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The 7 step method to applying for an apartment ( AND GETTING APPROVED!)

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1. Fill out a rental application

Let’s start with the basics: the apartment application itself. If you are interested in a property, the next step is to reach out to property management by filling out a rental application. If you have a co-signer ( for Robert Hancock & co you may only have a co signer if you are a full time student) or plan on having roommates, they will also need to do the same. Essentially, every person planning to move in needs to fill out a separate lease application form. Most properties have online application forms, but you can also apply in person.

Each form is different from the other, but expect a typical rental application to require the following information:

  • photo ID
  • name
  • address
  • phone number(s)
  • email
  • employment and any income information
  • previous address
  • pets (if applicable)
  • emergency contacts
  • background information
  • landlord references
  • social security number ( RHC requires this for our credit and background checks)

 

2. Pay the apartment application fee

The application fee funds the credit and background checks done on potential renters. It essentially covers the screening cost of the applicant.

The rent application fee itself differs depending on various factors, such as the area, the building, or even the landlord.

In some cases, the application fee may be accompanied by processing fees. Ask your future property manager about all the applicable fees associated with the application process for the property you’re interested in. You can begin by asking what fees are refundable in case they decide to go with someone else.

REMINDER: Robert Hancock & Co properties require you pay your application fee(s) and deposit at the time you turn in your application.

 

3. Expect credit and background checks

The application process means you will most likely be asked to agree to background and credit checks.

Apartment background checks may go as far back in the past as a landlord deems necessary and they will usually focus on criminal history. It’s better to report any relevant background information.

A rental application credit check accounts for how financially responsible a potential tenant is. Are they a reliable person who pays rent on time? The easiest way of doing this is to check credit scores. Make sure to mention if you have bad credit or if you are still working on paying off past due bills.

 

4. Prove you can pay rent

An important part of the rental application process is providing proof of employment or income. Most landlords will ask for copies of tax returns, recent pay stubs or other forms of receipts from an employer.

Depending on your job, you may also provide recent bank statements or copies of one or two W-2 forms if need be.

Employment and credit checks usually take the longest, which is why most applications can take up to 72 hours or longer. Rental application process time also varies depending on the property, so make sure to check with them for the best estimate.

 

5. Figure out if you need a co-signer

A co-signer is a person with good credit who acts as a willing guarantor. If you have bad credit or insufficient credit history, he or she takes the legal responsibility of paying your rent in case you won’t.

Co-signers or guarantors may step in when first-time renters have no way of accounting for rental history or commitment to monthly rent and bill payments. You might need one in case your monthly income is less than three times the rent. You may also look at a co-signer as a way to strengthen your application and improve your chances of approval. Think of it as an additional referral.

REMINDER: Robert Hancock & Co properties only accept co-signers if the applicant is a full time student and doesn’t have sufficient income to be approved for the apartment.

 

6. Show them that you are an agreeable renter

Usually, landlords want to know from previous landlords what type of tenant you are. Were you a bit on the noisy side? Did you abide by the pet policy? All this typically comes in the form of a letter from the former landlord.

Although typically not required, you might want to think about attaching a landlord reference to the application as another way to improve your chances of approval or simply to set yourself apart from the other applicants. For some properties, you might even find it mandatory to do so.

 

 

7. Sign the lease

You’ve passed the application process, inspected the premises, checked for parking space, made a quick note of the neighbors, and went through your checklist of things you need to do before you commit to a new apartment. It’s time to sign the lease!

This is when you discuss upfront costs like your pro-rated rent and any additional fees such as pet deposit’s.  This is also the time for any last-minute questions you might have, such as how soon can you get the keys to the place? Should you bring your own microwave? etc.

It goes without saying that reading the lease agreement carefully is essential. You might be blinded by the floor plan and storage space your new place has, but make sure you take your time to understand the details in your lease before planning your move-in date, such as what would happen if you were to break your lease in case of unexpected circumstances.

Meanwhile, if you’re eager to apply, but still on the lookout for that perfect apartment, take a look at Robert Hancock & Co.’s available listings at https://roberthancockco.com/

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Keep your apartment warm and cozy during these brutal cold temps this season!

  1. Get a humidifier

You don’t have to spend a lot to keep your space warm. Humid air makes your apartment feel warmer without cranking up the heat. Add plants for more moisture; as a bonus, some varieties help purify the air.

  1. Limit exhaust fan use

Sometimes you just have to cut odors in the kitchen or bathroom. Just be sure to shut fans off as quickly as possible to avoid pulling large amounts of warm air out of your apartment.

  1. Use windows to your advantage

Open your curtains during the daytime to let the sun warm your apartment. Consider hanging thermal curtains; close them at night to hold heat in.

  1. Keep the bathroom door open when you shower

This trick releases warm, damp air into the rest of your apartment.

  1. Warm your bed with a hot water bottle

This old-school cold-weather solution really keeps your feet warm when placed under the blanket at the end of the bed. See if Grandma has any extras, or find one online.

  1. Cozy up your apartment with winter-friendly textiles

Creating a warm, inviting atmosphere is easy when you load your couch with snuggly blankets and throw pillows, cover floors with thick area rugs and change out your usual sheets for flannel.

  1. Pop dinner in the oven

Put less stress on both your heating and food budgets by skipping dinner out. Whether you whip up a restaurant-worthy creation or heat up frozen lasagna, keep the oven door open when you finish cooking for a blast of warmth.

  1. Keep drafts at bay

Even in buildings with energy-efficient windows, cold winter air sometimes makes its way in. Place draft stoppers on sills, and consider applying a window film kit. Contact your building manager or landlord for approval before applying adhesive materials to windows.

From opening your oven door to turning on a humidifier, these hacks will keep your apartment warm without destroying your utility budget.

National Fire Protection Month!

HOME FIRE DRILLS

KNOW WHERE TO GO

  • Come up with a couple different routes and choose a designated spot to meet

each other near your home that is a safe distance away from the building

TEST YOUR SMOKE ALARMS

  • Test your smoke alarm at least every 6 months. It is a good idea to have a combined

smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector. ( We already have a combined alarm installed in every apartment)

PRACTICE THE FIRE DRILL

  • You’ll want to make sure you can get out within 120 seconds (2 mins) or less! Show any children in the apartment

how to crawl if there is smoke, and how to feel a closed door for heat and how to unlatch a door.

FYI you can do fire drill games with your family just visit homefiredrillday.makesafehappen.com

 

 

FALL in love with your clean apartment

A Fall checklist for all your cleaning needs before winter hits!

KITCHEN AND BATHROOM

  • Clean your kitchen and bathroom grout
  • Clean your refrigerator coils
  •  Clean under and behind your refrigerator
  • Clean inside your dishwasher
  • Clean your kitchen and bathroom cabinets
  • Clean your oven
  • Disinfect your garbage cans
  • Disinfect your kitchen and bathroom counters

BEDROOM AND CLOSET

  • wash bedding that isn’t regularly washed ( comforters, pillows, and bed skirts)
  • Vacuum and flip your mattress
  • Put your cold weather linens on your bed
  • Put away summer clothes and take out your fall/winter clothes

 

LIVING ROOM

  • Vacuum furniture
  • Vacuum under your furniture
  • Polish anything wood
  • Dust your plants
  • Wipe down all screens in your home (TV, computer, tablet etc.)
  • Disinfect all remotes and keyboards

 

THE WHOLE APARTMENT

  • Wash your walls
  • Wash your windows and window sills
  • Disinfect your doorknobs, doors and light switches
  • Vacuum under EVERYTHING ( bed, couches, any furniture in your home)
  • Dust your fans, doors, and door frames
  • Spot clean your carpet and wash your rugs
  • Clean the floor underneath your rugs
  • Wash your curtains
  • Rinse your window screens
  • Wash your vacuum cleaner filters ( if they are washable)
  • Clean all baseboards

 

 

 

Dos and Don’ts of Apartment Living

Apartment living has its perks as well as it’s downfalls. You don’t have to be the one to deal with or pay for maintenance when the hot water goes out or the refrigerator decides to stop working, and it’s a lot easier to break a lease than sell a house if you decide you want to make a spontaneous move. Finding a balance between the good and the bad of apartment living is all about attitude and doing your own part to keep the situation as positive as possible. Here are the dos and don’ts all renters should be following:

DO inspect your apartment carefully when you move in-

You should always have the opportunity to note any flaws or damages in your apartment. Make sure your outlets and appliances are working correctly. While you probably just want to get to it and start unpacking it is extremely important to inspect everything carefully being sure to snap pictures of anything that you find so that you are not responsible for them when/if you decide to move out.

DON’T be a bad neighbor-

Be the person you’d want to live next door to. Being a good neighbor is more then just giving a smile when you pass someone in the hallway. It is about residing in your home in a way that doesn’t disturb anyone else. Keep your music and television at a reasonable level, do not throw any crazy parties, and be mindful of doing your part to keep the common area clean.

DOconsider getting a roommate-

The national average for a one bedroom apartment is $950/mo! With costs that high it makes sense to get a roommate who you can split all of your bills with. Just be sure to take your roommate search VERY seriously. Watch out for red flags and ask questions to make sure they will be a compatible person to live with.

DONT wait to report your maintenance issues-

Issues such as water, electricity, heating/cooling and pests will only get worse the longer you wait to report them. It’s best to report any issue as soon as you discover it because you may not know how long it will take to get a professional out to work on it for you. The longer you wait can make a huge difference between an easy fix and something that causes extensive damage to your apartment as well as other apartments around you.

DO clean regularly-

Ultimately, you are responsible for keeping your apartment clean. ( It says so in your lease!) Otherwise you may have to pay the price if you don’t. Its fine to skip making your bed before work in the morning or leaving a couple of dishes in the sink once in awhile, but this is a habit you will want to commit to early on to prevent your apartment from getting nasty. Once a week, vacuum and mop the floors and always take your garbage out as soon as it fills up, and wipe down counters around your house especially in your kitchen and bathrooms. ( Disinfectant wipes are your BESTFRIEND) If you cannot bring yourself to do these things consider hiring a cleaning service to do it for you.

DONT forget to SAVE SAVE SAVE!-

It can be extremely hard to save money when you have bills on bills eating up your paycheck every month. Consider staying on a budget especially when apartment hunting to make sure you aren’t stretching yourself too far. You never know when an emergency might come up and it is always a good idea to have some money set aside in case something happens, because you just never know what’s in store for you next.

If you put in the extra effort while hunting for a new place to live it really can make a huge difference between the apartment you cant wait to get out of versus the apartment you love coming home to. One day you’ll own a home where you’ll wish things like maintenance weren’t your problem to deal with.

How to Bloom This Spring

At long last, the third and final installment of a blog series on happiness from Andy Cope, happiness expert and co-author of The Little Book of Emotional Intelligence: How to Flourish in a Crazy World. (Check out the first part of our series here and the second part of our series here.) When this series started it was the dead of Winter. Now Spring is budding. Don’t rely on the good weather to do all your heavy emotional lifting. Take charge and put these tips into practice!

15 | Most people have an internal voice that is very critical. Challenge it. When your inner voice is telling you you’re an idiot, firmly disagree. Find a positive inner voice.
16 | Spend less time on electronic friends and more time with real flesh and blood ones.
17 | Practice the 4-minute rule; that is, be your best self for the first 4 minutes of arriving at work, being in a meeting, getting home, etc. Your brilliance is infectious.
18 | Lose the word “try”. Instead of setting a resolution of “I’m going to try and lose some weight” or “I’m going to try and get a bit fitter”, go with “I’m going to lose some weight” or “I’m going to get fitter”. Yoda was spot on when he said, “Do or do not, there is no ‘try’.”
19 | Appreciate that your happiness is bigger than you. It has a ripple effect and infects people 3 degrees removed from you.
20 | Read a bedtime story to your kids like it was the most exciting book in the world.
21 | Reframe situations. For example, a leaking gutter means you have a house; paying tax means you have some income; your teenage son spending hours on his X-Box means he’s not wandering the streets, etc.
22 | Be genuinely interested in other people. Ask loads of questions about them. In a bizarre twist of quantum psychology, people will find you insanely interesting.
23 | Make sure that you use more positive than negative language. The ratio needs to be about 5 positives for every negative, so catch people doing things well and tell them.

Check out artofbrilliance.co.uk for more information on Andy’s work!

How to Make Happiness Happen

Here it is, the second part of a series of happiness tips from Andy Cope, happiness expert and co-author of The Little Book of Emotional Intelligence: How to Flourish in a Crazy World. (Check out the first part of the series here.)

8 | Write a list of the top 10 happiest moments of your life and you’ll realise that most of the things on the list are ‘experiences’ rather than ‘products’. Set your stall out to have more experiences.
9 | Instead of asking your partner/kids ‘how was your day?’ change the words and ask (with enthusiasm), ‘what was the highlight of your day?’ Then listen with genuine enthusiasm.
10 | Walk tall and put a smile on your face (not an inane grin or you’ll scare people). Your brain will immediately think you are happy and you’ll feel a whole lot better.
11 | Change your aim. Stop setting your sights on ‘getting through the week’ or ‘surviving until my next holiday’. Raise your game. Set your aim to ‘enjoy the week’ or ‘to inspire people’.
12 | Write down your top 5 personal strengths. Be aware of them and start seeing opportunities to play to them more often.
13 | Watch out for the 90/10 principle. This states that 10% of your happiness depends on things that happen to you while a whopping 90% depends on how you react to these events. Make a conscious choice to be positive.
14 | When setbacks occur, ask yourself, where is this issue on a scale of 1 – 10 (where 10 is death). If it is death, you are allowed to feel down. Anything else, get over it.

Stay tuned for 3. In the meantime, check out artofbrilliance.co.uk for more information on Andy’s work.

Ways to Weather the Winter Weather

All this winter weather wearing you down? Check out these tips from Andy Cope, happiness expert and co-author of The Little Book of Emotional Intelligence: How to Flourish in a Crazy World.

1 | Mondays are bad and Fridays good. Really? The average life-span is 4000 weeks and a seventh of your life is spent on Mondays. Flip your thinking. Friday is, in fact, another week closer to death, while Monday is an opportunity to make a dent in the universe.
2 | Upgrade your underwear drawer so every item is worth wearing on a ‘special occasion’. Then every day will start off feeling like one.
3 | Be a hugger. The average hug lasts 2.1 seconds but for the endorphins to transfer it needs to last seven seconds or longer (but warned, counting out loud spoils the effect).
4 | Practice the 10/5 principle – smile at everyone who comes within 10 feet of you and make eye contact and say ‘hi’ to everyone within 5 feet (except on the tube).
5 | Say nice things about people behind their back. This is a double-whammy because when it gets back to them , people think you’re a lovely person (which, of course, you are).
6 | Write a list of 10 things you really appreciate but take for granted. ‘Health’ and ‘relationships’ will almost certainly be on there.
7 | Every morning, appreciate that you don’t have toothache and that your kidneys are working. Being able to get out of bed is the best thing ever.

Stay tuned for Part 2 and 3. In the meantime, check out artofbrilliance.co.uk for more information on Andy’s work.

How to Claim Your Free Clubhouse Rental!

Did you know the South Park Clubhouse is available to rent for your personal use?

That’s right, for only $75 you can sprawl out in our spacious and newly updated clubhouse ALL DAY long.

This space is perfect for:
-birthday parties
-sports game parties
-baby showers
-holiday events
-family reunions
-anniversary parties
-business meetings
-community meetings (church groups, volunteer groups, etc.)

Don’t worry about finding space for everyone in your apartment. You now have the perfect excuse to throw a party for whatever! Show off the community that takes care of you and have your friends and family over to South Park to celebrate. Just call the office at (402) 558-5886 and let us know what date you’d like. It’s yours all day. There is A TON of available dates! Don’t wait until it’s too late, start planning your event now!

Have you recently renewed your lease or planning on renewing for another 12 months soon? Choose the option for a free clubhouse rental as your renewal bonus! Just make sure to sign by your deadline date!

Store-y Time

It’s that time to be packing up Christmas decorations. If you have acquired more little Santas, snowmen, and nativity scenes than you find you have room for— we have the solution!

Perhaps you simply received more gifts and knick-knacks than you expected. We’ve got a solution for that too.

Maybe you’re getting ahead of the game and starting to think about spring cleaning already and you want to start tackling that clutter. Don’t worry, we have an answer.

Or was your New Year’s resolution to shed a few pounds and you’re thinking of getting some outdoor equipment like a bike, a yoga mat, or some sports gear. Don’t sweat it, we’ve got you covered.

It’s no stored secret that at South Park we offer conveniently located storage lockers for all your extra things! You don’t even need to put your shoes on to get to them as they’re in the first-floor halls of every building. For just $10 a month you can give yourself some breathing room in your apartment. Straighten out your living space with the help of some storage space.

Call the office today and ask to take a look at storage locker options near your apartment! There are plenty available immediately. Take advantage of this simple but incredible amenity before they’re all gone! Happy storing!