Sunday, May 25, 2014

Becoming a Landlord

#RentingOutARoom can be a great way to have a larger #apartment or have more money to pay your mortgage.  It's also a convenient way to get extra income if you have run into an emergency like losing your job.  Money guides you through the process and helps you avoid possible pitfalls.

The first step is to look at your space and see what you can rent out.  The best choices are bedrooms with a private bathroom.  It may even be worth it to move out of your master suite if it has an attached bathroom so you can earn more in rent. 

Look at local rental rates to find out what is a reasonable charge and then place an ad.  Craigslist is a great site to use to advertise a room for rent.  Include pictures and be very specific about the accommodations.  Include any bonus features like a hot tub or pool.  Also, be specific about other rules such as no noise after a certain time or that your renter must be a non-smoker.  If you are a woman who lives alone, you may even want to specify females only.

Interview applicants that come from your ad.  Request proof of employment or proof that they are a full time student, and ask about their living habits.  Be sure to listen to your intuition if someone feels "off".  Call references that the potential tenant provides and their previous landlords.  Ask if their rent was paid when due every month and if they left their apartment in acceptable condition.

Once you've narrowed the field down to a person you think is the one, do a criminal background and credit check.  There will be a cost associated with this, but you can recoup at least some of your expenses through an application fee and there's nothing worse than discovering you've rented your room to someone with a long list of crimes in their past.
Set all the boundaries and regulations for your agreement down in writing and make sure you both sign.  Include monetary concerns as well as access concerns like kitchen and common area availability.

Need help finding an #apartment with space for a roomie?  Give Austin Apartment Specialists a call today at 512-241-1111 for the latest on move-in specials, vacancies and amenities at all the best Austin apartments!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Dividing Bills Between Roommates

#SplittingBillsWithRoommates can be a great source of conflict.  But it doesn't need to be.  Check out U.S. News and World Report's tips for managing finances with roommates to avoid painful fights.

Have a discussion about finances before you sign the lease together.  Decide how expenses will be divided.  Who will be the one paying for utilities?  What's the deadline for the other roommates to pay their share?  Will everyone be buying their groceries separately or together? 

The easiest way to split bills is evenly.  Sure, one party may watch more cable tv than the other, but maybe that person takes quicker showers, so it's a wash in the end.  To avoid a mathematical nightmare, it's best to just split expenses evenly.

There are some things that will be used by everyone, so the best strategy is to share them.  Toilet paper, trash bags, light bulbs, dish soap and cleaning products should be purchased together.  The easiest way to make that happen is to take a trip together to the store one time each month to get more of these staples and divide the costs evenly.

Sign a roommate agreement so everyone is clear on how expenses are to be split.  Then, once you are living together, track expenses.  There are even apps out there that will let you do this easily and send email reminders so you don't have to hound your roomie for money.

Need help finding that perfect apartment?  Austin Apartment Specialists can help!  We've got the latest information on move-in specials, vacancies, and amenities at all the best apartments in town.  Give us a call at 512-241-1111 today!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Sharing Clothes with a Roommate

If you're fortunate enough to live with a roommate who wears the same size as you, sharing clothes and accessories can basically double your wardrobe!  But to make sure you don't make anyone mad, check out Lauren Conrad's tips on #SharingACloset.

First of all, ALWAYS ask first!  Never borrow anything without asking.  Even if you're just sure they'll say yes, you need to get permission before even going into their closet.

Second, return the borrowed item in the condition it was in when you borrowed it.  Wash it or dry clean it before you put it back.  Be sure to return it in a timely manner. You need to do the same for all shoes, purses and accessories as well.  Clean dusty shoes, wipe down purses, etc.  

If you damage something you borrowed, repair it or replace it before returning it.  Also, own up and be honest, don't try to hide what happened.

Ready to find an apartment with large enough closets for you and your roomie?  Give Austin Apartment Specialists today at 512-241-1111.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Drowning Out a Noisy Roommate

Got a #NoisyRoommate keeping you from sleeping, studying, or just generally enjoying life?  If so, it's time for action. helps you find a solution.

First of all, talk to your roommate.  They may not realize how noisy they are being.  Don't get angry, but in an even tone tell them you need more quiet.  Be sure to site specific examples.  That may be enough to ge them to change their ways.

Set rules for when noise is acceptable and when it is not so that all of you are agreeable.  If they can't play the drums after 11pm, you can't start doing step aerobics in the living room at 5am.

Talk to the neighbors.  If your roomie is being so loud it's disturbing the people who live around you, then you have extra evidence when you approach your roommate. 

Try a white noise app on your phone, earplugs, or even a white noise machine to drown out your roommate's noise.  Also adding rugs and drapes will help muffle sound.

If your roommate still isn't willing to change their ways, consider whether you need to find a new place to live or send them packing.

Need help finding a new #apartment to get away from a #NoisyRoommate?  Call Austin Apartment Specialists today at 512-241-1111.