Get Your Finances in Check: How to Save Money as a Renter

Woman counting cash with a planner on her desk

Did you treat-yo-self a little too hard? Getting back on track after overdoing the retail therapy can be a daunting-but-necessary task! Make staying within budget a little easier on yourself by leveraging these little-known ways to save money as a renter.

1. Modify Your Renters Insurance

You do have renters insurance, right? As a renter, it’s one of the most critical items in your apartment life toolkit! It’s a relatively small but necessary (and sometimes legally required) expense that can help protect you financially in case of apartment mishaps.

However, having renter’s insurance doesn’t mean you should settle for any policy! Take some time to review your policy now, asking the following questions as you go.

  • Can you afford a higher deductible (which lowers your premiums)?
  • Does shopping around for the best deal uncover an equally good but less effective provider?
  • Will paying annually save you money compared to paying more frequently throughout the year?

2. Meal Prep

Going out to eat is delicious and convenient, but it can also be over-indulgent in calories and costs! If your foodie ways interfere with your finances, get in touch with your inner chef, and prepare meals in the comfort of your own home. And there’s more than the financial benefit to consider: eating home-cooked meals makes people happier and healthier, says!

Bonus foodie tip: Retain your grocery receipt, highlight perishable foods, and stick it on your fridge or in another prominent spot. This helps make sure you consume those foods before they go bad. The average American wastes about one pound of food per day; use this tip to ensure that you “waste not, want not!”

3. Sign Up for the Apartment Gym

Working out at a fancy gym is excellent. They have the latest equipment, friendly faces, and TVs you can watch while sweating your way through a treadmill workout!

Unfortunately, such gyms also come with membership fees, either monthly or annually. If your apartment complex has a small gym area, you can likely get a pretty good workout there. To supplement it, consider walking or jogging through the neighborhood and doing bodyweight exercises in a nearby park.

4. Team Up on Laundry

If you’re currently using coin-operated laundry machines, then you understand how quickly the costs add up. It’s as if the washer and dryer devour quarters! Worse yet, you pay the same for a small load as you do for a large load. However, you can overcome this particular type of money madness by teaming up with a roommate to combine hampers and get the most out of your money.

Alternatively, if your apartment has an in-unit washer and dryer — use it wisely! Combine your and your roommate’s different laundry loads — linens, lights, and darks — to get the most out of every wash.

5. Reconsider Your Internet Service

When it comes to figuring out how renters can save money, many people overlook their internet service. For a good reason: many people consider access to the internet a must. Less crucial, however, is paying more for blazing fast internet speeds and higher data limits than you need.

  • Look into a cheaper internet plan and offset data caps by borrowing DVDs and Blu-rays from the local library instead of streaming.
  • Listen to podcasts for any background noise you usually use the TV to provide.
  • See if your employer offers a stipend for internet access.
  • Get quotes from competing internet providers and ask your current provider to match them…or else!

6. Find a More Affordable Apartment

Is rent consuming a considerable portion of your monthly pay? In that case, finding a more affordable apartment can be one of the most straightforward ways to save money and stay on-budget! Start searching for a new apartment that’s priced to please!


The Best Places to Live in Montana in 2021

The Big Sky State. The Last Best Place. The Treasure State. Montana’s nicknames alone make it sound like a pretty nice place to live.

If you’re considering a move to Montana, you’re probably wondering in which of the state’s nice places is best for you to live. Big city or small town? Mountains or plains? Rivers or lakes? We’re here to provide our list of the best places to live in Montana so that you can choose the right relocation spot for you.

Let’s dive into the best cities in Montana:

Belgrade, MT.

Belgrade is a bedroom community to the larger, more in-demand Bozeman and is mostly populated by people who work in Bozeman, Big Sky or the surrounding areas. Its primary draw is the slightly more affordable housing (compared with Bozeman) and easy access to all of Bozeman’s amenities.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t reasons for staying within the city limits. Spend an afternoon inline skating, biking or walking the 4.5-mile Valley Center Trail. Or pop into the taproom at Madison River Brewing Company for a taste of Belgrade’s local brews.

Don’t miss the Belgrade Community Market, a local farmers market showcasing some of the finest in homemade, handmade and homegrown.

Big Sky, MT, one of the best places to live in montana

If you’re looking for a quaint little ski town with beauty to spare, Big Sky is an excellent choice. Located about halfway between West Yellowstone and Bozeman, Big Sky is best-known for its ample recreational opportunities.

Hike, bike or horseback ride the Gallatin Crest Trail, raft or fish the Gallatin River or strap on your skis for some turns at Big Sky Resort or — if you’re lucky enough to know someone on the inside — the ultra-exclusive Yellowstone Club.

Billings, MT.

Billings is the largest city in Montana. Known as “The City Beneath the Rimrocks,” thanks to the surrounding sandstone formations by the same name, Billings started as a railroad town in 1882.

Situated in the south-central portion of Montana, Billings is the seat of Yellowstone County. It is particularly well-known for its booming oil economy, large medical sector and affordable housing. Thanks to these characteristics and many others, Billings is one of Livability’s Best Places to Live.

Bozeman, MT, one of the best places to live in montana

Bozeman has gotten a lot of press lately — and for a good reason. Once a sleepy little cow town in Southwest Montana, Bozeman has blown up to become the state’s technology and cultural mecca. Currently, it’s one of the fastest-growing towns in America and is sometimes called “Boz-Angeles” to reflect that growth.

Known within Montana as “the most livable place,” Bozeman boasts excellent schools, a nationally-recognized public research university (Montana State University), easy access to a small yet well-connected airport, a strong job market and a vibrant, young, family-centric community.

Bozeman is currently experiencing a population boom, so homes are tough to come by and rental prices are higher than virtually anywhere else in the state.

Thanks to the incredible influx of people in the Bozeman area, the cost of living is also higher here than in many other parts of Montana. Still, you’ll get a break on utilities. The city ranks 16.1 percent lower than the national average when it comes to affordability for energy services. It’s also one of the cheapest cities for cellphone plans.

Butte, MT.

Nicknamed “Butte America” for the role Butte’s super-productive copper mines played in powering America during the early 1900s, this city was once “The Richest Hill on Earth.”

While Butte is no longer the mining powerhouse it once was, and the most notable remnant of those glory days is the Berkeley Pit, Butte maintains a rough-and-tumble attitude.

Today the city is known for its assortment of quirky, historic establishments (Anthony Bourdain once shot an episode in Butte’s Pekin Noodle Parlor, the oldest continuously-operating Chinese restaurant in America). Butte is also home to Montana Tech, the premier STEM university in the Big Sky State.

Come for the old-fashioned western hospitality, stay for the affordable homes and high quality of life.

Columbia Falls, MT, one of the best places to live in montana

Columbia Falls is a one-time mining and logging community turned residential location. The town is just minutes from the ultra-popular resort destination of Whitefish.

The biggest draw of Columbia Falls is its recreation. Residents are just minutes from the North, South and Middle Forks of the Flathead River, as well as the larger Main Fork, below where the three rivers converge. You’re also only about 20 minutes from the entrance to Glacier National Park.

The views of the Columbia Mountain Range provide a dramatic backdrop for this little city.

Great Falls, MT.

Straddling the banks of the Missouri River, Great Falls is a history buff’s dream-come-true. The city is home to the C.M. Russel Museum of cowboy art. You’ll also find numerous exhibits dedicated to the Lewis and Clark Expedition, which passed through the area now known as Great Falls and the adjacent Giant Springs State Park.

Even if history isn’t your thing, you’ll love the natural beauty, affordable housing, strong job market and quality schools Great Falls offers its residents.

Helena, MT, one of the best places to live in montana

Helena is the state capital of Montana. A friendly, mid-sized arts community boasting stunning mountain views and some serious history, Helena is an excellent place to live, work and play.

Home to Carroll College, a private, four-year Catholic college, Helena offers great schools and higher education opportunities, excellent jobs (the state government is a major employer) and plenty of outdoor recreation opportunities.

Kalispell, MT.

Kalispell is essentially a suburb of Whitefish and serves as a gateway to Glacier National Park. The city shares an economy with Whitefish and is mainly inhabited by families that work in Whitefish but don’t want to pay the high real estate prices the in-demand “Fish” commands.

Kalispell is home to good schools and a quaint downtown filled with 19th-century buildings housing unique shops, pubs and breweries. Don’t miss Frosty the Brewfest, a popular winter festival where you can jam to live music while enjoying craft beers in a heated tent.

Missoula, MT, one of the best places to live in montana

When people familiar with Missoula think of the area, three things come to mind: rivers, farmers markets and mountains.

The second-largest city in Montana, Missoula sits at the convergence of five separate western Montana mountain ranges and is known as “the hub of five valleys.” The city is along the Clark Fork of the Columbia River, near where it meets the Bitterroot and Blackfoot Rivers. As such, it’s one of America’s best cities for fishing.

Rents are reasonable here, the job market is strong and there’s plenty to do for both individuals and families alike.

Find your own best place to live in Montana

Montana is truly the last best place, and it’s an excellent state to live, work and play. Ready to make the transition? Let us help you find your way home.


Budget-Friendly At-Home Valentine’s Date Ideas

women holding hands at homeMoney can’t buy love, but all the fancy Valentine’s date nights on your social media feeds may lead you to lose sight of this truth. Show your love this year without going over-budget with these at-home Valentine’s Day ideas that are guaranteed to please your main squeeze!

Create an At-Home Spa

Going to a spa is an expensive endeavor. Creating one at home is an affordable way to set a mood and create an environment of relaxation and peace. Opt for a relaxing bath or DIY massage coupled with candles, relaxing tunes, and fragrant essential oils or Epsom salts. Then, pamper your partner with a foot or back rub, and top things off with a sheet mask or facial treatment and a glass of wine. You and your relationship will feel refreshed and reinvigorated the day after!

Valentine’s Dinner Ideas

Food is love, and there’s no better way to show that love than by cooking up a special meal for that special someone. Think outside the box and experiment with a new recipe, an indoor picnic, or even more creative, a fondue for two! There’s just something romantic about chocolate fondue, and when you don’t have to leave home to enjoy it, that’s a bonus.

Borrow this DIY fondue night tutorial from Forkly for a deliciously melty dinner that’s sure to satisfy. To amp up the romance factor, create playlists for each other ahead of time and listen to the songs while you dip into your culinary creations. And pro tip? Make it a tech-free evening, keeping phones and even the TV off-limits for Valentine’s night.

Plan a Scavenger Hunt

A DIY scavenger hunt can take a bit of planning, but it costs next to nothing and practically guarantees a good time! Plus, with some creative thinking, your scavenger hunt can be confined to the four walls of your studio apartment or the four corners of your neighborhood!

Hide meaningful notes and trinkets in a few strategic locations, along with clues to the next treasure — the clues can be brain-teasers, inside jokes, or riddles that your partner has to figure out to get to the last stop — YOU!

Host a Movie Night

Is it a little cliche? Yes, but for good reason — it’s one of the best ways to spend the night when done correctly. Instead of just plopping on the couch with no plan like a typical TV night, make it romantic and fun creating a lineup of your partner’s favorite shows and episodes or a movie that holds special significance in your relationship. Whatever you do, add in those special touches — maybe even prepare your partner’s favorite binge-watching snack — to show just how much you care.

Learn a New Craft Together

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been in a relationship for years or you’re spending your first Valentine’s Day together. Learning something new is a great way to connect. Whether it’s knitting or wine-and-watercolor painting, you’re guaranteed to find a tutorial online that will guide you through this adventure and provide a Valentine’s Day full of crafting. The best part is that if you make a mistake, you’re both in it together.

Ready to Fall In Love with Your Home?

Does spending time at home feel more like a feat than a treat? In that case, you may want to consider moving into a different apartment that you can feel proud of! Find a place with plenty of room to entertain, make dinner, and enjoy with ApartmentSearch.


The Only Apartment Cleaning Guide You’ll Ever Need

Cleaning your apartment can quickly become an overwhelming task, but if you build a routine schedule of what to clean and when, it becomes a little easier.

Even with a small apartment, cleaning is daunting, especially if you’re not a Type-A personality. If only we could all have a cleaning company.

From deep cleaning to everyday chores, this apartment cleaning guide will show you what to clean, how to clean it and those quick hacks that will make your life easier.

dusting floor

Everyday apartment cleaning chores

Leaving all the cleaning to one day of the month won’t help you stay on top of things. It would help if you started building cleaning habits that you put into action every day. Here are a few cleaning tips that will help you do a little every single day.

Clean as you go

The key to this is to ‘put it away when you’re done with it.’ If you’re walking by your living room, fold up the blankets, take any clothes to your laundry hamper and quickly puff up your throw pillows.

If you go to the bedroom to get something, grab the laundry hamper and start a load of laundry or bring your laptop or books, you left in the kitchen with you.

When you’re in the bathroom, check the trash can, open the shower curtain to let it air out and keep a box of disinfecting wipes on top of the toilet so you can quickly clean the sink as you’re standing there. Any spills that sit overnight will be harder to clean later. It all takes a few minutes and will shave off time spent on cleaning every weekend.

Concentrate on one room

While you’re in the kitchen cooking dinner, start cleaning all countertops as you wait for the water to begin boiling or empty the dishwasher so you can start to load it as soon as dinner is ready. Make a note to check the trash every night and take it out if it’s full.

If it’s the weekend and you have time, go ahead and work your way from top to bottom in the kitchen or bathroom. Start by clearing out any debris from countertops, backsplash, reorganizing and then clean the floors.

Keep a cleaning tote

A quick hack is to have cleaning wipes nearby for the kitchen and bathroom so you can quickly do the task at hand. If you have to think about it, you’ll procrastinate. But another similar hack is to have a cleaning tote.

As you move from room to room, you can take the tote with you — include rags, cleaning sprays, sponges, dusters and anything else you use to deep clean.

deep cleaning

How to deep clean your apartment

Sometimes, despite cleaning a little every day, those tough stains stick around, and you have to call in reinforcements. You can get rid of weird smells and avoid deep scrubbing with a few household items — some of them are pantry items, too!

Clean your dishwasher monthly

Dishwashers need to be cleaned too! You’re putting dirty plates, grease and so much more every time you run a cycle and mildew, or food residue will build up over time. Luckily it’s easy to do — no scrubbing need it. First, run a wash cycle with a small dish of white vinegar placed on the dishwasher’s top shelf to sanitize the interior.

Once that’s done, sprinkle baking soda along the bottom of the dishwasher to deodorize the inside and run another wash cycle.

Deodorize your garbage disposal

A foul-smelling garbage disposal can indeed linger in the air and make your clean apartment smell terrible. A quick hack using lemons and white vinegar can help you get rid of it. Use an ice cube tray, fill each one with white vinegar and tiny lemon chunks, and then wait for it to freeze.

When needed, drop one of the frozen cubes in and run warm water for a minute or so while the disposal is on.

No bending required to clean that oven

After that frozen pizza you made, your oven looks extra greasy dirty. But who wants to spend a few hours bent down to scrub off grease and gunk in the range? You can clean your oven while you do other kitchen tasks. If you know your oven model, check the internet for cleaning instructions or follow these instructions.

  1. Preheat your oven to 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, set a medium-sized pot of water to boil on the stovetop. Once the oven preheats, turn it off. If you have a gas stove, make sure the pilot light extinguishes as soon as you have finished preheating the oven.
  2. Once your oven is preheated, and the water is boiling, pour one cup of ammonia (use gloves!) into a shallow baking dish and place it on the top rack of your oven. Place the pot of boiling water on the bottom shelf.
  3. Leave it in there for a minimum of three hours
  4. Once the ammonia has had enough time to loosen any messes inside the oven, remove the ammonia and water. Add a small amount of dish soap to the ammonia, and use the soapy ammonia mixture and a sponge to wipe away any grease or grime. It should be relatively easy since the ammonia loosened the stains.

Don’t forget about your other appliances

While the stove is always top of mind for cleaning, don’t forget about your other appliances. It’s still good to empty the refrigerator, check expiration dates and give the shelves a good scrub with a little dish soap and a sponge. Or grab a disinfecting spray and clean the inside of the microwave — those greasy stains can go everywhere.

If you have a coffee machine, fill the reservoir with half white vinegar and half water and run the brew cycle to get rid of any mildew that may be building up in there.

Other things to deep clean

As you wait for things to soak, here are a few things you can quickly do as you move from room to room.

  • Walk around with your disinfecting spray and clean all the doorknobs, light switches, handles and faucets to eliminate any lingering bacteria.
  • Throw your shower curtain in the shower with some OxiClean or half a cup of baking soda and half a cup of laundry detergent to get rid of any mold.
  • Clean the toilet seat and the bowl. Add a cleaning pod to the toilet tank to get any remaining things off in the next few flushes. Keep a little cleaning station next to the toilet to make the task easier.
  • Change your bedsheets and drop the other ones in the washer along with the rest of your laundry.
  • Walk around with the duster and clean all picture frames, surfaces, windowsills, coffee tables and even around the TV.
  • Don’t forget to vacuum under the couch and bed and move furniture around to get every corner of your rug clean.
  • If you have a fan, don’t skip the ceiling fan blades. Grab a damp dust cloth, start from the center and wipe out to catch everything in your fabric.
  • If you have a work station, grab a disinfecting wipe and clean your keyboard, mouse and other desk surfaces. Use a keyboard cleaner to remove any crumbs or dust.

cleaning schedule

Create an apartment cleaning schedule

It’s OK if you don’t dust your shelves and scrub your countertops daily. Many of us don’t have the time to stay on top of these cleaning tasks. But building a routine through a schedule can help!

Here’s a sample schedule that covers some weekly basics, and then you can leave deep cleaning for Saturdays.

  • Monday: Sweep and mop hard surfaces
  • Tuesday: Scrub the toilet and shower
  • Wednesday: Wipe down the refrigerator and oven
  • Thursday: Wash the bedroom linens
  • Friday: Dust furniture and clean windows

Apartment cleaning doesn’t have to be awful

Building your cleaning habits takes a few tries, but once you get to know your apartment and know precisely what demands your attention every day, cleaning will get a little easier. From building a daily schedule to picking up as you go, these cleaning tips will help you get your apartment sparkling clean and not just for spring.


Working From Your Apartment? Top Amenities to Look For

Man sitting at office desk sipping from a mug and looking at a computerWorking from home was still considered a bit taboo and somewhat of a privilege for many people until recently. According to this Gartner survey, at least 80% of surveyed company leaders plan to allow employees to continue remote work — at least part-time. Research has shown us that employee happiness and productivity seem to be highest when workers are allowed to stay at home rather than commute to an office. This trend isn’t likely to disappear anytime soon.

Alongside this, many people are relocating since they now have the flexibility to work from almost anywhere. Apartment communities are paying close attention to this boom and have begun offering additional incentives to potential tenants for choosing to rent a space within their community. So, what are some of the most popular amenities being offered to those who find themselves working from an apartment?

Enhanced Concierge Services

These add-on services are not necessarily a new thing for some higher-end properties. But now that more people are working from home, concierge services are quickly becoming more of an essential rather than a luxury. Having a service dedicated to tenants for things like fetching food orders, laundry, dog walking, and package retrieval is a perk that apartment communities may offer to accommodate their WFH tenants further.

Built-in Nooks

Many apartment complexes now offer work areas or small alcoves within the apartments themselves that can be used for a dedicated home office setup. These nooks sometimes come already equipped with a built-in desktop space or a collapsible desk shelf. They’re usually furnished with power outlets and added extras like USB plug-ins so that you can keep your devices charged and ready to go at all times.

Co-Working Spaces

Apartments with coworking spaces are already pretty commonplace in most newer apartment complexes. Still, some are offering computers, printers, larger open areas with desks, comfy couches, and conference-style rooms for tenants to work privately. This trend started as a way to encourage human interaction between people who work from home. It may still be offered in some communities, taking into account social distancing and health guidelines.

Garden-Style Apartments

Working from home may be less stressful than going to an office every day, but we all need to take time out for relaxation. Garden apartments are unique compared to concrete highrise apartments and may allow for a more zen-like work from home experience. They’re typically surrounded by lush greenery and sometimes genuine gardens that can provide a sense of calm after a long day of work.

Pre-Furnished Apartments

If you’re looking for the ideal pad for a digital nomad-lifestyle, finding furnished apartments or temporary furniture for your next short-term destination is a must! After all, without quality furniture, you won’t be comfortable in your temporary space, and buying new furniture after each move is a quick way to put a dent in your savings account!

Turn to CORT for help decking out your new, temporary digs with whole-apartment furniture rental. We’ll turn any place into a furnished space, setting up your stuff before you move in and picking it up at the end of the lease.

Upgrade Your WFH Lifestyle

Whether you’re working from home in a small apartment part-time or full-time, it’s essential to have a relaxing and comfortable living space. From built-in office nooks to dedicated co-working spaces, apartment complexes are finding new ways to get remote workers’ business. Find available apartment units that fit your needs with ApartmentSearch. Check out our free search tool today!


Estoppel Certificates: What to Do if You Get One?

Let’s say you’re living in your apartment. You pay your rent on time, your landlord is great and responsive and everything is fine. Then, out of the blue, one day you receive an estoppel certificate or estoppel letter. It looks a lot like a legal document and you wonder what it is, what it means and if you’re required to sign it?

What is an estoppel certificate?

“An estoppel certificate is a signed statement usually by a tenant (either residential or commercial) certifying as true particular facts related to the lease,” said Joseph Hernandez, partner and chair of the Florida-based real estate practice group, Weiss Serota Helfman Cole & Bierman.

What do I do if I get an estoppel certificate from my landlord?

An estoppel certificate is usually required of a tenant when the leased property nearly sells.

In some cases, it’s required when property finance occurs. According to Hernandez, “A purchaser of an apartment building with 50 units would want to have the assurance that all tenants are paying their rent, there’s no dispute between the tenant and landlord, no defaults, deposits have been made, etc.”

Signing a contract.

Do you need to respond and sign an estoppel certificate?

Responding to and signing an estoppel certificate depends on your lease agreement.

“In many cases, the lease agreement requires the tenant to respond and sign an estoppel within a certain number of days if he/she is ever asked to sign a tenant estoppel. As such, it is often mandatory,” said Hernandez.

It doesn’t mean that if your lease does not contain a covenant to sign an estoppel certificate that you’re off the hook or you won’t have to respond to one. If you’re not sure about your obligations, it is important to review the lease or having counsel look at it and determine what the lease requires.

“Even if it is not required under the lease, it is still usually a good idea to cooperate,” Hernandez says. “If there are defaults or other issues that must be disclosed in the estoppel certificate, a tenant may need to seek counsel to assist in responding to such a request. It may be advisable for a tenant to seek legal counsel for assistance with determining what facts are in existence and reviewing the language for the estoppel certificate.”

What does an estoppel letter contain?

If a landlord is selling an apartment building, the purchaser would likely include a provision in the purchase agreement requiring the landlord to provide tenant estoppel certificates from all tenants before closing. The reason is so the buyer can have the assurance that tenants pay rent and there are no default issues.

“The rental income is critical to an owner of an apartment building as it determines the value of the property and it determines if, and how much, financing is available on the property,” added Hernandez.

For this reason, an estoppel certificate usually contains a statement of certain important facts such as the dates the lease began, expiration date, whether rent is up to date, the amount of rent, any options to renew or extend the lease, any subleases and their terms and so on.

The estoppel certificate usually contains language stating that the purchaser/lender is relying upon the tenant’s confirmation of the statements in the certificate.

Reviewing a document.

What happens if I don’t respond to an estoppel certificate?

Tenants rights lawyer Joseph Tobener with California-based Tobener Ravenscroft LLP agrees that tenants must fill out an estoppel document when the lease requires the tenant to do so. What if you don’t respond to an estoppel certificate?

“A tenant with a lease that requires completion of an estoppel would be in breach of lease for failing to complete and return an estoppel,” said Tobener.

That’s not to say you must always respond and sign an estoppel document.

“In certain jurisdictions with rent control, a tenant would not be considered in breach if the tenant did not fill out an estoppel,” Tobener said, “A tenant on an oral lease does not have to complete an estoppel.”

If your lease does need you to complete an estoppel certificate, you will have some days in which you have to return it. However, a tenant does not have to use the form provided. “Instead, a tenant can just submit an unsigned Word document entitled estoppel, answering only those questions that the tenant feels comfortable answering,” Tobener said.

Reasons to complete an estoppel certificate

Is there ever a good reason a tenant will want to complete an estoppel certificate? There are three circumstances in which a tenant would want to cooperate:

  • Your lease requires it
  • When the tenant wants a new owner to know of any oral agreements the tenant made with the prior landlord such as storage, pets
  • If local rent control has special protections for disabled tenants

If a tenant is in a jurisdiction with rent control, it is important to get expert advice before submitting the estoppel.

“An estoppel certificate is a document that allows a new, prospective landlord to learn about a tenancy in advance of purchasing a tenant-occupied building,” said Tobener, “It is also a chance for a tenant to fill in a new landlord on the details of a tenancy.”

To that end, the facts included in the document are important and accuracy is key.

“Any party seeking an estoppel certificate — whether it is a purchaser or lender — must be able to rely on the facts in the estoppel as the basis for its decision of whether to complete the purchase or close the loan,” said Hernandez, “It is important that any tenant asked to complete an estoppel certificate be extremely careful as to the accuracy of included facts because a landlord or purchaser could rely on the representations as true to its detriment and seek legal recourse against the signer if a certified fact turns out to be false or inaccurate.”

Estoppel certificates and your lease

Bottom line, if you receive a request to submit an estoppel certificate or estoppel letter, review your lease agreement. If it’s required, it’s important to complete the certificate in an accurate, timely manner while understanding it’s a binding document.

The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal or financial advice. Readers are encouraged to seek professional legal or financial advice as they may deem it necessary.


Should You Get a Master’s Degree While Working Full Time?

Professor lecturing in front of students

If you’re interested in earning a master’s degree to help you stand out from the crowd, congratulations! It’s a big move that can make a significant difference in your career! However, just like a graduate degree can help you move up the corporate ladder, the amount of time and dedication required to get one may force you to take time off work.

If you want the best of both worlds, you may want to try studying while working full-time, but that’s easier said than done! Not sure that’s the right choice for you? Before you decide what to do, ask yourself the questions below — they’ll help you assess your options and prepare for your next big step!

Question #1: Do you feel comfortable asking for help?

Let’s be real: full-time school and full-time work will put a lot of stress on you. Sometimes, you won’t have an option but to ask for help — whether that’s asking your boss to cut you some slack or asking a professor for a deadline extension.

Are you the type of person willing and able to ask for help before small issues snowball into major problems? Consider this before you decide to stick with your job while going to grad school.

Question #2: Are you ready to do your — financial aid — homework?

Working full-time doesn’t mean you won’t qualify for financial aid, grants, and scholarships. However, it does mean that you’ll have to spend time studying your financial aid options before school even starts!

The following links provide advice and resources to help pay for grad school:

  • Types of Financial Aid
  • Financial Aid for Graduate School
  • Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Question #3: When and how will you tell your coworkers and supervisors?

It’s impossible to avoid conflict in your life. Often, the best course of action is to get out in front of potential issues. Accordingly, you’ll want to share your plan with your boss so that if and when a conflict between your studies and your job appears, it will be easier to call out and resolve. And let’s face it, what employer doesn’t love the idea of a hardworking associate striving to learn and achieve more?

A bonus: some employers offer partial or even total tuition reimbursement if the field of study is likely to positively influence your work performance (and their bottom-line). That would take the sting out of your efforts to get a master’s while working full time!

Question #4: Can you relax?

While juggling school and work, it can be hard to take a break, relax, and rejuvenate. Regardless, it’s an integral part of earning a master’s degree while working full-time or tackling any challenge.

Despite that, many people struggle to unplug and unwind! Knowing how and when to relax is a valuable skill and one that’s worth learning before you hop into working and studying simultaneously.

Question #5: Do you have the physical and mental bandwidth for grad school and work?

It’s time for a little introspection! Reflect on what your current work-life balance looks like — do you have plenty of time left after the 9-to-5 to hang out with friends, work out, and do the other things you’re passionate about? How many hours a week are you expecting to be at school or studying? Is it going to be manageable? Meditate on these things before you make any big decisions.

Having room left in your schedule for work, life, and studies is one thing — but having space in your home to complete your professional and academic projects is another! Look around your apartment and ask yourself, “Can I create a dedicated space for my studies?”

Whether you have a dedicated home office or an unused dining space that can be converted into one, having a physical room for concentration will help you conquer work and grad school. And if you need temporary furniture to transform a space for the duration of your academic pursuits, turn to CORT Furniture Rental for temporary office and bedroom furnishings.

An Easy A: Finding Your Next Place

Whether you decide to do grad school full-time while staying at work, work and study part-time, or quit work to go to pursue a different trade entirely — ApartmentSearch has your back. Find apartments that fit your budget wherever life takes you!


Tips for Dealing with Difficult Relatives During the Holidays

Older woman talking to girl with cookie in mouthIf you’ve been living solo for a while, the holiday season may mark the first time you’ll see your extended family in a long time. You may already be dreading spending your long weekends cooped up with nosy aunts and spoiled cousins!

Though we can’t give you your PTO back, we can help you maintain your sanity during family festivities. Keep your holiday season delightful— not dreadful — with these tips for dealing with difficult family members this holiday season.

Step up your self-care before, during, and after family time.

No matter how much you love your family, dealing with difficult relatives can be draining. Make sure you’re not pouring from an empty cup, so to speak, by giving yourself extra time for self-care practices in the time leading up to, during, and following family gatherings.

Step away from the group to do something that recharges you, like journaling, calling a friend, or taking a walk by yourself. The more depleted your mental energy becomes, the less likely you are to handle sticky family situations with grace, so make it a habit to check in with yourself and take a few minutes to recharge whenever you need to.

Steer the conversation with neutral topics and questions.

Maybe you don’t want to spend holidays with extended family because you know you’ll be dealing with your uncle’s political banter or listening to your cousin rehash the drama that happened at her sister’s wedding last summer.

Now is not the time for confrontation or “family therapy,” and fortunately, you can play a big part in keeping things light and fun. If you make an effort to steer the conversation, the likelihood of controversial topics arising in your discussions can diminish — at least somewhat.

Here are a few questions to ask your family at dinner to get things going (and stay in a safe conversational territory).

Neutral conversation-starters for family gatherings:

  • What’s your favorite memory from a past holiday?
  • What was your first job?
  • What was your wedding day like?
  • What do you remember about the days your children were born?
  • What’s your favorite place you’ve ever traveled to?
  • Have you seen any good movies or shows lately?
  • What’s something you’re excited about over the next few months?
  • What’s your favorite holiday tradition (or movie, or food, etc.)?
  • What’s something you’re grateful for?

If things still take a turn for the worst, you can say something like, “Let’s give the rest of the family the gift of a break from that topic, what do you say?” or be even more direct with “Let’s change the subject; I don’t want to discuss this.” Don’t be afraid to speak up!

Think about a response to personal questions in advance.

Your family is well-meaning, but sometimes they can ask questions you don’t want to answer. How are you supposed to reply to, “When are you getting married?” anyway?! While you can’t always anticipate what family members will ask, you can develop an effective way to divert nearly any personal question.

Think of a few things in your life that are going well right now — or at the very least, some topics you’d be willing to talk about with family — and change the subject to those things. For example, if someone springs a personal question about why you aren’t dating someone, you can chuckle and respond, “I don’t know about that. Hey, I got a promotion at work last month. I really love my work right now. How’s your job going?” If they persist or bring it up again, you can be more direct with a response like, “I’d prefer not to talk about that,” or you can remove yourself from the situation entirely, which leads us to our next tip…

Have an exit plan.

Sometimes, when you’re dealing with difficult family members, you need to step away. If you’re anticipating stressful situations, plan your getaway in advance. This can mean excusing yourself for a few moments of solitude in the bathroom, knowing when to return to your hotel for the night, or even being prepared to leave the situation entirely by packing up and heading home early. It’s okay to need some separation!

Limit or avoid time with family during the holidays altogether.

Speaking of separation, here’s the thing: if you don’t want to spend holidays with extended family, you don’t have to. You always have the option to do something completely different, like hosting a holiday dinner with nearby friends or neighbors. Of course, making your own plans for the holidays may come with consequences you don’t want to deal with (like hurt feelings), but in the end, it truly is YOUR decision whether you attend family gatherings.

If you’re not ready to give a big, hard “NO” to your family gatherings, consider a compromise. For example, you don’t have to schlep half your belongings to your parents’ house and essentially move back in with family for a week or two. Instead, cut your trip down to 2 or 3 days. You’ll still get to see everyone and celebrate, but you’ll save yourself from the depletion that comes from dealing with difficult family members for long periods.

Create a safe haven for yourself.

You can get through almost anything as long as you have something — or somewhere — else to look forward to, right? If you’re exhausted after spending the holidays with difficult relatives, ensure you’ll have a welcoming spot to come home to with ApartmentSearch. Use our apartment finder tool to claim your perfect place, complete with amenities, parking, and PRIVACY! Now, that’s fa-la-la-fabulous.