Monday, February 23, 2015

Easy Upgrades for Your Rental Kitchen

Renters may not be able to make permanent changes to their kitchen, but there are lots of little things you can do to make life in a small kitchen easier.  Read on for Dwell's suggestions on making the most out of your kitchen using temporary solutions.

A kitchen island or cart on wheels provides extra counter space and extra storage.  Plus, when it's not needed, it can be moved out of the way.  

Does your #apartment have terrible counters you'd rather not look at?  Invest in a beautiful wooden cutting board that will make you feel better about your kitchen and can be taken with you when your lease is up.

A hanging pot rack is a great way to get more storage space out of your kitchen and it's attractive.  Pegboard is another way to get a fit a lot more into your kitchen.  If you have to leave the inexpensive pegboard behind, you can definitely take the hooks with your to your next abode.

Cooking tools that last and can be used for multiple purposes are a great way to save space in the kitchen.  A cast iron skillet can go from stove top to oven and can be used for just about anything.  They also last forever if properly cared for.
A dutch oven is another great addition to your kitchen that can serve a lot of different purposes.  Plus if you get one that color-coordinates with your kitchen, you can keep it out on the stove top as a decoration.

Looking to cover an ugly backsplash?  Self-adhesive, removable wall coverings are a great way to temporary disguise an unattractive backsplash.

Ready to find an apartment with an upgraded kitchen so you don't have to resort to temporary cosmetic fixes?  Give Austin Apartment Specialists a call today at 512-241-1111!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Cooking on a Budget

Cooking at home is the cheapest way to feed yourself, but if you are on a tight budget, it can be difficult to cook well-rounded meals.  Apartment Therapy's tips will make sure you don't give up and resign yourself to eating Ramen.

The first important step is to plan. At the beginning of each week, plan each meal, make a list of what ingredients you will need, and stick to your list when you go to the grocery store. 

Choose recipes that use in-season fruits and vegetables.  Produce that is in season is cheaper because it is more plentiful and it tastes better.

Use less expensive cuts of meat like chicken thighs and pork butt, which can be braised to make a delicious, inexpensive meal.  These cheaper cuts of meat are made tender by using a slow cooker to cook them slowly over low heat.

Look in your pantry and freezer to use ingredients that you already have before going to the store.  By cooking with what you have on hand, you save money and prevent waste.

Ready to find a new #apartment with a gourmet kitchen so you can cook more?  Austin Apartment Specialists can help!  Give us a call today at 512-241-1111!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Rent Increases Ease with New Construction in Austin

In the last few years, large rent increases have become the norm in Austin.  But there's help on the way in the form of tons of new construction.  Jess Rodriguez, manager at the South office of Austin Apartment Specialists, was interviewed by the Austin American Statesmanfor their article on what this means for apartments.  (Subscription required to read entire article.)

2014 saw over 10,000 new apartment units open, and 2015 should see an additional 8,000 or more units enter the market.  These new units led to an occupancy rate of 94 percent in Austin at the end of last year, the lowest in 3 years.

This means that supply is starting to meet demand and rent is stabilizing for the first time in years.  In addition to a slowdown in rent increases, landlords are much more likely to provide renters concessions such as a free month's rent, a credit on application fees, and even perks like gift cards or IPad Minis.  

Want help finding the best deals and perks in the Austin apartment market, which still remains strong despite an increase in units?  Give Austin Apartment Specialists South Austin a call today at (512) 912-8000.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Austin's Hands-Free Ordinance

Austin's new hands-free ordinance went into effect January 1st of this year, but police only issued warnings during the month of January to allow residents to get used to the law. Beginning today, February 1st, drivers and bicyclists will be subject to fines up to $500 if caught using an electronic hand-held device while operating a vehicle or bike.

The law defines a portable electronic device as the following hand-held devices:  mobile phone, PDA, MP3 or other hand-held music player (i.e. an iPod), electronic reading device (i.e. a Kindle or Nook), a laptop computer, a pager, a broadband personal communication device, a GPS or navigation system, an electronic gaming device, or a portable computing device.  

None of the above objects can be touched by a driver or bicyclist except at a complete stop or to call 9-1-1 to report a crime or accident. That means no phone calls, reading or sending of texting, looking at directions, etc.  Drivers and bicyclists can still use a hands-free system such as Bluetooth or headphones, or an affixed GPS system.

The goal of the ban is to prevent distracted driving, which caused an estimated 421,000 injuries to people in motor vehicle crashes in 2012.  

As the City of Austin says, focus on the road, the rest can wait.

If finding a new apartment can't wait, give Austin Apartment Specialists a call today at 512-241-1111.