Tips for First Time Renters

leaseAre you looking to rent an apartment for the first time and feeling overwhelmed? Here’s a great list of tips we’ve compiled to help you through the process:

1.       Do Your Homework

Before calling a landlord or going to a showing, be sure you have researched the location and its amenities as well as the surrounding area. Conduct your investigation thoroughly. If you require transportation, a parking space or a pet friendly location, inquire about these specifics before moving forward.

2.       Talk to the neighbors

If possible, before you speak with the landlord, ask around the premise to see how other tenants feel about the apartment complex. The best resource you’ll find in apartment searching is current residents: they’ll have all the ups and downs you need to know.

3.       Act Confident

Once you do make contact with the landlord or the community, speak with confidence. Write yourself a list of notes as a reference and stand up for yourself, but don’t be pushy either. This also applies for when you go see the apartment.

4.       Ask questions

You are your greatest advocate, so ask questions if you have them. Often first time renters are too shy to question management or potential neighbors, but if you don’t ask, no one else will.

5.       Don’t go over budget

Even though you may love the park side apartment with three bedrooms, if its out of your price range, you must resist. Whatever you do, don’t go over budget. Your stress and anxiety will increase if you have to scrape for every dollar just to live on your own.

6.       Actually read the lease

Once you’ve chosen an ideal location and you are handed the leasing contract, actually read it. Don’t skim it. Don’t show it to your dog. Read the contract and be sure you understand everything contained within it.

7.       Take Inventory

When the time comes that you move in, the first thing you should do is document every scratch, loose floor board and dented appliance on paper and in pictures so whenever you move out, you aren’t held accountable for previous damages.

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Shipping Do’s and Don’ts

For anyone sending a package to a friend, relative or client, the do’s and don’ts of this process might seem confusing because shipping companies don’t often have a definitive list. Because they’re focused on mailing safety, as they should be, this creates a gap in the information consumers are seeking out. Never fear, we’re here to help solve that problem. Here is a surefire list of do’s and don’ts for anyone sending packages:



  • Do make the package secure – Be sure to use proper packing tape and seal all possible entry points. A single or double piece of tape should secure the opening—any more can be excessive and challenging to open later.
  • Do print your own labels – When possible, print your labels instead of writing them on a piece of paper. This prevents potential damage to the paper and also gives your shipping a level of professionalism.
  • Do use enough postage – Different areas of the country / world require various amounts of postage, and this can be skewed by the weight of your package. To ensure delivery, add additional postage just in case.
  • Do use reliable carriers – Research pricing and options from the carrier companies out there and cross reference these facts with the details of your package. Some carriers are better for small packages while others are best for refrigerated shipping. Inform yourself before shipping.



  • Don’t use packing peanuts – Although these once were a staple of shipping products, it can be messy and doesn’t fully support the package contents. Instead, use air puffed packing bags for a more secure fit.
  • Don’t ship a box that’s half full – Leaving out packing material can create spaces in your package that could create a void where damage can happen. Pack your items to the top of the box to minimize damage potential.
  • Don’t reuse materials – This is in response to popped bubble wrap, deflated air bags or weakened boxes. So long as the materials are pristine, you can reuse them. But as a general rule, try to use new materials.
  • Don’t mishandle the package – It goes without saying that you shouldn’t abuse the packaged item or the box it’s contained within. Treat the package with the gentle care of a newborn baby.

With all this information, you should be able to ship with confidence as you please around the block or around the globe.

10 Best Off-Campus Student Housing

For students seeking a home away from campus, several needs factor into their decision. Sometimes the best location depends on the amenities, other time it’s because of the price. It could also be ease of access to the campus itself or the surrounding nightlife. Here are the top 10 schools for migrating off-campus and what draws students to the communities:


Brigham Young University- With some of the cheapest per-month payments for single apartments and it’s convenient location, students can live off campus without getting lost in the wilderness.

James Madison University- Their variety of homes, apartments, condos and the amenities expected from southern hospitality, JMU’s clear and helpful portal will help students find the location of their dreams.

Virginia Tech- Helpful message boards connect potential roommates, buyers and sellers of furniture and their extensive property management program gives these students the edge.

Clemson- Having the option to live close to campus or out on your own provides students the foresight to choosing the right housing—as does their roommate finder system.

University of Florida- The Gator Guide is a prime tool for knowing the ins and outs of off-campus living from transportation schedules to tips for apartment hunting.

Georgia Southern University- The price is right at this university for living off campus, in fact it’s cheaper than living on campus and better yet, the housing comes furnished more often than not.

McGill University- These gorgeous locations in Montreal offer a city feel that campus bound students might otherwise miss.

Utah State University- Living off campus here is only a hop, skip and jump away from the university’s main location and the pricing is incredibly affordable.

University of California- Davis- The local atmosphere is a major plus for these off campus students and the selection of apartments doesn’t hurt either.

University of Southern Florida- Apartments with pools, clubs and parks makes deciding to live off campus here an easy choice.–campus-housing/top-best-off–campus-housing-options/