Waltz Away With a Cool Buy! Czech Dance Hall in Omaha Transformed Into a Residence

A place where people used to dance the polka all night long is available for purchase. Accordion not included.

The property on 13th Street in Omaha, NE, is on the market for $999,900, and offers an array of opportunities for an enterprising buyer.

“Originally, it was a Czechoslovakian dance hall, and then it was converted into a bar,” explains the listing agent, Drew Halvorson.

Built in 1895, the main hall was also a popular restaurant, before an artist and home renovator team purchased the property in 1993 and worked their magic. There are now three separate living spaces on the property.

The former dance hall became their home, and the parking lot was transformed into a 5,000-square-foot garden.

Vines, fountains, and plenty of other interesting touches decorate the space.

“When you first come in the gate, you walk into this very serene and beautiful garden,” Halvorson notes. “Once you get to the center of it, it opens up, and you have a big deck space and little seating areas throughout the entire courtyard.”

Exterior of former dance hall in Omaha, NE
Exterior of former dance hall in Omaha, NE

Joe Braun Photography

Exterior
Exterior

Joe Braun Photography

Garden
Garden

Joe Braun Photography

Garden
Garden

Joe Braun Photography

Deck
Deck

Joe Braun Photography

Garden
Garden

Joe Braun Photography

Deck
Deck

Joe Braun Photography

Vines
Vines

Joe Braun Photography

Entry
Entry

Joe Braun Photography

Interior
Interior

Joe Braun Photography

Living space
Living space

Joe Braun Photography

Living space
Living space

Joe Braun Photography

The main house measures 3,324 square feet, with two bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms. Overhead, the ceilings soar to a height of 20 feet.

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Watch: Back to School? Giant Tennessee Home Was Once an Educational Institution

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“An open floor plan and tons of natural light throughout the whole home from skylights,” Halvorson says, “It’s an entertainer’s dream.”

Living space
Living space

Joe Braun Photography

Living space
Living space

Joe Braun Photography

Kitchen
Kitchen

Joe Braun Photography

Kitchen
Kitchen

Joe Braun Photography

Kitchen
Kitchen

Joe Braun Photography

Pantry
Pantry

Joe Braun Photography

The kitchen and dining areas sit just off the main living space. Halvorson touts the kitchen as a great space for gathering.

It has a large island, high-end appliances, a custom range hood, and a pantry with plenty of storage.

Master bathroom
Master bathroom

Joe Braun Photography

Master bathroom
Master bathroom

Joe Braun Photography

Bedroom
Bedroom

Joe Braun Photography

Master bedroom and loft area
Master bedroom and loft area

Joe Braun Photography

Bathroom
Bathroom

Joe Braun Photography

The two large bedrooms are upstairs, at opposite ends of the house, each accessed by a huge staircase.

Halvorson explains that the master bedroom has a fireplace, two walk-in closets on either side, and a huge, wraparound bathroom.

Rooftop view
Rooftop view

Joe Braun Photography

A ladder goes up into an additional space that the current owners use as a place for yoga and meditation. A door leads out to a rooftop deck with views of the city skyline.

Guesthouse
Guesthouse

Joe Braun Photography

Guesthouse
Guesthouse

Joe Braun Photography

The guesthouse on the property has two apartments. One has three bedrooms and 1.5 bathrooms, and the other is a basement unit with one bedroom and one bathroom.

Built in 1890, the building was originally called the Settlement House. It was used as a boarding house where immigrants could live until they learned English, found a job, and saved enough money to move out.

Guesthouse bathroom
Guesthouse bathroom

Joe Braun Photography

Guesthouse
Guesthouse

Joe Braun Photography

Guesthouse
Guesthouse

Joe Braun Photography

Guesthouse
Guesthouse

Joe Braun Photography

Guesthouse
Guesthouse

Joe Braun Photography

Both units could provide a buyer with steady revenue to offset the monthly mortgage payment.

“The property itself could provide some very good income,” says the agent.

Halvorson says the larger, two-story unit rents for $1,750 a month, and the smaller one nets about $750.

He’s targeting investors and adds that the units could serve either as long-term rentals or be offered as a nightly vacation rental.

The Omaha downtown area, zoo, and other attractions are nearby, making the spot attractive for vacation rentals.

Garden
Garden

Joe Braun Photography

Aerial view
Aerial view

Joe Braun Photography

Aerial view
Aerial view

Joe Braun Photography

There are also three detached garage spaces, a rarity in the neighborhood known as Little Bohemia.

“A one-car garage is a win in this old historic area of Omaha,” Halvorson says. “When it was originally built, there just were not a lot of garages or carriage houses whatsoever.”

Since the property was once zoned commercial, the new owners could keep the space as residential or convert it back into a bar or other commercial venture.

“The perfect buyer is probably somebody who has the vision for mixed use. Somebody who maybe wants to live in the main house and have some income on the side with the rental property. I think that would be perfect scenario No. 1,” Halvorson notes.

Scenario No. 2, he adds, might be somebody who decided to live in the main house and to turn the second house into a bar and use the courtyard as a beer garden.

Garden
Garden

Joe Braun Photography

Entry to courtyard
Entry to courtyard

Joe Braun Photography

Stairs
Stairs

Joe Braun Photography

Office
Office

Joe Braun Photography

Bathroom
Bathroom

Joe Braun Photography

Guesthouse
Guesthouse

Joe Braun Photography

View from rooftop
View from rooftop

Joe Braun Photography

  • For more photos and details, check out the full listing.
  • Homes for sale in Omaha, NE
  • Learn more about Omaha, NE

Source: realtor.com

Small Utah Home Has Hand-Built Replica Ghost Town in the Backyard

A new owner of this small house in Springville, UT, won’t have to venture far to knock back a beverage in an Old West saloon.

The 758-square-foot home on East 100 North comes complete with its own ghost town in the backyard. It’s now on the market for $349,900.

The father of the listing agent, Angie Brandt, built the ghost town over the 27 years he owned the property. She had the full scoop on how the replica of the Old West came to be, and on her dad’s role in creating this throwback town.

“[The home] was just a little old cottage built in 1947, and it had a five-bay garage storage unit in the backyard,” she says. “The garage was just plain cinderblock.”

With reclaimed barn wood and salvaged buildings that were about to be demolished, he built facades on the front of the storage unit.

Mike Patrick passed away in August, and Brandt says he would be smiling at the interest in his creation.

Saloon
Saloon

Brook Patrick

Ghost town
Ghost town

Brook Patrick

Saloon
Saloon

Brook Patrick

Saloon
Saloon

Brook Patrick

Saloon
Saloon

Brook Patrick

Saloon
Saloon

Brook Patrick

Appliances
Appliances

Brook Patrick

The hub of the ghost town is the saloon.

There’s a player piano and pool table and a bar, Brandt explains. The refrigerator is behind wood doors, with the modern appliances hidden out of the way.

“We used it for entertaining for many, many years, and had Halloween parties and Christmas parties,” she says. “For any family get-togethers, we were always at my Dad’s to use the saloon area.”

Like any responsible saloon owner, Patrick also had sleeping spaces for anyone who wanted to stay overnight. All the furnishings are part of the sale.

Workspace
Workspace

Brook Patrick

Workspace
Workspace

Brook Patrick

Workspace
Workspace

Brook Patrick

Work area
Work area

Brook Patrick

The last two bays of the garage are currently configured for woodworking or automotive restoration, two other passions of Brandt’s father.

“He was always a creative person. He could look at junk from thrift stores and he would change it into something amazing,” Brandt says.

He used his time, she says, to create fun places for people to be.

“People would come and take graduation photos or wedding photos,” she says. “He was always kind and sweet, and would allow those people to come in and just make themselves at home and pose for pictures.”

House exterior
House exterior

Brook Patrick

Interior
Interior

Brook Patrick

House interior
House interior

Brook Patrick

Bathroom
Bathroom

Brook Patrick

Interior
Interior

Brook Patrick

Interior
Interior

Brook Patrick

Aside from the replica town, the main house offers two bedrooms and one bathroom.

Even though the house is small, Brandt says, her father found ways of utilizing space, with ample storage.

“He tried to retain the antique vibe and refinish the wood floors,” she says. “He has a vintage stove in there. He just tried to maintain the antique look, while upgrading.”

Yard
Yard

Brook Patrick

Yard
Yard

Brook Patrick

Yard
Yard

Brook Patrick

The property, at a half-acre, is larger than others in the area. Brandt says its yard, with an additional lawn and a garden with an outdoor kitchen and mountain views, is very quiet and visited by deer.

“You would think that you were in the middle of nowhere,” she says, “but you’re actually right in the middle of town.”

A sale on the property is pending, and Brandt says she has high hopes for its future.

“A perfect buyer for this property would be someone that wants to enjoy what my dad created and maybe add to it,” she says.

She hopes that the buyers will call one day and report that they’ve made some new additions.

“There’s so much potential for the property,” she says. “It’s already awesome the way it is, but there’s great potential to add more.”

Ghost town
Ghost town

Brook Patrick

Ghost town
Ghost town

Brook Patrick

Workspace
Workspace

Brook Patrick

Yard
Yard

Brook Patrick

Ghost town
Ghost town

Brook Patrick

Ghost town
Ghost town

Brook Patrick

  • For more photos and details, check out the full listing.
  • Homes for sale in Springville, UT
  • Learn more about Springville, UT

Source: realtor.com

Martha’s Vineyard Estate From 1688 Tops This Week’s List of the 10 Oldest Homes for Sale

There’s something soothing about looking at things that have withstood the test of time. Perhaps that’s why our regular peeks at the oldest homes on the market are so darn popular.

The 10 oldest homes available for sale this week date all the way to the establishment of the 13 ragtag Colonies. Each represents a long-standing commitment to the stories they have to tell and to all the people who took care of these homes through the years.

The list is topped by an estate on Martha’s Vineyard, MA, that was established in 1688. The James Allen House sits right next to Chilmark Pond and the Atlantic Ocean beyond.

The “newest” listing to crack the list was completed in 1760 and once served as a stagecoach stop. Today, it’s a lovingly updated family home with a living room where the tavern used to be.

Have a look at this week’s 10 oldest homes—we think they’ll serve as a refreshing antidote to today’s world.

Price: $4,195,000
Year built: 1688
James Allen House: Spread over 6 acres, this waterfront estate includes a private Atlantic Ocean beach and deeded access to a dock on Chilmark Pond. The listing notes that generations of the same family have lived in and loved this Martha’s Vineyard retreat.

The grounds are landscaped with stone walls, fields, lawns, and walking paths. Buildings on the property include a two-bedroom guest cottage, a one-bedroom bunkhouse, garage, and garden shed.

The three-bedroom main house has a number of fireplaces and is surrounded by lovely views of the water.

Chilmark, MA
Chilmark, MA

realtor.com

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Price: $579,900
Year built: 1727
Antique Colonial: Updated and well-maintained, this three-bedroom historic home sits on more than an acre at the end of a quiet dead-end street.

Highlights include a four-season room, a large dining room space with water views of Mill Pond, and a family room with beamed ceiling, plus a pellet stove. There’s also a basement, as well as a freshly renovated kitchen and bathrooms.

Westborough, MA
Westborough, MA

realtor.com

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Price: $1,550,000
Year built: 1734
All-inclusive estate: Enormous by every conceivable definition, this estate of over 31 acres is only 40 minutes from downtown Philadelphia. The main house is a six-bedroom stone farmhouse dating to the Colonial era.

The spread includes the main home, a guest home, and a barn converted into a contemporary office building. The eclectic offering also has such amenities as an in-ground pool, a tennis court, paths, natural pond, motocross race course, and a field of solar panels.

Pottstown, PA
Pottstown, PA

realtor.com

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Price: $925,000
Year built: 1739
Westwood Manor: This landmark home sits on a hill, surrounded by views and 30 acres of crop land.

The three-bedroom main house is one of only two known brick 18th-century gambrel roof structures still standing in Charles County. The home has retained many of its original details, including wood floors, molding, and two staircases.

Charlotte Hall, MD
Charlotte Hall, MD

realtor.com

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Price: $549,900
Year built: 1745
Lemon Hill Farm: Behold this four-bedroom Bucks County retreat, recently updated with a new kitchen and bathroom.

Only the second home to be built in the original village, it’s brimming with antique details, like the pie stairs, millwork, wide-plank hardwood floors and built-ins. The 2.5-acre spread includes a carriage house that has been converted into a garage with a loft.

Southampton, PA
Southampton, PA

realtor.com

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Price: $895,000
Year built: 1746
Deacon Timothy Pratt House: A local landmark, this five-bedroom, center-chimney Colonial was recently renovated. It features a “treetop” third-floor bedroom suite with cathedral ceiling, exposed beams, sitting area, and private bath.

The half-acre property is listed on the National Historic Register and could be used as a bed-and-breakfast, according to the listing.

Old Saybrook, CT
Old Saybrook, CT

realtor.com

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Price: $400,000
Year built: 1740
Commercial potential: The seller is looking for someone to make an offer on this historic three-bedroom home, which is zoned for potential commercial use.

The owner is currently expanding the home to create two more bedrooms, and has a written history of the place ready to pass on to a buyer.

The 4-acre spread may need some work, but appears to have investment potential, plus plenty of historical value.

New Oxford, PA
New Oxford, PA

realtor.com

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Price: $998,000
Year built: 1752
Doremus House: This old home needs your finishing touches. According to the listing, the interior of this historic four-bedroom has been demolished and is ready for a new owner to finish the renovation of this classic property.

On more than 4 acres, it’s ready to be transformed into something special, and, for a development-minded buyer, the property has the potential to be subdivided.

Montville Township, NJ
Montville Township, NJ

realtor.com

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Price: $849,900
Year built: 1760
Charles Russell House: This quaint, 4-acre property is bordered by stone walls and lilacs. The five-bedroom main house has wide pine floors, a walk-in pantry, and a sunroom overlooking the backyard.

The oversized attached barn has basement storage, plus a two-bedroom apartment with an updated kitchen and separate utilities.

Princeton, MA
Princeton, MA

realtor.com

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Price: $445,000
Year built: 1760
Steere-Harris House: Restored throughout, this antique four-bedroom Colonial offers a spacious 2,922 square feet of living area.

It was once a stagecoach stop, and the family room once served as the tavern. There’s also an outbuilding formerly used as a wash house, as well as a post-and-beam barn being used as a workshop.

For buyers interested in growing their own produce, the listing notes that the fenced-in vegetable garden has incredibly rich soil.

Smithfield, RI
Smithfield, RI

realtor.com

Source: realtor.com

Stop! It’s Illegal to Throw Away These 9 Things | ApartmentSearch

Two girls throwing stuff away in a dumpsterWait! Don’t throw that in the trash! You might be breaking the law. Some things in your apartment can’t go out with your regular garbage–even if they fit in the apartment complex’s dumpster or trash compactor. Find out what these items are (they’re more common than you might think!), why they can’t go in your trash can, and how to dispose of them properly.

You’re not allowed to throw away…

#1: Batteries

Though there are several different types of batteries, almost none of them can go out with your regular trash. Batteries contain toxic chemicals like mercury, cadmium, and nickel which leak into the soil and water system if left in a landfill.

How to Dispose of Batteries Properly

Take your rechargeable batteries to a retail collection point like those found at IKEA, Walmart, Staples, or similar stores for proper recycling. For lithium, silver oxide, alkaline, or zinc-carbon batteries, you’ll need to dispose of them at your local Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) facility.

Note: The EPA offers a list of HHWs in your area.

#2: Fluorescent Light Bulbs

Regular incandescent light bulbs contain no toxic chemicals and may go out with the rest of your trash. Fluorescent light bulbs are a different story. Though much better for the environment, fluorescent bulbs contain a tiny amount of mercury (5 milligrams, to be exact) which makes them a hazard if broken.

How to Dispose of Light Bulbs Properly

Recycle your expired light bulbs at your local HHW. Stores like IKEA and Home Depot may also accept fluorescent light bulb drop-offs.

#3: Paints

Oil-based paints, primers, coatings, and varnishes are not good for the environment. They can also be harmful to humans and other animals. Water-based paint tends not to pose a threat, but keep it away from pets and kids.

How to Dispose of Paints Properly

Consider donating your extra paint to local schools, theater groups, or a non-profit like Habitat for Humanity. Otherwise, take your paint cans to the HHW.

#4: Electronics

Old laptops, TVs, DVDs, CD players, VCRs, iPods, cell phones, digital watches, alarm clocks, printers, video game consoles—none of these electronics should go in your trash can. According to FMC Landfill, although electronic waste accounts for just 1-4% of typical municipal waste, “e-waste” accounts for roughly 75% of the heavy metals and 40% of the lead waste found in landfills—which is not good!

How to Dispose of Electronics Properly

Many programs exist to help you dispose of your electronics. You could always donate your gadgets for reuse. If that doesn’t strike your fancy, your local government probably has a drop-off center. Some manufacturers even offer mail-in or trade-in recycling programs for certain products like cell phones. You might even make a little bit of money for recycling your electronics!

#5: Motor Oil

If you’re the D.I.Y. type, you might change your car’s oil. But in most states, it’s illegal to even pour motor oil on the ground, let alone down a drain. That’s because wastewater treatment can’t function properly if it’s mixed with motor oil. Used motor oil from one oil change, according to the EPA Archives, can contaminate one million gallons of fresh water—a year’s supply for 50 people.

How to Dispose of Motor Oil Properly

The only legal way to dispose of motor oil is by sealing it in a plastic container and bringing it to a recycling center, automotive parts store, or car service station.

#6: Smoke Detectors

Smoke detectors come in two basic types: photoelectric or ionization chamber. If your smoke detector is the ionization chamber type, it contains a small amount of radiation that helps detect the presence of smoke, which classifies it as a hazardous substance according to the Fire Protection Agency.

How to Dispose of Smoke Detectors Properly

First, figure out which type of smoke detector you have. If it’s a photoelectric smoke detector, you can recycle it the same way you’d recycle electronics (see #4). If it’s a smoke detector containing radiation, you have two options:

  • Take it to an HHW or recycling center in your area.
  • Mail it back to the manufacturer by ground delivery (air delivery of radioactive substances is not permitted).

#7: Garden Chemicals

If you like to maintain a garden on your apartment patio or balcony, chances are you have a few chemical bottles lying around filled with herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers. Don’t throw these bottles away in the trash, unless you want to break the law.

How to Dispose of Garden Chemicals Properly

Take your garden chemicals to an HHW. Or, if you no longer have a use for them but they aren’t empty, donate them to a neighbor.

#8: Mercury Thermometers

Cleaning out your medicine cabinet? It’s illegal to throw away old mercury thermometers for the same reason it’s illegal to throw away some batteries: mercury is toxic to humans and the environment.

How to Dispose of Old Thermometers Properly

Some schools and universities have exchange programs that allow you to drop off your old mercury thermometers for new electronic ones. Otherwise, find a waste collection program or HHW in your community.

#9: Tires

Tires are illegal to throw away in your weekly garbage because they contain steel belts which can puncture the liners in landfills and cause ground contamination.

How to Dispose of Tires Properly

Most tire retailers and used car dealerships will take your old tires, but you’ll probably have to pay. Want to support a good cause? With Rethink Tires, you can drop off your used tires for free. Rethink tires will turn them into innovative recycled rubber products. Drop your old tires off at any registered collection site.

When you buy new tires and get them installed, your auto service station should dispose of your old tires for you.

It’s a hassle to throw away a lot of these items, especially if you don’t live near a recycling center. Find the perfect apartment with on-site recycling amenities on ApartmentSearch and never worry about inconvenient waste disposal again. We’ll show you hundreds of environmentally-friendly or green technology apartments, then match you with the best ones for you and your budget.

Source: blog.apartmentsearch.com

What To Do If Your Apartment Is Broken Into | ApartmentSearch

broken window with a view to the outside of an apartment

Few feelings are worse than the one you get when your apartment is broken into. You frantically search for your most valuable belongings. You’re angry and scared. You feel violated and vulnerable. But all isn’t lost. Find out what to do when you experience the worst: an apartment break-in.

Step #1: Stay calm.

It’s important to keep a level head in the event of an apartment break-in, whether it happens while you’re there or you find evidence after the fact.

Step #2: Be extra safe.

Call 911 immediately if you suspect that the burglar is still in your apartment. Do NOT go room to room searching for the thief, even if you think you’re prepared.

Step #3: Report the crime.

Once you know that you, your roommates, and your pets are safe, it’s time to report the apartment break-in to law enforcement. Phone your local police’s non-emergency number and tell them what happened. In the meantime, try not to move anything around.

Step #4: Survey the scene in your apartment.

If you notice anything peculiar in your apartment that might help the police in their investigation, make sure you tell them about it when they arrive at the scene. Some helpful things to know would be possible entry and exit points, items left behind that do not belong to you, and likely sources of fingerprints.

Step #5: Document the damage.

Make detailed notes and take pictures of anything the thieves damaged. This will help your landlord and your insurance company determine the amount and the method that you will be compensated for your lost belongings.

Step #6: Contact your landlord or property manager.

Notify your landlord or property manager about the break-in. They may be able to provide temporary residence or other resources to aid in your recovery. Discuss a strategy with them about improving apartment security.

Step #7: Talk to your neighbors.

Contact your neighbors as soon as possible to discover whether they witnessed anything unusual around the time when the break-in occurred.

Step #8: Contact your renters insurance provider.

Once you have a list of damaged or stolen personal property, call your renters insurance company to file a claim. The representative you speak to will most likely request a detailed account of what has been stolen or damaged.

Step #9: Take some time to de-stress.

Break-ins can be traumatic. It’s best to ease yourself back into normal apartment life slowly. If you need help re-adjusting, seek a professional counselor.

Step #10: Reduce your chances of another break-in.

Invest in some added security to make sure this never happens again. Hide your valuables, lock your doors, and keep a light on at night while you’re away. Take some extra precautions before you head out on extended trips. Most importantly, make it difficult for anyone but you to access your apartment.
A break-in doesn’t necessarily mean that you can break your lease, but in some circumstances it does. Talk to your landlord and head to ApartmentSearch to find a new apartment where you feel safe and secure.

Source: blog.apartmentsearch.com

What to Do When Your Apartment Floods from Upstairs | ApartmentSearch

Man mopping up wet hardwood floor in apartment kitchenYou thought apartment floods could only happen from the outside, in—from heavy rain or a hurricane. But now you’re dealing with a flood from upstairs and waterfalls from your neighbor’s burst pipes are cascading into your living room.

When other tenants live above you in separate apartments, your risk of a flood from upstairs increases exponentially. The fact is: if their apartment floods, your apartment most likely floods, too. Thanks a lot, gravity!

Find out what to do when disaster strikes, and how to get back on your feet.

5 Steps for Handling a Flood from Upstairs

Step #1: Recognize Common Sources of Upstairs Flooding

Before you look outside for the cause of the flooding, look up. According to PRO Restoration, the most common sources of indoor flooding include:

  • Burst pipes
  • Leaky water heaters
  • Clogged sewer or drain lines
  • Faulty washing machine hoses

Refrigerators, dishwashers, and toilets are also common culprits of upstairs flooding. If you can identify the source of a flood from upstairs, you’ll be able to help your landlord and repair workers find and fix the issue. You might even be able to stop the deluge by shutting off the proper water supply valves.

Step #2: Salvage Your Stuff

With an upstairs flood, chances are good that the water is coming into your apartment from a specific part of your ceiling. Move valuable items that are at risk of damage from the upstairs flood to a separate area of your apartment. If need be, transfer your stuff to a neighbor’s apartment, to your car, or to waterproof storage.

Step #3: Call Your Landlord for Help

Your landlord will want to stop the flooding as much as you do. After all, the apartment technically belongs to them! Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask your landlord for help. Oftentimes, they will be more than happy to provide skilled personnel, flood remediation services, fans, wet vacs, and more.

In general, your landlord is responsible for repairs related to ensuring your apartment remains in a livable condition. Flooding damage caused by an upstairs apartment most likely falls into this category. Ultimately, your lease will specify whether your landlord is responsible for making the repairs.

Step #4: Contact Your Insurance Company

Some landlords require all tenants to purchase renters insurance to reduce the risk of personal property damage claims. Even if your landlord doesn’t require renters insurance, you may want to consider before renting an apartment to better protect yourself financially.

If you do have renters insurance (high five!), call your claims department to see if they can help you replace your damaged possessions or make repairs. Photographing any evidence of the flooding and documenting all correspondence with your landlord will help streamline the process of your insurance payout.

Step #5: Take Care of the Repairs

Request that your landlord covers the cost of the repairs. If they refuse, you have a number of options. One is to hire your own handyman, then talk to your landlord about deducting the cost of the repair bill from your rent. Another is to make the repairs yourself, then submit your costs to your landlord for reimbursement.

If the upstairs flooding has made your apartment completely unlivable and your landlord is not making the necessary fixes, it may be time to take further action by seeking help from a local group representing tenants, reporting the issue to your city’s code inspection office, and/or taking your landlord to court.

After your apartment floods from upstairs, you may be ready to find a new one. Find (dry!) apartments for rent near you on ApartmentSearch.com.

Source: blog.apartmentsearch.com

Coronavirus has “die-hard urbanites” moving to the ‘burbs

When it comes to buying a house, people are increasingly giving up downtown and headed for the hills. Also the beaches, small towns, and rural ZIP codes.

Maybe you’ve been thinking it’s time to quit the city, to get more room to breathe in a house of your own.

But what does it mean to pack up and move during coronavirus?

How difficult will it be to buy a house and get a mortgage in the middle of a pandemic?

The fact is, plenty of people are doing it. And you likely can too. Here’s how.

Verify your home buying eligibility (Jan 14th, 2021)


In this article (Skip to…)


Why move during coronavirus?

Moving during coronavirus increasingly makes sense for many people.

It’s the chance to re-boot, take a different career path, and make new life choices. It’s also a time when the housing market is surprisingly attractive.

  • Interest rates have been at or near record lows for weeks. Financing below 3% is now available for those with solid credit, little debt, and healthy cash reserves. Rates have never been this low for this long in the U.S. 
  • Low down payments make it easier to buy. Accessible loan programs are available to almost all homebuyers. Think of low rates plus USDA and VA financing with zero down, FHA loans with just 3.5% upfront, and conventional mortgages with as little as 3% down
  • Home prices and values have been going up. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the typical existing home sold for $295,300 in June — up 3.5% from a year earlier. “June’s national price increase,” said NAR, “ marks 100 straight months of year-over-year gains
  • When you buy in a market where home values are appreciating, you gain equity more quickly. You also avoid paying more for the same house if you buy a year from now
  • There are new home buying options in affordable markets. Rising prices mean buyers may want to consider buying in selected opportunity zones, census tracts with lower-cost properties that may benefit from development

Lots of renters are taking this as an opportunity to make the move to homeownership. And current homeowners are using record-low rates as an opportunity to size up.

In July, home buying activity was up 21% compared to a year ago. That’s huge.

So not only is buying a home during coronavirus attractive — but it’s also doable for many.

Verify your home buying eligibility (Jan 14th, 2021)

Potential challenges of moving right now

Of course, moving in the middle of a pandemic is going to be a tough process. We don’t want to over-simplify it.

It will likely be harder to pack, clean, hire a moving company, and deal with the standard moving logistics when everyday life is already so complicated.

And then there are challenges in the housing market itself. Here are two big ones to keep in mind:

  • Inventory is tight, down 18% from last year. That means home buying and bidding wars are more competitive, especially in the most affordable markets
  • Mortgage standards may be a little tougher than normal. Coronavirus has added more risk to the economy. Jobs are no longer as secure as they once were. As a result, many lenders have tightened their qualifying standards to make lending an extra-safe prospect. However, shopping with multiple lenders may help you get around this issue if your credit or finances are borderline

Despite these drawbacks, many Americans have decided it’s still the right time to buy a home.

Ask yourself: Do the long-term benefits outweigh the immediate challenges?

If you’re looking for extra guidance on whether or not to buy a house during coronavirus — and how the process works — see:

Where everyone’s moving

In the midst of buying and selling, financing, and refinancing, something else is happening.

People are voting with their moving vans — and often that means shifting to places far from metro cores. 

“Busy high-rise apartment buildings and cramped square footage have lost their luster,” says Mansion Global.

It adds that “with working from home increasingly the norm and some companies offering their employees the opportunity to work remotely for good, many Americans are weighing a move to areas where they can buy properties with more space, privacy, and security.”

For instance, think of Idaho. According to the United Van Lines, 67% of the moves it did in Idaho in 2019 were inbound — the highest percentage in the country.

“With no access to the usual perks of urban life (nightlife, museums, sports events), spending a small fortune for a cramped apartment or condo seems to make a lot less sense.” –Realtor.com

People were going the other way in states like New Jersey, where 68% were moving elsewhere.  

Pandemic life “is leading more and more city-dwelling Americans to reevaluate their living situations — and the long-term ramifications for the nation’s hottest urban hubs could be vast and transformational,” explains Realtor.com.

“With no access to the usual perks of urban life (nightlife, museums, sports events), spending a small fortune for a cramped apartment or condo seems to make a lot less sense.

And early, preliminary data suggests more die-hard urbanites are seeking new homes in towns or smaller cities,” continues Realtor.  

Homebuyers are taking advantage of a mobile office

Coronavirus has changed the work/life dynamic for most households. It’s one of the biggest reasons renters are becoming homeowners in droves.

The new office environment

The pandemic has changed the big city workplace. It’s no longer a question of spending more time or less time at the office. In many cases the office is closed and the building is sealed.

In their place the home office has now become the office; there’s nowhere else to go.

This has families looking for more space than an apartment can offer. With kids ‘at-home-learning’ in one room and adults working from home in another, a house offers some much-needed breathing room.

The new workday

It turns out that buying a house in a distant location can have big advantages for both workers and employees.

The workday is being restructured. Instead of spending time on the road or otherwise commuting, we now have more time for actual work. In many cases, this is a win-win.

Employers may be seeing higher productivity, and employees get more flexibility — and the freedom to work in sweatpants.

“Residents of all ages and incomes are moving in record numbers to suburban areas and small towns.” –Kristin Tate, The Hill

Kristin Tate, writing in The Hill, explains that “a combination of the coronavirus pandemic, economic uncertainty, and social unrest is prompting waves of Americans to move from large cities and permanently relocate to more sparsely populated areas.

The trend has been accelerated by technology and shifting attitudes that make it easier than ever to work remotely.”

As Tate says, “Residents of all ages and incomes are moving in record numbers to suburban areas and small towns.”

Are big cities finished?

In June the Business Insider named “the 50 best places” to live in America.

At the top of the list were big cities such as Denver, San Diego, and Austin. But also among the fabulous 50 were much smaller places, such as:

  • Grand Rapids, MI
  • Pensacola, FL (population 53,000)
  • Manchester, NH
  • Portland (the one in Maine)
  • Boise, ID
  • Asheville, NC

Does this mean big cities will empty out as people flee to small and distant locations?

Not entirely.

Big cities, merely because of their size, can support businesses and institutions that are not possible in smaller locations.

Think of major museums, a large array of restaurants, huge medical facilities, entertainment, and the opportunities to network. 

Big cities will always be attractive. But the idea of the distributed office with people buying a house far from traditional office centers will become more common.

For many, the small(er) town life simply makes more sense now than ever before.

Getting a mortgage during the pandemic

Getting a mortgage is one of the few things that actually became more convenient during the pandemic. At least, for the most part.

Although qualifying can be a little tougher in some cases, the actual mortgage process has gotten easier.

Most lenders are doing all-online mortgages right now — so you can shop, apply, turn in documents, sign, and close without ever having to sit down in a loan office.

If you’re planning to buy, start by checking in with a lender to see what rate you qualify for and what you can afford.

With mortgage rates still near record lows, homeowners can afford bigger houses than they could just one year ago.

Verify your new rate (Jan 14th, 2021)

Source: themortgagereports.com

What To Know Before You Buy Lakefront Property

Many people dream of owning waterfront property, and for those in landlocked states — that dream is a lakefront home. And, since COVID-19 has left people to their own devices when it comes to staying home, the interest in lakefront properties has increased dramatically. In markets all across the country, lake sales have soared in the midst of the pandemic with most of the sales being vacation and second homes as more employers and schools are allowing remote and virtual work.

With the threat of another lockdown or quarantine always looming, people want a place to enjoy with space, recreation, and relaxation while confined to home. However, before you sign on that dotted line to purchase a lakefront property of your own, there are several important factors to consider.

lakefront propertylakefront property

You May Pay More In Insurance

Lakefront buyers may be surprised to learn that home insurance rates tend to be higher the closer you are to water. However, there are other factors that also impact insurance rates. Amanda Cabe, Realtor and lake expert at Drake Realty Lake Area in the Lake Sinclair and Lake Oconee area says “Homeowner’s insurance will take into consideration that it is, more than likely, a second home. It will take into consideration any watercraft, it will also take into consideration where there is water hydrant, and if the fire department is a volunteer department or run by the county.”

Read: Why You Should Buy More Than the Minimum of Homeowner’s Insurance

Tip For Buyers:

Before you make an offer, call several home insurance companies to get a specific quote on the property you’re interested in. This can avoid any surprises down the road. It can also enlighten the buyer as to items that will be of significant to home insurance companies.

You May Not Have Full Control Over Your Property

Cabe explains that lake buyers are shocked to learn that “there are rules to what you can do with your lake home.  For example, these rules can dictate if a home can have a dock or not. They can dictate what type of dock. These rules can dictate something as simple as changing boards on a dock to taking down trees along the shoreline.” While not all lakes are part of Homeowner Associations, some are subject to the rules, design, and upkeep created by an HOA, municipality, or Corp of Engineers. Cabe continues by saying that “Not all property can be built on, not everyone can have a dock, not all trees can come down at the whim of the homeowner.” From building a dock to cutting trees, many of these projects require permits and approvals on lakefront homes.

Read: Before You Move: What to Know About Homeowner Associations

Tip for Buyers:

Call the local HOA, Corp of Engineers, county, or local governing body to learn more about what permits are required, as well as what is and is not allowed on the property. Cabe explains that their local body, “will even meet with the potential homeowner to discuss their questions and concerns.” It is important that this meeting either happen before you make an offer or that your offer is contingent upon your satisfaction of the discovery period.

Some Lakefront Homes Could Be Harder To Finance

While not all lakefront homes are vacation, a large percentage are second homes. If homeowners are not present all the time, they may be aware of deferred maintenance items, failing systems, or damage from elements. If a buyer is obtaining loans like an FHA or VA, there are minimum property standards that must be met. If a home sits in a flood plain, Cabe explains that “Homes that sit on the 350-degree contour line will usually need flood insurance, these are typically flat lots and the homes are typically closer to the water.” Depending on the previous flood history with that property, it could impact financing.

Tip For Buyers:

As with any real estate purchase, it’s critical to have an in-depth conversation with your lender about the potential hurdles the lake property might have. Choosing a local lender that is familiar with lake front property financing will be critical in helping to address any problems.

What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You

Each lake area has their own rules and procedures, and it’s critical that buyers are fully informed of the rules for the property. According to Cabe, the best way to do that is to “get a local Realtor! Most agents locally know the rules and guidelines…Local agents know details about the location of the home and the water it sits on.  For example, is it shallow or deep?  Are there tree fields under the water that are impossible to navigate with a watercraft?  Can you get good internet service in the location they are looking??  Local agents typically have a boat and can show the home by water.  Local agents know the land managers, they know the area and know the rules.”

Tip For Buyers:

Research your Realtor before choosing one! It’s okay to ask if they’re local to the area, how long they’ve been selling lake real estate, and what connections do they have in the lake community. Homes.com allows you to find an agent and search for your lakefront home!


Jennifer is an accidental house flipper turned Realtor and real estate investor. She is the voice behind the blog, Bachelorette Pad Flip. Over five years, Jennifer paid off $70,000 in student loan debt through real estate investing. She’s passionate about the power of real estate. She’s also passionate about southern cooking, good architecture, and thrift store treasure hunting. She calls Northwest Arkansas home with her cat Smokey, but she has a deep love affair with South Florida.

Source: homes.com

How to Prep Your Apartment Before a Long Trip | ApartmentSearch

Girl with yellow suitcase packing for trip and preparing her apartmentYou probably (hopefully!) aren’t braced for a flood, a fire, or a burglary at any moment. In fact, we all like to assume, “It won’t happen to me!” The sad truth, however, is that a disaster or accident can happen to anyone. While you can’t protect yourself from everything, you can certainly take measures to prevent those things from happening while you’re away.

Whether you’re gearing up for holiday travel, a summer vacation, or even a quick weekend getaway, don’t forget to prepare your apartment for your departure! Before you leave, use these helpful tips to prevent accidents, weather damage, and burglaries in your apartment.

1. Put a few lights on timers.

Burglars are more active during the holiday season because they know that many families are traveling. If your windows are constantly dark, that’s their first sign that you’re gone – and your home becomes an easy target! Trick thieves into thinking you’re home by setting a few lamps on automatic timers before you leave. That’ll give the appearance that someone is still inside (and protecting!) your apartment.

2. Arrange for someone to pick up your newspaper or packages.

Potential burglars will take note if they see packages or newspapers piling up outside your vacant apartment, so ask a neighbor to bring them inside for you. For even more safety and peace of mind, leave a key with a trusted neighbor or nearby friend who can check your apartment every few days. Not only will they deter burglars who may be watching your apartment, they’ll also make sure nothing has gone awry since you left!

3. Unplug small appliances.

Yes, we know – unplugging those appliances behind your television requires some complex acrobatic moves, and your toaster is probably fine… but better safe than sorry. It’s a good idea to unplug as many appliances or electronics that you can before you head off. Unplug everything but your refrigerator, stove, washer, and dryer. This will not only prevent a potential fire, but it can also save you some money! Even when you’re not home, some appliances can still eat up electricity. Unplug, prevent a fire, and save a few bucks on your electric bill!

4. Make sure your renter’s insurance policy is up to date.

Renter’s insurance is a lifesaver if a disaster strikes while you’re away. Double check your renter’s insurance coverage and make sure your policy is up-to-date. You might be surprised what is and isn’t covered!

5. Check your faucets and exterior openings for leaks.

Have you been ignoring that leaky faucet for a couple of weeks? Ignorance is not bliss! Small leaks can turn into big problems while you’re gone, so call your apartment community’s management to get leaks properly repaired. It’s also a good idea to run your dishwasher a day or two before you plan to leave (especially if you don’t use it often) to make sure there aren’t any leaks within its pipes and systems. Check your windows and doors too, and change out old weather stripping or a worn-out window seal that could let rain into your apartment and leave you with a flooded mess when you return.

6. Clean up around your apartment.

Okay, so this might not prevent real danger… but do you really want to come back to a smelly apartment? Take a few minutes to clean up, take out the trash, dispose of old food in your refrigerator, and clean your kitchen garbage disposal if you have one. Wash any dirty dishes, and make sure there isn’t wet laundry in your washing machine when you leave.

7. Set up a security camera.

If you’re concerned about security while you’re gone, invest in and set up a security camera. There are many affordable options on the market, and some security apps even let you use an old camera phone or another device to send a live stream right to your phone. If you live in an area where holiday break-ins happen frequently, it may be worth the peace of mind to set up a camera system.

8. Do a safety check.

Old windows or locks could put you at risk for a break-in, so walk through our apartment safety checklist prior to leaving for your trip. Address any issues with your apartment community management so that your apartment is safe and sound while you’re gone.

Preparing your apartment can take a bit of time, but it can save you some headaches once you return home from your travels. And if you’re sick of traveling so much? Maybe it’s time to move closer to the activities and people you love most! If you’re ready for a change, find apartments for rent with ApartmentSearch. Our apartment locator tools can help you find just the place so you can start the year exactly where you want to be!

Source: blog.apartmentsearch.com

7 Expenses To Never Put On A Credit Card

Don’t Finance Furniture, Skip Wedding Debt, And More

Don’t Finance Furniture, Skip Wedding Debt, And MoreOh, credit cards. You either love them or you hate them.

For me, I love them. I love the credit card rewards that come along with responsible credit card usage.

However, I know I’m not the norm.

I’ve seen the mess that credit cards have brought upon others, so I know that not everyone feels the same way as I do.

Irresponsible credit card usage can lead to high interest charges, late fees, and a ruined credit score.

It can also lead to a person spending much more money than they originally planned for. By signing up for financing or paying for a purchase with a credit card, it may make the item seem more “affordable” due to the fact that you aren’t paying for it with money that you already have.

Just because the monthly payment seems “doable,” it doesn’t mean that it’s what’s best for you. Debt can lead to stress, a paycheck to paycheck lifestyle, delayed retirement, and more.

These are all things that no one wants, especially if there are other ways around it!

Side note: Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. If you know how to take advantage of certain financing offers then you may be able to come out ahead. However, if you know that you are not good at handling credit cards and debt, then it may be best to avoid them completely and to not finance the items that I have listed in this blog post.

Below are several items you should never finance or put on a credit card unless you are 100% positive that you can pay them off in full before any interest charges or fees accrue.

1. Furniture.

Earlier this year we bought a few new furniture pieces after we moved to Colorado. The salesman kept saying that we could just finance everything and then we wouldn’t have to feel the pain of spending money all at once.

This is a horrible idea! Furniture can be quite expensive and it can be very easy to have a large bill after leaving a furniture store. No matter how enticing those furniture financing offers may be, please remember that you will have to pay for the FULL cost eventually. Too many get caught up when they think about the monthly payments, but it’s the full cost that is important.

If you don’t believe me when I say that financing furniture is a bad idea, read more about it on my friend Lance’s blog post Financing Furniture At 0% Is For Suckers.

2. Wedding expenses.

Having a wedding can be fun, but it is not worth it to start out your life with your new spouse in debt. Wedding debt can cause arguments, stress, financial problems, and more.

Weddings can be expensive or they can be affordable. A wedding can be done on any budget, no matter how low your budget may be. Remember, you can get married just for the cost of a marriage license!

Related: How To Save Thousands On An Engagement Ring

3. Medical bills.

Medical bills are something that no one wants to experience. However, they do happen. Before you resort to putting your medical bills on a credit card, you should contact the hospital and see if you can receive any applicable discounts for paying in cash. Then, ask if you can be placed on a payment plan through the hospital.

Yes, that means that you will still have a monthly payment. However, your interest rate is most likely going to be much lower when paying the hospital directly rather than paying the high interest rate that your credit card charges.

4. Vacations.

I bring this true story up a lot, but it is one that still shocks me every time I think about it. I know someone who uses their student loans to pay for vacations and they have even bought a few timeshares with their student loans as well.

This is a horrible idea!

A vacation is supposed to be that – a vacation. I couldn’t imagine that a vacation would be relaxing at all if you were paying interest on it for months or years to come.

There are many ways to have an affordable vacation without any debt. I recommend checking out my post How To Save Money On Hotels And Go On More Vacations for more information.

Related: How To Get Rid Of A Timeshare – Stop Wasting Your Money!

5. College costs.

Recently, someone approached me and asked if they should put their college tuition on a credit card or if they should apply for student loans.

The credit card had an interest rate of around 20%, so you can only imagine how shocked I was when the college’s financial office was actually recommending this.

Before you put any college expenses on a credit card, you should think about how much that large interest rate is going to impact you. Plus, your college will most likely charge you a fee for putting college costs onto a credit card as well (such as 2% or 3%), which can quickly add up as well.

Related: How I Paid Off $40,000 In Student Loans In 7 Months

6. Clothing.

Numerous clothing stores now offer credit cards. They lure you in with a free item, $25 off, 5% off, or something else that is relatively small.

If you are not good with credit cards, please ignore these offers! The small reward you may receive is not worth the trouble.

Clothing never needs to be financed. If you’re desperate, you could always visit a thrift store for the items you need. However, I don’t know of many instances where a person would be so desperate for clothing that they would need the debt that goes along with it.

7. Down payments.

If you can’t pay for a down payment upfront, you most definitely do not want to put it on a credit card with a high interest rate.

This is due to the fact that you will have to pay for interest charges for months or years to come. It most likely will not make whatever you are paying for worth it if you are paying an extremely high interest rate.

It’s much better to save up cash for the down payment that you are needing.

What do you think of financing the above items with a credit card? What else should a person never finance?

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Source: makingsenseofcents.com