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Tips for Finding the Perfect Apartment

Hunting for the ideal apartment can be a daunting and overwhelming task. With so many choices of units to select from, some including special amenities and unique features, it’s understandable to feel lost and frustrated. However, with these key tips, you’ll be able to find the perfect apartment for rent in no time.

Get To Know The Landlord

A landlord is responsible for the maintenance, upkeep, and general health of your unit and the property it is a part of. Try to get a feel for their attitude and personality, and be sure to ask some straightforward questions when meeting to view a unit. Gauge their response to queries or concerns — if they dodge questions and refuse to give straightforward answers, don’t bother with them or the unit in question. Often, this behaviour is a sign that they are willing to overlook important repairs or upgrades in order to save money, which means that you as a tenant are of secondary importance to them.

Speak With Tenants

If you finished viewing a unit and all appears to be well and good, don’t just head back home to think it over. Instead, see if you can find tenants around the property and stop to chat with them if they’re comfortable with it. Obtaining an insider’s view into the day-to-day life in one of the units will provide you with deep insight into the inner workings of the place. You’ll be able to easily pick up whether or not the landlord makes an effort to be helpful and legitimately care for tenants. If living there really isn’t all it seems to be, tenants who are fed up with their living conditions may be courteous enough to advise you to stay away. If this is hinted at in any way then take their advice, as it’s better to not take unnecessary risks when apartment-hunting.

Narrow Your Search to Convenient Areas

Living in an apartment is all about convenience, and sticking to neighbourhoods that appeal to you because of their suitability is a great way to narrow down your list of units. Factor in transportation needs, ease of access to important services and amenities such as hospitals, grocery stores, pharmacies, and post offices. By focusing on areas that make sense to you, less time will be wasted and you’ll likely be able to snap up an ideal unit that would have been claimed by someone else if you had looked elsewhere.

Pay Attention to Leases

There are several different kinds of leases available, and the perfect apartment is one that is attached to one that makes sense in relation to your lifestyle. If you only plan to rent for a few months, be sure to select from apartments incorporating periodic leases. These allow you to pay and renew on a monthly basis, only requiring you to give 30 days notice when leaving. Fixed-term leases are common, usually tied to periods ranging from several months to several years. They are sometimes renewable, but be sure you fulfill any agreements to avoid penalties. Subleases are for existing tenants seeking to fill in a vacancy, so be absolutely sure to deal directly with the landlord when considering one, as it needs to be approved by them.

With these helpful tips in mind, it should be easier and quicker than ever to streamline your quest for the perfect apartment. Utilize common sense and pay close attention to the inner workings and documentation associated with the unit you’re interested in, and with a little effort you’ll have a home ideal for your needs.

couple-hugging-in-new-home

The Right Time to Rent a House

Our decisions are powered by a variety of different forces in our life; the decision of where to rent a home is no exception. With many different options available to potential renters, such as condos, apartments or houses, it is necessary to evaluate what you need out of a rental unit.

In order to do this you need to assess where you see yourself in the future. For the single dweller with the active social life, perhaps a downtown apartment is suitable. However for the young working couple, perhaps more space in a quieter community is preferable.

Consider Your Lifestyle and Wants

Consider this scenario: A young couple grows tired of living in the hustle and bustle of the downtown noise and is looking for a quieter location in which to have ample space to entertain family and friends. As we mature and our relationships change, the desire for peace and quiet at the end of a long work day outweighs the desire to live where the action constantly is. It is at this time that the move to a house rental seems most ideal. For close to the same price as renting a small apartment in the downtown area, it is possible to rent a very cozy townhouse not too far off in the suburbs.

Benefits of Renting a Detached House or Townhome

The benefits of renting a house are plentiful. For the young couple who wished to get their feet into house rentals, they are in the best situation for which to set up their future. They can take their time accumulating enough furniture to furnish an entire house rather than a small apartment and not break the bank in doing so. With the slow accumulation over time the task will not seem so cumbersome.

Now imagine this same couple decide to start a family of their own. The idea of starting a family while living in an apartment does not seem overly appealing, however if this couple already has a furnished house they are in a much better position to comfortably bring a new baby home from the hospital.

Later down the line the small family may consider purchasing their first home and move away from renting. In this case they already have everything they require in order to move into and furnish a house which will make that transition easier and more cost effective than had they stayed in an apartment.

House rentership isn’t necessarily for everyone, but knowing when it is the right time to make the switch from apartment rental to house rental could prove to be very beneficial in the long run.

couple-doing-finances

Tips for Budgeting with Two Incomes

Finances are a common point of contention within a household. Management of same can also be a difficult challenge, but it is a challenge that must be met in order to sustain a healthy living environment. Coming up with an agreed-upon plan to successfully manage the flow of money within your household is the best way to ensure you always have enough for what you need and with any luck a little bit left for play.

It can be difficult to bring a two-income house together in a joint fashion if both parties are not 100% on board with the plan. Therefore it is of utmost importance to have a conversation with anyone who contributes to the monthly bills and create a financial plan to successfully guide you through your bills. Here are some budgeting tips which if used accurately can guarantee you always have enough money at the end of the month.

Write Down Total of All Bills

It’s important to have a clear and visual understanding of what you owe. It’s not enough to simply guess at what your monthly hydro and internet bills are each month, you need to know what they are so you can budget for them accordingly. Make a list, or a spreadsheet, of every single expense you have on a monthly basis. Don’t forget to include cell phones, bus passes, gas, groceries and insurance. It’s also important to allocate an amount to debt repayment if debt is something you are attempting to pay down.

Calculate Exactly How Much Income You Have Monthly

Depending on how you divide expenses in your house will guide how you execute this step. Knowing how much money comes into the house each month is integral for balancing your personal budgets and remaining as far away from debt as possible. You should be bringing in more money than what you owe in bills.

Set Money Aside Each Pay

Even though your hydro bill only comes once a month, set money aside for it from each pay. For instance if your average monthly hydro bill is $100, put $50 aside each paycheque to cover the bill once it comes. It is wise to set money aside for each bill in your itemized list, but be certain you are unable to spend it. Place it in a separate savings account every time you get paid to avoid confusion with your spending money. It is helpful to create a chart to keep track of what dollar allocation each bill has from within the lump sum savings. You may notice that some months your bills are lower, however it is still wise to set aside what you normally would budget for and to have an excess amount in the event of a larger bill down the line.

Money can be a difficult subject to broach with your partner, but with open communication channels and a solid financial plan in place, budgeting for your household can be an easy task!

big-window-living-room-natural-light

Understanding the Benefits of Natural Light

Do you find your home a bit darker than you’d like? Do you wish you could capture more of the limited winter daylight? If so, choose a rental unit with large windows and plenty of natural light. Consider these benefits:

Health Effects

Natural sunlight is extremely important for the human mind and body. Our bodies use sunlight to gain focus, feel positive, stave off disease, and as a source of vitamin D. We use sunlight to regulate our sleep patterns. If you find yourself struggling to fall asleep at night or rise in the morning without a blaring alarm, a lack of natural sunlight may be a contributing factor. People with more exposure to natural sunlight are happier and more productive.

Enjoying the View

Does your city and neighbourhood have beautiful views? Windows don’t just improve your health by bringing in natural light, they also expose you to the beautiful views. When looking for an apartment, seeking the million-dollar view can cost nearly that much! Instead, try to find the beauty in the simple things. Like finding an apartment with a view of a quaint, quiet park.

Reduce Energy Bills

If your home does not receive enough natural light, you are more likely to turn on artificial lights earlier and longer. If you find yourself routinely turning on artificial lights during the day, it’s time to make a change. Not only does artificial light not have the same health effects as natural light, it adds up on your energy bill each month. On average, artificial lights contribute around ten percent to your home’s energy bill. Choosing a property with new vinyl windows will pay large dividends down the road as you are able to significantly cut down your energy consumption each month.

South-Facing Windows

Assuming they are not obstructed by large trees or other buildings, your home’s south-facing windows will have the most access to natural sunlight throughout the day. If possible, see if rental units have south-side-facing windows! While this is likely not going to be your deciding factor, it is a factor to consider!

Ultimately, find the right apartment is about finding the most items on your “wish list” as possible in one place. While you will likely need to make sacrifices, by taking in all the factors and following your gut, you will surely find the new home of your dreams!

hands-planting-lettuce-garden

Adding Function to Your Garden’s Flair

Moving in to a new home brings with it abundant excitement, inspiration, and project planning to make your new abode truly something special. Your garden is an outward statement about your personality, sense of style, and creativity. They can also provide valuable functions that will give back not just to you, but your neighbourhood. Here are some ways to get the most out of your garden.

Bee Sanctuary

Don’t recoil in horror just yet; bees are increasingly endangered yet vital to ensure environmental sustainability. Choosing plants that they can pollinate not only makes for an attractive and lively garden, but it helps protect hard-working bees in a world that continues to decline in bee population. Choosing plants and flowers of various heights with different flower shapes and sizes will entice more bees to pay your garden a visit. If afraid, bear in mind that if you don’t disturb them, they’ll be too busy pollinating to bother you anyway.

Vegetable, Fruit, And Spice Gardening

Why not save on groceries and have a finely manicured garden full of delicious fresh produce? You can easily achieve this with a little bit of effort and determination. Depending on your climate and sun exposure, you can grow everything from tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, watermelons, strawberries, and rosemary. It’s a great way to bring trustworthy food into your home that you know is genuinely fresh. And if you have too much, offer the excess harvest to your friends and family – people never turn down some delicious fresh produce.

Zen Retreat

This is a little more of a self-indulgent and simplistic approach to gardening, but you’ve worked hard for your home, why not create your own place of solace and reflection? In today’s ever-connected, frantic society, it does the mind good to have a place to retreat to and rejuvenate amongst nature in peace. Landscaping with coy ponds, rock and sand gardens, and simplistic plant or flower arrangements are lovely compliments to any meditative space. Adding the gentle trickle of a waterfall or the whimsical melodies of wind chimes can do wonders to release tension and unwind after a hard day at the office. New age tunes and yoga mats are optional but highly recommended.

A garden is a place of creative energy, vibrancy, and self-expression. Adding more function to the form of a carefully manicured patch of foliage can make it all feel more worthwhile. In the end, a garden is your canvas. Go ahead and make it a reflection of yourself, but don’t be afraid of giving it a purpose.

woman-reading-by-fire-in-condo

Signs it’s Time to Downsize into a Condo

Sometimes, bigger isn’t always better. Especially when your kids have finally left home and suddenly it feels like the amount of space that you’re occupying (and having to clean and maintain) seems completely unnecessary. As life moves along, you want to be able to enjoy it without having to spend the majority of your time just trying to keep up with maintaining your home.

Knowing when it’s time to downsize isn’t always so crystal clear. But if you’ve reached a point where you can relate to each of these signs, you should feel confident that it’s time to make the change.

You Feel Isolated

If you’ve been living in your home for years since the kids first learned how to walk, it can be extremely difficult to let those memories go and move on to something new. But when your children have grown into adults with homes and families of their own, life can quickly become lonely. If your home is located extremely far from your family and grandchildren, or the neighbourhood no longer serves you well, it’s worth the move to avoid those feelings of isolation and be close to loved ones.

You Have Rooms That You Never Use

If you have a room or maybe three that you never use anymore and barely enter aside from dusting or to store away some items, then that’s just a waste of space and money. Big homes that end up becoming unused homes still end up costing you just as much, if not more to heat and cool them.

You Spend Too Much Time Just to Maintain It

When you reach a certain phase in life, you really want to make the most out of your time and enjoy it. Having the burden of cleaning and performing extra maintenance on your home so frequently doesn’t contribute to that goal of R&R. When your come ends up feeling more like a burden, it’s not worth staying.

You Want To Embrace Retirement

As many people move through the waves of retirement it usually means it’s time to really try and make the most out their dollars. Making your savings stretch farther is important, and one of the main reasons why many people decide to downsize.

So take the time to really consider whether your big home is serving you well in life here and now. If your home is becoming more of burden and less of a pleasure to live in then you should take the leap and make a change to enhance your life.

small-backyard-garden

Tips on Gardening in a Small Area

Does your home have everything you could have wanted until you take a glance at your small yard? Many homes these days, whether its an apartment, condo, townhome, or detached single home, offer very little outdoor landscaping space. Here are some ways you can garden within a small area:

Wall and Vertical Planters

Installing wall or windowsill-based planters can be a great way to add the most colour and vibrancy to the smallest of spaces. Cheerful colours are highly encouraged such as yellows, pinks, and oranges. If you’re dying for a spice garden with easy access, try planting under the kitchen window outside. When you’re next working on a meal, just open the window and reach into your hanging garden for what you need. This will allow you to add vegetation to patios or decks where greenery is sparser, and will allow you to save that valuable yard space for other projects.

Staggering

This can be tricky, but achievable depending on your climate and how much direct sunlight your garden area receives. Organizing pots on tiered/staggered stands or shelves can allow for a great space-saving method of small-scale planting. Plants that don’t need as much sunlight are ideal for areas in indirect sunlight, and as a bonus they can be set up on patios and decks to add some colourful foliage and liven things up.

Hanging Baskets

This is an obvious choice by many, as trailing plants are ideal for hanging pots or baskets. Installation is typically a breeze, and it allows you to lovingly compliment barren areas of your home with a bit of pizzazz and life. Just be sure to not overdo it, unless if you’d rather yourself and plants don’t see the sun again. Also be careful to not hang plants above electrical items, surfaces that become hazards when slippery, or outdoor furniture, as watering them will result in areas directly beneath the baskets getting soaked.

Tiered Yard Planting

Have you decided what to plant in your valuable yard space, but are looking to grow multiple varieties of flowers or plants? Using stone or heavy wood, set up tiered planters that stagger upwards from the ground. Each level can allow you to grow different items without roots or plants impacting one another. It also allows you to view your entire garden from a distance, as planting everything on a single level will result in some plants or flowers being suffocated by the height of others, which could kill them due to a lack of sunlight or watering.

Gardening in compact spaces can be a challenge, but the result will be more than worthwhile if you put some careful planning behind that green thumb. If you respect your available space and utilize some clever workarounds, you’ll have a lush garden that scratches that horticultural itch.

 

moving-day

3 Tips for a Stress-Free Move

So you’ve finally found your new dream home and the moving date is set – now what? Where do you begin so that you can avoid having a chaotic and stressful move? Here we break down some simple, yet important tasks for you to follow to avoid falling into moving mayhem.

Make a Moving To-Do Checklist

In order to avoid leaving everything to the last stressful minute, start by making a designated moving checklist. This should break everything down into a general timeline to help organize your time. This will differ for everyone, but by writing down tasks, you can help stay on track and ahead of the big day.

It is good to give yourself at least two months prior to the big move, categorizing tasks spaced out over this timeframe. Tasks should include, for example, figuring out if you’re going to use a moving company or renting a truck yourself. Research quotes from at least a few different moving companies to compare. Go through each week thereafter and create a priority list like this.

Once you hit the one-week mark, you should have most of your items organized and packed away, nicely labelled according to room so that it is easier on moving day. You should also begin the cleaning process of your current home, and contact your moving company to confirm once again about the details of the moving day.

Avoid Common Packing Mistakes

There are many common packing mistakes that you can easily avoid once you are aware of them. These are some of the most common:

  • Don’t over-pack boxes with heavy items– consider using plastic bins to pack away heavy items such as books or fragile kitchenware. This can avoid the risk of boxes breaking.
  • Don’t waste box space with linens – toss in plastic bags.
  • Don’t be stingy with the tape – seal those boxes well!

Create a File for Documents

Don’t cause any unnecessary stress during the move by tearing your house apart to try and find important documents. Create a designated file right from the beginning to contain any moving related items, such as contracts, insurance and even contact information for cancelling or setting up services like Internet and cable.

Ask for Help

What are good friends and family for if not to help you on moving day? Don’t be afraid to enlist some help. You can have a packing party, and supply the pizza and refreshments to show your gratitude. Of course, always offer to return the favor in the future.

Moving can actually be a simple, stress-free process. Start your moving process nice and early by creating a master list. Follow through these other simple steps and you’ll be set and ready when moving day arrives.

Build business credit to get approved for any lease

Corporate Credit & Corporate Rentals

Building corporate credit is important. You have your personal credit that you can use, but it is not recommended. If your business goes under, you too will suffer because you used your personal record to be approved for loans and other forms of credit.

However, if you have built corporate credit, you can get business loans under your business name. This way, you need not worry about having your personal credit record affected in the unfortunate event that your business suffers financial problems. At this point, we will not lie to you and say that it is very easy to build corporate credit if you are a startup. You can run into challenges along the way, but you can easily get around those hurdles if you know already what to expect.

Here are some of the challenges that startup companies encounter when trying to build corporate credit.

Difficulty in Securing Credit

credit-applicationIn order to secure corporate credit, a borrower has to have a good credit record (https://www.creditkarma.com/). However, in order to build a credit record, the borrower has to have past record of good credit standing, i.e. paying debts to an established creditor on time. You can see that you can be stuck in what could be called a “logic loop.” You need credit to borrow money, but you have to borrow money first in order to build credit.

That is the first challenge that startup companies encounter when they try to apply for a credit extension. How can you borrow money if you do not have a credit record, and building a credit record means that you have to secure some form of credit and settle it diligently? To get out of this challenge, you need to secure help from a reliable third-party company.

What is a Trade line Company?

A trade line company engages in helping businesses build good credit standing. Its service runs as follows:

  • Startup enters into a trade line contract with the company.
  • The company loans the company money, but the money is not designed to be fully paid off.
  • The parties agree on an interest rate that should be paid every month, but principal is excluded.
  • The startup agrees to pay the interest rate for a few months until the agreement is concluded.
  • The principal amount is returned to the trade line company after conclusion of contract. Startup pays the remaining amount pending in the contract.

How Does This Benefit Startup Companies?

The startup company, with its monthly payment on the interest rate, gains positive trade lines as a result. This is because the monthly interest payment is noted on the startup company’s credit record. As the contract progresses, the startup’s credit record is also built up. This way, they can now apply for credit from other providers and gain approval easily. The entrepreneurs do not even need to use their own personal credit record and put themselves at risk, thanks to the assistance provided by the trade line company.

Stretch PVC Ceiling in Living Room

Why Stretch Ceilings Are Better

When it comes to home renovations, you probably don’t even think about your ceiling. But when you have an incredibly elegant room topped by a ceiling that went out of style in the 1980s, there’s room for improvement. Consider the following reasons why stretch ceilings are better than their drywall or plaster counterparts:

Quick & Clean Installation

Stretch ceilings can be installed very quickly, within a matter of hours for a medium-sized room. In no time, you can have your drab original ceiling replaced with an enhanced and modern look. Stretch ceilings do not require preliminary preparation of the ceiling or walls. Because of the unique installation process, stretch ceilings can also be installed with no dust or debris. This means you don’t have to waste time clearing out the room, covering over furniture to protect it from falling debris, or slave to clean up the mess afterward.

Many Colour and Design Options

Stretch ceilings, which are made of thin decorative fabric or PVC film, come in amazing array of colour and design options. This means that you can choose a unique design that matches the style of the room and personality of the owner. Say goodbye to bland popcorn ceilings, and welcome the elegant and stylish look of ceiling prints, 3D structures, or a creative tile design.

Incredibly Durable

The colours on stretch ceilings do not fade, and the surface will not peel, stain, crack, or flake. You won’t have any trouble with mold or mildew, and it is resistant to water leakage. Stretch ceilings are fireproof, non-toxic, and hypoallergenic, and they don’t create dust like some other ceiling surfaces. Stretch ceilings actually improve room acoustics and block external noise. The unique mounted tracking system also means you can hide pipes, ducts, and wires behind the ceiling, keeping your room clean and sharp.

Sophisticated Look

Simply put, there is no more sophisticated ceiling option than stretch ceilings. If you want an upscale look that will impress all guests and make you feel incredibly proud of your home, then stretch ceilings are the perfect option. Stretch ceilings instantly enhance the look of any room and can really express your personality and creativity. Show your unique side and opt for stretch ceilings.

When you’re undergoing a home renovation, don’t just leave the ceiling as-is. Instead, opt for a stretch ceiling and treat yourself with a modern and elegant upgrade.