who know you can attest to the person’s character, stability, etc.
  3. Ask at work or school. If you are finishing up school, there are resources for matching roommates. You just need to check out the student resources online or on campus, if you are able to attend any classes in person. You can also ask coworkers. The only downside is if the roommate situation doesn’t work out, it could create an awkward situation with your coworker. 
  4. Social media. If you have a close-knit group of friends on your social media platforms, then ask them. You never know who is a friend of a friend … One advantage to using social media is that it creates a bit of distance. You can subtly gather information, and if it doesn’t sound like a good fit, you can back out before making any type of connection or commitment. Many communities have area specific pages, so if you are feeling adventurous, put some feelers out and see who responds.
  5. Online clearinghouses. There are many websites to match roommates, like Roomster. You just sign up and fill out questionnaires and pay a fee. Similar to a dating app, your specs will be matched against other candidates to see who would be compatible with you. 

 

Your home is where you want to feel, safe, secure, and comfortable. Having the right roommate(s) can make your apartment a peaceful relaxing environment and the wrong ones can create an uncomfortable living arrangement. By identifying qualities you seek in a roommate, doing your homework and asking the right screening questions, hopefully, you will find great people to share your apartment and forge lifelong friendships.

At Vision Communities, we welcome you to explore our floor plans and find the right one for you and your new roommate. Our facilities are top-notch and based on 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 our Central Ohio communities, that you have an outlet when you and your roomate need some space. 

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

The best type of vegetables to grow in apartments.

The Best Vegetables to Grow at Your Apartment

Growing your own apartment garden

With the increasing price of groceries and questionable nutrition value of what you find in the grocery store, growing your own vegetables makes sense. But what if you live in an apartment? There is nothing to stop you from enjoying homegrown vegetables in an apartment garden if you have a patio or balcony; you can grow a crop of vegetables in containers.  All you need is good light, the right containers, water, and plant food. You will also need patience because some plants, like tomatoes, will not yield until later in the summer. Other plants, such as cool weather crops like early lettuce will grow quickly, so you can start enjoying fresh salads shortly after planting.

The most successful vegetable plants are those that are self-contained; in other words, they are a single plant that will grow upward and fill out. While it is possible, you don’t want to try to grow a “viney” spreading plant like squash, pumpkins, or watermelon in containers on your balcony. If you want to attempt a crop like that, try pole beans or a variety that you can “train” to climb a trellis or other supportive structure.

How to successfully grow container vegetables on your balcony or patio

Pots. The easiest container is a large plastic bucket which you can find at any hardware store or lawn and garden center. You will be surprised by how much soil a single plant like a tomato or eggplant needs. There are also “smart pots,” which are made of polypropylene and are breathable, which makes for healthy roots. Plants with shallow roots like lettuce and other greens can be grown in planter boxes. You can also get creative and plant an herb garden in a hanging basket. Basically, if the pot allows for good drainage, is not fired with any toxic glazes, and is large enough to keep the plant from becoming root-bound, anything goes.

Soil. There are so many types of name-brand soil that you can buy at a big box store that this is a no-brainer. Choose a potting soil with good aeration and a neutral pH. What you don’t want to do is to go somewhere and just dig up random soil as you don’t know the composition of minerals and other nutrients. Packaged potting soils, found at your local lawn and garden retailer, contain specially formulated soil mixture for container gardening so you don’t have to mess with adding other elements to get the right balance for optimal growing.

Fertilizer. What you are looking for is a water-soluble or liquid product that is balanced in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, which is indicated by the ratio on the package, such as 10:10:10. The fertilizer you choose will depend on what potting soil you use and the type of vegetable. Many commercial fertilizers take the guesswork out of feeding your plants and there are also many resources online if you would like to make your own. You should start feeding your plants about six weeks after you’ve put them out.

Light. Most vegetable plants need at least six hours of direct light a day. If your balcony or patio gets spotty sunlight, you may need to move your plants around to catch the rays.

Water. Keep your vegetable plants watered so the soil remains damp but not saturated. Don’t let the soil dry out between waterings. Once roots are dried out and damaged, it is very difficult for the plant to recover.

Now that you have the basics, what kinds of vegetables successfully grow in containers in Central Ohio (Zone 6)?

  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Eggplant
  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Onions
  • Arugula
  • Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Herbs

 

Don’t let this list limit you and try whatever you like as long as you have the space and light. Gardening is a rewarding hobby and gives you ownership over what you are putting into your body. You grew it and have the peace of mind that your vegetables were not treated with any types of pesticides or preservatives. Now is the perfect time to hit the garden center and soon you will be enjoying the delicious and nutritious rewards of your hard work.

Live the Good Life in a Vision Community

At Vision Communities, our goal is to create the space for you to make it your own. We want you to feel at home when you join one of our Central Ohio apartment communities. Planting a vegetable garden is one way to make that a reality. If you are looking for an apartment, check out our 1 bedroom, 2 bedroom and 3 bedroom floor plans, many of which offer a balcony space to build your own oasis. 

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

Learn about different houseplants used to purify the air in apartments.

Plants that Purify the Air

Find a new plant for your Apartment

Spring is in the air and so are plenty of allergen and toxins. If you are sprucing up your apartment to welcome the new season, how about adding some plants to your décor? Indoor plants are inexpensive and most of them are low maintenance. As well as adding a touch of green to your living space, many houseplants remove toxins from the indoor environment.

Toxic chemicals exist in some of the most seemingly innocuous household items. Cleaning products, air fresheners, cooking utensils, and even some scented candles release harmful elements that can cause health problems. Furniture, paint, and carpeting can include formaldehyde, benzene, xylene, and VOCs. Also, during the spring, trees and plants are budding and releasing airborne pollens; springtime rain can increase the outdoor mold count. All of these pollutants can lead to watery eyes, sneezing, and other respiratory problems.

Here are eight houseplants that will brighten up your apartment and clean the air as well.

  1. Pothos. This plant is also known as “devil’s ivy.” It grows quickly and has heart-shaped greenish-gold leaves. Other varieties have a marbled cream and green appearance. Pothos make beautiful additions to hanging baskets and are literally impossible to kill.
  2. Philodendron. “Philos” look similar to pothos, having heart-shaped leaves, but the leaves of philodendrons are a bit more delicate in shape and are dark green. Like photos, philodendrons as very easy to care for, and even the most hapless gardener can successfully raise them!
  3. Peace lily. Peace lilies are taller plants and do best in a pot or planter that is on the ground. They bear glossy green leaves and waxy white flowers with a prominent golden stamen. Peace lilies are easy to care for and simply need “dead-heading” when the blossoms are spent.
  4. Spider plants. Spider plants grow clusters of long, thin, pointed green leaves with white stripes. As the plant matures, it grows tendrils that will eventually sprout mini-spider plants. These baby plants can be cut off and planted in potting soil to grow new plants. They look great in a hanging basket hung in a sunny corner of your apartment.
  5. Rubber plants. Rubber plants are a variety of the Ficus genus and can grow to great sizes, so you can keep repotting it as it matures. It produces hearty oval-shaped leaves that are dark green with burgundy undertones. As it grows, string some fairy lights through it to create a living light fixture!
  6. Boston fern. Boston ferns grow large medium-green fronds that will fill out the plant as it grows. They are frequently used in hospitality and retail interior design as they are not only beautiful but easy to care for. The only downfall is to make sure the plant is kept watered as dead leaves will shed. This plant is definitely worth the extra bit of TLC.
  7. English ivy. English ivy is a prevalent species and often grows in abundance outdoors and clings to buildings, especially brick, as it can attach itself to mortar. You can grow a more domesticated variety indoors and just keep it trimmed to ensure healthy, lush growth. English ivy leaves have three points and are medium-to-dark green; variegated English ivy is medium-green and ivory.
  8. Aloe vera. This succulent doubles as a medicinal aid. The gel from inside this plant’s long, knobby silvery-green leaves can soothe burns and sunburn. You can also use it as a facial gel. As aloe vera is a succulent, it can go for long periods of time without water. Just don’t let it dry out completely.

If you’d like some healthy flowers, Gerbera daisies and chrysanthemums are good choices. Both are easy-care and long-lasting and will add a pop of color to your apartment. All of the plants mentioned are easily available at any lawn and garden store. You can also find them at big box stores and even some grocery stores. They are also relatively inexpensive and don’t require anything more than light, water, and some varieties like a bit of plant food. So, if you want to bring a touch of nature indoors and purify the air inside of your apartment, houseplants are a healthy, beautiful, and economical choice.

If you are on the hunt for a new apartment, the team at Vision Communities would invite you to pack up your plants and pets and check out one of our Central Ohio apartment communities. Our facilities are top-notch and based on 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. 

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

Apartment Dwelling vs. Home Ownership

If you are getting ready to make a move, whether it is your first place or if you want to relocate, you are probably weighing the differences between leasing an apartment or purchasing a house. It’s a big decision and not one to be taken lightly as you are looking at a long-term financial commitment whichever way you go. You will need to consider your budget, lifestyle and level of responsibility you want to assume for maintaining your living space. Let’s take a look at some of the considerations.

  1. Lease or mortgage. Once you acquire a mortgage, you are locked in for decades unless of course, you sell your house. How quickly you can sell your home and whether you make money or take a hit will all depend on the housing market. Apartment leases usually run 12 months, but some communities have month-to-month options. It can difficult and expensive to break a lease and unless you have a compelling reason, you will be responsible for paying the remaining rent you owe.
  2. Household maintenance. If you are just starting out and want a house, then you will have to work within your budget, which usually means an older home (e.g., fixer-upper). If you have the money and knack for DIY, then this could be a good investment. You also have to pay for all repairs such as plumbing, HVAC, roofing, basement flooding, etc., yourself. If you live in an apartment, all of the maintenance is taking care of for you as it is factored into your monthly rent. The downside is that you may not have a say in what color the walls are or what type of fixtures and finishes are in the unit. Some apartments will let residents add their own fixtures, etc., but they remain in the apartment after you move out.
  3. Outdoor maintenance. If you own a home, you are responsible for all of the yard work such as mowing the lawn, raking the leaves, and shoveling the snow. If you enjoy those types of chores, then great!  If you live in an apartment, property maintenance and snow removal are taken care of for you. The same goes for trash removal. If you are a homeowner, you pay for that service; in an apartment, trash removal fees are usually included as part of the rent.
  4. Children and pets. If you have children, you may feel that it is better to live in a house with ample bedrooms for the kids and a location within a desirable school district. They will also have a yard to play in and other kids in the neighborhood to socialize with. In an apartment complex, opportunities to interact with other kids may be more limited and often, and there aren’t as many options for outdoor play activities at home. Being close to a good school is also important for apartment dwellers, and since many apartment communities are in suburban areas, it should not be an issue. If you own a home, pets are no problem. In an apartment, there may be breed and weight restrictions. Residents will also need to pay a pet deposit and in some cases, monthly rent for the animal, which averages around $25-$30 per month.
  5. Lifestyle. If you are young and single, an apartment community that facilitates an active social life would be a good fit. Larger complexes include amenities such as swimming pools and decks with firepits, clubhouses, movie theatres, coffee bars, and fitness centers. Outdoor enthusiasts can take advantage of sand volleyball courts, dog trails, and bike stations. Some apartment communities also host social events like happy hour, trivia night, or group volunteer activities. However, if you are an introvert and don’t enjoy group events, then you might not be very happy with “forced” social events. Homeowners might have neighborhood swimming pools, walking trails, and parks, but they must rely solely on their own network of friends, relatives, and neighbors for social interaction. Unless the HOA offers planned events, there is no centralized source for planned get-togethers.

As you can see, there are advantages and disadvantages to homeownership and apartment living. It all depends on your needs and resources. A young single person who is starting out in their career might be drawn to the hands-off maintenance and active social life an apartment community offers. If you have kids and pets, then owning a home with a yard and close proximity to a good school would be a better fit, especially if you like to host cozy family gatherings or playdates with the neighborhood kids.

While moving can be a hassle, Vision Communities features and locations that will meet your needs. Our facilities are top of the line, supported by our awesome property management staff.  If you weighing homeownership and apartment living, check out what Vision Communities has to offer. We have apartment communities throughout the Greater Columbus, Ohio, area with floorplans for studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. Our communities offer first-class amenities and are conveniently located for an easy commute for work or play. Contact our office to schedule a tour and to inquire about floorplan availability.

Advantages of Apartment Living

Advantages to Apartment Living

Choosing where to live is a big decision. Whether you are a new college graduate, recently relocated to a new city or are just ready for a change, the decision of where to live is one that should not be taken lightly. The big question is … do you want to live in a house or an apartment?

Home ownership has its advantages, such as tax deductions and complete decorating autonomy, having a yard and privacy. On the other hand, somebody (you) has to take care of that yard and shovel the driveway, as well as pay for home repairs – both major and minor.  If you have the skills, then a fixer-upper with plenty of DIY projects awaiting, might work. If you don’t have a green thumb and can barely screw in a lightbulb, an apartment would be a better fit.

While it is assumed that apartments attract a younger crowd, many older people gravitate to the size and low (no) maintenance apartment living offers, especially if they are empty nesters who are ready to downsize. It is not uncommon to find a mix of residents of all ages and ethnicities in today’s apartment complexes.

If you are still on the fence, here are some advantages to apartment living:

  1. Cost of Living. In most cases, monthly rent for an apartment is less than your typical mortgage. Utilities are also much less as they are consumed in a smaller space. In an apartment, the resident is usually responsible for electricity, gas and internet/cable service, while the complex pays for water and trash removal, but this will vary by property management company. Another benefit is that some apartments have month-to-month of short-term leases, so you are not stuck in a long-term commitment.

  2. Maintenance. This is a huge advantage when it comes to apartment living. If the toilet backs up or the A/C goes out, it is not your responsibility to have it fixed. It is the property manager’s responsibility, as well as a condition of your lease, to make any necessary repairs to your unit. Most apartment communities have a dedicated maintenance staff which make scheduled repairs that can be performed in a timely manner. Of course, you can attempt some minor repairs on your own, such as using a plunger on a stubborn sink, but if you choose not to, then just pick up the phone or submit a maintenance request online. Bonus: No lawn mowing or snow shoveling.

  3. Security. Most apartment complexes have some type of security system in place. Some are gated communities that require a passcode and some larger properties even have full-time security guards. Other means of security include locked security doors and cameras. Having neighbors in your building can add an extra layer of protection as you can look out for each other. Depending on your lease, you may be able to add your own personal security system, such as a doorbell/camera.

  4. Amenities. Today’s apartment complexes offer a variety of amenities to attract residents. The most common include swimming pools, community rooms and fitness centers. You can also find coffee bars, dog parks, valet trash service and housekeeping services. This allows you to save money on a separate gym or pool membership by taking advantage of the facilities offered at your apartment complex.

  5. Social. Even the most introverted person in the world craves company now and then! Living in apartment comes with built-in neighbors and like everything else, some will suit you while you may prefer to not interact with others. Living in close proximity means that residents look out for each other. Additionally, swimming pools, coffee bars and clubhouses draw people together and more and more apartment communities have planned social events like happy hour or volunteer days. (During safer times, of course.)



As you see, there are many benefits to apartment living versus home ownership. It really boils down to your personal preferences and what you can afford. Apartment living is great if you are just starting out living on your own and want to save money for a down payment on a house. It also is beneficial if you have a job where you travel a lot and don’t want to have to worry about an unattended house. Retirees can enjoy their golden years free from the responsibilities of home ownership.  

Live Your Best Life in a Vision Community

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 downtown Columbus. For more information about our communities, contact our team to get started.

Packing up your apartment

Tips for Moving Out of Your Apartment

The beauty of living in an apartment is that it is temporary. You can really move more easily than if you home a home, which comes with a mortgage and requires the sale of your house.  When it is time to move on, whether to your first house or upgrading to a new apartment community, there are some things you need to consider. While most renters’ primary concern is getting their security deposit back, they overlook small, but crucial details in the process.

Here are some tips to ensure that your relocation is as smooth as possible.

  1. Give notice. This is the most important step. Review your lease to see how much notice you need to give your apartment manager. The rule of thumb is that residents usually have to give 30 days’ notice, however, this can vary, depending on the terms of your lease. Failure to give adequate notice could result in financial penalties, such as owing the next month’s rent after you move out.

  2. Transfer your utilities. Make sure you close out your account at your apartment and transfer all utilities to your future address. Usually, this is as simple as placing a few phone calls or making the switch online. If you live in an all utilities paid complex, it might be a little more complicated as you may have to open all new accounts in your name at your new residence.

  3. Clean up the place. While it is tempting to just pack up and go, you need to leave your apartment in as close to move-in condition as possible. Even though you know that the unit will be rehabbed before new residents move in, leaving the place a mess can cost you. You might have penalties deducted from your security deposit. Additionally, this can earn you a negative reference from your landlord in the event you need to rent a new place in the future. Splurge on a professional cleaning service if you don’t have time or want to do it yourself.

  4. Change your address. You can do this online at the USPS website and provide updated address information where you mail will be forwarded and where you will receive your new mail. A lot of times, this step gets overlooked and it can be problematic in the long term as the Post Office only forwards mail for 12 months and periodicals for 60 days. If you still receive bills by mail, they could show up late or not at all, which brings on a host of new problems.

  5. Get your security deposit back. This is the time to review your lease one more time to make sure you fulfilled all the conditions to receive all or a portion of your security deposit back. What usually happens is that once your have vacated your apartment, the apartment manager will conduct an inspection of the unit. They should compare it to the punch list from when you moved in, to make sure there is no new damage. Your deposit will be mailed back to you once the inspection has been completed and you will also receive a letter noting any deductions for damages. So, don’t forget to leave your forwarding address with your (former) apartment manager.



Moving also is a great opportunity to donate. As you are packing, separate clothes, shoes, outerwear and any household items you are no longer using and donate them to a local charity. Many places will even come and pick your stuff up. Likewise, when you are packing up the kitchen, any unused canned goods can go to a food bank; many grocery stores have drop-off barrels for non-perishable goods.

While moving can be a hassle, once the process is over, you can settle to your new apartment and turn it into your home. If you are thinking about changing apartments, we would invite you to check out Vision Communities. We have apartment communities through out the Greater Columbus, Ohio, area with floorplans for studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. Our communities offer first-class amenities and are conveniently located for an easy commute for work or play. Contact our office to schedule a tour and to inquire about floorplan availability.

Apartment living with cats

The Best Cats for Apartment Living

Bringing Your Feline Friends to Your Apartment

There has been a surge of pet adoptions since the pandemic hit last year. People who were stuck at home decided that a new fur baby would be the perfect companion to shelter in place and ride out the pandemic. Cats are great pets, and most cats are ideally suited for apartment living. They can adapt to the smaller environment of an apartment and most breeds are perfectly content to live indoors all the time.

Some traits to look for when choosing a cat include:

  • Content to be left along for long periods of time
  • Easy-going
  • Not overly territorial
  • Quiet
  • Sociable
  • Can entertain itself

If you are adopting a cat, there might not be a great selection of purebreds. It is more important to look for personality traits and you should spend some time with the cats you are interested in. Most animal shelters have socialization areas where cats and prospective owners can meet and check each other out.

Domestic shorthair. This is the most common breed of cat and they are solid color, striped (tabby) or have a mottled coat (tortie). Some of these cats also have medium or long hair. They have a friendly disposition and many like to cuddle.

Maine coon. These are large cats (up to 20 lbs.) that have long, thick, extravagant coats. They are known for their gentle and docile behavior. The only downside is to expect to spend a lot of time vacuuming cat hair off the floors and furniture when these cats shed.

Persian. Like Maine coons, Persians have long luxurious hair, and a characteristic “smushed up” face. Persians are very laid back, calm and low energy, but you have to be dedicated to frequent grooming and cleaning up cat hair.

Siamese. Siamese cats are known for their piercing blue eyes. They have a short-haired coat and distinctive markings on their ears, tails and paws. Siamese cats tend to be very loyal to one special family member. The only drawback is that these cats are very vocal and their meows are loud.

Apartment living with a cat

There are pros and cons to having a cat. For example, dogs need to be walked several times a day. You don’t have to walk your cat, although some cats like to wear a leash and harness and go for walks outside. On the downside, with a cat comes a litterbox. Fortunately, the quality of cat litter keeps improving, so you can choose a brand that doesn’t stir up a lot of dust and has enhanced odor absorbing additives. You can also buy covered litterboxes or self-cleaning models.  Remember to keep your cat’s litterbox in a quiet private place where they can do their business undisturbed.

Cats also like to claw on the furniture, carpet and any other surface they can use to sharpen their claws. There are several ways to curtail that behavior and one is to buy your cat a scratching pad that they can claw away at. You can also use special double-sided sticky tape to put on your furniture to discourage clawing. The tape is transparent so it isn’t too visible. You should also get in the habit of trimming your cat’s claws at least once a month. Get them used to it gradually.  Ask your vet tech to show you how to do it safely at home with special trimmers specially designed for cats. If your cat won’t go for that, you can always take them to a groomer for a claw trim, which is inexpensive.

Also provide your cat with some toys so you can interact with them or they can entertain themselves during the day. Cats also love windows, so if you apartment has wide windowsills, your cat will happily spend their time sunning and watching birds, squirrels and other wildlife.  

Lastly, consider the age of the cat. Kittens are adorable, but very energetic and destructive. They require a lot of time and attention. You might consider an older cat that is more sedate and better behaved.

No matter what type of cat you adopt, you will find the purr-fect companion to keep you company and show you unconditional love. Many shelters have adoption specials during the holidays, so it would be a great time to look for your new best friend.

Vision Communities is Pet Friendly

At Vision Communities, we are committed to creating the best apartment communities for you, your family and your pets. We feature multiple, pet-friendly apartment layouts, in desirable communities such as Clintonville, Westerville, and downtown Columbus. For more information about our communities, contact our team to get started.

Living with a COVID positive roommate

Tips for Dealing with a COVID Positive Roommate

What to Do if a Roommate Tests Positive for COVID-19

Despite everybody’s best efforts, it happened. One of your roommates has tested positive for COVID-19. The first thing to do is not panic. By employing safety measures and following the rules for your city, state or county can help you and the rest of your household stay safe.  First of all, there are two terms related to COVID-19 exposure that frequently get confused because there is some overlap. Isolation is when a person has been infected and is sick and must stay away from others in the residence.  Quarantine is for anybody who believes they have been exposed or have been in contact with someone who may be infected or have been exposed.  So, if one of your roommates has COVID, then you need to quarantine, while they need to isolate.

CDC guidelines recommend that quarantine periods last for at least 14 days after you believe you have been exposed, and the caveat is that if no symptoms appear. If you start showing symptoms, then go get tested. If you test positive and become ill, you should remain in isolation for at least 10 days after the symptoms first appeared and 24 hours after there is no incidence of fever — without taking OTC medication.

The person who has tested positive should stay isolated from their other roommates as much as possible, which usually means that they need to stay in their bedroom. It doesn’t matter if they feel just fine; they are still highly contagious. If you must have contact with your sick roommate, both of you must wear masks. Limit interaction and maintain a distance of at least six feet, if at all possible.

While this may be difficult in an apartment, reserve one bathroom solely for the sick person to use. If your apartment only has one bathroom, then it needs to be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected after the person with COVID uses it. Do not share towels, drinking cups, eating utensils or dishware. Take food and snacks to your ailing roommate on a tray and leave it outside their bedroom door. Clean, clean and clean all common surfaces in the apartment to prevent spread of the virus.

Keep track of your sick roommate’s symptoms and watch for them in household members who have been exposed and haven’t gotten sick (yet). The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include: fever, dry cough, extreme fatigue and loss of taste and smell. More severe symptoms include shortness of breath, confusion and bluish tint to the face and lips, in which case, you should call 911.  There are many symptom checkers online that will assess symptoms and recommend whether you need testing or to contact your doctor. Many doctors are now offering telehealth visits so you can avoid going to the doctor’s office and increasing risk for yourself and others.

In the meantime, while everybody in your apartment is in some stage of COVID, do the best that you can. Reach out for support online. You can connect with family and friends or community sites where you can share your feelings and get advice. Take advantage of food delivery by restaurants and grocery stores. 

Remember, you can’t help others if you aren’t feeling well yourself. Wear a mask, social distance and take good care of yourself — mentally and physically. 

During this season of COVID-19, the property management teams at Vision Communities are committed to keeping our residence healthy and safe. We have instituted social distancing and masks guidelines throughout the Vision communities, and we are looking forward to launching a full calendar of events for our residents when things return to normal.

If you are looking for an apartment in the Columbus area or in Akron/Canton, contact our team for availability.

Soundproof Decorating Tips

Decorating That Doubles as Soundproofing

One of the few drawbacks about apartment living is that it can be noisy, whether it’s from a crying baby, barking dog or neighbors who are playing their music too loud. On the flip side, despite your best efforts to keep noise levels down, other residents can also hear you.  So without alienating your neighbors, there are some easy decorating tips you can try that will spruce up your living area and double as soundproofing. As a plus, many of these ideas will also help you keep your apartment warm during the rapidly approaching winter months.

Window Treatments

Heavy lined drapes will provide a wall of protection against outdoor sounds as well as provide a layer of insulation. You will need to choose a heavy fabric like velvet or a thick polyester blend; lightweight cotton or linen just won’t work. If you won’t want to spring for brand new drapes, you can trim and hang a shower curtain behind your drapes. The plastic or vinyl will provide some noise reduction. Another idea is to choose pleated drapes as the folds will offer some depth and dimension to block sound. Many of the Vision Communities 1BR, 2BR and 3BR apartment layouts feature lots of natural light, so be sure to plan out your window treatments for the floorplan you choose.

Area Rugs

Your apartment is probably already carpeted, but adding area rugs will help block noise, especially if you live above another apartment. Get creative and choose rugs that reflect your personality — patterned, solid, Oriental, or a blast from the past with shag! Having a cozy rug underfoot will be enjoyed during the winter when you need to ward off the chill. You can add throw rugs to every room of your apartment to add a touch of color and minimize sound.

Wall Hangings

Hanging canvas prints or interesting textiles on your walls will add a decorate touch and provide a barrier to sound. Beautiful tribal patterns or geometric prints bring drama to the room and can serve as a focal point. Nostalgic folk art and quilts are popular right now; the layers of the quilt will insulate against sound. If you don’t have any heirloom quilts, you can seek them out at state/county fairs or online. While you’re at it, buy extras to cuddle in during the colder months. Some creative people hang moving blankets over their windows or on the walls to block sound. If your decorate leans towards the eclectic side, this might be a good solution.

Weatherstripping and Door Stoppers

Gaps between the window and frame can leak sound as well as let in cold air. This is an issue that your apartment should address, if not, it is an easy DIY project. You can find weatherstripping at the hardware store; simply cut it and press it into place. You can also apply weatherstripping to the bottom of your front door and to balcony or patio doors. This will keep the noise in and cold air out. You can also opt for a soft door blocker. You’ve seen these. They are made of fabric and you push them up against the bottom of your door. They come in all prints and patterns; some are whimsical in the shape of animals or insects and some have clever sayings on them. Have fun with your sound proofing!

Creating a Place to Come Home to

At Vision Community, we want you to live your best life and enjoy your experience in our apartment communities. With all of the noise of life, we want you to feel comfortable in your Vision Communities home. These tips are just a few ways to make your space your own and create a quiet place that you can retreat to each evening.  If you are in the process of hunting for an apartment, consider the Vision Community floor plans and communities located in Central Ohio.

 

Staying Healthy this Winter

Tips for Staying Healthy This Winter

Winter has already made its debut in some areas of the country, and there is no time like the present to start planning how you are going to protect yourself and stay healthy. Leading health experts have predicted that the U.S. is going to be in for a tough winter; with the pandemic still peaking in some parts of the country, plus a projected brutal flu season in store. Your exposure may be reduced if you are working at home, but you are still susceptible to the colds and viruses that make the rounds from October through March.  Here are some tips to protect yourself from the ravages of winter and the illnesses that accompany them.

Get a flu shot

This is a no-brainer. Symptoms of the common cold, the flu and COVID all have similarities, and if you want to know the difference, there are plenty of resources online you can refer to. You can get a flu shot practically anywhere and many pharmacies offer a drive-thru option. Most insurance companies will cover the full cost of a flu shot. If you are uninsured, check out your local health department.

Eat properly

Cold weather and the stress of uncertainly trigger our cravings for comfort foods. The holidays are also a time to load up on carbs, sugar and booze. While it’s important to be good to yourself right now and have some fun, strive to maintain a healthy balance. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains and if necessary, take a multivitamin supplement. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, especially with indoor heating.

Get plenty of sleep

The uncertain times we are in right now can increase stress, anxiety and sleepless nights. Try to maintain a bedtime routine by turning in at the same time every night. Also, avoid reading or watching upsetting news before you go to sleep; your brain will continue to process the information while you are trying to get some shut-eye. Warm milk or soothing herbal teas can help relax you before bed, as well as a warm (not hot) bath. If all of these remedies fair, talk to your doctor about possibly taking a short-term sleeping medication.

Practice good hygiene and take care of yourself

Now more than ever, it’s important to wash your hands as frequently as possible and carry hand sanitizer with you. Wipe down your cellphone, shared surfaces like doorknobs, and the interior of your car. Have a supply of clean masks and keep a spare in your car. Be good to yourself. Meditate, treat yourself to a luxurious body lotion, your favorite snack, a Zoom call with family or friends. If everything gets overwhelming, there are many mental health resources you can tap into for support. You are not alone!

If you follow these simple tips and practice good self-care, you greatly increase your chances of not getting sick during the winter. Continue to follow the guidelines for social distancing, mask-wearing and practicing good hygiene to protect yourself and those around you.

Vision Communities Commitment to Health & Safety

At Vision Communities, we are working hard to keep our apartment communities healthy and safe. To learn more about how we are managing around COVID-19, contact our office with questions.   

Find out how much rent you can afford on Vision Communities blog.

How Much Rent You Can Afford?

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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!

Tips for safely heating your apartment

Safe Ways to Heat Your Apartment

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.

  1. 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
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

Learn how to be a good neighbor during the COVID-19 pandemic on the Vision Communities blog.

Being a Good Neighbor During COVID

The COVID pandemic has been rough on everybody, whether or not you or a loved one were infected with the virus. It’s been difficult adjusting to a “new normal,” and it’s particularly challenging if you have been cooped up for months with your roommates in your apartment. Here are some ideas for keeping your sanity and maintaining friendships and relationships inside and outside of your apartment community.

  1. Social distancing. That’s next to impossible when you all share common the same space but try to do your best by working from home in your bedroom. You can social distance in the common areas of your apartment complex like the hallways, elevators, mailboxes and laundry room. Wear a mask when you go outside your apartment, even if it is only for a few moments. You don’t know who has just been out there, their state of health and what type of PPE they were using.
  2. Be mindful of noise. The neighbors above, below or on either side of you are staying at home, too. Keep the noise down. You never know if a neighbor works night shift or needs to sleep during daytime hours.
  3. Be patient. Everyone is coping differently with the pandemic; some people may be terrified of contracting the virus, whereas others may have a more cavalier attitude. Tempers might be short; people might be tired or emotional. Be mindful of people you encounter out in public, as well as your roommates. 
  4. Buy only what you need. With the exception of disinfecting wipes, the supply chain has stabilized since the empty-shelf days of March and April. Unless there are extenuating circumstances in your community, there is no need to hoard supplies. Leave some for other shoppers.
  5. Volunteer. If you have older neighbors or other neighbors who are high-risk, offer to help. Can you pick up a few groceries? Take out their trash for them? Walk their dog? A little kindness goes a long way.

 

Lastly, take good care of yourself. If you feel sick, stay home and away from your roommates and neighbors. Practice good self-care. Immerse yourself in a good book or show on Netflix or Hulu. Meditate, journal or take up a new (or old) hobby. Talk to people. Eat a healthy diet and exercise. You know all of this stuff. Being the best you that you can be right now will help you keep peace of mind and relieve the stress of navigating this journey we’re all on together.

Tips for decorating a studio apartment to maximize space and make the room look bigger.

Tips to Make Your Studio Apartment Look Bigger

Whether it’s your first apartment, you’re downsizing or just prefer small spaces, you may find that a studio apartment is the perfect option for you. Studio apartments are great; they are economical and push you to make wise choices about what you really need in order to live well. Studios are a minimalist’s dream, yet you still may not relish the idea of feeling that you are living day-in and day-out in your bedroom. While studio apartments are compact, there are ways to maximize the space and make the apartment feel roomy. Here are some decorating ideas to give your studio apartment the illusion and feeling of being much bigger:

  1. Choose light, neutral colors for the walls. Light colors reflect light, thus making whatever they touch appear bigger. 
  2. Use mirrors to create an illusion of depth and to reflect the natural light. 
  3. Get creative with room dividers. You can use curtains, bookcases or shelving units to break up a room and create a living area separate from the bedroom.
  4. Create an accent wall with paint or artwork. The eye will naturally travel there, which gives the illusion of more space. Plus, it will add a pop of color.
  5. Hang curtains at ceiling heights. This will add height and a touch of coziness to your space.
  6. Break up spaces with rugs. Rugs also will keep the floor warmer an add interest, color and texture.
  7. Consider a Murphy bed. Murphy beds were very popular decades ago and are making a comeback. It’s great way to keep your bed out of sight during the day and eliminates that “hotel room” feeling.
  8. Use pegboards for hanging kitchen utensils and save valuable counter space.
  9. Make use of corners. You can use corner tables for lamps or books and corner shelves for storage.
  10. Get creative with storage. Can the space beneath your bed serve as a dresser? Can you use an ottoman for a storage container? One key to making a small space look much bigger is to keep clutter to a minimum.

Hopefully, some of these ideas will come in handy when it comes time to move into your studio apartment. You can get as creative as you want and safe trips to thrift stores and antique malls can be great sources for unique pieces that will truly reflect who you are. And of course, you can source all kinds of cool stuff online. A studio apartment can be charming and cozy and be your safe haven no matter what life throws at you these days.

Vision Communities offers studio apartment floorplans in Central Ohio. Browse our studio apartment options, available in Westerville and Clintonville and schedule a community tour with one of our property managers. We feature multiple, pet-friendly apartment layouts, in desirable communities such as ClintonvilleWesterville, and Worthington. For more information about our communities, contact our team to get started.

Exercising outdoors during COVID

Outside Etiquette During COVID

With working from home and staying in as much as possible the new norm, no wonder we are yearning to get outside to enjoy some fresh air. These restrictions are particularly tough if you’re an avid runner, biker or walker. As most states have opened up to some capacity, you still need to use caution —and common sense — if you decide to venture outdoors and get some exercise.

No one is going to contest that exercise is good for you. It improve cardiovascular health; helps you maintain a healthy weight and can stave off diseases like hypertension and diabetes. At this time, there has been no correlation between exercise and resistance to COVID-19, but exercise boosts the immune system, which is a strong defense against contracting illnesses in general.

Before you venture out, check with you local government’s rules about social distancing and which parks and trails are open. Even if the park you want to visit is open, services will probably be limited. Expect public restrooms to be closed, and there will be no access to water fountains or concession stands. Plan your outing accordingly.

Before you even leave your home, if you are not feeling well, stay home. It’s not worth the risk to yourself or others. If you absolutely must get out to get some fresh air and new scenery, limit it to your yard or balcony.

Wear a mask. A mask might seem like a real barrier to breathing and getting the most from your outdoor exercise session, but it’s important. Respiratory droplets from runners and bikers can actually travel impressive distances, which puts others at risk. Wear the type of mask that you can easily move down from your face in case you need to wipe your face or take a drink of water.

When you get to the park or trailhead, if the parking lot is crowded, that’s a good indication that the trail is going to be crowded. With many people working from home, or not working at all, parks and trails may be busier during “non-traditional” times of day. That’s why it’s helpful to have an alternative destination in mind, just in case.

As you head towards the trail or into the park, avoid touching banisters and any playground or stationary exercise equipment, like what is found along a circuit course. Consider those contaminated and stay away. If you are on a city street, the same goes for buttons on stop lights.

Infectious disease experts recommend participating in outdoor exercise alone, but if you are in a group, spread out. Maintain the minimum social distance of six feet. If you are passing slower walkers, announce your presence and let them know you’re going around them. An unwritten rule is to let the people going uphill have the right-of-way.

Be patient with others. Everybody is going through a tough time right now and displaying an outburst of temper does no good. If you are on the receiving end of somebody else’s wrath, ignore them and move on. Obviously, if you are seriously threatened in any way, call the police. Don’t depend on park patrol to intervene. At this time, a lot of government and local employees have been laid off or furloughed.

General rules of safety and common sense prevail during a pandemic. Avoid being out at night where you are more vulnerable to being hit by traffic or violence, and if you are out running or biking after dark, wear reflective clothing – and let somebody knew where you’re going and when you expect to return. Carry your phone with you but leave the earphones at home. You need to have all of your senses on alert. Stick to well-lighted paths; if you are on a trail, don’t venture off into remote areas.

Once you get home, disinfect your gear and wash and sanitize your hands. Drink some water; eat a snack — do whatever you typically do after an exercise session. You can congratulate yourself for being proactive about your health and safeguarding the health of others by wearing a mask and social distancing. Protecting yourself and others while exercising outdoors promotes goodwill and sets a good example for others. Remember that we’re all in pandemic survival mode together.

At Vision Communities, we are proud of our active communities and hope our residents stay safe and smart during this trying time. We take pride in the communities that we build and want our residents to feel the same way. We’ll take care of the maintenance of the facilities and your apartment as needs arise. With apartment communities near ClintonvilleDowntown Columbus, and Westerville, Vision Communities has the floor plan and amenities that you are looking for. To learn more, browse our Central Ohio communities and find the right floor plan for you and your family. 

Apartment living with pets

Welcoming a New Pet to Your Apartment

One of the very few, if any, positive outcomes from the COVID-19 pandemic is that pet ownership has increased. If you are looking for a furry, feathered, finned or scaly friend to keep you company during these tough times, keep reading. A pet can bring you untold joy, entertainment, comfort and unconditional love. However, they can be quite a bit of work and are a responsibility that can span many years. If you get off to a good start with your new best friend, you will reap the benefits for years to come.

First of all, check your lease and with your property manager to make sure that pets are allowed. Many apartment complexes require a pet deposit and a small monthly pet rent fee. This money goes toward covering any damages that the apartment sustains due to your pet. Pets can be destructive. Dogs, especially puppies, like to chew on anything and everything. Cats love to claw at the carpet. Not to mention that “accidents” are unavoidable, especially when house-training a young animal.

Once you have the green light to bring home a pet, do your research and ask your property manager if there are any breed restrictions. Some apartments and even city jurisdictions prohibit breeds that they deem “aggressive” such as pit bulls, Dobermans and Rottweilers. Whether you agree with that assessment or not, you need to abide by the rules in order to avoid eviction or city fines.

Some breeds of dogs and cats are better suited to apartment living. For dogs, temperament, as opposed to size, determines how well they will do. Some smaller breeds are conditioned to roam and hunt and need a lot of space to run around and burn off energy. On the other hand, some large dogs need only one or two walks a day and are perfectly content to laze around the rest of the time. Cats are a little easier, but unless you enjoy constantly vacuuming and brushing away pet hair, a short-haired breed would be a better fit in an apartment.

Once you’ve chosen your new pet, take it to a veterinarian for a thorough check-up and to get all vaccinations required to maintain its good heath and to meet local ordinances. For example, most cities require that all pets have an annual rabies vaccination. Your veterinarian is a good resource for potty training guidance and where to take your dog for obedience and socialization. Cats, being independent creatures won’t need that, but the vet can advise you on how to coax the cat to use its litter box and how to keep it from destroying your furniture.

Introduce your pet to your apartment carefully. Let them wander around and sniff and explore. While a dog will happily trail around after you, don’t be surprised if the cat makes a beeline to the bedroom and hides beneath the bed. Don’t worry. As soon as the cat gets hungry enough, it will venture out in search of food. Give your dog and cat special bowls for food and water. They will know that it is “their” place for eating and drinking and won’t be tempted to drag food into other rooms or beg from your plate when you’re eating.

If you apartment has a dog park (all Vision communities do), your dog is going to love it! Gradually introduce your new dog to the dog park and let it get to know its canine (and human) neighbors. When walking the dog around the apartment property, keep it on a leash at all times, unless the dog park if “off leash.” For a cat, keep it indoors, which means keeping it away from the balcony or patio. A lot of cat owners set up “catios” for their cats, which is an outdoor enclosure where the cat can enjoy being outside but is prevented from escaping.

Make sure your new dog or cat has its own bed and plenty of toys and treats. Of course, don’t be surprised if they decide they like your bed (with you in it!) better than their own. Having a pet can be a very rewarding experience and with some preparation and patience, you will have a lifelong friend who will keep you company through this challenging period and in brighter days in the future.

At Vision Communities, our facilities are designed for the whole family, including pets. We take pride in the communities that we build and want our residents to feel the same way. We’ll take care of the maintenance of the facilities and your apartment as needs arise. With apartment communities near ClintonvilleDowntown Columbus, and Westerville, Vision Communities has the floor plan and amenities that you are looking for. To learn more, browse our Central Ohio communities and find the right floor plan for you and your family. 

 

Avoid Plumbing Issues in your apartment

Avoiding Apartment Plumbing Issues

Plumbing No-Nos

With everybody staying indoors at home more frequently now, many are dusting off their cooking skills and undertaking major cleaning and organizing projects. While maintaining social distancing and flexing the domestic muscles are laudable, they can result in major plumbing issues — if you aren’t careful. With more people staying home, maintenance requests at apartment complexes are on the rise. Keep yourself, your roommates, your family and the maintenance staff safe by following a few common-sense rules.

  1. The garbage disposal isn’t a disposal-ALL. If you are cooking and eating more at home, great! However, be careful of what you put down the garbage disposals. Do not put oil and fats, pasta and rice or fibrous vegetable scraps down the disposal. All of those can cause serious clogs in the disposal and plumbing lines. Instead, put these types of food scraps in a trash bag to take to the dumpster.

Tip: If the garbage disposal is stalling or sluggish for another reason, before you call the apartment maintenance office, try pressing the “reset” button on the bottom of the unit.

  1. Watch what you flush. Only human waste and toilet paper should be flushed down the toilet. Do not dispose of feminine hygiene products, disposable diapers and wipes down the toilet as they can cause clogs, not to mention what they do to the municipal water treatment system. As well, do not dump buckets of wastewater from cleaning down the toilet as it could cause the toilet to overflow.

Tip: For small clogs, try using a plunger. You can buy one anywhere and they can clear up routine problems to avoid a maintenance call.

  1. Is it really an emergency? At some apartment complexes, maintenance has been cut back due to COVID-19 and will not respond to after-hours emergency calls that aren’t deemed a true emergency. Typically, in most apartment communities, emergencies are: loss of heat or air conditioning during extreme outdoor temperatures; toilet not working in units with one bathroom; no hot water, major water leaks and broken locks on windows or doors. Of course, check with your property manager for specifics regarding your apartment community

Tip: You will get a faster response if you contact the utility company directly about power outages after you’ve checked your breakers. 

  1. Staying safe during maintenance calls. The person who comes to respond to a maintenance call should be wearing a mask and hopefully, your property management company should have COVD-19 safety protocols in place. However, it is within your right to request that maintenance personnel wear a mask while inside your apartment. Wear a mask yourself while the work is being completed and limited conversation to the problem at hand and how it is being addressed. After the service call, disinfect all surfaces that the maintenance person, as well as their tools and supplies have touched, such as light switches and floors.

Tip: Have some paper towels on hand in the work area so maintenance personnel can use them to protect your surfaces and clean up after themselves.

Making the most of these uncertain times can have a positive effect on morale and result in healthier eating and a cleaner, more organized apartment. Just don’t let your zeal override good judgment and you can make life for yourself and your apartment community’s maintenance staff much easier.

At Vision Communities, we are dedicated to providing the best living experience in Central Ohio. We take pride in the communities that we build and want our residents to feel the same way. We’ll take care of the maintenance of the facilities and your apartment as needs arise. With apartment communities near ClintonvilleDowntown Columbus, and Westerville, Vision Communities has the floor plan and amenities that you are looking for. To learn more, browse our Central Ohio communities and find the right floor plan for you and your family. 

Doing laundry in apartment community facilities

Laundry Room Etiquette

If you live in an apartment without a washer/dryer hook-up, you probably have a shared laundry room in your building or somewhere else on the property. While it might not be the most convenient situation, it certainly beats having to haul your dirty stuff offsite to a laundromat, especially in the heat of the summer or during a frigid Ohio winter. If you want to maintain harmony in the community laundry room, here are some practical tips to follow:

  1. Be mindful of the hours. In many apartment communities, there are designated hours for when you can do laundry, which are usually restricted to “normal” business hours – so don’t try to sneak in at dawn or after midnight. The same goes for weekends, when the machines might be available during limited hours as to not disturb people who like to sleep in.
  2. Make sure to have exact change. Nothing is more frustrating than realizing that you are short on quarters (or whatever currency is needed). Make a habit of buying a roll of quarters at least once a month when you are out shopping or running errands. Most grocery stores will sell a roll of quarters or make change at the customer service desk.
  3. Keep track of the time. How many times have you tried to use a washer or dryer and found it full of clothes and nobody comes to get it for hours on end? That is inconsiderate to other residents. Simple solution: set the timer on your phone when you put a load in either machine, so you can retrieve it promptly. The longer you leave clothes in the dryer, the more prone they are to wrinkles.
  4. Empty your pockets. Tissues, pens, chapsticks and other items that go through the washer end up with disastrous results. It’s also a nightmare to try to clean up. Do yourself and everybody else a favor and empty your pockets before you even head to the laundry area. 
  5. Remove dryer lint. If takes only a few seconds and is a common courtesy to other residents. Lint build-up hinders dryer performance and can be a fire hazard.

With COVID-19, laundry room usage may vary due to more people being at home during the day. Maintain your distance from other residents; you’d be surprised how many people like to socialize while doing laundry. Make sure you are wearing a mask and adhering to social distancing. If you can, try to gauge peak hours and avoid them.

Avoid handling other people’s laundry, no matter how tempted you are to remove somebody’s stuff from the dryer when you need to use it. If there are repeat offenders, let the property manager deal with them. Clean up after yourself.  If you drip water or spill anything, clean it up and throw your used dryer sheets in the trash; don’t leave them in the dryer for the next user to deal with.

At Vision Communities, we encourage our residents to be good citizens when using the common laundry areas in our apartment communities. We take pride in the communities that we build and want our residents to feel the same way. With apartment communities near ClintonvilleDowntown Columbus, and Westerville Vision Communities has the floor plan and amenities that you are looking for. To learn more, browse our Central Ohio communities and find the right floor plan for you and your family. 

Pool Tips for Summer 2020

Pool Etiquette During COVID-19

Memorial Day weekend is the “unofficial” beginning of summer and signals the opening of pools around the country. However, this year, COVID-19 has definitely disrupted these plans. It’s a tough decision for property managers, who have to decipher regulations issues by the state, county, and in some instances, the city, which is not an easy task.  You can enjoy all of the outdoor amenities your community has to offer, but you’ll need to abide by the rules issued by your apartment management and use common sense.

  1. COVID-19 can’t be transmitted through water. This has been verified by the CDC. Chlorine and other chemicals used in the pool will kill COVID, so you’re safe while you’re in the pool. It’s what happens once you get out of the water, where you need to take precautions.
  2. Maintain social distancing. Pool deck furniture such as chaise lounges, tables and chairs need to be six feet apart. This furniture, along with other common surfaces, like railings, should be cleaned and disinfected regularly. Don’t share goggles, water toys, floaties, etc., unless it’s within your immediate family.
  3. Wear a mask. Obviously, you can’t wear a mask in the water, but you can when you are socializing with people around the pool. It’s OK if you’re sunbathing and want to remove it, but once you start engaging with other pool-goers, you should put your mask back on.
  4. Cut out the horseplay. Sure, it’s fun to splash, do cannonballs, upend your buddy’s float, but use common sense. Not only does rough-housing annoy other swimmers, but it doesn’t help in the fight against spreading COVID. How? When somebody gets water in their nose or mouth, the first thing they do is get out of the pool and cough, blow their nose and wipe their eyes. Even with the benefit of chlorine, an asymptomatic person could unknowingly spread the virus as droplets can travel great distances and also linger for a long time on hard surfaces.
  5. Clean up your trash. Yes, there is always that person who leaves their trash laying around their chair. Trash blowing around the pool not only clutters the pool area but can increase the person to person spread of COVID-19.
  6. Wash your hands frequently. Even though you’re going to be in water, you still need to wash your hands before and after visiting the pool area. Carry your own hand sanitizer with you. On that note, the good news is that more local companies are making their own brands of “artisan” hand sanitizer, so the dearth is slowly being replenished. This advice is especially important if you use the restroom or shower in the pool area.

COVID-19 has put a crimp in everybody’s lifestyle but it is what it is.  Vision Communities is closely following the guidelines set by the CDC and the Ohio Department of Health. Our goal is to keep all residents safe while allowing them to enjoy the pool during the hot summer months. Be a good community citizen and do your part by keeping yourself and your fellow residents safe.

At Vision Communities, we encourage our residents to be smart this summer but enjoy the experience of living in one of our apartment communities. We take pride in the communities that we build and want our residents to feel the same way. We’ll take care of the maintenance of the facilities and your apartment, but the cleaning and assembly are up to you! With apartment communities near ClintonvilleDowntown Columbus, and Westerville, Vision Communities has the floor plan and amenities that you are looking for. To learn more, browse our Central Ohio communities and find the right floor plan for you and your family. 

Working from Home in your apartment

Successfully Working From Home

You may be among the millions of U.S. workers who have been abruptly transported from the office to working from home (WFH). While this may be second nature to many, to others, it’s a brand-new concept. If you’re new to WFH, especially if you share an apartment with roommates, you need to devise a plan to be productive, keep the peace with your roomies and maintain work-life balance. The following are some tips for setting up a WFH space that will work for both you and your roommates.

  1. Set up a dedicated work area. Since all of you can’t work at the dining room or kitchen table, the best option is to create a work space in your bedroom. That way you can close the door which will signal to your roommates that you are busy and will also shield you from the noise of other people working. You’ll need a desk or table and a comfortable, ergonomically-correct chair. This is one area where you don’t want to scrimp, as you’ll be spending a lot on time in this chair. You could check with your employer to see if they have any kind of allowance or budget to assist their WFH employees.
  2. Set boundaries with your roommates. Agree in advance about work hours and when they realistically begin and end. For example, if you need to work late for a conference call or to complete a big project, ask your roommates to keep the volume down. You should also have your own office supplies, or create a system if you’re going to be sharing a printer, paper, etc. Be considerate. If you use the last of the printer paper, load up the tray or replace an empty ink cartridge.
  3. Source the right technology. Make sure that your computer can withstand the extra workload. Is it fast enough? Can it accommodate company-issued software or other products you may need to download? You might also be connected to a company VPN, which is a good idea for keeping work separate from personal and also offers a measure of security. Talk to your company’s IT department to make sure everything on your end is good to go. If you and your roommates are all online during the day, bandwidth and speed might become an issue. It would be a good idea to have a group call with your ISP if you suspect there is going to be an overload.
  4. Create a schedule. Plan your workday just the same as if you were going to the office. The only real difference is that you don’t have to commute. Get up at the same time you normally would, have your coffee, eat breakfast, check your email, the news, etc. Then, start working at the same time you would as you would in the brick-and-mortar office. Allow yourself a lunch break and close up at shop at the same time you usually would at the end of the workday. Exchange schedules with your roommates. Set some grounds rules such as when is it OK to interrupt each other. Emergencies only? Advice on how to word a sentence in a report? Computer help?
  5. Schedule breaks. For your physical heath and sanity, schedule frequent breaks throughout the day. First of all, it gives you an opportunity to stretch and rest your eyes. If you can, go outdoors. Take a short walk around the property. This is also a good time to talk with your roommates if these is anything you need to discuss that had to be put aside due to work. Avoid any emotionally-charged issues until after work. You don’t need the distraction.
  6. Leave work at work. Even if you are just moving from your bedroom to the living room. Leave work behind. One drawback of WFH is called work creep. That is when the line between work and personal time start to blur. This can lead to burnout. If it helps, make a plan. At 5 p.m., make a plan with your roommates that you’re going to watch a show on Netflix, go for a run, start dinner, etc. The same thing can apply to the end of the work week. Plan something to look forward to when Friday afternoon rolls around. A lot of companies now have virtual happy hours. You could join in that or plan something fun with your roommates like ordering pizza or trying a new craft beer.

At Vision Communities, we encourage our residents to make our apartment communities home. We take pride in the communities that we build and want our residents to feel the same way. We’ll take care of the maintenance of the facilities and your apartment, but the cleaning and assembly are up to you! With apartment communities near ClintonvilleDowntown Columbus, and Westerville, Vision Communities has the floor plan and amenities that you are looking for. To learn more, browse our Central Ohio communities and find the right floor plan for you and your family. 

Learn plants that are great for apartments

The Best Plants for Apartment Living

Best Outdoor Plants for Apartment Living

If you think that living in an apartment means you can’t enjoy gardening, you’re wrong! Spring is here and now is the time to prepare your patio or balcony for the warmer months ahead. Container gardening is inexpensive and fun, plus, it’s not as labor-intensive as maintaining a traditional garden. You don’t have to dig, plant seeds or weed. Many plants species, including vegetables, can be successfully grown in containers. Central Ohio is in Zone 6, meaning that prime growing season is from that last frost to the first frost, roughly May 1-November 1. Some “crops,” such as lettuce and other leafy greens, are best harvested early and usually don’t grow as abundantly through the summer. Tomatoes should be planted as soon as possible but you’re going to have to wait until July or August to enjoy them. Flowers (annuals) can be planted any time and will last through the early fall. Herbs can be put out early and will last all season. As a bonus, you can bring them indoors during the winter, just make sure that they get plenty of light.

The key to choosing the best plants depends on how much light your patio or balcony gets during the day. Full sun means about six hours a day, partial is three hours, then there is full shade, but don’t despair if your apartment falls in the last category. There are plenty of shade-loving plants such as hostas. You can put plants in practically any type of container but make sure that there is adequate drainage, otherwise, the roots will get to wet and rot. If the container you want to use doesn’t have drainage holes in the bottom, that’s an easy DIY with a hammer and nails. Another benefit to having a container garden is that is will attract bees and butterflies and the occasional hummingbird. If you are interested in setting up a habitat to attract pollinators, you can check with your local university extension office or go online to learn which plants are native to this region and will thrive in containers.

Here are some popular flowerings plants and herbs that you can find at your local nursery or lawn and garden center:

  • New Guinea impatiens (low maintenance; like partial shade)
  • Lobelia (great for hanging baskets; partial shade)
  • Sweet potato vine (cascades from hanging baskets; full sun)
  • Caladium (greenery; partial to full shade)
  • Hibiscus (full sun; can winter over indoors)
  • Salvia (bees love it; full sun)
  • Hostas (greenery; full shade)
  • Marigolds (repels harmful insects; full sun)
  • Petunias (top-rated; full sun)
  • Roses (full sun)
  • Rosemary and basil (full sun)
  • Chives and cilantro (full sun)
  • Mint (full sun-partial shade)

These are some of the vegetable plants that will grow well in containers:

  • Lettuce (partial sun)
  • Spinach (partial shade)
  • Kale (full sun)
  • Chard (partial sun)
  • Tomatoes (full sun)
  • Green beans (full sun)
  • Jalapeños and chili peppers (full sun)
  • Zucchini (full sun)
  • Cucumber (full sun)
  • Radishes (full sun)
  • Sweet peppers (full sun)

You can grow practically anything you want in a container as long as you have the right sunlight, soil and container. It can help you feel productive and turn into an enjoyable hobby that requires little efforts. Flowers and plants add a pop of color to your patio or balcony, can help the environment and provide a source of fresh food. Add some comfy chairs, a table and some mood lighting (like fairy lights) and you can create an urban oasis to escape from the pressures of daily life. Relax with a good read, coffee, tea, wine or a mojito (made from your mint plants) and appreciate a little slice of nature in your own home.

At Vision Communities, we encourage our residents to make our apartment communities home. We take pride in the communities that we build and want our residents to feel the same way. We’ll take care of the maintenance of the facilities and your apartment, but the cleaning and assembly are up to you! With apartment communities near ClintonvilleDowntown Columbus, and Westerville, Vision Communities has the floor plan and amenities that you are looking for. To learn more, browse our Central Ohio communities and find the right floor plan for you and your family. 

Apartment living with pets

Apartment Living With Dogs

Are you and your canine companion looking for an apartment? If you are, you’re in luck. These days, apartment management companies realize the importance of accommodating their prospective tenants who are pet owners and now welcome them. Most Vision Community apartment communities have on-site dog parks, as well as doggie stations throughout the property so dog walkers can clean up after their pets. Before you and your dog sign a lease, or if you already have a lease and are thinking about adopting a dog, these are some important considerations. 

  1. Time. Dogs need to go outside several times a day to go potty, and they need exercise. If you work from home, that’s great. If you work a traditional 9-to-5 schedule, you should be fine, but will need to attend to your dog as soon as you get home. If you work longer hours or travel a lot, you can either hire a dog walker or dog sitter. You don’t want to have a dog that annoys your neighbors all day because he/she is board and barks constantly. 
  2. Breeds. It’s a misnomer that only smaller breeds are best-suited for living in confined spaces; it’s based on the breed’s temperament. Large dogs like greyhounds and Great Danes like to lounge around all day, so they would work well. Some smaller breeds like terriers and border collies, are high-energy and need to run around. If they don’t have the chance to burn off their energy, they will resort to destructive boredom-busting behavior like chewing on the furniture. In many apartment communities, there are breed and size restrictions for dogs, so keep that in mind.
  3. Desensitization. When your dog moves into your apartment, whether it moved with you or came from a shelter, it needs time to adjust to its new home. Take it slowly. Start with taking your dog on short walks around the property or nearby neighborhood so it can get used to the smells and sounds. You can also let it meet your neighbors and their dogs while you’re doing this. You know your dog and can gauge when it feels comfortable, intimidated or aggressive. There are also many resources for dog training, such as your local pet supply store. You could take your dog to classes for basic training and get it used to socialization.
  4. Clean-up and accidents. When you walk your dog on the grounds, please be courteous to your neighbors and clean up the poop. Owner negligence is one of the main complaints received by apartments managers, especially from the non-dog-owning residents. Do your part. Indoor accidents are unavoidable, so you should stock up on cleaning and odor-removal products designed specifically for pets. You should probably also just realize that if you own a dog, you might not receive 100% of your security back when you move out. Many apartment complexes have an additional pet deposit that you pay when you move in, for this very purpose and some places charge monthly pet rent, usually around $25-$30, and this may be on a sliding scale, based on the type of pet and its size.

These tips can go a long way in ensuring harmonious apartment living for you, your dog, and your neighbors. With a little extra TLC, training and common courtesy towards your neighbors, your dog will be as happy living in you apartment as you are!

Vision Communities welcomes pets in our Central Ohio apartment communities. We encourage residents to bring their pets into our communities. We have dog parks and plenty of space for them to run and stretch their legs. At Vision Communities, we pride ourselves in the communities that we build. We’ll take care of the maintenance of the facilities and your apartment, but the cleaning and assembly are up to you! With apartment communities near ClintonvilleDowntown Columbus, and Westerville, Vision Communities has the floor plan and amenities that you are looking for. To learn more, browse our Central Ohio communities and find the right floor plan for you and your family.