If you are in the market for a new apartment, this is the absolute best time to secure a new place. Apartments and neighborhoods where you never were able to get concessions are now giving away up to two months free. This is of course due to the fact that while many people were able to work from home, they took that opportunity to leave their Washington, D.C. apartments and move out to the suburbs or home with mom and dad or become digital nomads. That left many apartment buildings with vacancies to fill and that’s where your luck begins!
Last month we highlighted apartments with move-in specials. This week, we are highlighting DC Studio Apartments offering two months free. You’ll see there is a wide range of offerings from rent control apartments in Northwest DC to brand new luxury apartments in SE neighborhoods like Capitol Riverfront.
Act quickly, as soon as the summer heats up and there are more signs of movement in the District, you will see prices start to rise and rent specials dry up.
1475 Euclid Street NW Washington, DC.
Studios starting at $1350
Get TWO MONTHS FREE
Hilltop House is in the Adams Morgan neighborhood in NW Washington, D.C. The building has mostly studios, but on occasion, a one or two-bedroom apartment comes available. The building is within walking distance of Safeway and Harris Teeter and many restaurants. All utilities are included in your rent price.
2200 19th Street NW, Washington DC
Studios starting at $1350
Get TWO MONTHS FREE on Studios
The Shawmut is a pet-friendly community in the Adams-Morgan | Kalorama Neighborhod. The building is in walking distance of many restaurants, grocery stores, and shops.
2800 Woodley NW, Washington DC
Get One and a Half Months Free
Studios starting at $1495
2800 Woodley is a gorgeous building set back in a tree-lined residential neighborhood just four blocks from the Woodley Park Metro. The apartments have shining parquet floors, energy efficient appliances, and all utilities are included with your rent.
1414 17th Street NW, Washington DC
Get Two Months Free on Studios
Studios starting at $1395
Brunswick House is conveniently located near the Dupont Circle Metro. It is also within a few blocks of Whole Foods Market and a number of restaurants. Brunswick House Apartments have hardwood floors and all utilities are included with the rent.
2445 15th Street NW, Washington DC
Get Two Months Free on Studios
Studios starting at $1390
Meridian Park Apartments have a fantastic location between Adams Morgan and Columbia Heights. The apartment community is located right next to Meridian Park, walking distance to multiple metro stops and just blocks from two grocery stores.
Avec on H
901 H Street NE, Washington DC
Get Two Months Free on Studios
Studios starting at $1541
Avec on H is a brand new apartment community on H Street. The building has a two-block long rooftop with a pool, grilling areas, community garden, dog park and outdoor living rooms. The community also has a fitness center and clubroom. Right now they are offering two months free on studio apartments.
That’s our round-up of studio apartments in DC offering up to two months free. Want to see more options? Do a free search at apartminty.com and sign up for the mailing list to get notified as more specials come available!
Read DC Studio Apartments Offering One or Two Months Free on Apartminty.
I’ve been chugging along on the Hood Canal Cottage design – I know I am SO overdue for an update for you, but when you’re in the throes of design deadlines it can be really hard to find a moment to pause and recap everything. But I swear, it’s coming slowly. In recent weeks I’ve moved on from major architectural design and finish decisions into the interior design side of things. It’s been a tad overwhelming, as I haven’t decorated a space from scratch since we moved to San Francisco nearly 10 years ago (did you ever catch the tour of my first place in SF? I’m almost embarrassed to share it, but I was SO proud of it at the time).
Designing the Hood Canal Cottage is a unique situation to be in for a hobby designer like me. Usually, you move and take pieces with you, but since the cottage won’t serve as a full-time residence, I’m starting from a literal blank slate.
My focus this week has been on the dining room – or in this case dining space as the dining area sits within a great room that also houses the kitchen and living room. I’ve been shopping around like a madwoman trying to hone in on the look and feel I want to bring to life in the dining area. I want it to feel distinct and anchored – its own little zone within the larger room. And the idea I keep coming back to again and again is banquette seating.
Banquettes and built-ins have been having a moment for a while now, but I would argue for very good reason. A built-in banquette is a great space saver in a smaller space and increases the capacity around a dining table. Since I envision the Hood Canal Cottage as our hub for future Thanksgiving dinners and holiday gatherings, I definitely want to be able to cram as many people around the table as possible.
Like many of the examples you see here in this post, our dining table will also run parallel to a long wall, rather than float in the middle of the room. This actually limits the ability to pull back a dining chair. I would probably have to use a bench on that side of the table, but a banquette will allow the table to sit a little closer to the wall and not have legs you have to work around, saving precious floor space.
I also love how a banquette offers the opportunity to add big long seat cushions, back pillows, or both! Adding cushy upholstery to a dining space softens areas often dominated by hard surfaces. I love how that brings a sense of coziness, inviting you to sit and linger over your morning coffee, or pour that last little bit of wine and stay up talking. I want this home to encourage anyone who stays there to slow down and enjoy the little moments. Kinda like you’re living on vacation. That is the goal.
Adding a major upholstered piece at the dining table will also help me bridge the living room space and kitchen.
While I am obviously leaning toward jumping on the banquette bandwagon, I do have some convincing to do. Not everyone in my household is into the idea of a banquette. To add to that resistance, I’m not finding any good off-the-shelf options so it’s likely I’d have to go custom to create my vision. Custom is certainly not the most affordable of options.
So what say you? Do you happen to have a banquette in your home?? Do you like it? Have you found it comfy? Useful? Are there downsides you’ve dealt with? I think I’m pretty committed to this design choice at this point, but I would love to hear what you think! Please share in the comments section.
Catch up on the Hood Canal Cottage HERE.
Check out more design ideas HERE.
images vincent van duysen | home designing | mr & mrs white |Â danthree | amber interiors shoppe / larritt-evans design | poppy talkÂ | nicole franzen | decus interiors /Â
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Power outages do more than just put out all your lights. Losing power can lead to ruined food, loss of internet and the inability to live comfortably in your apartment.
On average, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, a typical power outage lasts around two hours. While this isn’t long enough to wreak major havoc in your home, it’s enough to highly inconvenience you.
What to do in a power outage
The most important thing to do in a power outage is not panic. These things happen, and as long as you’re able to think clearly and make good decisions, you’ll get through the darkness.
1. Check your circuit breaker box
The first thing to establish when you lose power is whether it’s a single unit issue or something more widespread. Making sure a circuit breaker isn’t tripped in your own apartment is the best place to start.
You’ll usually find your breaker box in a bedroom closet or on the wall in a hallway. Look for a gray or black door, assuming it wasn’t painted over to match the wall. Make sure you have a flashlight with you to see everything clearly.
When you open the box, you’ll notice if a breaker has tripped because it won’t firmly be in the “on” position. You can check each breaker to see if it wiggles too. If a breaker is in the “off” position or looks like it’s sitting in the middle, you’ve got a tripped breaker. Just flip the breaker back on and you’re back in business. If the breaker is in the middle, switch it all the way off before turning it back on.
2. Report the problem
If you check your breaker box, and everything looks in order, it’s time to take the DIY out of the process. Contact your property manager to report the problem and get more information. They’ll most likely be able to tell you whether or not it’s affecting the entire building and what steps are in place to remedy the situation.
You can also simply look around to other buildings in your area to see if they look like they don’t have power either. If all the windows in neighboring buildings look dark, you know this is a much larger problem and something the electric company is most likely already working on repairing.
It still doesn’t hurt to report your outage to your electric company though.
3. Avoid damage from power surges
When the power does come back on, there’s a risk a power surge will take place. This can scorch walls or even lead to small electrical fires.
To prevent this from happening, go through your home and unplug appliances and electronics. Even though you’re eager to get back to using everything as soon as you get electricity back, it’s best to play it safe until after the power returns.
4. Monitor alerts
Even with the power out, as long as your phone is already charged, you should have the ability to monitor alerts regarding your electricity. Check in with your power company for regular updates and report your issues if they haven’t documented anything wrong in your area.
If your power outage is weather-related, keep an eye on local news updates and weather reports to stay on top of any evacuation announcements or other important information.
5. Keep a clean supply of water
With prolonged or widespread power outages, there’s a chance drinking water could get contaminated. This happens when the loss of electricity extends to the water sanitation system in your area.
Even if this happens, the water you can immediately pull out of your faucets is still okay to drink. To provide yourself with a solid amount of clean water when the lights go out, fill up tubs and sinks right after you lose power.
What not to do during a power outage
The most important thing not to do during a power outage is panic. You need to think with a clear head to act safely. However, a few other no-no’s are worth noting when it comes to staying in your apartment while the power is out.
Do not open your refrigerator or freezer if you can help it. This will keep the food inside cooler for longer and prevent spoilage.
Do not try to use a gas stove to heat your home. You should also avoid bringing in an outdoor grill for indoor heat. Doing so can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. If you have a fireplace, go ahead and light that, but otherwise, bundle up with blankets or get to a warmer location.
Do not leave lit candles unattended for light. It’s OK to use them while you’re in the room with them, but make sure you blow them out before you leave. Flashlights are always a safer bet when moving from room to room and make a great first choice in light sources when you lose power.
Do not assume you can get out of your apartment complex. If you live in a gated community, chances are the gate runs on electricity. If you’re opting to leave your apartment while the power is out, make sure you either know how to manually open your community gate or that your management office has taken care of the issue.
Do not go near pooling water or power lines. If you’re outside at all during a widespread power outage, stay clear of fallen power lines and large puddles of water. You have no way of knowing when the electricity will come back on and charge up a wire or a pool of water where a line is hiding.
Do not waste hot water. Losing power doesn’t mean you can’t flush toilets or even take a shower, but the amount of hot water you have when the power goes out is not much. To avoid cold showers, on top of everything else, use the hot water you have sparingly.
Prepare in advance
Since the odds are good you’ll experience a power outage at least once, why not prepare in advance? You can make a lights-out kit to ensure everything you’ll need in an emergency is in one place.
Put together a few flashlights, extra batteries and an emergency radio if you have one. Consider adding a remote charger for your cell phone and even a few bottles of water.
Store your lights-out kit somewhere that’s easy to get to even in the dark.
Stay safe when the lights go out
We all pay an electric bill and come to rely on the utility’s availability whenever we need it. This is what makes it so stressful when the lights do go out. Knowing what to do in a power outage, and preparing in advance, are the best steps you can take to handle the issue until the light returns.
The post What to Do in a Power Outage at Your Apartment appeared first on Apartment Living Tips – Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.
You may dream of owning your home or place of business, but renting is more affordable. Plenty of other people are in the same position, so this is a booming business. Part of a landlord’s responsibilities is creating a usable space for all tenants, which means complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
What is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?
The ADA became law in 1990 to protect both tenants and renters in cases that could involve disability discrimination. Before you sign your next lease for your home or business, check out what every tenant should know about ADA compliance. Renters are responsible for more than you might think, so it’s essential to fully understand what you’re walking into.
1. Both parties are responsible
People with disabilities are protected by the ADA, specifically when it comes to Title III. This requires landlords to make rental spaces accessible for anyone with a disability so they can access the property equally. They must modify their properties to meet current ADA regulations, which was last updated in 2010.
In the case of renting a commercial or residential unit, both parties are responsible for ensuring they meet ADA requirements. Before signing on the dotted line, discuss any needed additions or renovations and who’s responsible for paying for them. It’s supposed to be a team effort, which can result in liability exposure for the landlord if they don’t comply.
2. Auxiliary aids are included
Hearing and vision impairments sometimes get overlooked during building construction, but they’re part of Title III. Depending on the agreement with your landlord, they may cover most or half of the bill for aids like notetakers, Braille additions or signs in larger print.
3. Accessibility modifications may count
Your landlord may try to fight against paying for accessibility modifications if they want to cut corners. Still, they must pay the full bill if the changes count as reasonable modifications, like installing a ramp to get into the unit. Vertical lifts and elevators may also join the accessibility options list, depending on the renter’s disability.
Reasonable modifications are mostly defined by how inexpensive and quick the projects are, but the landlord should pay the total bill if they haven’t provided an accessible property.
4. Both parties designate responsibility
Most commercial leases leave room for tenants and landlords to allocate responsibility before they become official. Depending on the tenant’s financial capabilities, the two parties will decide what they’ll pay for regarding unmet ADA compliance. The finer details, if any, will vary depending on the lease.
Even after both parties agree on their responsibilities, tenants may have to go a step further. Read through your lease to see if there’s language indicating you need to provide your landlord with a lawyer if they’re the subject of an ADA lawsuit. They’ll still legally have to meet their agreed-upon responsibilities, but tenants could have to pay for their legal representation if it’s outlined in the lease.
5. Landlords deal with common areas
Even though your rental space may be ADA compliant, the areas surrounding it could be challenging to access. Because spaces like sidewalks and parking lots aren’t included in your lease, landlords are responsible for them.
If you have any issues accessing your rental unit because these areas don’t have the disability modifications you need, your landlord should fix them at no cost to you.
6. Injunctive relief is common
Some renters may seek financial compensation for their time or efforts in dealing with inaccessible spaces, but most of the time, that’s not possible. The majority of states won’t allow plaintiffs to receive monetary damages or compensation under Title III. Still, you may be responsible for attorney fees and costs after the case gets settled in court. The majority of cases end with injunctive relief, where one or both parties work to solve the issues at hand.
The only time plaintiffs might get damages at the end of a case is if the U.S. Attorney General files an action based on a pattern of discrimination on the part of the landlord. The fines then may include financial compensation or back pay as needed.
Get everything in writing
Both tenants and landlords should get everything in writing as they work to come to an agreement about who’s responsible for which ADA compliance issues. If something goes wrong in the future and one party files a complaint in court, documented terms and signed paperwork will help sort through the problem and come to the best solution for everyone.
The post ADA Compliance: What Renters Need to Know appeared first on Apartment Living Tips – Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.
The survival skills cockroaches have are amazing. They can continue living, for a short time, without their heads. They can hold their breath underwater for 40 minutes. They can run up to three miles in a single hour.
This is all great for roaches (and pretty interesting too) â until the ugly bugs infest your apartment. Once they’ve made their way into your home, all you want to do is get rid of them. But, before you make an appointment with an exterminator, consider an organic, DIY approach. Use one of the many natural remedies for roaches to keep them away.
How to get rid of cockroaches
Once you’ve established you’ve got unwanted visitors, whether you’ve seen roaches or just their nasty trails, it’s time to consider how you want to get rid of them. You can use chemicals to do the job, but if you have pets or young children or you’re sensitive to certain products, going natural might be a better option.
When it’s time to get rid of unwanted insect visitors, look to your pantry first, you might already have some of these natural remedies for roaches ready to go.
This is an example of using something sweet to lure cockroaches to their demise. You just have to add a little something extra. Mix one part powdered sugar with three parts boric acid. The sugar brings the bugs in â the boric acid takes them out.
Boric acid isn’t toxic to people or pets, but it can irritate skin. When putting this mixture down, avoid counters and stick to the hidden spots roaches can use for hiding places. Good spots are behind appliances, under the sink and in any cracks along the edges of cabinets.
If either ingredient isn’t readily available, this is a versatile recipe, so you can swap out ingredients to achieve the same effect. Instead of powdered sugar, you can use peanut butter or jelly. You can also replace the boric acid with food-grade diatomaceous earth.
2. Soapy water
If you spot a cockroach and want to kill it without having to get close enough to step on it, keep a spray bottle of soapy water handy. Use diluted dish soap so that whatever surface it gets on also gets clean (an added bonus).
Spraying this mixture directly onto a roach makes it impossible for the bug to breathe. It clogs up their skin, which is how they take in air. It may take an extra little bit to do the trick, and you still have to dispose of the roach but hey â it won’t head back to hang with its buddies.
3. Coffee grounds
This easy-to-find food staple helps make a perfect cockroach trap. They serve as bait to bring the roaches in and are non-toxic for every other member of your home. To make a trap, all you need is a glass jar, coffee grounds and water.
To build your trap:
Fill a large glass jar about halfway with water.
Add 1-2 tablespoons of moistened coffee grounds.
Place the jars as close to potential nesting spots as possible.
The roaches will come in to check out the coffee, climb into the jar and get stuck and eventually drown. Then, dump the entire contents of the trap into the toilet for a goodbye flush.
While lemon won’t work on its own to keep roaches away, using lemon-scented cleaners around your home can have a big impact on keeping the place cockroach-free.
A clean home is the best way to avoid an infestation, and the scent of a lemon actually works to keep a variety of insects from wanting to live in your place.
For an easy, all-purpose cleaner you can make at home, you only need two ingredients â citrus peels and vinegar. To make:
Fill a glass jar with clean, chopped-up lemon peels.
Pour white vinegar over the peels to submerge them and seal the jar.
Let the mixture sit for about four weeks, shaking it regularly.
Strain out the peels and put the liquid into a spray bottle.
This will keep countertops, appliances, floors and glass all clean and smelling great, while also helping you deal with the cockroaches.
Make sure to clean your place regularly, focusing on areas like the kitchen and dining room. Roaches love crumbs and can smell food if packages get left open in your pantry. It’s also a good idea to empty your trash regularly to keep food odors out of your home.
Another big attractor for roaches is moisture. One way to deal with excess moisture in your home is to check your pipes regularly for leaks, but sometimes it’s a matter of high humidity. To deal with this, consider buying a few house plants.
You’ll need a specific type, epiphytes like ferns, orchids and cacti. These are special plants that work as a natural dehumidifier, pulling water from the air to keep themselves hydrated. They’re easy to care for and will help reduce moisture levels in your home.
Place one in every bathroom, on a screened-in porch, or anywhere where the air feels heavy. They won’t repel cockroaches themselves but will help take away a serious temptation for the bugs to come into your home.
This is maybe the strangest of the natural remedies for roaches, but it uses ingredients you’re bound to have at home right now. All you need is an onion and baking soda. Again, the food attracts hungry insects, and the baking soda does the dirty work.
To set this up:
Dice up about half an onion.
Sprinkle baking soda over it.
Place on a small paper plate anywhere roaches may hide overnight.
Since roaches prefer the dark, you’ll most likely âfeed” more if you wait until evening to put out your trap. It’s also best to do it when there’s minimal risk of running into the nasty guys yourself.
When you need to cover up cracks to keep the roaches away, this remedy is a great choice. Not only will it fill the space to let fewer roaches through, but it will also kill any of them who eat it.
Mix equal parts of cornstarch and Plaster of Paris to make a powder you can sprinkle anywhere. Don’t activate the Plaster of Paris with water beforehand. The roaches do that after they eat the concoction when they drink water. It’s the mixing in their stomach that ultimately kills them.
It’s important to note that Plaster of Paris is a toxic ingredient and dangerous for children and pets. Using this recipe specifically in cracks helps keep it away from everyone but the roaches.
Roaches hate the smell of peppermint. They’ll avoid it like the plague. It can also actually harm them if they come into contact with it. Spraying a mixture with peppermint oil directly onto roaches can mean lights out, but that’s only if you see the invaders around.
You’ll have more success using mint as a repellent, targeting areas near where you think roaches are hiding. To make a mint-infused spray:
Mix two parts water with one part white vinegar into a spray bottle.
Add about 10 drops of peppermint oil.
Shake up and spray.
Chemicals aren’t required to keep the roaches away
The question is never if you’ll see a roach in your apartment, but rather when. They’re out there, and there’s a lot of them, but knowing how to repel them and say good-bye for good means you don’t have to live with them. Us
ing natural remedies for roaches allows you to live insect-free without having to buy harsh chemicals or spend money on an exterminator. Just make sure you’re targeting the right areas. Roaches love to live in places like boiler rooms, basements, crawl spaces, steam tunnels, drains and sewers. Happy hunting!
The post Natural Remedies for Roaches: 8 Prevention Methods to Try appeared first on Apartment Living Tips – Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.
The pandemic threw many Americans into financial disaster, but credit card delinquencies surprisingly declined during the health crisis.
According to the Experian 2020 Consumer Credit Review published in January 2021, the number of accounts one month past due fell by 37%, two months past due by 36% and three or more months past due by 53%.
And although the American Banking Association reported that consumer delinquencies rose in the fourth quarter of 2020, it noted that credit card delinquencies remained near all-time lows.
“Consumers have done a good job of managing their spending throughout the pandemic and paid down their credit card balances at a record pace last year,” said Rob Strand, ABA senior economist, in a news release.
He went to say that during the pandemic, online purchases climbed, but that consumers continued to prioritize their credit card payments.
“At the same time, card issuers have worked with customers who have experienced economic challenges related to the pandemic,” he said.
But will delinquencies rise once the pandemic – and help from card issuers and the government – is over?
Keep reading to see what industry experts think will happen in 2021.
See related: Acerage credit card interest rates
Congress and banks stepped in to help consumers
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When unemployment numbers dramatically rose last March, observers presumed that default rates would rise in lockstep, said Martin Lynch, compliance manager and director of education at the nonprofit Cambridge Credit Counseling Corp.
But Congress quickly responded by passing the CARES Act that same month: The distribution of stimulus payments began in April and other efforts followed in short order, including the PPP loan program for businesses, unemployment support for states and forbearance for federal student loans and federally backed mortgages.
Major banks also stepped in and offered relief, trying their best to keep their clients afloat in the hope that the pandemic would exit as quickly as it came.
All of these efforts have combined to help mitigate the economic effects of the virus, but the long-term effect is the subject of considerable debate, Lynch said.
Have the various relief efforts only put off the inevitable? Will the economy enter a significant recession once the forbearances end?
Default rates might give insights into future delinquencies
A closer look at default rates, Lynch said, may be the key that unlocks the answers to the questions above.
In ordinary times, loan default rates are simple data that show how many borrowers are paying and how many aren’t.
The CARES Act included a clause allowing that a loan in forbearance need not be reported as delinquent if it was current when the forbearance was granted.
Now that some of the dust has cleared, it’s apparent that at least some loans that were delinquent prior to the pandemic were also granted forbearance, Lynch explained, and that those loans were reported to the credit bureaus as current.
This means that looking at default rates alone isn’t enough to get an idea about how borrowers are performing during the pandemic.
To get more accurate results, Lynch said, we need to look at the number of defaults as well as the number of loans in forbearance.
But even this approach might not yield a definitive answer because no one knows whether the sheer number of forbearances consists solely of borrowers who were in dire need of assistance or whether that number also includes borrowers who simply took advantage of a pause in payments because it was offered, he pointed out.
And beyond all that, Lynch added, the effect of unemployment support and stimulus checks must have come at a critical momentfor at least some of these same borrowers, allowing them to avoid delinquency and earn the forbearances extended to them.
See related: Poll – 51% of U.S. adults accrued more debt during the COVID-19 outbreak
Banks don’t believe we are out of the woods yet
Ted Rossman, senior industry analyst at CreditCards.com, views all delinquency stats, which have fallen across the board, through the lens of pandemic relief.
“It’s not what we expected at the onset of the pandemic, and it’s artificial, but the stimulus and accommodation programs have helped tremendously,” Rossman said.
The big question now is, what happens moving forward?
Will there be more stimulus and accommodations once the current programs expire? Will the metaphorical bridge that has already been built be enough to carry us through to the other side?
Rossman is hoping for the best and he said there are many reasons to be optimistic, but banks don’t believe we’re out of the woods yet.
While many have begun to release some of the loan-loss reserves they stockpiled in the early days of the pandemic, they’re proceeding cautiously, Rossman pointed out.
They still have significantly elevated reserves and are watching the situation carefully. Many have begun to ease their lending standards a bit, but we still see a lot more caution than we did just prior to the pandemic.
Much of this will depend on how the health situation plays out – with the vaccine rollout and the COVID-19 variant progression – and what the government and consumer responses are.
“We’re optimistic that we’re close to the end of this, but sadly some people are in deep holes created by extended unemployment,” Rossman said.
Several sectors are doing great, others are on the mend and some will be slow to recover, he added.
For example, he said, over the past year, goods have mostly outperformed services – E-commerce, electronics, furniture and other home goods did very well, while travel and restaurants were among the worst performers.
But that’s starting to change.
So, Rossman said, if you work in a restaurant, it has been a very tough year, but if your savings, unemployment benefits and stimulus payments kept you afloat, the hope is you won’t be delinquent going forward because now you’ll be making more money.
Many forbearances will turn into defaults
Lynch said it’s not unreasonable to look at all of this delinquency data and conclude that low default rates are a mirage and that the country’s economy isn’t as healthy as the default rates would suggest.
A fair amount of the forbearances granted will turn into defaults when those programs end, but we won’t know for certain until it happens, he said.
What we can say for certain is that, to their credit, the federal government and a large number of private lenders worked hard to build an economic bridge to the other side of the pandemic.
If they were successful, we’ll have learned lessons that could be applied if something like this happens again. And if some of those efforts turn out to have been in vain, we’ll have learned something else that might still be useful.
If you have loans in forbearance, act now
Consumers with loans in forbearance need to take stock now before those payment holidays come to an end, Lynch warned.
For example, we know that federal student loan payments are set to resume in October 2021, so those borrowers should prepare a budget now to ensure they’ll be able to handle the payments when they start coming due.
The same approach will work for other loans, though lenders won’t have the same flexibility as student loan servicers.
“At this point, I’d be making sure my budget accurately reflected appropriate repayment priorities,” Lynch said.
If you can’t meet your obligations, consider talking to a nonprofit credit counselor to review your budget and credit report, then go over your options, Lynch suggested.
You’ll also want to let your creditors know what’s happening before you start missing payments, Lynch advised; “It’s the adult thing to do, and they may be able to help.”
What happens now very much depends on your individual circumstances, such as the industry you work in and how much savings you have, Rossman said.
Ironically, many people’s finances have improved during the pandemic because they were able to save more and spend less and their home values and investment portfolios grew, he added.
But, sadly, others have not shared in these gains, Rossman said, and they’re the ones who could cause the delinquency stats to rise once stimulus and accommodations run out.
See related: How to protect your credit during the coronavirus crisis
Winter always seems to sneak up on us, year after year. Because most climates experience the most dramatic change in weather during the colder months, it’s important to understand what apartment winter maintenance or preparatory tasks you’ll be responsible for at your rental property.
While some tasks fall on the shoulders of your landlord or property manager, there are certain steps you can take as a renter to ensure a safe and comfortable winter at home.
1. Check in with your landlord or property manager
Before the winter hits, touch base with your landlord if you’re unclear on what are tenant responsibilities and what are landlord responsibilities. Who’s responsible for removing snow and ice at the property, and what are the expectations?
Some states have local snow and ice removal regulations regarding public sidewalks or other public areas. Discuss acceptable de-icing measures to make sure you aren’t causing damage to any surfaces.
2. Test out the heat
While it’s your landlord’s responsibility to have heating and cooling systems serviced regularly, it’s helpful to turn on the heat a bit early for a short period of time to make sure everything is functioning properly.
It’s always better to learn about any issues ahead of time instead of discovering a winter maintenance problem in your apartment when the cold temperatures set in.
3. Avoid unwanted guests
Cooler weather and more precipitation means bugs, rodents and other pests are looking for a warm place to call home. An easy way to attract unwanted pests is by providing them with a food source, so be sure to take a few preventative steps, especially now that many of us are cooking at home more than ever before.
Store your dry, perishable food items inside air-tight containers that pests can’t chew through. Try to take trash containing food scraps out as soon as possible instead of letting it sit. Aim to wipe down countertops at least once each day to get rid of crumbs and food remnants.
4. Prevent frozen pipes
Be sure to follow all of your landlord’s instructions to avoid frozen or burst pipes due to cold weather. Most landlords or property managers will provide guidance on temperature levels and other preventative measures to avoid this issue.
If you’re leaving on vacation or will otherwise be away from your rental for a period of time this winter, give your landlord a heads up and ask if they want you to set the temperature at a certain point or leave a couple of faucets on a slow drip.
5. Stay warm and save money
Of course, you want to be comfortable in your own home, but keeping a few things in mind when it comes to turning on the heat can have a dramatic impact on your monthly bill. Experts say you can save up to 10 percent on your yearly heating expenses by turning down the thermostat just 7-10 degrees for approximately eight hours per day, like while you’re at work or while you’re sleeping.
Ceiling fans are an excellent tool to help distribute heat evenly. Many models have a switch that forces blades to spin clockwise, which will push warm air down into a room.
6. Be prepared for emergencies
If you live in an area where winter weather and storms are a frequent occurrence, it’s wise to make sure you’re prepared ahead of time for any worst-case scenarios. Sign up for weather and emergency alert systems to stay informed about any potentially threatening storms and actions should take. In general, stay indoors during major storms and avoid road travel until it is safe to do so.
7. Notify your landlord of any issues as soon as possible
Common winter issues like ice dams, frozen pipes or issues with the heating system can quickly spiral out of control. It’s important to keep tabs on your home and alert your landlord of any potential issues as soon as possible so they can be taken care of as quickly as possible.
Winter is coming
Whether you’re dreading winter or it’s your favorite season, taking the time to prepare your apartment for winter maintenance will help set you up for success as a renter. Come to a clear and established understanding of what your responsibilities are and what your landlord is responsible for, and make sure to hold up your end of the bargain.
The post 7 Apartment Winter Maintenance Tips for Renters appeared first on Apartment Living Tips – Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.
When it comes to affording a new home, you have a few types of home loans to choose from. Prospective homebuyers often compare the FHA vs. the conventional loan when researching loans. Each loan type has certain stereotypes associated with them, but we are here to give you the facts about both FHA and conventional loans. This post will help you understand what each loan is, familiarize you with the differences between them, and provide some guidelines for how to pick which one is best for you.
What Is An FHA Loan?
An FHA loan is insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). These loans are issued by private lenders, but lenders are protected from losses by the FHA if the homeowner fails to repay. FHA loans are generally used to refinance or buy a home.
What Is A Conventional Loan?
A conventional loan is supplied by a private lender and isnât federally insured. Requirements for obtaining a conventional loan vary depending on the lender. When used to buy property, conventional loans are typically known as mortgages.
Differences Between FHA and Conventional Loans
The main difference between FHA and conventional loans is whether or not they are insured by the federal government. Conventional loans arenât federally backed, so itâs riskier for the lender to loan money. On the other hand, FHA loans are protected by the government, and as a result of less risk, they can typically offer better deals.
This difference in federal insurance is the reason why FHA and conventional loans vary when it comes to the details of the loan. Keep reading to learn the differences regarding credit requirements, minimum down payments, debt-to-income ratios, loan limits, mortgage insurance, and closing costs.
Minimum Credit Score
Minimum Down Payment
Maximum Debt-to-Income Ratio
Credit score of 500: 43%
Credit score of 580+: 43-50%
Credit score of 620: 33-36%
Credit score of 740+: 36-45%
Contiguous US: $548,250
High-cost counties, AK, HI, and US territories: $822,375
Mortgage insurance premiums required.
Private mortgage insurance required with down payments less than 20%.
Stricter standards, property purchased must be a primary residence.
Flexible standards, property purchased doesnât have to be a primary residence.
Sources: FHA Single Family Housing Policy Handbook | Fannie Mae 1 2 | Federal Housing Finance Agency | Freddie Mac | HUD 1 2 | Consumer Financial Protection Bureau 1 2
Your credit score is a determining factor in your loan eligibility. Your credit score is measured on a scale of 300 (poor credit) to 850 (excellent credit). Good credit helps you get approved for loans more easily and at better rates. FHA and conventional loans differ in their credit score requirements and represent financial options for individuals at either end of the credit spectrum.
Minimum Credit Score for FHA Loan: 500
Accepts a credit score as low as 500, but usually with a 10% down payment
These loans accept lower credit scores because they are insured
Note: Some lenders may only issue FHA loans with higher credit scores
Minimum Credit Score for Conventional Loan: 620
Accepted score may vary from lender to lender
These loans are usually offered to individuals with strong credit because they present less risk to lenders
Minimum Down Payment
A down payment is the sum of money that is paid as a percentage of your purchase up-front.
Minimum Down Payment on an FHA loan:
10% of your purchase with 500 credit score
3.5% of your purchase with 580+ credit score
Minimum Down Payment on a Conventional Loan:
3% of your purchase can be put down with good credit
5% to 20% of your purchase price is typical
Your debt-to-income ratio is the amount of money paid toward debt each month divided by your total monthly income. To be eligible for a loan, you must be at or below the maximum debt-to-income (DTI) ratio.
Maximum DTI Ratio Guidelines for FHA loans:
43% with a credit score of 500
43â50% with a credit score of 580
Maximum DTI Ratio Guidelines For Conventional Loans:
33-36% with a credit score lower than 740
36-45% with a credit score of 740 or higher
50% highest allowed through Fannie Mae
Both FHA and conventional loans have limits on the amount that you can borrow. Loan limits vary based on your location and the year your loan is borrowed. Find 2021 loan limits specific to your county through the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
2021 FHA Loan Limits
High-cost counties: $822,375
Low-cost counties: $356,362
2021 Conventional Loan Limits
Contiguous US (excluding high-cost counties): $548,250
Alaska, Hawaii, US territories, and high-cost counties: $822,375
Mortgage insurance is taken out to protect the lender from losses in case you fail to repay your loan. Whether you will pay private mortgage insurance or mortgage insurance premiums is based on your loan type and down payment percentage.
Mortgage insurance is required for all FHA loans.
It is paid to the FHA in the form of mortgage insurance premiums and includes an up-front and monthly premium.
MIP payments last the entire life of your FHA loan.
To get rid of MIPs after paying 20% of your loan, you can choose to refinance into a conventional loan.
Private mortgage insurance (PMI) is only required when a down payment below 20% is made.
PMI comes in different forms: monthly premium, up-front premium, and split premiums.
PMI requirements stop once you have met one of three requirements:
Principal loan amount is reduced to 80% before the loan term ends.
At least 78% of the principal balance is scheduled to be paid down.
The halfway point of your loan term has passed.
There are different property standards that must be met to use each loan. FHA loans have stricter requirements, while conventional loans have more flexibility.
Property purchased with FHA loans must be your principal residence, meaning the borrower has to occupy the residence
FHA loans canât be used to invest in property (e.g., renting out or flipping)
Title must be in the borrower’s name or name of a living trust
Property purchased with a conventional loan doesnât have to be a principal residence â second or third residences are allowed
Conventional loans can be used to purchase investment properties
Pros and Cons of FHA vs. Conventional Loans
As a result of the various differences between FHA and conventional loans, each type has its respective pros and cons.
Qualify with low credit and high DTI
Smaller down payments overall
More affordable with low credit
Lowest option for down payments with good credit
More affordable with good credit
Property doesnât have to be your main home
Mortgage insurance premiums required for life of loan
Property purchased must be your main home
Need higher credit and lower DTI to qualify
Typically has larger down payments
PMI required with a down payment less than 20%
Pros and Cons of FHA Loans
FHA loans are government-regulated and insured to extend flexible opportunities for homeownership. Theyâre flexible regarding credit and DTI, but stricter about insurance and property standards.
Flexible qualification with low credit and high DTI
Smaller down payments overall
More affordable with low credit
Mortgage insurance premiums required for life of loan
Property purchased must be your primary residence
Pros and Cons of Conventional Loans
Conventional loans can also offer flexibility, but generally only if you have good credit and demonstrate reduced risk to the lender. These loans have stricter qualifications, but flexibility in other areas.
Lowest option for down payments (3% with good credit)
Private mortgage insurance can be canceled (must meet requirements)
More affordable with good credit
Property purchased doesnât have to be a primary residence
Strict qualifications require higher credit and lower DTI
Larger down payments are typical
Private mortgage insurance required with a down payment less than 20%
Which Loan Is Better For You?
Both FHA and conventional loans have their advantages and disadvantages. Here are some general guidelines for when to use an FHA loan or a conventional loan.
When To Use an FHA Loan
You have a low credit score (500â619)
Your DTI ratio is on the higher side (between 45â50%)
You can only afford a small down payment
You plan to use the property as your primary residence
When To Use a Conventional Loan
Your credit score is fairly good (620 or above)
Your DTI ratio is on the lower side (33â36%)
You can afford a larger down payment
You want flexibility with insurance and repaying your loan
Itâs important to thoroughly research your options before choosing a loan. A key takeaway when comparing FHA vs. conventional loans is that FHA loans are federally insured and conventional loans arenât. This distinction results in different qualification and payment requirements for each loan.
Use the information in this post to carefully compare the differences in accepted credit scores, minimum down payments, loan limits, maximum debt-to-income ratios, mortgage insurance and property standards. In doing so, choose the loan that works for your circumstances and helps you best afford the home of your dreams.
Sources: FHA Single Family Housing Policy Handbook | US Dept. of Housing and Urban Development | Federal Housing Finance Agency | Freddie Mac
The post FHA vs. Conventional Loans: Which Is Better? appeared first on MintLife Blog.
Miriam Schaeffer, a former executive at nail polish giant OPI Products, is looking to sell her Italian-style villa in Beverly Hills, CA — and won’t settle for just any amount.
The nail polish mogul — who is also the former wife of George Schaeffer, founder of the popular nail polish brand —Â is asking a hefty $33 million for her opulent home set in one of the most sough-after streets in the area, Roxbury Drive, a historically popular address among celebrities.
Located on N. Roxbury Drive, the property has a rich history and has been considerably upgraded and expanded in recent years. In fact, Schaeffer invested heavily in the property, expanding its footprint by roughly 40% and significantly boosting the amenity roster.
Originally built in 1926 by the architectural firm Camduff and Camduff as one of the partnersâ own homes, the architectural masterpiece was revamped by renowned architect Richard Manion in 2016. The current owner worked alongside the architect to add amenities like a media room and a wine cellar, and to expand the beautiful grounds.Â
The combination of Spanish, Italian, and Mediterranean revival architecture is probably why this property is also known as Casa California. Itâs a perfect representation of relaxed California living, featuring a long list of fun amenities that includes a fitness studio, a media room, a spa, and a swimming pool.Â
The property offers roughly 210 feet of frontage along N. Roxbury Drive, also known as ‘street of the stars’ (a highly popular destination for celebrities living in Beverly Hills), but it also offers privacy from prying eyes via a gated and hedged entrance.
The mansion has 7 bedrooms, 13 bathrooms, and an impressive total of 13,765 square feet of living space.Â The rear grounds are home to the pool, the spa, a guest house, and a fitness studio, all surrounded by complete privacy and tranquility.
Inside, a two-story entry greets visitors, leading to a living room with a stunning fireplace and doors that open to the front grounds.Â There is also a state-of-the-art chefâs kitchen, complete with a breakfast room and a wood-paneled family room that opens to the pool.Â
Upstairs, there is a gorgeous master suite that incorporates a sitting room, custom-made closets, and a terrace with fabulous views. Thereâs no shortage of space for family or friends, as the upper levels also include no less than 5 guest suites.Â
Additional amenities include a wine cellar, an elevator, an entertainment room, and a bar, making this house perfect for any type of entertaining.Â
This luxurious N. Roxbury Drive property is marketed by The Agency, with Jacob Dadon handling the listing. The current owner is Miriam Schaeffer, the former wife of George Schaeffer, who founded the popular nail polish brand OPI.
Schaeffer bought OPI (then Odontorium Products Inc.) in 1981 in Calabasas. At the time, the company was in the dental supply business, but Schaeffer and partner Suzi Weiss-Fischmann turned the brand into a global nail polish giant. The brandâs products were used in movies like Legally Blonde 2 and Alice in Wonderland, and they are known for their chip-resistant formula and bright colours. The company was acquired by Coty, Inc. in 2010, and Schaeffer stepped down as CEO in 2013.Â
Miriam Schaeffer, George Schaefferâs ex-wife, once worked as an executive and treasurer for the brand. She reportedly purchased the opulent house in 2012 for $14 million, according to Mansion Global, and invested in expanding its footprint by nearly 40%, alongside architect Richard Manion.
More beautiful homes with famous owners
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The post Former OPI Exec Lists Italian-Style Villa in Beverly Hills for $33 Million appeared first on Fancy Pants Homes.