7 Ways to Make Your Apartment Feel Like Home

7 Ways to Make Your Apartment Feel Like Home

A new space can take a little bit of time to get used to. Whether this is your first apartment or simply a new space to you, here are some ways to start making it feel like home in no time!

1. Give It A Clean

Give your space a little refresh before you start arranging your belongings. Even if you’re just moving in, often times you like things to be cleaned the way you’re used to them being clean. Were the floors not cleaned with your favorite Swiffer scent or does the bathroom smell like ‘mystical garden,’ even though your favorite smell is ‘paradise flowers?’ Your new space will already be fairly clean, but take a few moments to personalize the cleanliness, so that it feels more like your place. Plus, it will also let you get to know the layout of your new home.  

2. Set Up Your Bedroom

Even if it’s just a mattress on the floor, having a place to call your own to sleep will set your mind at ease. Bonus points for washing your sheets in a familiar detergent that smells like home. Also, unpacking and organizing all your clothes and outfits will really make it easier to get ready on the first day of class or work.

3. Prioritize What Decor Is Important To You

What were your favorite parts about the last place you lived? Maybe for you home is having a comfy living room to kick back and watch TV. Maybe you like to cook, so setting up the kitchen is a priority. Or, maybe you have a certain color scheme you want to try. Whatever it is, start there and let the rest fall into place.

4. Get The Lighting Just Right

Overhead lighting is often be harsh and can throw off the mood of the room. Try setting up a few lamps to add a softer look. Fairy lights can also create a homey feel. You can also draw attention to areas with natural light to make your space feel larger. Finally, don’t forget curtains on your windows for privacy!

5. Add Something Personal

Once you have your larger items set up, start adding smaller sentimental items. Family photos, collected knick-knacks, signature scents, and cozy touches like blankets, pillows, and rugs give your new space a personal touch. Don’t wait too long! These items will serve you and your space better out on display than in a cardboard box.  

6. Make A Nice Dinner

After all that hard work, you deserve a nice meal. Pick one of your favorite dinners and stay in for the night to enjoy. Success! Your apartment now smells like one of your favorite foods and your stomach is happy. Win-win. After dinner, treat yourself to some homemade cookies.

7. Have Your Friends Over

Last but not least, invite friends over and celebrate your cozy space! A potluck is a great way to ease the burden of doing all the cooking, so that each of your friends brings a dish to share. New to the area? This is a great way to meet your neighbors. Chances are they are looking to meet people, too.

What’s the Best Time of Year to Search for an Apartment

Whether you’re searching for your first apartment after living in the dorms for a year, or you’re just looking for something new, you should plan ahead with your search to be efficient. Use the following guide to time your apartment hunt.

 

6 to 8 Months Before Move-In

Several months before you move, you’ll need to determine several things. First, you need to find out who your are roommates going to be. Do you just want one roommate or multiple.

What part of Ames do you want to live in? There are several apartments near campus, or there are others farther away, but are still close to a Cyride Stop.

What is your budget? If you need help determining a budget, you may want to review our tips for first-time renters.

 

3 to 5 Months Before Move-In

Once you and your future roommates have decided what part of town you want to live in, and have a budget range, it’s time to start scheduling tours. This gives you enough time to see many different apartments for rent in Ames, which can be tough to schedule with your different schedules. Many Ames property management companies, including Hunziker, allow you to contact the rental offices online, making it very easy to schedule a tour.

 

3 Months Before Move-In

After touring all the apartments that you and your roommates are interested in, it’s time to sign the lease. Call your property management office today for help filling out the rental application, or if you rent with Hunziker Property Management, you can apply online now.

 

30 Days Before Move-In

Now that you’ve signed your lease, it’s time for you and your roommates to decide who will live in which room. Also, it’s good to figure out who is going to bring the shared items for the kitchen and living rooms. You need a couch, but you don’t need three. It’s a good idea to sit down with your roommates and to make a list of all the things that you’re bringing, and then to start packing. Move-in day will be here before you know it.

 

One Week Before Move-In

Everything should be pretty much packed and ready to go at this point. If you’re moving out of an existing apartment, start cleaning today so that you’re not overwhelmed with moving and cleaning next week. If you have any remaining questions about your new apartment, be sure to give your property management company a call.

Spring Cleaning Your Ames Apartment

Daylight savings time came and went, and spring has arrived. Find a day or two this spring and take the time to clean your apartment. Follow our tips for a successful spring cleaning session.

Clean Windows and Walls

Windows

Combine dishwashing detergent, vinegar, and water into a spray bottle. For optimal results, use a squeegee. A lint free cloth will also work if you don’t have a squeegee. Spray the solution onto the full window. Wipe away any residue left on the windows. Fold over your cloth as you go to keep from moving dirt around the windows. Wipe down the window with a clean cloth from top to bottom. Don’t forget to clean drips from the window sill after you’re done cleaning.

Walls

Washing walls is the perfect springtime chore when you are able to open windows to assist the drying process. To begin, be sure to dust off your walls and baseboards, if necessary. You can do this with a Swiffer, broom, or dust rag. Next, grab a bucket of warm water and fill it with soap. You can use a washcloth or sponge to scrub down your walls. You can also use a magic eraser to help with removing dirt or skid marks. Be sure to crack a few windows to help walls dry faster and create airflow throughout the room.

Dust the Entire Apartment

Use a microfiber cloth and pour a little water on the cloth to make it damp. Dust all furniture in your apartment. You can also use Pledge or furniture polish when you are finished. Don’t forget to dust ceiling fans, window casings, and floor boards. Always start from the top and work toward the bottom of the room. When you are finished you can vacuum the dust that falls on the floors.

Change Bedding

If you have winter or flannel sheets on your bed, spring cleaning can be the best time to get out that summer, lighter set of sheets. Be sure to wash both your winter and summer sets of sheets!

Deep Clean Your Bathrooms

Disinfect your shower, toilet, and sink thoroughly. You don’t want to know how many germs live here!

Shower

Put white vinegar in a plastic grocery bag and tie it in place to your shower head for it to soak overnight. Remove it in the morning, and rinse by running the water.

If you have a shower curtain and liner, wash it in the washing machine with a couple of towels. Simply rehang it to dry. If your shower has a shower door, consider combining a few drops of distilled white vinegar into a cup of baking soda and apply directly to the door. It should have the consistency of paste so it will stick to the door. Let it soak for about an hour, and then scrub with a microfiber cloth. Be sure to rinse and dry with a clean microfiber towel.

Clean the tub or shower with an all-purpose or bathroom cleaner. Let it sit for about 20 minutes and then scrub clean!

Toilet

Use toilet cleaner around the inside of the bowl and use a toilet brush to scrub any residue on the inside of the toilet. Use an all-purpose spray on the outside of the toilet to clean any dust or dirt.

Sink

Use an all-purpose disinfectant cleaner to spray down the vanity area including the sink, faucets, and countertops; then wipe with a clean cloth.

Organize Your Closet

First off, take all clothes out of your closet and place them in an empty space. Separate your clothes by season. Start sorting through seasons one by one and place clothes into keep, maybe, and donate piles. In order to decide on your maybe pile, ask yourself a few questions:

  • Have I worn this recently?
  • Does it fit?
  • Is it in good condition?

Once you have decided on what stays and what goes, you can organize your closet by season, by clothing type, or by how often you wear certain clothes.

Spring Cleaning Could Help with Move Out Tasks

You’ll need to clean your apartment when you move out, so why not get a head start on it by deep cleaning it this spring! Have any good cleaning tips? Feel free to share them with us!

How to Reduce Your Heating Bills This Winter

We’re well into winter in Ames, Iowa, and you have received your first electric and gas bill from your first full month of using heat. With record low temperatures in Ames this past December, you may have been more inclined to increase the temperature of your apartment and were surprised by the number on your heating bill last month. To avoid expensive heating bills, follow our tips on how to reduce costs on your next month’s heating bill.

Use a space heater or electric blanket

If you have access to a space heater or electric blanket, use it while you are at home to keep yourself warm. Lowering the thermostat a couple of degrees and bundling up with a sweatshirt, space heater or electric blanket is an easy way to save some money on your next heating bill this winter in Ames.

Lower the thermostat when you are gone for long periods of time

Whether you work 9-5 or if you have classes to attend at Iowa State University during the day, lowering your thermostat when you know you’re going to be gone for a couple of hours can save you money. Running your thermostat 10-15 degrees less during the day can save you up to 10% on your winter heating bills.

Install thick curtains

If your apartment landlord allows, install thick curtains to cover your bedroom and living room windows. A thick layer of fabric can trap the heat inside during cold winter days. Dark curtains with thermal lining are made to protect a home during harsh winters.

Inspect windows and doors for air movement

Patio doors and windows are primary culprits of letting cold air into your heated apartment. Be sure to inspect around the seals of your doors and windows for any cold air that might be coming in from outside. The heat in your apartment might also be escaping through window cracks and crevices.

Fix drafty windows

Cover windows with window film

Window-sealing kits that include double-sided tape and shrinkable plastic are available at most local hardware stores such as Lowes, Home Depot, and Menards. Follow these step-by-step instructions to install window film on your windows properly and keep the cold out!

Apply weather stripping

A V-strip or tension seal is suitable for the sides of a double-hung or sliding window or on the top and sides of a door. A V-strip weather strip is easy to install as it uses an adhesive. Apply easily around a door or window sash. Windows can open and shut even with the V-seal in place.

Cover cracks with caulk

Windows with cracks around window frames can be expected to allow cold air in and warm air to escape. Caulk is an inexpensive method to cover those cracks and keep your apartment warm while saving you money on your heating bills.

Maintenance at Hunziker Property Management in Ames

Visit our maintenance information page to view our guidelines during the winter months which cover your furnace, windows in the winter, and other miscellaneous maintenance guidelines. Hunziker’s prides itself on its excellent maintenance staff for being quick to respond and efficient in fixing the problem. If you are experiencing issues at your apartment today, just submit an online request and our maintenance staff will be with you shortly!

How to Unpack and Organize Your Things After You Move

If you’re driving through the city of Ames during the month of August, especially near Iowa State University, you’ll most likely see countless moving vans, furniture all over the curbside, and hundreds of residents moving into their new apartments or townhomes. While moving itself is hard work, unpacking can be an even more daunting task. Follow these tips to efficiently unpack and organize all of your belongings so you can begin making your apartment feel more like home.

Submit Your Inspection Form

Before you begin to unpack your items in your apartment it’s important to remember to fill out your move-in inspection form and return it to your property manager. This will ensure you won’t be charged for items already non-functional upon your move in.

Enlist a friend’s help

Whether you are moving in with friends or by yourself, moving apartments by yourself can get boring, not to mention challenging. Invite a friend or family member over to help you unpack, move large furniture, or simply keep you company while you unpack!

Unpack soon after moving

Remember, unpacking is usually a process and does not have to be completed in a day, but it can be easy to let unpacked boxes sit around your house. Before you know it a year has passed and those same boxes never got touched. To avoid procrastination, set small goals to unpack a little bit everyday and set a timeline to be completely unpacked 2-3 weeks from when you moved in.

Unpack by room

If you followed our tips for moving out of your apartment blog then hopefully you labeled your boxes and they are now sitting in the correct room in your space. If not, organizing boxes into the rooms they’ll end up in makes it easier to organize your things and minimizes the initial move in clutter. Move through your new apartment and unpack one room at a time. The kitchen might be the most daunting room to unpack, so why not start there! You can tackle rooms day-to-day until finally every room is unpacked.

Reassemble large items

Most people have to take apart their bed, living room furniture, and other large objects during their move. You’re most likely going to want to sleep in your new place the first night you get everything moved over, so it’s a good idea to reassemble your bed frame on the first day you begin to unpack. Once you get the large items put together and organized, it makes the rest of the move in process go more smoothly.

Worry about decorations later

For most people, unpacking everything you have in boxes before starting with the decorations is the best way to motivated to organize your apartment. Once you have everything unpacked and put away, you can start to plan where the decorations will go since your apartment will most likely have a different layout out than your last place. Plus, decorating is the key to making your new apartment feel like a home.

Unpack neatly

Unpacking takes time if done the right way. It can be easy to just take things out of boxes and shove them into closets or drawers. If you take the time to figure out where everything needs to go and put it away neatly right when you move in, it will save you more time down the road, and you’ll be able to find what you are looking for more easily.

Enjoy Your New Ames Apartment

Nothing feels better than getting settled into your new place. Have some friends over, kick your feet up and relax; your hard work of moving is complete! If you have any questions or concerns about your Hunziker Property Management apartment or townhome, be sure to contact us promptly at 515-233-4440.

8 Tips for Moving Out of Your Apartment

Make arrangements to get help moving

Whether your parents, friends or professionals help you move, plan ahead of time to make arrangements. Since moving entails transferring and lifting heavy materials you’ll most likely need a handful of people to help you. Renting a moving truck can help transfer large items from one place to another without having to rely on other people’s vehicles.

Sell or donate unused clothes and household items

A great start to the process of moving is selling or donating items that you haven’t worn or used in the last 6–12 months. You could either stage a garage sale or donate them to the nearest Salvation Army or Goodwill. Donating these items will reduce the amount of stuff you have to move, and in some cases you might end up with extra cash.

Take photos of the back of your electronics

Your television, computer, internet router, and sound system will be easier to set up when you can reference the pictures you took before packing them up

Label each box by room

Group your items together by room. For example, put all of the kitchen items in boxes together. Label the boxes by room so when you start unloading you can place each box in the correct room. This will also be helpful when unpacking.

Use clothes and towels to wrap fragile items

Fragile items such as your tv, desktop computer, dishware, and other breakable items should be packed with sweatshirts or towels to keep them from scratching or breaking

Pack an overnight bag with necessities

If you are moving across the city, pack an overnight bag with all of your personal items, including a clean change of clothes. This way you won’t have to dig through piles of boxes, and you’ll be fresh and ready to go.

Use trash bags to move your hanging clothes

Don’t waste time taking clothes off hangers only to unfold and rehang them later. Group together similar clothes and divide them into sections of 10-15 hangers. Use 30 gallon trash bags that have a drawstring. Take the trash bag and make a small hole in the middle of the bottom of the bag. Pull hangers through the hole and pull the trash bag over the clothes. Pull the drawstring on the bottom to secure the clothes. If available, take twisty ties and tie the hangers together. This prevents any hangers from sliding down into the trash bag.

Change your address

Visit your local United States Postal Service store to change your address for free. You can also update your address with USPS online or over the phone; however, there is a $1 fee to verify your identity. The USPS keeps a record of your old residential address and will automatically forward mail to your new address for six months.

Moving Out of Your Hunziker Property Management Unit

If you have notified us that you will be moving out of your unit, a rental agent may show your apartment to others wishing to lease the property.

 

Call in to schedule your move out inspection at least one week in advance to avoid scheduling conflicts. Other than July 31st and/or August 15th, inspections will normally be made between 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Download our moving out and cleaning instructions to make your inspection a success.

How Renter’s Insurance Benefits You

While not all property management companies instruct their tenants to get renter’s insurance, Hunziker requires it and here’s why: renter’s insurance benefits you by protecting your personal belongings in case of theft, fire, vandalism or a natural disaster. Now let’s talk in more detail about how renter’s insurance can benefit you.

Renter’s Insurance Protects Against Theft

When you actually think about how many valuable personal belongings you own, the cost can add up fairly quickly. Laptop computers, flat-screen televisions, iPad’s, and other personal electronics can be prime targets for theft. Forgetting to lock your door just one time could put you at risk for a break in. If you apply for full replacement cost value insurance then your insurance company will pay the cost to replace your personal items that were stolen.

Replacement Cost vs. Actual Cash Value Policies

Replacement cost and actual cash value are two different types of rental insurance coverage. Actual cash value coverage will reimburse you for the cost of your items and belongings at the time of the claim, minus your deductible. It’s important to account for depreciation when considering actual cash value coverage. For example, if a flat-screen television was stolen from your apartment 3 years after the television was purchased, you would be reimbursed for the current value of the television.

If you choose replacement cost coverage you will be reimbursed for the full price of the new television, after you purchase the new tv and submit your receipt to your insurance company. The up-front cost is greater for replacement cost coverage, but your compensation for your belongings is much more accurate.

Renter’s Insurance Protects Against Fire and Natural Disaster

The monetary worth of personal possessions aside from electronics such as furniture, clothing, textbooks, can leave you financially devastated if all were lost to a natural disaster or fire. Your property management company is only liable for the building, not the belongings inside of it. A renter’s insurance policy will save you from having to repurchase all of your personal belongings.

If a fire or natural disaster were to render your rental unit unlivable, a renter’s insurance policy will help pay for your temporary living expenses. This could include hotel bills, eating expenses and other living expenses normally incurred.

Renter’s Insurance is Inexpensive

Most premiums for renter’s insurance averages between $15-$40 per month. Cost can depend on the location, size of unit, and how many personal possessions you have. A majority of renter’s insurance providers offer a variety of payment plans, allowing you to make monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, or annual payments. Ask your provider about payment plans, and be sure to inquire about any fees for installment payments.

Renter’s Insurance Provides Liability Coverage

Renters liability insurance protects the renter from paying for an accident that causes loss or damage to an individual or to the property. Discuss with your insurance agent if renter’s liability insurance is a part of your policy.

Do Your Research

Insurance companies offer a variety of different coverage options for renters. Spend time reviewing your renter’s insurance policy and be sure it’s reflects the value of your belongings and the atmosphere of your rental unit. Feel free to contact Hunziker Property Management for their policies on renter’s insurance!

Everything Hunziker’s Somerset Tenants Need to Know About the Pool This Summer

The Somerset Village Pool in North Ames in now open! The pool and pool area at Somerset in North Ames is for use and enjoyment of the Somerset apartment residents and the Somerset property owners who have purchased memberships. Membership costs will not be pro-rated for families that choose to become members mid-year.

Somerset Pool Hours

  1. The pool will be open from 8:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. seven days per week.
  2. Radios or stereo equipment must be kept at a volume that will not disturb others in the pool deck area.
  3. The pool may be closed at any time due to weather or other conditions at the manager’s discretion.
  4. The pool will not be open when the temperature falls below 70 degrees or if it is raining.

General Pool Rules

  1. Running and rough play is prohibited in the pool area.
  2. Proper swim attire must be worn.
  3. Alcoholic beverages and/or glass containers of any kind are prohibited in the pool area. Each member is responsible for cleanup of personal litter.
  4. Smoking is prohibited in the pool area.
  5. Somerset will not be liable for any personal property left in the pool area. There is no lost and found.
  6. Animals are not permitted in the pool area.
  7. Residents will be held responsible for any willful destruction of the property in the swimming pool area caused by them, their dependents and/or their guests. The pool is monitored by security cameras.
  8. Life rings and ropes are for emergency use only.

Who May Use the Pool

  1. The pool was built for the use of Somerset Village Apartment residents who have a valid lease agreement. Use of the pool is included in their rent. Somerset single family residents, townhome & row house residents who have paid the annual Clubhouse fee may also use the pool.
  2. Members are allowed no more than two guests per visit and must accompany their guests.
  3. Children 14 years of age or younger must always be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
  4. The pool may not be reserved for private parties.

Pool Code

  1. Do not give your code to others. If we discover that a code is being abused via our code log, complaints or via security cameras, you will lose your pool and clubhouse privileges.
  2. Your code expires automatically when your lease expires. In the case of single family and townhouse residents, the code expires in May of each year. If you renew your lease and wish for your code to remain active, you must contact the clubhouse so that your code can be renewed.

Let us know if you have any other questions regarding the pool!

What’s the Best Time of Year to Search for an Apartment in Ames?

For College Students

Leases for undergrads are typically one year, starting in August. Property Management Companies in Ames send out renewals to college students starting in October throughout December.  At this time, you will need to know whether you are vacating the unit or staying in your current unit. If you decide you are vacating the unit to move to other rentals in the Ames community, this is a good time to start searching for a new apartment for the upcoming school year. Most college students will have their apartment lease signed for the upcoming year between January and March.

Considerations for College Students

Roommates

The first thing you have consider when you start searching for an apartment is whether you will have roommates and how many. This will determine the size of the apartment you can look for.

Some people have the same roommates throughout college, some people change roommates almost every year, and some people choose to not have roommates at all. People change roommates for a variety of reasons including graduation date, internships, jobs, transferring schools, location and more.

Roommate Change vs. Sublease

When you live in a Hunziker rental property, a roommate change and sublease mean different things. A roommate change is when at least one roommate is staying in the apartment while one of the roommates are leaving before the end of the lease. A sublease is needed when all tenants decide to move out before the lease expires. For more information on roommate changes and subleases, read here.

Price of Rent

When searching for an apartment it’s important that you have a budget in mind, and your roommates agree on a budget. Establishing a budget early on can prevent disagreements with your roommates from happening in the future.

Location

There are many options for living around Ames. Hunziker has properties scattered throughout the city of Ames, including rental units in West Ames, Campustown, and North Ames. It’s important to discuss with your roommates where you would like to live. Do you prefer a short walk to class or are you willing to take the Cyride to class? Questions like this will help narrow down your search for an Ames apartment.

For Families and Young Professionals

For families and young professionals, if you’re currently renting with Hunziker then you will receive your renewal form between January and March. At this time, you will need to know whether you are vacating the unit or staying in your current unit.

Considerations for Families and Young Professionals

Budget

For those tenants currently renting with Hunziker, it’s important to evaluate your rent budget yearly. Are you still able to comfortably afford your monthly rent? If your financial situation changed throughout the year, it’s a good idea to put in perspective what you can afford for rent, and evaluate your living situation from there.

Job Situation

Leases usually last one full year. It’s important to consider your career, and where you think you’ll be a year from when you sign your lease. If you decide you might be moving within a year, you can try to find a sublease or reach out to a property management company that offers a six-month lease. Also, if you have received a work promotion, you may want to move into an apartment with more space, better amenities, and upgraded appliances.

Space

Speaking of space, while many people live in an apartment for many years, ultimately the next step for families or young professionals is to eventually purchase a home. If you feel you are ready for this next step you may want to reconsider signing a 1-year lease.

Hunziker Property Management’s Ames Apartments Rentals

Hunziker is currently leasing rental units for Fall 2017. Please browse our apartment listings and contact us to set up a tour today!

Apartment Fire Safety Tips

Fires can spread rapidly and destroy your personal belongings in a matter of minutes. It’s important to take precautions to ensure you, the ones you care about, and your belongings are safe. Use these fire safety tips to eliminate potential hazards and safeguard your home.

Inspect the Apartment Before Signing A Lease

Before renting an apartment, you can easily perform a fire inspection. Inspect the smoke detectors and ask your landlord if all devices are working correctly. The apartment building or apartment should also contain a fire extinguisher that is easily accessible.

Know Common Causes of Apartment Fires

Many apartment fires start in the kitchen by appliances and other equipment in that area. Heaters, dryers or other electrical appliances are also a common cause of apartment fires and may happen when people are not at home. Smoking and other small flames created from candles and grills can also cause apartment fires.

Prevent Apartment Fires

There are many precautions you can take to help prevent a fire from occurring in your apartment which include:

  • Keep all kitchen towels, oven mitts and food packaging stored away from the stove top and oven area.
  • Set a timer when cooking or baking, and never leave food unattended while cooking on the stove top.
  • Blow out candles before leaving your apartment or before you go to sleep.
  • Turn off space heaters or other small heaters anytime you leave your apartment.
  • Replace all cords that are frayed or cracked.
  • Report all non-functional smoke alarms to the building manager.
  • Keep matches and lighters out of reach of children.

Practice Fire Safety Around Christmas Time

Hunziker welcomes artificial Christmas trees for those who celebrate the holiday, but be sure to eliminate fire hazards by keeping it away from heat sources and inspecting strands of lights for any defects before use.

Have an Escape Plan in Place

Fires can happen when we least expect them to. Ask your property manager if they have any protocol for when a fire breaks out. Talk to your roommates or family and establish a plan.

Keep Calm In Case of a Fire

A fire can lead to panic, leaving you, your roommates or your family in a rush to leave. However, be cautious as to where the fire has started and spread to. Feel your apartment exit door before you rush out. If you feel it’s hot, find another exit if possible. Exit the door if it feels cool.

Your Safety Is Important to Us

All of Hunziker properties adhere to the city of Ames fire department requirements. If you notice a defective smoke alarm or fire hazards in your rental unit, please do not hesitate to contact us, and we will assess the problem as soon as possible.