We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission.
Upgrading your living room doesn’t have to mean spending all your money on a fancy sofa or new wall decor. Train your eye on your table—coffee table, that is. This small, practical piece is often situated at the center of your living room, making it a natural spot to add some style. And you can do just that without breaking the budget. We rounded up 10 coffee tables under $300 that bring character and style to any room in one functional piece.
Carbon Loft Morse Coffee Table
Get a lot of bang for your buck with this pretty, practical $70 open-shelf coffee table. The laminate wood keeps it simple, but black legs add a sleek touch of industrial style. Plus, the slotted open shelves give you room for storing your favorite reads.
For a classic look with just a touch of shine, go for this round walnut table. The natural wood frame is made more distinctive thanks to the three legs, giving this classic mid-century modern piece a twist that’s equal parts fun and sophisticated.
Yes, you can find something unique on a budget! The narrow frame, thin legs, and wide space between the tiers make this piece a great addition to an airy, minimalist room. Gold, sled-like legs add a bit of shine to take the table from simple to elegant.
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission.
Now that you’re spending the majority of your time at home (as you should be!), you may be realizing just how much blank space you have on your walls. Or perhaps you’ve fallen out of love with your current art and feel the need for a refresh.
If you have the Google Arts & Culture app downloaded, then you need to take advantage of the Art Projector feature. It allows you to see how famous artworks would look in your space.
“Using the camera on your smartphone or tablet, Art Projector allows you to transport life-size artworks in front of you,” the Google Arts & Culture website reads. “You can even move up close to each artwork and study every stunning detail in super high resolution.”
Check out how one user placed Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” in their living room:
You can scroll through a variety of different artworks done by famous painters like Van Gogh, Monet, Renoir, and Picasso to name just a few. Then, drag and drop the piece into your space and enjoy just as you would at a museum.
Google Arts & Culture even supplies you with all the details of the piece so you can brush up on your art history while enjoying the view.
Once you’ve tracked down a piece you’d like to bring into your home, you can find the piece you like on Fine Art America and purchase a print in whatever size you need. You can also choose a frame, mat, paper style, and finish to totally customize the appearance of your print.
Staying home, practicing social distancing and cleaning frequently are the current recommendations from experts to help combat COVID-19.
So, that begs the question, “How do I clean to protect against coronavirus?”
Knowing what to do to protect yourself and your family can be challenging and stressful, but we’ve compiled a list of coronavirus cleaning tips to help give you some peace of mind and allow you to deep clean your apartment.
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Before you start wiping down every surface and object you can think of, it’s important to know which type of coronavirus cleaning products to use and how to safely use them.
Purchase the right cleaning supplies
When it comes to coronavirus cleaning, not all products are created equal. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has provided a list of approved disinfectants to help fight coronavirus and we’ve briefly outlined them below, as well.
Disinfectant wipes and sprays: It’s recommended that any disinfectant wipes or sprays have at least 70 percent alcohol in them to be effective. Disinfectant wipes made by brands like Lysol or Clorox are effective.
Bleach: Bleach is another cleaning supply that can be used on countertops, plastic cutting boards, sinks, tile floors, toilets and toys. While it’s an effective cleaning product on its own, it should never be mixed with any product other than water. When using bleach, wear gloves and a mask and make sure you’re in a well-ventilated area. To ventilate in a smaller apartment, try opening the window or turning on a fan when cleaning with bleach. Because bleach is a strong cleaning agent, proper precautions need to be taken when using it.
Soap and hot water: Soap and hot water are cleaning supplies that can be used to help kill coronavirus. When possible, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend cleaning with alcohol-based products, but soap and water will work, too.
Know the difference between cleaning and disinfecting
Often, people confuse cleaning with disinfecting. While both leave the home feeling more organized and tidier, there’s a difference between the two that’s important to know to keep your apartment safe from coronavirus.
Cleaning removes clutter, germs and dust from a surface, but doesn’t necessarily kill the harmful pathogen
Disinfecting kills dangerous viruses, germs and pathogens on surfaces using chemicals and prevents them from spreading
To get the best results, you should always clean before disinfecting. The combination of both coronavirus cleaning techniques helps better your odds to stay safe and healthy.
Wash your hands frequently
It may seem obvious, but washing your hands, even if you’ve been at home all day, is crucial. Everyone’s known since kindergarten that it’s smart to wash your hands after you cough, sneeze, blow your nose or use the restroom, but it’s more important now than ever to follow these guidelines. Also, it’s important to wash your hands after cleaning, disinfecting, doing laundry and dishes.
Clean household items frequently
Before the coronavirus outbreak, apartment dwellers frequently cleaned their apartments as part of weekly chores. In addition to the regular tasks like sweeping, vacuuming and mopping, people need to sanitize household objects daily, as well. So, which household items need to be wiped down?
Here are our recommendations:
1. Cellphones and tablets
Your smartphone and tablet might be the only things keeping you sane right now. Not only are they how we stay connected with loved ones, they’re also a huge source of our daily entertainment. Because we’re frequently picking them up and down, we may be placing them on objects that are less than sanitary. There’s no point in washing your hands just to pick up a dirty phone or tablet.
Cell phones and tablets need to be disinfected at least once a day. It’s wise to disinfect them before and after other people use them, too. Apple has said that it’s safe to use Clorox wipes on your phone, tablet and keyboard. While Clorox wipes are OK to use on such products, bleach is not. Avoid getting any liquid in any of the openings of your phone and try to clean the case and back of the phone daily, as well.
2. Remotes and gaming consoles
Chances are you’re getting your money’s worth on your gaming and streaming services right now. But whether you live alone or with family, you should still be cleaning your remotes or gaming consoles daily, as well. Use a disinfectant wipe to scrub the controller, buttons, on/off buttons and console itself.
3. Doorknobs, toilet handles and light switches
It’s recommended that people should be disinfecting their handles, doorknobs and light switches at least once daily as part of coronavirus cleaning. These household features are the most used surfaces in your apartment and are often touched after you’ve been in a public, potentially exposed place.
For example, you go to the grocery store, return home, open the door, flip on the light switch and go wash your hands. While your hands are now clean, you’ve put all the germs you touched when out and about on the surfaces of your home now. So, it’s essential to wipe down these areas daily to stay safe and clean.
Doing laundry may seem like the cleanest activity out there. But, this is not an area to skimp on when it comes to cleaning. When doing laundry, it’s recommended that you wear disposable gloves while touching the dirty laundry and then washing your hands when you’re finished. If you don’t have access to gloves, wash your hands after touching the dirty clothes. By washing your clothing at the warmest temperature, you’re reducing the chance of germ spread.
If someone in your apartment is sick, it’s OK to wash their clothing along with other items of laundry. But, you’ll want to make sure they get dried all the way. After you’ve finished the wash, wipe down the washing and drying machine handles, too. This is especially important if you’re using communal washing machines.
Lastly, make sure you’re washing your bedspread, blankets, pillows, couch cushions and hamper liner, too.
5. Countertops and hard surfaces
This may seem obvious, but you should be wiping down your countertops several times a day with disinfectant wipes, soap and water or bleach. A tip from the CDC is to clean the area first with soap and water to remove, dust, dirt or germs and then go over it again with disinfectant to kill the germs entirely. Don’t wipe down the counter afterward immediately, let it sit for at least 10 minutes and then if you wish you can wipe it down again with water.
6. Soft surfaces
To clean things like carpet, rugs and drapes, you can use soap and water. Another solution is to launder them if that service is available in your neighborhood.
Coronavirus can live on surfaces, however, the duration it lives on different surfaces does vary. For example, it can live on plastic and stainless steel for two to three days and can live on cardboard packages for 24 hours.
So, before bringing in your packages from the online shopping you’ve done, make sure you use the proper precautions. You can either let it sit in a confined room for 24 hours or wipe it down with wipes and wash your hands after disposing of it.
Staying safe, clean and sane
Let’s be honest, it’s a crazy time right now with everything going on in the world. Keeping your apartment safe with these coronavirus cleaning tips will help you feel more in control and protected, plus you’re doing your part to flatten the curve.
Everyone begins their adult life intending to handle their finances wisely.
Maybe you started building a savings account when you were young or avoided getting a credit card until you were well past your college years.
Even if you make all the best financial choices possible, everyone still deals with debt at some point. It could relate to your college education, your home, your latest car or charging fees to credit cards because you don’t have the funds to pay them upfront. Even things like emergency medical bills can lead to years of debt.
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The good news is that there’s always something you can do to be proactive about getting out of debt. Read about how to pay it off right now, even if you’re feeling unsure. A new perspective and a few tips could be all you need to start climbing back to financial stability.
1. List your debts
You may know who mails your bills every month and where you need to send your money. That isn’t the same as knowing how much each debt amounts to. When you have free time, make a list of everything you owe.
Organize things by company name, debt amount, due dates or whichever way makes sense to you. Seeing the numbers listed in front of you will give you a specific idea of what you need to accomplish.
2. Examine your budget
Next, it’s time to examine your budget. What do you spend money on every month, and how much of it is necessary? If you don’t already have one, make a quick budget based on your spending habits. Write down how much you spend on those order-in dinners and what it costs to fill up your gas tank every week.
Your budget will show you where you can cut down on your spending to direct more money toward paying off debts.
3. Decide what to pay first
It’s exhausting to feel like you’re throwing money at debt that never seems to decrease. You may feel like you could never pay it off, which leads to lazy financial habits. Instead of repeating this cycle, use the debt snowball method to make short-term progress and find encouragement.
The snowball method means that in addition to paying your monthly bills, you put a little extra toward your smallest debt or whatever you’re behind on. Once you pay that off, you put a bit more extra money toward the next smallest loan. This repeats until you’re knocking out debt left and right, leaving yourself with more free cash to pay off more substantial loans.
4. Set up an amortization schedule
There’s an easier way to pay your car, mortgage and personal loans with fixed interest rates. Set up a loan amortization schedule to automatically pay borrowers every month for the entire duration of your loan term.
Once these scheduled payments begin, you’ll get an exact timeline showing when you’ll pay the debt off. You’ll never need to worry about not paying enough because the schedule will guide you.
5. Look into refinancing
If your main concerns are student loans and credit card debt, refinancing is always an option. It means you’ll take out a new loan with lower interest, then use that loan to pay off any debt with higher rates. Your monthly fees will be much smaller and easier to handle.
You could also consolidate debts through refinancing. Instead of making three credit card and two student loan payments every month, you could make a single one for each.
Do your research
Everyone’s financial situation looks a bit different, so you’ll need to do your research to find out what your best choices are. Check out refinancing options and amortization schedules, and make a budget to guide your decisions. You’ll conquer your debt in no time so you can spend your hard-earned money on what you love.
Over the past two weeks, the COVID-19 pandemic has at least temporarily shuttered a wide variety of small businesses, especially those in the restaurant, nightlife, hospitality, beauty, and entertainment industries. In turn, millions of people have been left with no source of income, and if you’re one of these people, you might be struggling to afford typical monthly expenses such as your rent or mortgage. The idea of not having a roof over your head might be scary, but there are steps you can take if you can’t pay your rent or mortgage due to the coronavirus – here’s what to do.
Don’t panic – you may be safe (for now)
If you can’t pay your rent or mortgage due to coronavirus, you may have at least temporary relief. Last week, President Trump said that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will ban evictions and foreclosures through the end of April. In the event your landlord threatens to evict you or the bank threatens to foreclose on your apartment, you can attempt to contact HUD and have the department interfere on your behalf. It remains unclear whether HUD will require tenants and homeowners to eventually make postponed payments.
What to do if you own your apartment
If you own your apartment, begin by contacting your loan servicer. You may qualify for a special COVID-19 waiver. Once you get in touch, if your lender fails to cooperate with you and disobeys any obligations outlined in your mortgage contract, you can report your lender to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and your state attorney general’s office.
Next, reach out to your bank. Many leading banks have introduced programs to address their customers’ COVID-19 needs. As you contact your bank, keep in mind that, just as with lenders, these organizations may eventually require you to pay your mortgage even if you’re granted temporary payment delays.
As an absolute resort, you can put your loan in forbearance. However, the immediate relief this option provides may not be worth the long-term interest that still builds on your loan. If you do pursue forbearance, no two forbearance options have the exact same terms, so ask your lender for details first before committing.
What to do if you rent your apartment
If you rent your apartment, contact your landlord as soon as possible to discuss your situation. Some landlords will be sympathetic to your situation – for example, a landlord in Maine went viral on social media for pledging not to collect rent in April. If you’re lucky, your landlord may take the same step, especially if you have a good relationship with them.
If your landlord sympathizes with your situation but still needs to collect some amount of rent, you can try to discuss a reduced payment plan. For example, if your rent is $800, you can ask your landlord whether you can pay just $400 this month (or however much you can afford). If you worry that you can’t afford any rent, discuss a repayment plan instead. In this setup, you could take the $800 you owe for April and pay $100 more on eight future months of rent, whether those eight months begin in May or some other time after the pandemic passes.
If you’re exhausted all these options and your landlord still demands that you pay your full amount of rent, you can contact your bank for financial assistance. You can also call 211 to be connected with services that can potentially help you pay. You should also be sure to research new regulations that your municipality or state has enacted in the wake of the pandemic, as rules regarding rent payment during the pandemic may differ by region. You may even be able to find relief funds for workers that the pandemic has displaced from your industry.
Do you know of any additional resources for people who can’t pay rent or mortgage due to coronavirus? If so, please leave them in the comments for other readers to find. What you share may prove the make-or-break factor for many people facing immense obstacles that could completely alter their quality of life.
It’s one thing to get your spring cleaning done, but a sparkling, dust-free apartment isn’t necessarily a home with character. That’s where spring decor comes in. As you open your windows for the first time in months and the sun starts to shine in for more hours per day, the environment in your apartment will change, and there’s no better time to start putting up new decor. Here are four fresh spring decor ideas for your apartment.
Brightness, though, is key for your fresh spring decor. If you don’t care for yellow, you can opt for other bright colors including baby blue, orange, or even a lighter shade of green. Fruits including oranges and limes and flowers including blue roses and purple tulips can help you to achieve a bright decor palette without relying on yellow.
2. Taste the rainbow
They say April showers bring May flowers, but what they often forget to mention is that April showers often bring rainbows, too. Prepare your apartment for the upcoming months with rainbow decor, but be sure to do so in ways that are charming and relaxing rather than tacky. Instead of putting up a rainbow print or decal (with the exception of an often-welcome Pride flag), buy related decor items in the colors of the rainbow and arrange them appropriately. This example using glassware is a great reference point, and you can also emulate it with multi-color cutlery, dishware, and silverware sets. String lights can also help you out on this one.
3. Let your blankets and tablecloths bloom
Winter can be a good time for plain, dark colors in your apartment. Your throw blankets and pillows might be black or an inviting shade of grey in the winter, just as your tablecloth on your kitchen table or dining room table might also be a deeper, less bright hue than you’re looking for now. Swap out your winter tablecloths for not just brighter colors, but flowery patterns that can last you all the way through the end of the summer. Tablecloths, blankets, and throw pillows (or pillowcases) with floral patterns are usually easy to find at any department store or home improvement store.
4. Houseplants galore
Houseplants are among the most popular apartment decorations, and spring is the perfect time to get more of them. As more (and warmer) sunlight comes through your west-facing windows, your houseplants will have more than enough sun to thrive. If you’re a hands-off person, you can count on succulents to survive no matter your apartment’s light and temperature conditions, but you have plenty of other options for introducing new houseplants to your apartment for the spring.What are your spring decor ideas for this year? Sound off in the comments!
How will you possibly find the apartment that is right for you when there are several to choose from? Allow me to share five things to consider that should assistance with this process.
What part of town is most attractive to you?
This kind of sounds like a no brainer, but it is imperative to know the town or city that you are planning to live in. Be sure you research the area thoroughly and then select the part of town where you prefer to live. By simply doing the research on a particular place in advance of time, you become acquainted with the area and find the section that is merely right for you.
Couple of areas more prone to crime than others? You would naturally want to avoid these.
Are some areas more pedestrian friendly? Where is the offered?
Where are shopping and entertainment options?
Where are parks located?
Are some regions of town cheaper to are in than others?
The set of things to consider can seem to be endless, but knowing the answers to questions will help you distinguish in which the exact part of town is that best matches your lifestyle.
Installment repayments on your Where can you afford to have?
Much more goes into your living costs than just what is needed for rent every month. Along with this preset expense, things like electricity, water, heat, internet, and cable must be considered in as well. Many apartment complexes will also charge an additional every month payment on top of your rent if you have a dog or a cat.
It is recommended that you spend only 20 to twenty-five percent of your online income on housing. In the event that you discover beforehand that you cannot afford to are in a particular place, it makes it that much easier to cross it off of your list.
What types of amenities are you interested in?
Apartments for lease are typical over the place when it comes to the types of amenities they offer. Some stadiums have pools. Some do not. Some have exercise facilities along with field hockey and tennis courts. A few do not. Incidents where provide car washing bays, game rooms, clubhouses, saunas, and racquetball courts. Upon the flip side, there are other apartments that may well not even provide you with a free car parking space. You have to decide what you need in conditions of amenities and what you can live without.
Apartments for hire come in all size and shapes. There are massive processes that house hundreds of tenants, small houses that are home to a single family, and fairly much everything in between. Larger complexes generally provide more amenities, nonetheless they also tend to could prove costly money. Smaller homes and duplexes tend to offer more private outdoor space. The question is, so what do you want your living environment to be like over a day in, day out basis?
How long of a time commitment do you want to make?
At the time you get started the process of renting your brand-new home, you will most likely have to sign a lease contract with the landlord. Several landlords only use one year leases while some may offer three or six month obligations. Other folks may even allow you to rent on a month to month most basic, simply needing you to give an one month notice before you plan on moving out. In the event that you know that you would like to stay in your apartment for some time, then the one year lease may be fine for you. In the event, on the other side, you may have to move quickly, a month to month option is probably the best choice.
everyday clean, guest clean, and then there’s COVID-19 clean.
Let’s get down to the nitty gritty, literally, and focus on how to disinfect your home. To combat this virus, you’ll want your big guns: bleach, rubbing alcohol, and hot water.
For your high-touch surfaces, the Centers for Disease Control recommends a bleach solution diluted with water, or a 70% alcohol solution.
this bleach recipe: 5 tablespoons (1/3 cup) bleach per gallon of water, or 4
teaspoons of bleach per quart of water.
Make sure to properly ventilate when disinfecting with bleach.
And check to see if your bleach has expired. Who knew it could? After
about 9 months to a year, and if it smells less bleachy, it’s lost its disinfecting
power. Time for a new jug.
Tip:Don’t mix bleach with anything other than water; otherwise, it could set off a dangerous chemical reaction. For instance, bleach + alcohol is a deadly combo.
How to disinfect your home if you don’t have bleach? Regular old rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol or ethyl alcohol) works, so long as it’s at least 70% alcohol, according to the CDC. The alcohol concentration will be listed on the bottle. Rubbing alcohol you buy should already be diluted, unlike bleach.
Is There a Such a Thing as Too Much Disinfectant?
According to an EPA fact sheet, studies have found that using some disinfectant products can cause germs to become resistant.
The EPA has issued a list of disinfectants on the market that it believes are effective in killing COVID-19. Look for the EPA registration number on the product and check it against this list to ensure you have a match.
Erica Marie Hartman, an environmental microbiologist at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., whose research focuses on resistance, confirms soap, bleach, and alcohol are your best bets.
What about the various disinfecting wipes on the market (at least if you can find them)? Hartman says the active ingredient in many of those is an ammonium compound, which could become resistant to viruses over time.
Surfaces That Need Your Attention
With your preferred disinfectant, wipe down high-touch surfaces like doorknobs, light switches, tables, remotes, banisters, toilets, sinks, and faucets daily or more often, if someone in your home is sick.
Contact time is another key aspect of surface sanitizing. “Disinfection isn’t instantaneous,” says Hartman. [For a bleach solution], you want to leave it on the surface for 10 minutes before wiping it off. ”
By the way, new research from scientists at the National Institutes of Health, among other agencies, shows that at least some coronavirus can live for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to three days on plastic and stainless steel.
But a report in “The Washington Post” notes that the most likely period for infection from the virus on surfaces is in the first 10 minutes to one or two hours.
Not All Floors Can Handle Bleach
For your nonporous floors, like those in the bathroom, the CDC recommends mopping with the bleach solution.
Avoid bleach on hardwood and other porous floors because of staining. Instead, use a disinfecting wet mop cloth without bleach.
Cleaning Isn’t Disinfecting
From the you-might-be-surprised files: Disinfecting with bleach isn’t actually cleaning. If you also need to clean your countertops of dirt and grime, do that first with soap and water. Then use the bleach solution or rubbing alcohol to combat the virus.
Killing Microbes on Clothes
Most washing machines today do a bang-up job on dirty clothes with cold water, which is best for energy savings. But, and especially if you have a sick person in your house, the hot-water setting followed by a high-heat dry for about a ½ hour to 45 minutes is best for virus eradication. thoroughly dry.
Don’t forget about your laundry hamper. Wipe it down like you
would other surfaces. You can also use a reusable liner bag, which you can
launder with the clothes.
What If I’m Selling My House, and Inviting More Germs In?
How to disinfect your home when it’s for sale? Talk to your agent who will work with you to establish a hygienic showing protocol, including requiring visitors to wash hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer when they arrive, and to remove shoes or wear booties before entering. Removing shoes not only reduces dirt coming in, but potentially germs.
In addition, some agents are reporting that they’ve eliminated open
houses to avoid group situations.
After showings, practice your surface wipe-down routine.
Finally, when you work with disinfectants, practice some self care. “Alcohol and bleach can be very aggressive on your skin, so wearing rubber gloves can help protect your hands,” Hartman says.
Absolutely brutal… but it is the right thing to do. No guest should need to worry about traveling just to prevent a forfeiture of their deposits. No host should compel a guest to take health risks, or be forced to stay open against their will. Hats off to Airbnb putting safety over profits.
But what next? There are a few obvious conclusions in the coming months.
Sharing Economy Highly Leveraged
For years, professional hosts have cropped up, leasing apartments and condos everywhere and converting them into vacation rentals (sometimes legally, sometimes less so). It seemed like an arbitrage that couldn’t lose. Rent a nice apartment for $1500 a month. Airbnb it for $100 per night. If you can fill it even 70% of the nights, you come out way ahead, right?
Economies of Scale Means Operational Leverage
Unfortunately, life isn’t so simple. Hosts quickly realize that running one unit on Airbnb doesn’t really amount to much of a side hustle – after dealing with key drops, furnishing, cleaning. and listings management, the margins are quite thin and the labor much more intensive than the mythical 4-hour workweek.
Many Airbnb operations require a portfolio of many units – that way the cleaning costs, inventory management, maintenance, and guest support operations can all be lumped together and shared. Also, nightly rates are never constant day-to-day. There are high demands days and low demand days, not always easy to forecast. A manager who can track multiple listings is in a much better position to react and change prices and maximize utilization rates. Finally, since reviews matter, a manager with multiple units can quickly earn Superhost and favorable status within the system.
Arbitragers Chase Thinning Margins
But how does someone manage many units? They probably need to over-extend themselves by accumulating lots of lease arbitrages, or finding outside investors, or become management-for-hire services. When the occupancy and revenues drop, all of those situations very quickly become fragile. Over the past 5 years, vacation hosting has become a very crowded trade – much like co-working spaces trying to replicate the WeWork model!
Stop paying the underlying landlord and risk legal trouble. Stop performing and you lose units to manage. When the well-oiled machine requires occupancy and utilization rates above 85%, a sudden demand shock will be orders of magnitude worse than even the most off-peak season.
Upside Down Unit Economics
Go back to that $1500 lease charging $100 a night. Most urban arbitrage hosts need at least 70% occupancy to break even after expenses. When bookings drop to 50% occupancy, they make nothing. In fact, they need to work hard just to lose money on cleaning, utilities, and furniture – providing the hospitality effectively at below cost to the guest.
How about a global lockdown due to Covid-19? You could go completely empty for months, owing $1500 monthly to the landlord, $300 in other expenses, while earning nothing. And that’s per unit! What about the people who have “gone pro” earning $10,000 of “passive income” per month? Yikes…
Back in my Redmond and Seattle days, there was a Costco in nearby Kirkland. In fact, it might be one of the first original Costco’s, hence the Kirkland brand.
Yes, sometimes it was important to load up on 500 garbage bag boxes and enough handsoap refills to last 3 years. But between weekly trips, I could always quickly deplete the huge bags of hershey’s assortment mini’s (Special Dark and Mr. Goodbar). Fun times for sure.
But the samples runs were always a highlight. Yes, you can always splurge the $3 for a slice of supreme pizza or a plate of chicken bake. But all the more fun to make the rounds – free spanakopita, chicken nuggets, mini pizza bagels, and more could be had in the frozen section.
Turn the corner for some trail mix, fresh imitation sushi rolls, and some cold cuts. By now you’ll need a beverage – probably Nantucket Nectar or some local organic juice blend will quench your thirst. If you are lucky, round it out with rice pudding or other dessert options. You might have to double back to frozen, in case they have the mochi samples.
Unfortunately, they are suspending the samples citing virus concerns. I wonder what conversion rates they need to break even on the samples. If a box of bagel bites has 50 minis (remember this is Costco), then all they need is 1 in 100 people to buy one and they are probably ahead (assuming 50% gross margin). In fact, it’s better than that – you just need 1 in 300 people who would have shopped elsewhere to walk into the store, knowing the buffet awaits.
Sadly, there is the labor, and the real estate used up, and some adverse effect of constant freeloaders (plus cannibalization on the chicken bake sales). Still, you don’t need much of a conversion rate to come out ahead. What a great model – I hope others follow once the virus all clear is in place!
When you’re hunting for apartments, your potential new landlords won’t just check your income and credit score. Chances are they’ll also run a background check on you, a process that involves accessing your criminal record. Often, felonies dissuade landlords from accepting your applications, but misdemeanors such as DUIs can be less cut-and-dry when it comes to approval or disapproval. Nevertheless, if you have a DUI – especially a less common felony DUI – on your criminal record, it’s likely to affect your apartment hunt. Here’s how.
Does a DUI prevent you from renting an apartment?
No, a DUI popping up on your background check doesn’t automatically disqualify you from renting an apartment. However, a DUI on your criminal record can pose significant obstacles toward successfully finding that new apartment you’re seeking.
If your DUI is a misdemeanor, you might encounter fewer obstacles in your apartment hunt than if your DUI is a felony. Since DUIs charged as felonies are less common in certain states than others, your DUI registering as a felony may impact your application more or less strongly depending on where you live and where you’re applying. More importantly, DUI felonies often indicate a more extensive criminal record than just a DUI, and the more items that appear on your criminal record, the less likely prospective landlords are to rent to you.
How can I address my DUI with prospective landlords?
As you apply for apartments, you’ll have to address the DUI on your record at some point. That’s why you should tell prospective landlords about your DUI before they begin their background checks. A DUI will reflect much more poorly on you if it comes as a surprise to the people processing your rental applications, so gently warning prospective landlords about your DUI might increase your chances of getting approved for an apartment.
Telling your landlord about your DUI in advance isn’t just good for avoiding surprises. It can offer you the chance to explain the circumstances of your DUI and show that it doesn’t define you. If your DUI led you down a path of self-improvement and genuine correction – whether through a stint in rehab, a transformative jail or prison experience, or something else – explain this to your prospective landlords.
If you’re worried that a story you can’t prove doesn’t offer enough to convince prospective landlords that you’re a trustworthy tenant, you can use your criminal record to back up your claims. If your DUI was several years ago and you’ve committed no offenses since then, prospective landlords may be more likely to consider your application. You can also show a stable, meaningful employment history to attest to your dependability in the wake of a DUI.
What if my DUI is proving impossible to work around?
It should come as no surprise that a DUI on your record will make your apartment hunt more challenging. However, if your DUI is a misdemeanor rather than a felony, you can apply to have it expunged from your criminal record. To head down this route, contact your lawyer, who can handle much of the work required on your behalf. Keep in mind that applying to have your DUI expunged does not guarantee this outcome, and even if your application is ultimately successful, it might be a while until your DUI is expunged.
If all else fails, then if possible, you might do best to wait a bit until moving apartments. If you do wind up being approved for an apartment, don’t consider yourself off the hook – your landlord won’t have forgotten that you have a DUI. Make sure to take extra care of your apartment, respect your neighbors, and pay your bills on time to show your landlord that you’re grateful they took a chance on you. If you prove to be a reliable tenant, you should have no problem settling into your new apartment for the long run.
When you apply to rent an apartment, prospective landlords may pull up information on you including your criminal history, renting history, and credit report. Younger and newer renters tend to have lower credit scores than other age groups, so even college graduates earning plenty of money at their first jobs may worry disproportionately, as compared to other factors, about how their credit report affects their apartment application. Making matters worse is that your credit score is determined in part by the number of hard inquiries made into your credit – in other words, every time a prospective landlord pulls up your info, it impacts your credit score. Learn all about how apartment applications affect your credit report below.
The two types of credit inquiries
To understand how your rental applications might affect your credit score, it’s important to distinguish between the two types of credit inquiries. The first type is called a soft inquiry. This term describes an inquiry for which a business checks your credit report without your consent to pre-screen you for special services, offers, or products.
If this sounds fishy, know that it’s relatively impactless – in fact, it’s how banks decide whether to send you those frequent unsolicited letters offering you deals on loans, new credit cards, and more. In other words, any time a bank extends you an unsolicited offer, it means a soft inquiry into your credit report has been made, and due in part to the frequency of these inquiries, they don’t affect your credit report. Soft inquiries additionally include any time you request a copy of your credit report or give a potential employer your consent to view your credit report.
The second type of credit inquiry is called a hard inquiry or hard check. This is the category of concern as you apply for apartments. Hard inquiries describe credit checks conducted after you apply for any form of credit.
Is a credit check with a landlord a hard check on your credit report?
Yes, a credit check with a landlord is a hard check on your credit report. When a landlord looks into your credit score, it counts as a hard inquiry because when you rent an apartment, you set up a legal arrangement to borrow a piece of property from someone – an arrangement analogous to having a certain amount of money available to use at your leisure on a credit card or in the form of a business or personal loan.
How do landlord hard inquiries affect my credit score?
Hard inquiries can comprise as much as 10 percent of your credit score. This means that with every apartment for which you apply – and, therefore, with every landlord who checks your credit score – you put your credit score at risk of decreasing by a few points. A negligible change in your credit score isn’t in and of itself a cause for concern, but if too many hard inquiries appear on your credit score in a short timeframe, your credit report may deter potential lenders – landlords included – from working with you. An excess of hard inquiries may suggest that you’re seeking out loans left and right because you have no money.
What can I do to avoid this problem?
In some cases, credit bureaus will consolidate hard inquiries that come from similar institutions or people into one inquiry, a move that will certainly benefit your credit score. Since this isn’t always the case, if you’re worried about your credit report, then an especially easy way to avoid this issue is to only apply for apartments you’re certain are right for you. Narrow down your list of 10 potential new apartments to just three or four, and you should be fine. If considering your credit score causes you to be more specific about your apartment hunt, then that can only be a good thing.
If both you and your roommate have cars and you’re looking for a new place, you might end up having to share a tandem parking spot—especially if you’re renting an apartment or a townhouse. This type of parking is known for being less than ideal if you and the people you live with have hectic or differing schedules. But with some planning and forethought, you can manage a tandem parking space with minimal issues.
What is tandem parking?
Tandem parking means that while you are assigned two parking spaces, they are configured like a single spot that’s double in size. Technically, you have space for two cars. But practically, the first car to park in the space will be blocked in once the second vehicle parks behind it. This means that if you parked first and you want to drive somewhere, the person who parked behind you will have to pull their car out for you to be able to do so.
Why do some places have tandem parking?
The answer to this one is simple: they save space, allowing for more parking spots, and, when it comes to townhouses, for thinner buildings. Cost is an essential factor in the matter: thing buildings are more economical for developers to construct, which means they will likely be cheaper to buy or rent once they’re on the market. However, critics argue that the dip in prices is minimal on the buyer/renter’s side, and that second spot is too complicated to manage from a logistical point of view, pushing some residents to park on the street. Also, if you live in an area of interest that people are likely to visit, you might end up with a stranger’s car blocking your own.
How to manage a tandem parking space
While renting a place with a tandem parking spot may seem like a hassle, you shouldn’t pass on the opportunity to rent a beautiful home for an affordable price for this reason alone. Here are a few tips that will help you manage a tandem parking space:
Know each other’s schedules
If you’re going to share a tandem parking spot, you and your roommate should know each other’s schedules as if they were your own. You may have stable, similar working hours and no standing appointments during your free time, which makes it easy to plan when and in what order you will park your cars. However, if you have hectic working hours or clashing schedules, you should set up a shared calendar and establish some parking guidelines for each day of the week. If you usually come home at 5 pm on Tuesdays while your roommate comes back at 6 pm and you have a regular chess class at 8 pm, for example, make sure your roommate is aware of it so they can move their car when you leave. At the same time, if you arrive earlier and leave earlier for work, it’s best to move your car right as your roommate comes home, so you’ll avoid the hassle in the morning.
Communicate changes effectively
No matter how well you plan your schedule and how clearly and often you communicate it to your roommate, the truth is that spontaneous outings and emergencies are bound to happen. In such scenarios, you’ll want to mention any changes or new appointments as soon as possible so you can plan the tandem parking schedule accordingly. To make sure you report changes as soon as they happen, set up a dedicated chat for the parking space, so if you need to communicate anything, you’ll both check the messages as soon as you can.
Prepare for the unexpected
Finally, set up a contingency plan in case the worst happens: you need to get your car out of its parking spot, your roommate is blocking you, and they’re not home. If you’re living with your significant other, you might consider sharing your cars so you can both take whichever car is available, which would virtually eliminate the core issue tandem parking comes with. But if you can’t or don’t want to share cars with your partner or roommate, you should make sure you have a spare set of car keys placed in a safe, easily accessible location. This way, you and the person you live with will avoid any problems that could arise because of unexpected schedule changes.
All in all, while tandem parking isn’t the most ideal option for your rental, you can manage it with some planning and forethought. When considering whether you should choose a home that comes with tandem parking spaces, you need to take the work that goes into scheduling into account, as well as the issues that could arise with it. At the same time, tandem parking is much easier to manage if you have a good relationship with the person you’re moving in with and trust they have your best interests at heart.
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Most of us think of emergencies as something that happens to someone else — never to us or our families. But, the saying “better safe than sorry” goes a long way. And, because certain situations might require taking matters into your own hands before medical professionals come to your aid, a first-aid kit is a must in every household.
So, if the only thing missing from your apartment is a trusty first-aid kit, read on to find out how to create one.
The essentials of a first-aid kit are those that can help in a variety of cases — from a mild cold to a broken pinky to a nasty fall. For instance, the items that immediately come to mind when you think of first-aid kit basics are pretty much the same for everyone:
alcohol and sanitizer
pain relievers (plus separate pain reliever for children)
allergy medication, if necessary
Of course, no well-stocked first aid kit lacks the items necessary for dressing a wound, including:
Then, to complete the package, add some:
intense chest rub
Finally, select a practical container. You can buy a ready-made first-aid case or make your own — as long as it closes completely and can be easily transported.
Everybody is different, and each family has its own unique health situations. As such, your medical history is crucial in putting together a helpful and relevant first-aid kit that could potentially save someone’s life. For example, if someone in the household has allergies, make sure there’s medicine for them in the kit, such as an easily accessible EpiPen® for severe reactions. Or, if diabetes is part of your everyday life, insulin should definitely be in your apartment’s first-aid kit.
Because a good first-aid kit should cater to your specific needs, run hypothetical scenarios with your family to understand what could occur in your home and prepare accordingly.
A good first-aid kit not only has medicine but also includes some basic medical tools, as well. Start with:
a thermometer to check temperatures
scissors to cut the gauze
a pair of tweezers for splinters
Disposable, sterile gloves are also an absolute must to help prevent the spread of disease and protect you when you’re dressing wounds. Additionally, include a short first-aid manual that you and your family can study ahead of time in the event of a medical incident.
Think of the first-aid kit as a go-to in case of an emergency — not just for you, but for every member of the family. This means you need to go beyond just medicine and:
list emergency contact numbers — not only for emergency services and care providers but also for close friends and family members.
leave a short, written medical history of every family member.
label everything — everyone coming into contact with the kit needs to know where everything is as soon as they open it.
add some sticky notes and a pen, just in case. Attention to detail is crucial in certain situations — you never know when you might need to write down vital signs or take instructions from medical staff over the phone.
include a small bottle of water for when you need to swallow a tablet as soon as possible or just cool down.
If there’s one thing that every household needs, it’s a first-aid kit, and the sooner you start putting it together, the better. The good part is that, if everything goes well, you’ll never have to use it. And, if not, you’ll be thankful you have it in a moment of crisis.
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More than 60 million U.S. households own a dog, according to the American Pet Products Association.
Before bringing a dog home to live in your apartment, it’s important to read your lease and ask your landlord questions about your building’s pet policy.
Some apartment communities restrict large dogs and breeds that are thought to be more likely to damage property or cause physical harm to strangers.
According to Psychology Today, insurance companies have blacklisted many common breeds including pit bull terriers, Staffordshire terriers, Rottweilers, German shepherds, chows, Doberman pinschers, wolf hybrids, great Danes and Siberian huskies.
What dogs are best suited to apartment living? Here are the pros and cons of some of the best small dog breeds for an apartment.
Dogs under 25 pounds
Pros: These beauties are admired for their floor-length, silky coats, and are feisty, brave and full of personality. They have good hearing and make fine little watchdogs.
Cons: Yorkies can be energetic and stubborn. They require daily brushing, as well as regular visits to the groomers for shaping and upkeep.
Cavalier King Charles spaniel
Pros: Known for being friendly, playful and eager to please, these adorable pups make for great apartment dogs. They rarely bark. They’re easy to train and don’t require a lot of exercise or space.
Cons: Cavalier King Charles spaniels often develop health issues as they age, including heart disease, hip dysplasia, luxating patella, gum disease and slipped discs. Their average lifespan is just nine to 14 years. They require regular grooming to maintain their coat’s beautiful appearance.
Pros: Pekingese make perfect apartment dogs as they have a calm and friendly temperament. They are small and easy to carry around. They are affectionate and loyal and adapt well to living in small spaces.
Cons: They have thick fur, which can require a lot of maintenance. They are prone to overheating in hot weather and tend to have breathing problems.
Pros: French bulldogs make for an excellent apartment dog. They don’t require much exercise and are extremely affectionate and playful. Due to their short coats, they are extremely easy to groom.
Cons: French bulldogs are prone to a number of health issues, such as brachycephalic upper airway syndrome and laryngeal edema, both of which make it harder for them to breathe. Hip dysplasia is a common condition that prevents their hips from operating properly and may lead to an inability to walk or run as they age.
Pros: With their floppy ears and soulful eyes, beagles are adorable and a favorite breed for families. Low maintenance in terms of grooming, they are also sociable and easily trained.
Cons: Beagles are trackers and will follow a scent and root through garbage looking for food. They may bark loudly, too.
Dogs under 50 pounds
Pros: An Australian Shepherd is a herding dog with boundless energy. They are intelligent, loving and easy to please. Aussies make a good family dog.
Cons: As they are highly energetic, this breed needs regular exercise and lots of attention. They can sometimes develop serious spinal defects. Hip dysplasia is another possible health issue in some of these dogs.
Pros: Keeshond is the quieter, more sensible and less dominant breed in the “spitz” family. They are friendly and polite to strangers and adapt well to apartment living, but do require outdoor playtime.
Cons: They shed a lot and require a good amount of grooming. Be ready to vacuum.
Pros: Known as the rarest breed on Earth, these medium-sized dogs have a unique appearance that includes a rough, sandy or sandpaper-like coat, a black tongue and an unusual head shape. They are strong, intelligent and loyal. With early training, Shar-Pei can become affectionate and accepting of strangers. They were historically bred as guard dogs.
Cons: Shar-Peican act stubbornly and must receive consistent training. They can developskin problems and eye disease.
What are the best apartment dogs?
It’s easy to find a small breed dog that will live well in an apartment. Quiet, low-energy dogs easily adapt to a dog-friendly apartment.
Take time to play fetch, go for walks, establish routines and enjoy your pup. Respect your neighbors, clean up after your dog and keep them quiet whenever you’re outside your apartment. Before you pick your small dog breed, check your apartment’s pet policy to make sure it’s allowed and keep your dog and landlord on good terms.
It’s the term used to describe an apartment or home that is used occasionally, but not as a permanent residence. As such, it is usually smaller than a normal apartment or home as it’s only lived in part-time.
1. A pied-à-terre is usually located in a city
The most common use of a pied-à-terre is as a residence during the workweek. When someone works in a city but has a permanent residence outside of the city, they may rent a pied-à-terre in which to live during the workweek so they don’t have to commute. Others who may have a pied-à-terre are people who travel to the same city frequently.
2. A pied-à-terre can be more affordable and convenient than a hotel.
If you’re visiting the same city multiple times per week, a pied-à-terre may be more affordable than renting a hotel each night you’re in the city. It’s also more convenient as you’ll have a place to keep your belongings, so you won’t need to pack a bag each time you visit.
3. A pied-à-terre is usually furnished by the landlord
Another benefit of a pied-à-terre, if you’re a renter, is that whoever owns the property provides the furnishings. That’s one less thing for you to worry about, making it more affordable and convenient.
A pied-à-terre isn’t for everyone
Not everyone that commutes to the city wants to live there during the week, and even if they do, they may not stay in the city often enough to justify renting a place to live. It can get expensive to pay for a primary residence and a pied-à-terre, so it’s important to consider if it’s really worth it to you.
Your home is more than just a bunch of rooms under a roof. It’s the space where you watched your daughter take her first steps, hosted Super Bowl parties, and celebrated holidays. Those memories are priceless. But when sell your house, the warm and fuzzies can’t factor into the question: What is the value of my home?
You aren’t selling your memories; you’re selling a house.
This is where an agent can help. You’re the one who will set your listing price, but your agent has the expertise and local knowledge to advise on how to price your house so it doesn’t languish on the market.
#1 Don’t Go High Out The Gate
You think your house is great. The problem is sellers often think their house is so great that they list at too high of a price and miss the window of sales opportunity that comes with a new listing.
“By listing too high, you lose your most important leverage and timing because it’s new,” says Ali Evans, an agent in Santa Barbara, Calif. “If you overprice it, you miss out on all those buyers.”
The longer your house sits on the market, the less likely you are to get your asking price. Because buyers expect there’s a deal to be made on a house that’s been on the market for months.
“If something doesn’t move in the first 30 days or so, then people start thinking that they’re not going to be paying full price any longer,” Evans says.
Bottom line: Listen to your real estate agent about home value, because she knows how to price your home to sell fast. She’s looking at all of the comp prices and knows what the competition is like in your market.
#2 Don’t Assume Upgrades Will Get You A Higher Price
You renovated your kitchen after you watched too many episodes of Property Brothers. You looooove the way your reno turned out, because your kitchen is now stunningly modern, as kitchens on HGTV are. Everyone else will love it too, right? So you want to push up the listing price.
Don’t be so sure everyone else will pay big bucks for it, Evans says.
“Upgrades that are done in very specific taste can be tricky. Updates that are neutral are going to appeal to a lot of people will see more value,” she says. “But upgrades don’t always equal value.”
In fact, research from the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® shows you might recoup 59% of your costs, based on a national average, on a complete kitchen upgrade.
In other words, just because you put $65,000 into your kitchen renovation doesn’t mean you can list your home for an additional $65,000. Your agent can help you assess the market value of your upgrades and answer the big question, What is the value of my home?
Having an idea of what you want to earn from your house sale is fine, because you’re looking at your home as the giant investment that it is. But pricing your home so that you will make a certain amount of money is the wrong approach.
The number you have in your head may not be in line with the market. This is where doing research on the housing market comes in handy, as well as listening to your agent.
“Make sure you understand the logic behind the price your agent suggests,” Evans says “It’s important to not be frustrated that it’s $20,000 below where you want to price it, and understand the thought process.”
Your agent will research the market to see what other houses in your area are selling for. He also knows the market, the inventory of houses for sale, and how your home compares to others in the area.
If you’ve listed the home too high, and you’re not getting any bites, don’t be afraid to do a price correction, Evans says. Lowering the price shows buyers you’re realistic and motivated. Adjusting the price is a key part of knowing how to price your home.
#4 Don’t Let Emotions Get The Best of You
For most people, selling
a home is emotional. Whether you’ve lived in your house for four years or 40,
you’re attached to it. But it’s
important to not let your emotions drive you to price your house for more than
Listen to your agent on how to price yourhome. His cool-headed knowledge of the market and real estate inventory will be a wiser guide for pricing than your irrational love for the bay window in the living room, the restored hardwood floors, and the way the light shines in your beloved sunroom in the morning.
“Pricing can’t be an emotional thing,” Evans says. “It needs to be based on market analysis, which is why an outside perspective is important.”
When you ask yourself, ‘what is the value of my home,’ think with your head, more so than your heart.
Before you and your partner start sending each other links to the home of your dreams, have a few conversations about the home buying process.
A couple buying a house should talk about money, of course, but also about their expectations for their first home. Talking now will keep you productive, positive, and focused on finding the right house. It will also help you manage buying-a-house stress on your relationship.
OK, we’re about to get a little “Modern Love” here.
No matter how connected you two are, there are still unspoken and undefined expectations between you. Especially when it comes to a couple buying a house. Buying can reveal relationship problems, because it’s the biggest financial transaction you’ll make, and there are a lot of emotions and expectations tied up in the idea of home.
Listen to your partner and commit to the idea that each person has a voice in every issue. “That would be my No. 1 principle,” says Donna R. Baptiste, a licensed marriage and family therapist, and professor at Northwestern University’s Family Institute. “Two people must respect each other’s right to have a say.”
How to start? Ask
Why do you want to buy a house?
What’s the most important thing to consider, in your opinion?
Not every decision will be 50-50. “Equal say is not always the standard,” Baptiste says.
But both of you should be willing to accept no for an answer. This prevents gridlock. And ceding some control makes the decision on which home to buy a shared one.
Consider the situation faced by work-from-home clothing designer Veronica Sheaffer and her husband, teacher Keith Dumbleton. They bought their prewar apartment on Chicago’s far North Side four years ago.
While scrolling through listings, Sheaffer fell for the property’s vintage millwork and spacious layout, but the building was 12 miles from the centrally located neighborhood they’d been living in. Sheaffer accepted the hours the new location would add to Dumbleton’s school commute could be a deal breaker.
“I gave him the power of refusal and prepared myself for losing the place,” she says. Knowing that Sheaffer was conscious of the sacrifices he’d be making, Dumbleton agreed to move forward with making an offer. “Her being open to me saying no allowed me to make that decision, and I don’t regret it.”
#3 Do Scenario Planning
New homes have a way of changing life’s routines.
Does one of you take the dog out? If so, that beautiful sixth-floor walk-up may affect the dog caretaker’s mornings (and moods). Does one of you do most of the outdoor chores? How do you really feel about taking care of a massive lawn? That house that sits on top of a hill is gorgeous, and the views! But will you like hauling bags of groceries up the three flights of stairs to the front door?
“I ask a couple to have it sink in,” says Dan Sullivan, a REALTOR® at Compass in Chicago. “What is it going to physically be like living in that property, day in and day out?”
The more you think it over together, the happier you’ll both be after you move in.
#4 Ask An Expert
As a couple buying a house, you may be in full agreement or you may be at an impasse, but either way talk to a real estate agent and, as Baptiste recommends, “submit to the idea of getting good advice.”
A good agent is like a reference librarian and a personal coach in one. They can help you navigate the home buying process minutiae, like finding a good mortgage broker or dissecting the details of a home inspection.
An agent can give you the knowledge you need to make a wise decision. And she can pump you and your partner back up when your energy has ebbed because you’ve looked at 22 houses and not seen one worthy of an offer. Or you put in an offer and it fell through.
Leaning on a professional to offer perspective and help work through disappointment releases some buying-a-house stress on a relationship. “As much as possible, as early as possible, I try to get [couples] to see the big picture,” Sullivan says.
#5 Recognize You’re a Team
Involving an agent in the home buying process can have another unexpected outcome, says Sheaffer. It brought her and Dumbleton closer together.
Having the agent participate in discussions — and even occasionally disagreeing with her — “helped us [see] that we know each other, we know our lifestyle. Anything that will allow you to bond more with your partner is always positive.”
The agent got them to talk to each other about what they wanted and didn’t want in a house. It helped them hash out their likes and dislikes, constructively.
Instead of letting buying a house lead to relationship problems, turn the experience into a chance to learn and grow together. Talk. Listen. And get good advice from a smart agent. You’ll end up as homeowners — with an even better connection.