Category: Money Saving Tips
Energy Efficient Apartment Tips for Renters
While renting has many affordable benefits, such as not having to pay when your water heater suddenly breaks down, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to save a couple dollars every month. One of the easiest ways to do that is through your electric bill, since it might be one of the only bills in your apartment complex you can control. Woodlake Properties has outlined the easiest energy efficient apartment tips to lower your electric bills. While many of these tips will be especially helpful to first-time renters, they are useful to anyone looking to lessen their impact on the environment (and their wallet).
9 Tips to Lower Apartment Rental Electric Bills
Energy Efficient Light Bulbs: The very first thing you want to do is switch all every old incandescent lightbulb to more energy-efficient LED bulbs. While it will cost you more upfront the money, the savings on your electric bill is worth it in the long term.
Tip: If the bulbs are still working when you move out, take them with you!
Turn Off Fans & Lights: Our parents nagged us to death about turning off the lights in rooms that were unoccupied and you’ll thank them when you get your electric bill! Similarly, ceiling fans simply help to circulate existing air and are only necessary when someone is in the room.
Dishwasher Tips: Run the dishwasher at night to reduce your AC’s heat load. You can also shut off the heated dry, prop the door open and let your dishes air dry!
Washing Machine Tips: Almost every single detergent will dissolve in cold water, there is really no reason to use hot water any longer. Consider larger loads of laundry to reduce the number of times you’re running the machine each week.
Upgrade Thermostat: Replacing your outdated mechanical thermostat with a smart programmable thermostat allows you to set temperatures directly from your phone no matter where you are! Make sure to refer to your lease agreement if there are any stipulations in place before the installation.
Rugs on Hardwood Floors: If your apartment has hardwood floors throughout laying down area rugs in the winter months will help to see your place insulated and the warm air inside.
Fix Leaky Faucets/Running Toilets: Alert your landlord right away if you notice a constantly leaking faucet or running toilet as that is a huge waste of water and money on your water bill.
Draft-proof Outlets: On the first cold day of the season put your hand in front of every outlet to feel any drafts coming through. If so, purchase gasket plugs for all the drafty outlets to seal the air leak. Don’t worry, these are inexpensive and can easily be removed when you need to use the plug.
Avoid Phantom Power: When your cell phone charger, microwave and power strips are plugged in but not in use they’re still using energy and wasting your money. You’d be surprised at the difference it can make to unplug your coffee machine or Christmas tree when they’re not in use.
Everything Students Should Know about Dorms vs. Off Campus Housing
As college students prepare to embark on the next chapter of their lives, besides choosing your Philadelphia university, the hardest question may be where it is they’ll live. If the campus is close to home, you may stay living with your parents for the first year until you get adjusted to college life. But, if that is not a reasonable option, you have two choices: dorm or off campus housing. There are pros and cons to each option and the decision is ultimately yours to make. Woodlake Properties has highlighted the benefits of dorms and off campus housing in Philadelphia.
Benefits of Dorm Rooms
Close to Campus & Activities: Depending on the size of the campus, dorm rooms are usually within walking distance, or even biking, to class buildings, dining halls, libraries, recreational activities, clubs and campus events.
No Extra Expenses: Utilities, telephone, cable, electricity and water are all included in your room & board. All dorms also come fully furnished with a bed, dresser and desk. You’ll also purchase a dining package so all of your meals are included as well.
Security: All Philadelphia college campuses hire their own security to protect the safety of their students. Dorm buildings are also equipped with security cameras, student ID activated key locks and a variety of safety measures.
Benefits of Off Campus Housing
Options: You do not get to pick the dorm you stay in, you’re simply assigned one. But if you choose off campus housing, you get the luxury of deciding between a studio, 1 bedroom or 2 bedroom apartment, depending on your budget.
Privacy: Dorm rooms can sometimes get loud and rowdy, which makes difficult to study for your upcoming final. In your own off campus housing apartment, you’ll have the peace of mind knowing your space is quiet and without interruptions.
Stable Housing: During summer break and in-between semesters students must leave their dorm and find temporary housing until the campus opens up. With your own apartment, you’re locked into a lease agreement (6-month, 1 year) and do not have to pack up when the school year is out.
Less Restrictions: For the safety of their students and to promote a healthy living environment, dorm rooms enforce strict rules including curfews, room inspections and more. Off campus housing allows you to come and go as you please, as long as you comply with the apartment building policies.
Find Off Campus Housing in Philadelphia
Philadelphia has thousands of affordable off campus housing options available to students. Woodlake Properties has apartments for rent in the heart of Philadelphia, very close to campus, or a little further outside of the city in Bucks County, PA. Browse our website to see some of our available options and to book a tour!
Tips to Avoid Losing a Rental Security Deposit
If you’re about to move out of your apartment, you’re probably itching to get that rental security deposit back into your own bank account. But the question is looming over your head – will my landlord return my deposit? Even if you have the most amicable relationship with your landlord, it is important that you take all necessary precautions to ensure you retain your security deposit when the time comes to move out. Woodlake Properties has highlighted the best tips to make sure you get your full rental security deposit back when your lease is expired.
7 Ways to Ensure you Retain your Rental Security Deposit
Take photos & videos when you move in: Before moving any of your furniture into your place, go through every room and take photos and videos of everything. Make sure to store and save them with a time stamp. This way, when you move out your landlord can’t falsely claim damages against you, because you’ll have solid proof.
Document existing damages: After you’ve taken sufficient photos and videos, request a walk-through with your landlord. This will give you both an opportunity to properly document damages and keep them on file until it is time to move out.
Take photos & videos when you move out: Have proof that the apartment is just as clean and nice as the day you moved in (side by side images for comparison). Again, make sure they are clearly date & time stamped.
Clean the carpets: Invest a little bit of your own money to rent a professional carpet cleaner. This will remove deep down dirt and restore the carpets to brand new!
Don’t leave anything behind: If you do not want to bring something with you to your new place, donate it or throw it away. Do not let your landlord deal with getting rid of your personal belongings.
Restore the property: Put the property back to its original condition. This includes: patch holes from posters, paint to original color, fix any damages, clean everything top to bottom and clean the entire apartment thoroughly. This is especially important if you’re renting with dogs.
Ask for a final walk-through: After you’ve done all of the above, ask your landlord to walk through the apartment with you present. Use the walk-through sheet from your move-in walk through to ensure everything is in tip-top shape.
Keep your Apartment Down Payment
Retaining your security deposit at the end of your lease is usually a top priority for good-standing renters. Tenants are not perfect and accidents happen, but if you stick to the guidelines above, these tips should help you in getting back most or all of what you put down. If this is your first rental space, read the 10 Must-Ask Questions when Renting an Apartment. Tenants looking to rent an apartment in Philadelphia, call Woodlake Properties main office line to request a tour of our available spaces.