The Best Apartments in Dallas – How to Find Them!

How can you make sure that you are getting the best apartment at the best price in the Dallas area? Searching through the three thousand apartment options in Dallas can be a daunting task. In the end, you are likely to waste a lot of time going and visiting numerous communities that do not even have what you are wanting, and at the same time, passing up the best apartments that you weren’t even aware existed.

In searching for the best apartments in Dallas, it’s important to understand the framework of the city. Dallas is a Metroplex, which by definition, means that it is composed of a variety of suburbs that are all linked together to form one composite city. Even though each suburb is unique, it still is considered to be located in the city of Dallas. For instance, if you take just one of the suburbs as an example – Carrollton – when you are mailing a letter to the Carrollton area, it doesn’t matter if you address the envelope “Carrollton, TX” or “Dallas, TX”, because the postal authorities recognize that they are one in the same. So, when we refer to Dallas in this article, we are including all of it’s components…all suburbs that make up the illustrious city.

When individuals are relocating to Dallas and are not very familiar with the city, part of the problem lies in that they do not realize how big the city is, and that it is composed of so many “sub-cities”. They underestimate the number of apartment options that they will face when they arrive and are very surprised to see when they get here that they are facing thousands of rental homes to choose from, in a number of different areas. How can they possibly find the “best” rental choice among so many choices?

Well, before we can answer that question, we must clearly define what is meant by the term “the best apartments”. This phrase will mean something different to different individuals. For one person who is needing something economical but safe, the best apartment to THEM might be a small efficiency one-room apartment that is located close to their work. For another person “the best apartment” might mean something with a beautiful view. For still another, it may be a property that has the most luxury amenities. So, really, the key to finding YOUR best apartment comes down to defining what exactly you are looking for, and where.

Whether you are relocating to Dallas, or you already live here and just want a change, here are the 4 steps to get started in finding the best apartment for you:

FIRST, it is critical that you determine exactly WHERE in the Dallas Metroplex you would like to live. Since Dallas is composed of a mixture of various suburbs, narrow down which area exactly you would want to relocate to. You might decide on an area based on where you work, making sure you are within close proximity. Or perhaps you are more concerned about being located close to a particular school, or a particular family member. You may want to stay within so many miles of these destinations, or within so many minutes drive time. You also may want to research and investigate what each sub-city of Dallas has to offer before you make your choice. In general, the further North you go from the downtown area, the newer and nicer the city of Dallas becomes. Try to avoid the areas South of Downtown Dallas. Here are some of the many options in Dallas to choose from:

Plano – Great destination for families. Located 20 miles North of Downtown Dallas. Great school districts and youth sports leagues. The population now exceeds 250,000. It was recognized as the 8th safest place to live by the FBI’s most recent crime statistics. Plano is also a great place to do business.

Addison – Popular area for those seeking entertainment and nightlife. Addison is located 13 miles north of downtown Dallas and is connected to downtown by the Dallas North Tollway. With more than 150 restaurants, Addison has one of the highest restaurant per capital ratings in the nation. The main Street in Addison (known as Beltline) is also called “restaurant row”, because you can find ANY restaurant that you have ever imagined on this street. Addison is also home to a world class mall called The Galleria. Addison is also known for it’s frequent annual outdoor festivals, such as Oktoberfest, Taste of Addison, and the Shakespeare Festival. In addition to entertainment and nightlife, Addison is also a major hub for leading businesses.

Lewisville – Has an atmosphere similar to a small town, but functions and offers the amenities of a big city. Lewisville is located 20 miles north of downtown Dallas. It’s also only a 10 minute drive to DFW International Airport, the 3rd busiest airport in the world. Shoppers can shop ’till they drop at Vista Ridge Mall, which offers more than a million square feet of retail shopping among 160 specialty retailers. For those who enjoy the outdoor life, Lewisville is known for it’s many golf courses and has close proximity to 2 large lakes, including Lake Lewsiville.

Carrollton – Residents are drawn to the City of Carrollton for its high quality of life, abundant parks, schools and safe neighborhoods. In 2008, MONEY Magazine ranked Carrollton 15th in the country as the Best Place to Live. Carrollton is located 20 miles north of downtown Dallas and just 10 miles away from the DFW International Airport. Entertainment is nearby as Addison is only a few miles South of Carrollton for access to over 150 restaurants and the upscale Galleria Mall, and Lewisville is only a few miles North of Carrollton with access to Lewisville Lake and the Vista Ridge Mall. Carrollton residents enjoy more than 1,200 acres of developed park land, numerous playgrounds, biking trails and tennis courts. Two 18-hole golf courses in Carrollton have been rated among the top municipal golf courses in the state. Carrollton is also a great place to do business with over 5,200 businesses. It was also named recently as Texas’ safest city. The Carrollton School District is “Recognized” and offers a high quality of education.

Irving – entrally located in between Dallas and Fort Worth and directly adjacent to the DFW International Airport, you have access to many areas of the Metroplex, whether you love sports, shopping, art or the outdoors. With a population of around 200,000, Irving is a vibrant city known for its cultural diversity. Irving children enjoy a high quality education. Home to thousands of corporations and the global headquarters of five Fortune-500 companies, you’ll discover gleaming skyscrapers, two spectacular master-planned communities (Las Colinas & Valley Ranch) and the state’s only five-diamond rated resort, the Four Seasons. It is here that you can catch the Byron Nelson Championship.

Uptown Dallas – Located within only 1 or 2 miles from Downtown Dallas, an apartment or loft in Uptown Dallas is your window to a vibrant world filled with a Metro-attitude. From your Uptown Dallas apartment, you can explore the city of Dallas and enjoy comfortable modern urban living. You can define this area as a conglomeration of “contemporary, urban, metro” and “old-world retro charm”. Neighboring stores are filled with eclectic galleries and interesting and unique modernized antiques. From old restored historic buildings turned into modern contemporary lofts and apartments, to the most newly built urban communities, uptown Dallas has everything you are looking for, including a very diverse selection of restaurants on every corner located just outside your front door. Many residents of Uptown Dallas do not even have or use a car. They can access practically everything by just walking around the corner.

Downtown Dallas – it’s been said that the only thing that rivals the restaurant scene in downtown Dallas is the arts scene. The Arts District is the largest urban arts district in the country, stretching 17 square blocks. A downtown Dallas apartment puts you within steps of museums, theaters and other artistic arenas. Not to be outdone, there are an eclectic array of restaurants that rival NYC and shopping for every taste and price point. From contemporary historic lofts that renovate existing spaces to modern newly built luxury resort apartments, your urban living choices dot the landscape and capture the skyline.

Besides the Dallas suburbs mentioned above, you have many others to consider as options such as: Frisco, McKinney, Allen, The Colony, Denton, Arlington, Hurst, Euless, Bedford, Grapevine, Garland, Mesquite, Richardson, and more – all of which are considered to be in the city of Dallas.

SECOND of all, once you have narrowed down the area where you would like to live in Dallas, the next step is to decide what KIND of rental home you would like to live in. Do you prefer a loft? Or a flat? How about a split level (townhome)? A highrise building or a historic building that has been converted to rental units? You may just prefer a regular, but nice apartment community. In addition to deciding what type or types of properties you are willing to consider, also decide how many bedrooms and bathrooms your new apartment needs to offer. Most properties in Dallas have certain occupancy rules that only allow no more than 2 adults per bedroom. So, for example, if you have a family of 4, you would need a 2 bedroom minimum. You may even have in mind a certain amount of squarefeet that you don’t want to go under. The area that you choose will have a bearing on which kind of rental homes are available. For instance, if you want to live in a contemporary loft or an urban highrise or historical building that has been converted, you will likely have to stick to the Downtown and Uptown areas of Dallas. You will not find many of these options anywhere else in Dallas. But the further North you go, the more you will find of nice, newly built 2 and 3 story apartment complexes with individual attached garages, as well as newly built townhome communities.

THIRDLY, now that you have a general idea WHERE you want to live, and WHAT kind and size of apartment you need, the next step is to decide HOW MUCH you are willing to pay. What amount do you not want to go over? Most apartments in Dallas require that you earn approximately 3 times the rental amount. So, for instance, if your income is $3000 a month, then you probably would only qualify for an apartment that is about $1000 a month in rent. Keep these requirements in mind when you are deciding what rent amount you are willing to pay. Apartment communities in Dallas do verify your income as well. You must show evidence, such as paycheck stubs, that you earn 3 times the rent amount. If you are being transferred here to Dallas or you are relocating and starting a brand new job (you wouldn’t have paycheck stubs yet in that case), then you can present a Hire Letter to the apartment community as proof of your income. The Hire Letter should be on Company Letterhead and clearly state what day you will begin your employment and what your income will be. It should be signed and have contact information. The apartments will usually call to verify the letter. If you provide paycheck stubs, they will likely also call your current employer and verify the paycheck stubs.

LASTLY, now that you have in mind a good general idea of what you are looking for, the fourth and most important step in finding YOUR perfect apartment is to call a reputable DALLAS Apartment Locating company to assist you in providing a free custom list of all the properties in the Metroplex that are the closest match to your specific criteria. The first thing they will do is ask you is for a detailed description of where you want to live (which suburbs are you willing to consider), how much you want to pay and can qualify to pay in rent, and what kind/size of property you want. Since you have already narrowed down this information, you will be ready to give it to the Locator and this will make the process much smoother.

Using a good, experienced Apartment Locator who is located in the Dallas area and has an in depth knowledge of all the 3000 rental properties in Dallas, is the quickest and easiest way for you to find the apartments that best match your criteria. They will not only save you a ton of wasted time exploring properties that are NOT a good match for you, but they also will make sure you are informed about the best specials and deals that are being offered in Dallas. Most renters end up saving an average of $500-$600 by using an Apartment Locator. This is because the Locator guides them to all the great deals that they would have otherwise not known about. The list that your Apartment Locator gives you will provide information such as pictures, floor-plans, maps and details for every property in Dallas that they feel represents the BEST matches in the Metroplex for YOU.

Even if you have lived in Dallas your entire life, new properties are being built every day in this ever-expanding city. It is likely that there are options out there you are not even aware of. Take the guesswork and stress out of your Dallas apartment search and let a reputable local Apartment Locating Company help you.

Landscaping Options For Owners Of Phoenix Real Estate

You have used the services of a Phoenix realtor to help you find Phoenix homes for sale, and now you have moved into your new dream home. There are several items to take care of when you first move into a new home, such as setting up accounts with your local utilities and telephone services. You will spend some time and money decorating and furnishing your lovely new space. But once you have the basics of day-to-day living all worked out, chances are your attention will turn to the exterior of your home. One area that many home buyers work on right away is the landscaping that is in place around their homes. There are several landscaping options for owners of Phoenix real estate that are not only beautiful but can also offer low-water use and low maintenance.

Phoenix is in one of the hottest gardening zones in the nation, and is classified as zone 10 by the United States Department of Agriculture Plant Hardiness Zone Map. The USDA zone system is based on the minimum temperature of an area; in this case, temperatures normally go no lower than 30 to 40 degrees in the winter months. This makes for many great horticultural opportunities, because a lot of different plants will grow in such a warm climate, but it also comes with some drawbacks, namely that the area is quite dry. The trick is to find gorgeous plants that thrive in arid and warm conditions.

You will never go wrong with choosing plants for your landscape that are native plants to your area. They thrive naturally in the environment offered, without a lot of extra care and fuss by the home owner.

Xeriscape gardening is quite popular in Phoenix as well. This is a method of landscaping that focuses on choosing plants that are drought tolerant yet still look beautiful.

You will also want to consider that gardening on a city lot is a different endeavor than gardening on a several-acre large property. Plants in an urban setting need to be compact, and trees in particular need to be sized according to the space you have available. Because you have a limited amount of room in which to work, they also need to provide multi-seasonal interest in order to keep the landscape looking attractive all year round.

You might choose to attract native birds and insects to your landscape, and possibly even use your landscape plants to provide a small sanctuary for them. Your choices of plants will focus on plants that not only look great, but also provide food for the many birds, such as hummingbirds, and beneficial insects that help control the pests in your landscape.

Money Saving Solutions For Living in Apartments

Only Visit Cheap Ottawa Apartments

Although this article is about saving money while you’re already living in an apartment, this tip is important enough that it still belongs here. You shouldn’t rent an apartment you can’t afford! Live below your means.

When you’re beginning your apartment search, create a budget, find a maximum amount you’re willing to pay in apartment rent, and don’t go over that amount – no matter what! You can visit apartments that are a bit over your budgeted number, but only if you think you can negotiate down to under whatever maximum you’ve set. And if you do visit the apartment but you can’t negotiate down, nix the apartment from you’re list.

Pay Yourself First

You might have heard this saying before. This tip can be applied to any one looking to save money. Whenever you get a paycheck, pay yourself first. Before you buy clothes, before you pay your apartment rent, put a little away in a savings account or an investment where you’ll never look at it or touch it.

The saying comes from the book, The Richest Man in Babylon. The book recommends putting away at least 10% of your total earnings. After you do that, and after you do things like pay off your apartment rent, you can do whatever you want with your money, guilt free!

Do It Yourself

One of the advantages of an apartment is that if there’s ever a problem with the apartment itself, or the appliances that came in the apartment, you can ask the landlord to fix it (assuming you’re renting an apartment from a reputable apartment rental company. However, for all the other stuff (your computer, your furniture, etc.) you’ll have to pay someone to fix it, or learn to do it yourself; same goes for decorating. Learning a few trade skills can save you a lot of money while you live in your apartment. They’ll also help if you make the switch from renting Ottawa apartments to owning an Ottawa home!

Make Use of Your Apartment Kitchen

It’s easy to spend a lot of money eating out. But if you cook at home, in your apartment, you’ll save lots of money very easily. The more you cook, and the more you shop for groceries, the easier it’ll be to know which foods are cost-effective, and which ones are a bit too expensive for your “taste.” Most apartments come with basic apartment appliances like a fridge and a stove.

Don’t Leave Things On

If you pay for utilities, you should be extra vigilant about letting anything run longer than necessary. Don’t leave a light on if you’re not in the room. Don’t let your computer “sleep” overnight – turn it off! If you pay for water, don’t take extra long showers.

Here are 12 more tips to lower your apartment electric bill.

In apartments it can get pretty cold during the winter. If you don’t want to blast your heat up, then you should close your apartment windows, and make sure they’re not letting cold air in. Tape can fix this, and heavy curtains can also help. As well, make sure your radiator isn’t covered up by furniture.

Use the Library

If you’re in any apartments near Universities or other schools, you likely have access to a library. Use it! Besides, how much space do you really have in your apartment for more books or DVDs? Speaking of which, many libraries offer DVD rentals, and you should check out the selection at whichever library is nearest to your apartment.

Here are the public library locations; their main library is near downtown apartments. But as you’ll see on the map, there’s almost always an ibrary near you – and that’s not even counting the student libraries around.

Apartment Locator VS Apartment Database Search! What’s Best For You?

Let’s start with the fact that 80% of all searches start on line, that being said when you do a search on Google or Yahoo for the terms “rental apartments” or “apartments for rent” you are faced with two basic options; apartment locator that offers their free service ether from their internet sites or using classified ad postings and other internet sites that offer the use of an apartment database. Which is the best for you? Well, that depends on what your needs and wants are and whether you like the “do it yourself” apartment hunting or being helped by a professional Apartment locator.

The Apartment Locator: If you are relocating to a new area or a new city, a place you are unfamiliar with, you don’t know the neighborhoods, schools, job centers, transportation, etc, the apartment locator may be your best choice.They respond to your request by phone or email (you decide) to ask you some details about your ideal apartment. You want to give them as much information about your wants and need as far as: budget, date of move part of town and more. The apartment locator is knowledgeable about the area of his local rental market. They will be very helpful in finding you rental property that suits your particular needs, best of all, in most cases this will be a totally free service. The apartment locator is normally paid “finder’s fee” or “referral fee” from the landlord apartment complex or landlord.

The Apartment Database Search: Unlike apartment locators, the typical apartment database offers an extensive choice of apartment listings. You can read the descriptions of apartment communities see maps, amenities, rent ranges, photos of inside and out and in some cases contact information. All this information helps you understand if a particular rental apartment or complex meet your needs and wants. If you like the “Do it yourself” method an apartment database site might be the one for you. Most require a simple registration which asks for name email and date of move. You do not submit your telephone number and you will not be contacted personally by anyone.

Same as apartment locator, most apartment database are free to use, in some cases you are even offered an Apartment Rebate of $100.00 or more if you tell the property you visit and/or lease that you where sent by a specific referring source ( apartment locating database or website). So, which is better for you? The apartment locator or the apartment database?

Free Move Apartment Locating Companies – Know the Truth!

We all are attracted to the word “free”, and the idea that we are getting something for nothing. There are many legitimate free offerings available to consumers in a wide variety of settings. For instance, Apartment Locators truly do offer a valuable service to all renters who are searching for an apartment, and the service is completely free to the renter, saving them countless hours driving around visiting thousands of properties, and very probably missing out on the best deals and the best apartments.

However, there are also many companies who use the word “free” to lure in customers, and then they may or may not actually deliver the product or service that they initially promised. They get past this deception by writing so many loopholes into the fine print of their advertisement that they can always excuse their lack of delivery. So caution is always in order when you are trusting any company who promises to give you something important for free.

Moving is a very stressful time for many. Often there are deadlines to be out of your current apartment by a certain time. There are items to sort and boxes to pack, and to pack carefully to avoid anything from being broken. Then there is the careful loading and the careful unloading and the unpacking and placing and sorting. You have to allow time to clean the old apartment before you turn in the keys, and you have to be sure you are stopping by the new apartment during business hours so you can obtain the keys to your new home. You have utilities to disconnect and new utilities to connect. A lot is happening at once, and there always is the concern that perhaps you have forgotten something important. You already arranged your schedule to have the day free for moving. You got all your affairs in order, and now you are just waiting for the moving company to arrive. The LAST thing that you need is a glitch over some small detail in fine print that causes your moving company to not show up and deliver that “free” move that you were counting on and planning for.

That is exactly what happened to a friend of mine very recently. She used one of those apartment locating companies in the Dallas, TX area that supposedly offered a “free” move. I wont mention names here, but it is a well known company. Anyway, she gets home from work and has all of her items packed and ready to go. It’s a Friday evening, and she has had the move scheduled with the movers for weeks. She has to be OUT of her apartment by midnight THAT night. They are suppose to come at 7:00 pm, so there is a bit of a time crunch but that’s the only time the movers had available. They finally show up, take a look at her small 1 bedroom apartment and tell her “The free move only covers 2 hours worth of free moving. It looks like you have more items than we can move in 2 hours” (fine print), and they leave!!!! My friend is panicking. She is a single lady who lives all by herself and has to be out of her apartment in just a few hours. If she lives in a small 1 bedroom and had too many items for them to move, it makes me wonder exactly who they COULD move?? Anyway, my friend calls me at 8:00 desperate and crying. I rally up our other friends and we manage to find a U Haul place that was still open and rent a truck. We all go over and move her that same evening. She got out of her apartment in time, and she got a free move all right, but it wasn’t from the company who promised her the move. She did everything she was suppose to do, wrote their name on the Leasing Application as the Locating Company who referred her to the new apartments, and THEY GOT PAID FOR THE REFERRAL, yet they did NOT deliver the move that they promised.

It turns out that many of these “free move” companies have fine print that limits how long they will give you for the move. And what happens if the move happens to go over that time. Do they just leave? Evidently. Or, if they look over your items and feel the job might take longer than the allowed time, they may not even START the move. Another thing to beware of in the fine print….not only may there be limits to the time they will allow, but they often limit the types of items and the number of items they will move. For instance, if you have a one bedroom, they sometimes have a very specific list of the only items they will move. For example: 1 couch, 1 coffee table, one dining room table, 4 dining chairs, a bed, a dresser, a nightstand, 2 lamps, a few boxes (they often will only agree to move a small number of boxes) and many times that is it!! If you have a 2 bedroom, they may increase the list by adding another bed and dresser. But what if you happen to have an item that is not on their list…..such as a desk, or a curio cabinet, or a piano, or an aquarium, or a chest of drawers or an extra table or a loveseat, or a recliner, or a few more boxes than they allow? Do not be surprised if they leave all items behind that are not on their restrictive list, and you are just stuck figuring out what to do with them yourself. If it’s enough items, or items that are large enough, you may end up having to rent a truck or UHaul anyway, or call friends who can come help you.

Another friend of mine recently told me that something similar happened to him that happened to my first friend. He was using one of those apartment locating companies that offer a “free” move. He said they were calling him every day while he was looking for the apartment, trying hard to convince him to move into one of the few places they had recommended. Each day they called to check if he picked a place yet and if he put their name on the Leasing Application of any apartments yet. Finally he did pick a place, and he did put there name there as the Locator who referred him. After that, an interesting thing happened. He could never get a hold of anyone at the apartment locating company again! Once they found out he picked a place and wrote them down (their check was guaranteed), they never called him after that. They wouldn’t return his calls and he couldn’t find a real live human in the company to speak with in order to schedule his free move. He ended up having to hire another moving company in the end. The “free” move locating company got paid their money and they never delivered the free move.

How are the “free move” locating companies different from all the other Apartment Locating Companies? Well, there are some definite differences that you should be aware of. First of all, let’s establish the fact that most Apartment Locating companies do not need to offer a “free move” to lure in customers. It has been shown that their superb customer service and the expertise they offer will save the average renter $500-$700…..which is much more valuable than the cost of a 2 hour move. Plus, they truly help you find the BEST and most awesome apartment home. Another clear difference is this: Not all of the apartment communities out there will work with the “free move” locating companies. In fact, many of them will not. This is because of a combination of reasons.

For one, some of these “free move” companies do not have the best reputation. Secondly, some of the apartments do not feel that they actually earned the commission that they are wanting the apartments to pay them. Some of those free move companies simply have a website where you log on and search for yourself. They only will show you information on the limited number of properties that will actually work with them and pay them. Once you pick a place, you log on again to the website and tell them which one you picked and then the computer is suppose to schedule the move. Not all of the companies are identical, but this is the procedure for some. A real human is not even actively involved in helping you with your search in many cases. Many of the apartments feel that just putting a website online alone does not merit earning a commission. Anyone can have a website. In fact, the apartments already have their own website. Although there is nothing wrong with a Locating Company having a website (in fact, all of them do), the problem arises when the locator ONLY communicates through their website and are predominantly a dot.com business.

The apartment complexes don’t want to pay a dot.com for setting up a website and then only delivering what they promises part of the time. They want to pay Apartment Locators who have a brick and mortar office, who have actual live Agents who work there and who deal one-on-one with the potential renters, assisting them to find their new rental home with customized, individual lists of apartment information. Many times these Locators even escort their clients to the properties. If the client has a unique situation, the Locator can tell them which properties are most likely to work their their particular circumstances. They know who has the best specials out there, or who has the specific amenities that the renter is seeking. The renter can actually call their Locator and speak to them and ask questions and develop a working relationship.

What is the disadvantage for YOU, the prospective renter, when not all the apartments will work with the “move free” locating companies? The problem arises in that the “move free” companies are only going to recommend to you the particular apartments that happen to work with them. This means that you may not find out about the property who is actually the one that matches exactly what you want and has the best special. They will only display information for the properties who will pay them. When you work with a traditional Apartment Locator who works with ALL the properties in the City, you can be confident that you are getting the whole picture and will honestly be told about all the properties who have the best specials. This is a distinct advantage that real brick and mortar Apartment Locators have over the so-called “free move” locators. Most traditional Apartment Locators work with All the reputable apartment and town-home communities. It doesn’t matter to them which one you pick in the end as long as you are happy, because ALL of them will pay the Locator and work with the Agent. They have no need to try to steer you to one particular property over another. Their job is to recommend who has the best deal and seems to be the best match for you.

So, go with the Locating Company that is going to give you the best long term deal and the home that you will be the most happy with. These type of Companies should have years of experience and contracts with almost ALL the apartment communities in your area of interest. For instance, in the Dallas Fort Worth area of Texas (DFW), there are over 3000 apartment communities. Apartment Locators in this area should have brick and mortar locations with multiple Locators onsite who are all Licensed Real Estate Agents, and familiar with DFW. Listen to these comments made by a local DFW Locator: “I give my cell phone number to each client because I want them to be able to reach me any time they need my assistance. I’ve even had them call me while they were sitting in the chair at the leasing office at one of the apartments I referred them to, to ask me a question. I truly am their advocate, an expert on their side to make finding their new apartment as quick and easy and successful as possible. I work with them all the way through their move and have even assisted many people who were relocating from other states and were not able to come here in person to DFW to see the properties first. They relied on me to be their eyes and ears and select the best property for them and arrange all the paperwork so that their new place was ready and waiting when they arrived.” Try getting THAT kind of service from a “free move” company website.

Instead of opting to go with a “free move” Company that may or may not actually deliver their free move, and may or may not tell you about all of the choices you truly have at your disposal, go with a reputable and experienced live Apartment Locating Company who can save you $500-$600 average on your overall lease by telling you about specials you may not have ever discovered otherwise and give you complete information on all the awesome properties available. For more information, visit: http://www.BestApartmentsDFW.com.

Renting A Chicago Apartment

Illinois’ capital city and the largest city in the state, Chicago is a very well known city in the US and the world. A prominent economical hub of the Midwestern region in US, it houses the world’s second busiest airport, Chicago O’Hare. It also is home to some of the biggest corporations like Baxter International, Abbot Laboratories, etc. Financial institutions flourish in this part of the world with the presence of the very famous ones like Federal Reserve Back of Chicago, Chicago Stock Exchange, etc. With such a strong economy, it attracts a lot of relocations from various parts of the world giving rise to a flourishing real estate market.

People coming into the city typically look for a good place to leave and most likely will chose apartments that have all the basic amenities to lead a comfortable life. Most of the Chicago apartments offer all kinds of latest amenities that one can possible ask for at reasonable monthly rents.

If you are looking for Chicago apartments, then it is ideal for you to search on the Internet because you will come across numerous options that perfectly fit your budget. Chicago apartments offer all the latest amenities that you can expect from modern state of the art condos and villas. However, it is better to choose a studio apartment in some of the best areas across the city because of transportation and easy accessibility.

Chicago, Illinois apartments are quite reasonable in terms of rent, if you compare with the tons of features they offer. You can choose N. Wolcott Southeast studio apartment for which you will only have to pay around $815.00 per month. This studio apartment provides free cooking gas and you will have to pay security deposit for half month. It has 2-1/2 large studio rooms along with hardwood flooring, high ceilings, bay windows and big closets. It is close to Winnemac Park and has close by train stations. This apartment has all the latest amenities such as intercom security, digital cable, storage lockers, playground, full time janitor, ownership and management facilities, excellent public transportation, close to restaurants and shopping malls, parking zone, etc. This apartment is one of the best among the Chicago, Illinois apartments.

Three bedroom large apartments in Chicago will cost you little more than the previous one. The rent of these apartments can be anywhere around $895.00 per month. You can check out 4623 N. Lincoln apartment with square-one bedroom having hardwood floors and tall windows. This apartment is situated close to restaurants, train stops, Welles Park. This apartment is located right in the heart of Lincoln Square having spacious 3 room one bedroom along with kitchen, dining room and excellent storage facility. These 3 room one bedroom apartments in Chicago has all the latest amenities like the studio apartments except these are more spacious.

If you are willing to spend more than the studio apartments and 3 room one bedroom apartments, then extra-large one bedroom apartments in 4239 N. Hermitage can be ideal for you. These types of Chicago apartments for rent will cost you around $1295.00 per month. This apartment is more like a gorgeous castle having huge one bedroom, formal dining room, huge walk-in closet and brand new kitchen counter top. It is situated near to Cubs Park.

You can also opt for a studio apartment in W. Winnemac, which is a ready to move in apartment. It will cost you around $785.00 per month, which is very close to Winnemac Park. One bedroom apartments like the one in W. Belle Plaine is one of the most desirable apartments to live, which is situated nearby Kedzie Avenue Brown Line train station. It is can cost you anywhere around $835.00 per month. These Chicago apartments for rent have all the modern facilities that one can possibly ask for.

The Apartment Search

When you are apartment hunting, prepare a rental search plan. Be sure to know in advance what you want in an apartment and what you can live without. Decide in advance what areas of the city you could consider living in and make a list of apartment buildings within that perimeter.

Be sure to consider how far and how convenient it will be for you to travel to your job or your school or your family and friends. Also, how far is the apartment from stores, banks, hospitals, Church (if you attend) etc. If you have a car, make sure that there is adequate and convenient parking space 24/7. If you don’t drive make sure that there is close by public transportation.

Narrow your apartment locating to the size of rental unit you need. Studio apartment or one bedroom apartment or 2 BR apartment or more. Are you considering a furnished apartment or do you possible need a short term rental. If you are renting an apartment with a cat, dog, or other pet, you need to find out which apartments allow renting with pets and which do not. And, if they do allow pets, is there an additional security deposit required and if so, how much it is. Do you need an apartment complex with an exercise room or tennis courts or a pool or a recreation room, etc. or do you simply need and desire a nice clean and quiet pad.

Be realistic about what you can afford. Most apartment renting guides suggest that your rent should not be more than 25% to 30% of your income. This can vary depending on the income bracket, but be sure to be “real world” when budgeting additional apartment expenses such as heating and air conditioning and other utilities. If you fall short of affording the apartment of your choice, you might consider sharing an apartment with a roommate or roommates. Keep in mind that living with roommates can help you afford an upscale apartment or even, in some cases, luxury apartments, but it also has extreme restrictions to your privacy.

If you are familiar with the area and its neighborhoods, that gives you a distinct advantage for your apartment search. If, however, you are relocating to a new city or are not particularly knowledgeable about the city, you may want to contact an Apartment Locator or an Apartment Finder.

Once you narrow your search for apartments down to apts which suit your needs and desires you must be well organized & well prepared for your visits to the apartment complexes. When inspecting the rental premises be on the alert for unsafe conditions, excessive noise from traffic or playgrounds or neighbors. Visit the apartment building at night as well as the daytime hours. This will give you a more comprehensive understanding of the total space you will be residing in.

When you find the apartment complex that meets your renting needs and desires, you must be ready to put your “best foot forward” when you meet the apartment’s rental agent. This person may be the apartment building manager or a renting agent for the apts. You should prepare for this apartment renting interview in a professional and intelligent manner. Be advised that you are going to be asked to provide proof that you are a reliable prospective tenant. You are most likely going to need references from previous landlords. You may also be required by the apartments to show that you are gainfully employed and can afford the rent. Many landlords may require a credit report. If you are a first time renter and/or you have limited credit history you may be asked for references from family, friends, employer, professionals, etc. Likewise if you are renting with bad credit you will certainly want to come to the interview with a strong selection of references.

You are not necessarily restricted from apartment renting with less than perfect credit, but you may be required to put up an additional security deposit and possibly have a credit worthy person co-sign the apartment lease with you. Don’t unprepared for by requests for any of these things. Be sure to fill out a 100% truthful apartment rental application and come to the interview with references, proof of employment, credit information and any other renting resources at the ready. If you do have a credit history or renting history that might be detrimental, going through an apartment locator or apartment finder may be the best solution. They will present your history to the landlord for you, (make sure they are 100% truthful about it) and they can also be quite helpful and save you a lot of time because they most likely will know which landlords and apartments are more lenient in these circumstances. They can also advise you as to exactly what kinds of references and documents you might need to prove that you can be a responsible tenant.

You Have Located Your “Dream Apartment”

Once you have located your “dream apartment”, or as close to your perfect apartment as possible, now it is necessary to pay extremely close attention to the particulars of the rental agreement. An Apartment Lease is a contract between you and the landlord. Once agreed upon and signed by the tenant and the landlord, the rental lease creates obligations and restrictions for both parties. The most obvious covenants of the apartment lease are the length of the rental, (Six month lease, one year lease, two year lease, etc.) The amount of the security deposit, when the rent is due, who is responsible for what utilities. Also in that apartment lease, however, are stipulations, (sometimes in small print) that can cover a great variety of landlord and tenant obligations and restrictions. They can include, but are not limited to, the following:

o Maintenance of the apartment

o Care of the premises

o Cleanliness

o Insurance

o Governmental regulations

o Eminent Domain

o Nuisance and noise clauses

o Stipulations as to the circumstances whereby the landlord can enter the premises

o Use of Common Areas

o Keys and locks

o Loss or damage

o Parking

o Pets

o Plumbing

o What the landlord may do if the rent is in arrears

o What the tenant can do to bring the rent current before any kind of action might be started

o Non performance or breach of the contract by the renter

o Renter’s penalties in the event of early termination

o Circumstances which might cause the tenant or the landlord to break the lease prior to the end of the term

o Heat and other utilities

o Removal of goods

o Surrender or Non-Surrender of the premises

o Waivers of various obligations

o Prohibited reprisals

o Garbage disposal

o Recyclables

o And the list goes on and on and on.

Prospective tenants should read an Apartment lease thoroughly. Prospective apartment renters should understand everything that is contained in that lease and make an informed decision to be 100% accepting of all the provisions for both the tenant and the landlord, that you are positive that you can live up to your end of the bargain and that you are comfortable with the provisions on the landlord’s end.

If you do not understand every single clause of that apartment lease then do not sign it until you do understand it. If necessary and if possible, request assistance in interpreting the lease from a trusted source such as a knowledgeable friend or family member or employer or professional, or anyone else who can understand it and explain it to you. If necessary get legal advice. It can cost additional funds if you do not qualify for free legal assistance, but that additional cost might save you a ton of money and save you a ton of heartache and aggravation down the road.

If you do not agree with any of the provisions of that apartment lease and/or you feel that you can’t live up to the tenant’s obligations, or if you are not in agreement with any of the landlord’s rights under the agreement, then do not sign the lease until/or unless it can be changed to your satisfaction. If the apartment rental agreement cannot be amended to meet your needs and desires and comfort level then do not sign the lease and do not rent that apartment. The Apartment Rental agreement that you sign as a prospective tenant will not change once you become the actual tenant of that apartment.

What Do Apartments in Dallas Check For When They Run Your Application?

Apartments in each state and, even in each city within the same state, have their own different qualification procedures when reviewing the application of a potential new renter. Take the state of Texas as an example. The largest metropolitan areas in this state with the highest concentration of apartment communities are Dallas, San Antonio and Houston. There are thousands of various apartment complexes in each of these cities. You would think they would have the same requirements for approval when running an Application for a new renter since they are all located within the same state of Texas. However, Dallas has very unique requirements that are different from Houston and San Antonio as well as different from other cities and other states.

Apartments in the illustrious city of Dallas check four (4) major areas in order to approve your Application: criminal background, income/job, rental history, and credit. It is the combination of these specific 4 areas that make Dallas requirements unique as a city, as well as how lenient or strict they are within each of the 4 areas.

For instance, In Houston, located only 239 miles away from Dallas, there are some apartments that consider your debt and your debt to income ratios as well as Social Security fraud history, when checking your Application. These are items that are never checked by Dallas apartments when they run your Application. Also, Dallas is more lenient than Houston when doing a criminal background check when it comes to fraud and financial crimes. Several apartments in Dallas will still work with you if you have a misdemeanor or felony in those categories, whereas in Houston these two areas are almost always causes for denial of your application.

As another example of how unique Dallas qualification requirements are, consider how Dallas differs from another major city, San Antonio. In the city of Dallas, apartments do not check how long you have worked at a particular job. The length of your employment history is not a consideration. As long as you HAVE employment and income that can be verified, most apartments will approve your application. In fact, you can have a brand new job, or even be transferring here to Dallas from another location, and all you need is a “Hire Letter” from the new employee showing your start date and your rate of pay. This is different from San Antonio. Most apartments in San Antonio want to see at least 6 months of employment history.

So, as you can see, Dallas has unique requirements that they check for when running an apartment application. Here are the specific requirements that Dallas apartments look for in more detail:

1. The first area that the best Apartments in Dallas check is your income qualifications. They almost always require that you earn three (3) times whatever your rent amount is. Other cities and states may require that you earn 2.5 times, or even 3.5 times the rent amount, but almost all properties across the board in Dallas check to see that you earn 3 times minimum. For example, if your rent is $1000, they want to see proof that you earn at least $3000 a month. You can provide this proof of income in the form of paycheck stubs. If you are self employed, you can provide bank statements and the most recent year’s tax statements. If you are new moving into the Dallas area and have been transferred from your job, or you are just starting a brand new job, you can provide a letter from your employer on company letterhead from the HR department or the hiring manager. The letter should state that you are being relocated and what your income will be.

Many cities, such as Houston and San Antonio, check to see how long you have worked for a particular employer, and therefore will not accept a “New Hire Letter”. Dallas does not do this. As long as you have the Hire Letter, you can be accepted with a brand new job. More than likely, however, the new apartments will call the company and ask for verbal verification of the letter, and it must be signed by someone with authority, such as the Hiring Manager. They may or may not ask for the letter to be notarized.

What kind of income will the Dallas apartments consider? In addition to income from a business you own or from employment, you can also include funds that you receive as child support, disability, retirement, investments, etc. Any and all income that is legal and is provable will be considered.

What if you are retired and do not have income? Some areas would require you to move to a retirement community or senior facility. But most apartments in Dallas are flexible in this regard. They will just require a copy of your bank statements to verify that you have enough funds to cover the cost of the rent for each month of the lease. For example, if your rent is $1000 a month, and you sign a 12 month lease, they will check to see if you at least have $12,000 in savings. They will also consider any Social Security money that you receive as monthly income. And if all else fails, they will accept a co-signer. Because Dallas is flexible in working with retired individuals, many enjoy the freedom and dignity of renting their own apartment without having to move into a retirement home for seniors. Perhaps this is one of the reasons that Money Magazine voted Dallas as one of the best places to retire in 2006 and 2007.

2. The second area that the best apartments in Dallas always check is your past rental history. They want to know if you have ever broken a lease or been evicted. They will check with the current apartments you are living in now, even if they are in another state, to verify that you are leaving on good terms. It may be tempting to try to “stretch the truth” and hide the fact that you owe past apartments money, but resist the urge. The credit check that they pull on you will reveal any debts that you owe to past properties. In Dallas, any past debts to properties that are still unpaid, even if they are many years ago, will mean an automatic denial if it shows up on your credit. The Manager does not have control over making the final decision in this regard. This is because most apartments in Dallas are managed by large Property Management Companies who make all the corporate decisions for their properties. They set the rules, and the rule is always to check for any property debts and automatically deny an application if such a debt appears. Other cities with a higher percentage of privately owned small apartment communities, such as San Antonio or Houston, may be more flexible in this regard since they maintain more control over who they accept or deny and the Manager may be allowed to make the final ruling.

What can you do if you do owe a past apartment community and you are searching for an apartment in the Dallas area? Well, it all depends upon whether or not it shows up on your credit report. If you aren’t sure if it shows up on your credit, you might first pull your own free credit report and look to see if it is there. Make sure to pull the credit from all three reporting agencies since you aren’t sure which one the apartments will use. If the incident is mentioned nowhere on your credit, then you may choose not to bring up the past, especially if you have had good rental history SINCE that occurrence. If it does show up on your credit, then you will not get approved at any apartment complex in Dallas. Your only option is to go back to that prior property that you owe funds to and pay them off. Be sure to receive a receipt or letter that shows your debt is paid in full so you can present this letter to the new Dallas apartments. Even with the receipt or letter, not every property in Dallas will work with you. A skilled Dallas Apartment Locator will be of great assistance in guiding you to the properties that are a little more lenient in this regard.

3. The third area that the Dallas Best Apartments check is your credit. As we mentioned above, they are mainly looking to see if you owe any past apartments money. However, Dallas is unique because they also will check to see if you owe past utility bills, mainly the electric company. The reason they check this is because you will not be able to turn on your electricity at the new apartment if you still owe the utility company money. So you will have to pay off any debts to the electric company prior to filling out the apartment application. In fact, some Dallas apartments even require you to call the power company and schedule the date for them to turn on the electricity to your new apartment, and get a confirmation number to prove it is scheduled, before they will give the final approval to your Application. Apartments in other cities are not as strict in this area as Dallas.

Another item they will look for on your credit, besides just past apartment debts and utility debts are housing debts. Perhaps you use to own your own home, and now you are moving into an apartment. The apartments will check to see your payment history with the mortgage company and will look for property debts and foreclosures. If a foreclosure shows up, then they may not be able to work with you. It depends on how many years ago the incident happened. An Apartment Locator familiar with Dallas apartments will be in the best position to assist you.

4. The last area that apartments in Dallas always check is your criminal background. Although most cities and states run background checks on applicants, each city is different in how they react to the findings. Dallas apartments run a background check that goes back indefinitely. It will show any past misdemeanors or felonies that you have ever received in your entire life. It doesn’t matter if the occurrence happened 30 years ago. It will still show up. Most apartments in Dallas automatically will decline your application if any felony shows up. However, they can be flexible in a few areas where other cities are not.

For example, if the felony or misdemeanor is for something that does not involve harm to another human and does not involve theft, approximately 10% of the Dallas apartments will work with you. Some examples of misdemeanors or felonies that SOME properties may be more flexible with are: check writing fraud, drinking while driving, possession of marijuana, etc. Other cities are not flexible enough to consider any exceptions and will deny an application for any crime, regardless of its nature.

If you have a non-violent glitch on your background criminal record, you need a qualified Apartment Locator in Dallas who has knowledge of second chance properties to assist you in finding the 10% who might work with your situation. If your particular offense is not one that any apartment property in Dallas will accept, then the Locator will let you know. In that case, your best bet is to find a privately owned house that is for rent by the owner. These can be found in the newspaper. Do not apply for a rent house that is represented by a Real Estate Agent, or they will have the same background check that the apartments have, and you will run into the same problem. Only rent houses that are for lease by the owner offer more flexibility.

Phoenix Real Estate Market at Risk of Sudden Slowdown Due to Newly Passed Housing Bill

The Phoenix residential real estate market could see a 10% or greater drop in home sales with the elimination of down payment assistance tied to Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans, which would have serious repercussions given the market’s already challenging climate.

Nestled in H.R. 3221, or “The Housing & Economic Recovery Act of 2008,” passed into law on July 30th, the Congress and the President set a date of October 1st for the elimination of down payment assistance, a financing option for many home-buyers in the Phoenix real estate market.

Down payment assistance is provided in tandem with a Federal Housing Administration loan whereby home-sellers can contribute monies through an intermediary toward a down payment for home-buyers to purchase a home. The intermediary acts as a pass-through for seller contributions and passes these monies to the buyer as a ‘gift.’ Ameridream Inc. and Nehemiah represent the most visible of these intermediaries and have been involved in several legal challenges with FHA over the down payment assistance option.

But the hard truth is that elimination of these programs may adversely impact the Phoenix housing market and do more harm than good in the short term. This is due to FHA loans and down payment assistance programs’ prominence in the current housing environment. FHA loans haven taken on a hugely important role in the Phoenix residential real estate market. As loan programs disappeared, credit requirements tightened, and down payment requirements rose to 10% or more, FHA loans presented the only option for home buyers to get into properties with 3% or less down payment through the use of DPA. Some estimates are that FHA loans currently represent over 50% of closed residential real estate transactions for the year. As a result, the wholesale removal of down payment assistance programs may have an immediate impact.

If the legislation holds, the market may see two developments. First, there will be heightened activity in the period up to October 1st as affected home buyers seek to lock into homes before they get sidelined and aren’t able to. Second, there will be an appreciable decline in buyer activity and home sales as a result of down payment assistance’s elimination after October 1st. Buyers who could have purchased homes will have to wait or give up their search.

Phoenix could see a 10% or greater decline in an already suffering housing market that potentially moves it away from a market that is recovering to one that is stinging. Taking this one step further, if the impact is similar in other markets across the country, the effect on the broader economy of the United States may be problematic.

The Federal Housing Administration as part of the Department of Housing and Urban Development is staunchly against the use of the programs citing that down payment assistance transactions incur a disproportionate number of foreclosures when compared to loans where the buyer accumulated the down payment. Higher FHA loan defaults raise the costs and risks to FHA. FHA cites that homeowners using these programs are able to buy their homes with effectively no money down and so have no personal stake in the properties themselves. With no personal stake, the buyers may not have the personal financial discipline to keep their commitments or the financial wherewithal to afford the properties in the first place.

Proponents counter that the programs simply allow viable and qualified buyers the ability to own their own homes and that elimination of the program will hurt American families.

Regardless of the side of the debate one is on, the market reality is that wholesale elimination of the down payment assistance option does present a risk to the Phoenix housing market. as it has been an important and prominent enabler for the local housing market. Time will tell if a viable compromise solution is put before the Congress and the President before down payment assistance goes completely away.

Why Phoenix Real Estate is a Good Choice

For those who are relocating to Phoenix, Arizona or current residents who may be looking for a new home, the best choice is to use a reputable Phoenix real estate agency to help you find one of the Phoenix homes for sale. Attempting to locate Phoenix homes for sale without using a Phoenix real estate agency can be a frustrating and lengthy process because of all the Phoenix homes that are available on the market at any given time. One of the best reasons to contract with a Phoenix real estate agency is to make it easy for buyers to find Phoenix AZ real estate and for sellers to connect with buyers who are looking for real estate in Phoenix, Arizona.

Although it is possible to find some properties that are available directly from the sellers, most Phoenix real estate is listed with an agency in order to make the process flow smoother and to allow buyers to have access to a larger network of Phoenix homes for sale. Working with a Phoenix, Arizona real estate agent can help a seller with presenting his home to the largest community of buyers. Although newspaper advertising may work for some things a person sells, it is much more practical to sell your home through a realtor.

For the seller utilizing the services of a Phoenix, Arizona real estate agency means he does not have to do any advertising, be responsible for showing the home, or negotiating the price of the home. In fact, most real estate agencies prefer the seller to leave the home when they are selling in order to prevent the seller from providing any negative feedback to the potential buyer. Leaving everything up to a Phoenix real estate agency takes the responsibility of presenting the property from the seller to the real estate agent who is more experienced in how to secure the sale of Phoenix homes.

One of the most important things is for a buyer to work with his own Phoenix real estate instead of using the services of the listing agent. This protects the buyer because the listing agent is working in the best interest of the seller rather than the buyer. It is essential for the buyer to have someone who does not have a vested interest in the seller and therefore will work with a buyer to help him or her find the property they want. Realtors work from both the seller’s and the buyer’s angle which is why it is essential for a buyer to secure his own real estate agent and settlement attorney. Buying a home is the biggest investment you will make, and you want to be sure the transaction proceeds smoothly and there are no problems that may develop after the sale is closed.

With the Current Stock Market Malaise, Investment in Phoenix Real Estate Makes Even More Sense

The Phoenix residential real estate market represents a great opportunity to individuals, families, and investors who are weary about the stock market and are realizing that their investment portfolios are too exposed to fluctuations in Wall Street. By now, the reality has sunk in with most people – the stock market’s decline has hit 401K and other retirement investments hard. As a result, this is a critical time to for individuals, families, and investors to rethink diversification of their portfolios again. Portfolios need to be more highly diversified than ever before.

And it’s time to rethink real estate as one component of your diversification in the future in addition to stocks, bonds, commodities, international investment, and low-risk savings instruments, to name a few.

Wall Street, Main Street, and My Street, and Real Estate

There is no doubt that the goings-on in the real estate industry are intermingled with the market challenges that Wall Street is facing, which in turn impacts Main Street and “My Street.” But the issues with real estate largely emanated from the many corporations that make up Wall Street combined with lack of government oversight and inaction. Lack of personal discretion also contributed to the problem.

Having said that, here is why real estate should be a component in your investment portfolio once again, and why the Phoenix real estate market is an excellent choice for investment to help you diversify that portfolio.

First, due to the wave of foreclosure-related properties, prices have declined to 2004 and even 2003 pricing levels. This is pricing that is pre-run up. Though there is a risk that prices may drop further, the extent of a further decline may be limited in the short term while the long term outlook gradually gets stronger.

Second, real estate can prove to be a more reliable investment in a normal market environment. Prior to the run-up in home valuations in the second half of 2004 through 2005, annual home appreciation in the Phoenix residential real estate market averaged 5%-6% . Playing the long game as investors should, holding a property for 5-20 years could yield a solid return.

Long term is key here. The investor has to be committed to a lower but steady return on their investment when it comes to real estate. The Phoenix housing market will not likely experience a meteoric rise in valuations like it did again. That’s not to say that there won’t be some opportunities to turn properties fast (whether through acquisition at a foreclosure auction or wholesale, or a flip), but this model will have the high risk that most investors will and should shy away from.

One note here. At least in the Phoenix area, investors have to weigh the merits of investments in homes and real estate by several components to get a true picture of the return on a property. These factors are growth in appreciation, rental income and offsets, tax benefits, and equity paydown and buildup.

Third, real estate is real. You can see it. You can touch it. You can check up on it (if you buy locally). And it will always hold some intrinsic value no matter what happens. If you have a home in Chandler, it is easy to get across the Phoenix area, to check up on an investment property in Glendale. Or, perhaps the investment property you choose is right next door to your home in Tempe.

Fourth, under certain circumstances, real estate taxation on capital gains growth can be minimal. The same cannot be said of many other investment vehicles.

Fifth, an investor has much more control in determining the value of the property. Smart improvements and renovations combined with effective property management can increase the value of the property substantially.

Sixth, the Phoenix area continues to grow. The Valley saw a 2.8% increase in the number of residents here last year. This trend will continue as Phoenix and surrounding areas are perceived as a stable, optimum climate to live and to work. With the decline in real estate prices, this perception will also be reinforced by a sense that Phoenix and surrounding areas are once again affordable.

Finally, real estate can serve a dual investment/personal objective. For instance, an investment in real estate can serve as a later gift for children. Or, it can be utilized as a sort of savings plan for children’s college tuition as a complement to 529s and Coverdell plans. The investment could be a retirement property for later in life. Real estate investments can also be used to create income streams to live off of (when rents and equity buildup eventually turn the property cash-flow positive).

There are numerous reasons to invest in real estate even beyond this list.

Real Estate Has A Role to Play in Your Investment Portfolio

The difficult truth about the stock market is that over the past eight years, the U.S. economy has seen two major disruptions or recessions that were severe enough to have rippling effects for all Americans as seen by the decline in 401K and other retirement savings values. As a result, further diversification of investment portfolios is needed across many different asset classes with a regional focus as well.

Real estate should be one of those classes. Given real estate has seen real substantial pricing declines over the last three years to levels seen before the run-up period, one has to consider that there are real deals in the marketplace for real estate. Coupled with the right long-term outlook and commitment to investment fundamentals, real estate can have a more effectual, countervailing purpose in investment portfolios that can help Americans better weather substantial market disruptions in the future. For investors looking for specific markets that may be worthwhile to investigate, real estate in the Phoenix area is a compelling choice.

Phoenix Real Estate Schools

Travel and home magazines describe Phoenix as a tropical paradise. Financial and investment publications feature articles about the real estate situation in Phoenix and its rich economic vitality. As a result of this demand for property, real estate brokers and agents have a thriving practice. This has motivated many people to seek a career in the real estate business. As in any other field, professionals in the real estate business require specialized education.

Real estate schools coach and train aspiring real estate agents and guide them through the mandatory certification and examination process. These schools also offer their expertise in helping a student acquire real estate licenses.

Real estate schools in Phoenix offer online courses and the duration ranges from a month to a year. Typically, one year of study is required to complete a pre-license course. Completing a pre-license course gives students 63 hours of credit, which is required as a prerequisite for the real estate sales associate license. On completion, a student would have met the educational prerequisite to appear for the Phoenix State Exam. It is not necessary to be a U.S. Citizen or a Phoenix resident to obtain a Phoenix real estate license. The eligibility criterion are that the applicant must be at least 18 years of age, he/she should not have had a real estate license denied within one year or revoked within the two years prior to the application date.

Phoenix real estate schools provide adequate knowledge and support to its students in order to make them masters of the profession. It is advisable to plan the course as per each individual?s requirements and availability of time.

In recent times, many real estate schools have sprung up in Phoenix. Experts advise caution when choosing one for enrollment. Some of these schools are relatively new and do not have sufficient credentials to back their claims. It is believed that many don’t even have a standardized curriculum. Choosing a reputed real estate school with a updated curriculum and practical sessions is critical to becoming a successful real estate professional.

Water And Phoenix Real Estate

If you really know your American history (and/or have ever read the book or seen the PBS documentary Cadillac Desert) you understand full well that settlement of the West and water issues are inextricably bound particularly in desert areas like Phoenix.

The fact is that without water, there would be no Phoenix AZ real estate – nor the city of Phoenix proper, for that matter. Fortunately, the Gila River is nearby, as well as a number of creeks and reservoirs. Over 1300 years ago, these enabled the Hohokam People to grow crops on the exceptionally fertile land. Almost a century before the time of King Charlemagne, the Hohokam created a highly developed civilization in the Valley of the Sun that endured for seven centuries. Their systems of irrigation canals formed the basis of the modern metro area’s water systems today.

Those of you planning to invest in Phoenix real estate or settle down in the area will do well to remember however that Maricopa County is a desert. Water is a precious resource, and in order to maintain the quality of life we enjoy in this area, it is important to practice water conservation.

Many Phoenix homes are landscaped using the native vegetation within attractively designed rock gardens. While a home with a traditional lawn may appear to have greater value, the cost – both financially and ecologically – of maintaining a lawn will be high and not a particularly wise use of resources.

It’s also popular to have private swimming pools in climates such as we have here in the Phoenix area. Aside from tremendous drain on local water resources, your Phoenix real estate agent will advise you that a swimming pool, while lifting your property’s value, represents a considerable investment in terms of maintenance and a potential liability as well. The possibility of someone being injured or drowned in your swimming pool is something that home insurers take into consideration when determining risk and potential liability.

In general, when planning to settle down in Maricopa County, it’s good to consider living in harmony with the environment rather than attempting to adapt it to your own tastes. Choose a home with environmentally-friendly, less water intensive landscaping. Make sure your home has low-flow toilets and shower heads – then learn all you can about water conservation. The Arizona Department of Water Resources at azwater is a good place to start learning about the latter topic.

Phoenix Real Estate – Is it Time to Move to Phoenix?

Phoenix Arizona continues to be a booming area. In 2009, the U.S. Census Bureau News published statistics showing that Phoenix continues to have substantial growth. Of the larger metropolitan areas (population of 2 million or more), Phoenix grew the most followed by Dallas, Houston and Atlanta.

Why wouldn’t people relocate to Phoenix? Phoenix is a city that boasts over 315 days of sunshine per year on average and has over 200 golf courses. Winters are extremely mild and for most a coat is not needed.

New businesses continue to move to Phoenix making a decent job market (in these tough times). Phoenix has successful professional sports teams such as the Arizona Cardinals, Phoenix Suns and Arizona Diamondbacks, to name a few. Additionally there are terrific cultural events, theater performances and concerts.

Phoenix has several lakes nearby for boating, waterskiing or putting out the waverunner. Lake Pleasant, Apache Lake, and Lake Roosevelt or short drives from the Phoenix area. For the outdoorsman or woman, the pine country of Flagstaff or the Mogollan rim is also just a short drive. There are many hiking trails and camp sites for the weekend warriors.

The Phoenix real estate market continues to slump. When the recession hit, Phoenix was one of the key areas impacted. With the excessive growth in value over the past years, Phoenix home values continue to correct. Homes can be purchased now at a fraction of the price of prior years. It is a great buying opportunity for people looking to relocate to a sunny dry climate.

Five Reasons to Invest in Phoenix Real Estate

If you are a real estate investor, then you understand how important it is to have a knowledgeable Phoenix realty in your corner, helping to find the right properties at the right prices for you.; Phoenix realtors are eager to share with you five reasons why it makes sense to invest in Phoenix AZ real estate.

Phoenix is a popular spot for “snowbirds,” or retirees who come to live in the area during its notably warm and pleasant winter months.; Many of these retirees are looking to permanently move to Phoenix, and would be interested in the properties you have to offer.

Another reason why Phoenix real estate is a smart investment is that the population here is growing rapidly as the economy diversifies.; You will find people moving here because of the great job opportunities in government, the research being done at Arizona State University, and the many high-tech and telecom companies that have moved to the area.;

Investors focus on Phoenix real estate because the geography and natural habitats draw many people to live in Phoenix due to its proximity to several beautiful parks.; Places like Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park with its botanical collection, the famed Desert Botanical Garden in Papago Park in Phoenix, the 16,500 acre South Mountain Park and others draw new residents to Phoenix on a regular basis.

Sports fans use their love of their favorite games as an important reason for moving to Phoenix, and this brings more home buyers to the area.; Phoenix is proud to be called home for the Cardinals football team, the Diamondbacks major league baseball team, the Phoenix Suns NBA and the Phoenix Mercury Women’s NBA teams, as well as the Phoenix Coyotes ice hockey and Arizona Sting lacrosse teams.; Major league baseball teams, nine in number, also conduct spring training in Phoenix, and this is another draw that brings sports enthusiasts to the area to buy homes.

Golfers from around the world come to Phoenix to golf during its 320 days per year of sun, and many dream of buying Phoenix real estate so that they can enjoy golfing here on a permanent basis.; You will find famous courses such as the Arizona Biltmore-Adobe Course, The Legend at Arrowhead Golf Resort designed by Arnold Palmer, and the Superstition Springs Golf Club that has been a PGA Tour qualifying site are big reasons why golfing enthusiasts move to Phoenix.

The Truth About Shadow Inventory In Phoenix Real Estate Market

With a little bit of analysis, the claim that there is a tremendous shadow inventory on the Phoenix real estate market is easily banished. Unfortunately, homeowners and home-buyers are oftentimes led off the path by faulty reporting, even in major news outlets. There are resources that can be inspected to get a precise evaluation of how much inventory may be available and that is currently with lenders.

Erroneous Reporting

Reuters, one of the biggest news agencies in the world, announced in July of 2012 that price gains in Phoenix – and other so-called foreclosure-heavy cities such as Miami – are largely because banks own a great deal of inventory that they’re not putting on the market. The reason given for this is a possible scandal due to robo-signing on the part of banks. Unfortunately, the information put out in the media is inaccurate.

In the Phoenix market, at least, if the banks were to let the inventory that they currently hold onto the market, it would make a trivial or no difference at all in the prices for homes, specifically considering how much demand has increased over the last year.

Not That Many

The Cromford Report follows the amount of inventory that is held by lenders. This tracking is only attainable by subscription, but it keeps record of Phoenix real estate inventory unequivocally. According to these reports, there aren’t even 5,900 residential properties in the hands of lenders. Almost half of them are already active, some of them are pending sales and others are off of the market on ARMLS, according to Arizona Real Estate Trends.

Of the inventory not included in that number, lots of them are under leases and are occupied by tenants. The reporting mentions that, even if that housing inventory was released onto the market, it would account for less than two weeks of inventory in the Phoenix real estate market. This would not have any significant effect on the prices of homes in the overall market. In fact, in a healthy real estate market, the inventory is usually somewhere in the neighborhood of six month’s worth of properties.

Not Many Foreclosures

Another popular conception is that Arizona is one of the worst states in the nation as far as foreclosure rates go. In fact, Arizona has a foreclosure rate that is below the national average. Currently, according to the reporting, Arizona has approximately 5.9 percent of its homes which are 30 days delinquent and not yet in foreclosure. The national average for that same figure is 7.6 percent. As for homes that are more than 30 days delinquent and that are in foreclosure, Arizona has a rate of 8.7 percent, while the nation as a whole has an average of 11.3 percent.

Though the two states are often mentioned side-by-side in real estate reporting, Florida has a 21.3 percent rate of loans that are 30 days or more past due and that are in foreclosure, establishing that Arizona is in better shape than is portrayed in the media. Shadow inventory on the Arizona real estate market, quite simply, is a fabrication.

Fast and Efficient Ways To Finding An Apartment In New York City

Searching for an apartment in the biggest City in the country is a daunting task; whether you are new to NYC or a 12 year veteran like me, you will need thick skin to navigate this concrete jungle! Let me start with my personal experience.

I am originally from Portland, OR, I moved to the Big Apple back in 1998. My first 5 months living in New York were spent living out of a hotel because I had a hard time finding a place. My original intentions were to stay at my hotel for 2 weeks, but I had to extend my stay since I grossly underestimated the difficulty of finding a decent apartment in New York. Now after 12 years and 7 moves I consider myself an expert in New York City apartment hunting and now I will share the knowledge I have accumulated over the years of searching for apartments by myself or using a broker.

This article is a guide that will help make the process of finding an apartment in this “crazy city” easier, more efficient and less confusing (it might even save you a couple of dollars in the process). It is all laid out in an easy to follow 6-step process.

Step 1: Figure Out What Neighborhood You Want To Live In!

This may seem like the easy part because you obviously want to be in an area that is convenient, trendy and safe, however you will soon figure out nothing is that easy in New York City. You need to determine what neighborhood fits your personality/life style and at the same time determine what kind of space/amenities you will need. For example you may work in the East Village and love the energy there but are you willing to pay the steep price tag for a “shoe box”(and by “shoe box” I mean a tiny apartment) in a run down building that is a 4th floor walk-up. Do you feel comfortable living in an area where it’s a constant party scene every night?

A book that is an amazing source of info for the ins & outs of every neighborhood is the NFT (Not For Tourist) guide of New York City. You can buy this in any Barns & Noble and make sure it is the most up to date version because there is a new version every year. Another great way of getting to know a neighborhood is by Googling it. With an endless source of information in cyber space why not take advantage of it. If you prefer doing it the old fashion way, taking a stroll through the neighborhood, go for it! But make sure you have your trusty NFT guide with you so you can spot the important things.

Step 2: Determine What You Are Willing To Sacrifice

In your apartment search you are going to have to sacrifice something whether it be size, location or amenities. You are going to have to prepare yourself mentally and emotionally because the grim reality is the perfect apartment doesn’t exist (unless you have an unlimited budget) The general rule of thumb in New York is the further uptown you go the bigger and cheaper the apartments will be. The further downtown you go the smaller and more expensive it will be.

You need to determine what is most important to you within your unique budget and find that middle ground. My advice, is if you find an apartment that is 70-80% ideal, take it, because the pickier you are the harder the search will be! I learned this the hard way a longtime ago and you do not want to get stuck chasing around that “magical apartment”. Yes, it is possible you might get lucky and find that perfect apartment but so is hitting the jackpot in the lottery!

Step 3: Determine What You Can Afford And If Your Budget Is Realistic

Once you have an idea of which neighborhoods you prefer to live in, now you have to determine if your a budget is realistic. Determine what is the average price for an apartment for those neighborhoods. How? I recommend going to a website called apartmenthero. This website will provide current market averages for every size apartment rental in every neighborhood in the city. Results are usually pretty accurate but sometimes they can be a little off, about plus or minus $300. When you first enter the site you will be prompted to enter information to compare your current apartment to the current market rate. If you’re a “newbie” and do not have an apartment yet, go to the right column of the website, click on “average rents in Manhattan”. Another great way is to do your own research on nytimes. I find that nytimes rental listings are much more accurate and up to date, as opposed to Craigslist and other sites where there are tons of bait & switch scams.

Next, determine what you can afford, landlord’s make this part easy because to qualify for most apartments in the Big Apple, you need to have a good credit standing (650 or above), earn a yearly household income of 40-50 times your monthly rent and if you don’t, then you need a guarantor. He or she needs to earn 80-100 times the monthly rent. For example the average one bedroom apartment in East Village is about $2,300 -$2,600 per month; you will need annual household income of $92,000 to qualify and a guarantor, would need a yearly income of $184,000 minimum.

Step 4: Timing Is EVERYTHING

I have a good friend whose ex-wife worked as a real estate agent for eight years. When they were still together, I had the unique opportunity of getting some great tips on how to look for an apartment in New York. The most impacting tip she gave me was that timing is everything. New York is unlike any city in the country when it comes to this, in most cities you generally start your apartment search two or sometimes three months before your move out date. In New York the market moves so fast that most landlords want to sign leases immediately after your application is accepted. At the very most, you have a month to search, the best deals generally come out the first week of the month or the third week of the month. Approximately 70% of the listings in the first week of the month are for movers moving on the 15th, 30% are meant for movers moving at the beginning of the next month.

Make sure you secure an apartment at least 1 1/2 week prior to when you want keys! My advice is you only need 5 days (sometimes less) to find an apartment. The first 2 days should be getting to know what’s out there, the 3rd and 4th day should be narrowing down your search and 5th day should be getting your paperwork together & submitting your application. With every rule there are exceptions, if you find an amazing place that is 95% ideal on your 3rd or 2nd day do not hesitate, take it! What is great to you is more then likely great to most apartment hunters. The vacancy rate in Manhattan is usually around 1-2% so there will be always more people looking for apartments then there are availability.

Step 5: Determine What Strategy You Will Use To Find Your “New Home”

This decision can make or break you depending on your situation. There are two ways to go about finding an apartment in New York City, you can do it the easy/expensive way and hire a broker to find you a place or you can do it the hard/affordable way by doing it yourself. I personally have done it both ways and it all depends on what you are looking for and what is your situation. Here are the benefits of both methods:

Benefits of doing it yourself

1) You will save MONEY!!!

-Broker fees are expensive; they range from 1-month rent to 15% of the annual rent. If the broker has an exclusive on the listing, you will likely have to pay 15%

2) You avoid shady money hungry brokers

-Lets face it in every industry there are bad apples and the real estate industry is no exception.

3) You will learn the City

-With all the walking you will be doing you will get to know the city better then you ever have before.

4) You’ll be in better shape when your done

-You will be in better cardiovascular shape because you will be walking a ton! So you better have on some comfortable sneakers.

Benefits of using a Broker

1) Faster and more efficient

-Your apartment search will be less time consuming and more efficient because brokers have access to thousands of listings you will never have access to and can show you a bunch in one shot.

2) Avoid outdated listings

-Websites like Craigslist, Renthop & Apartments.com are flawed and poorly regulated and most of their listings are barely updated. Brokers listings are updated daily because they have direct contact with the landlord

3) Brokers know what a landlord wants

-Each landlord in the city has their own preferences and application requirements. Brokers know what each landlord is looking for in a tenant; this can save you time, heartache and expensive application fees.

4) You will have access to more Apartments

-Approximately 41% of available listings in New York are only accessible through brokers. These types of listings are called “broker protected listings”, the land lord will only take applications represented by a broker.

Step 6: Here Are Some Great Tips

1) Talk to a Doorman

-If you do decide to try doing it yourself talking to doormen is a great way to find an apartment. Doormen not only have info to the building they are working in but to other buildings the landlord may own.

2) More is not always better

-If you do decide to use a broker, more than one broker at a time is not always better. Brokers have almost all the same listings because most listing are open. For example if you call ten brokers and give them your detailed description of what you are looking for there is a distinct possibility you will be shown the same apartments. At the same time you should not limit yourself and work with one broker, you might be missing out, because some brokers have exclusive listings. My advice is, you should only use three brokers and if you find one that you feel is competent and trustworthy, stick with him/her.

3) Use NakedApartments

-This website gives you the ability to not only look for rental listings while discreetly contacting brokers/landlords but you can give them a review if you had a bad or good experience. You can also look at the reviews of other brokers or landlords before you decide to contact them.

4) Don’t be afraid to negotiate a broker fee

-Most brokers would rather negotiate and get the deal done then risk having the next broker showing the apartment and rent it before him/her. Do not get carried away, no broker will take less then a month. Remember if the apartment is an exclusive listing you will have no leverage for negotiations.

Apartment Locator VS Apartment Database Search! What's Best For You?

Let’s start with the fact that 80% of all searches start on line, that being said when you do a search on Google or Yahoo for the terms “rental apartments” or “apartments for rent” you are faced with two basic options; apartment locator that offers their free service ether from their internet sites or using classified ad postings and other internet sites that offer the use of an apartment database. Which is the best for you? Well, that depends on what your needs and wants are and whether you like the “do it yourself” apartment hunting or being helped by a professional Apartment locator.

The Apartment Locator: If you are relocating to a new area or a new city, a place you are unfamiliar with, you don’t know the neighborhoods, schools, job centers, transportation, etc, the apartment locator may be your best choice.They respond to your request by phone or email (you decide) to ask you some details about your ideal apartment. You want to give them as much information about your wants and need as far as: budget, date of move part of town and more. The apartment locator is knowledgeable about the area of his local rental market. They will be very helpful in finding you rental property that suits your particular needs, best of all, in most cases this will be a totally free service. The apartment locator is normally paid “finder’s fee” or “referral fee” from the landlord apartment complex or landlord.

The Apartment Database Search: Unlike apartment locators, the typical apartment database offers an extensive choice of apartment listings. You can read the descriptions of apartment communities see maps, amenities, rent ranges, photos of inside and out and in some cases contact information. All this information helps you understand if a particular rental apartment or complex meet your needs and wants. If you like the “Do it yourself” method an apartment database site might be the one for you. Most require a simple registration which asks for name email and date of move. You do not submit your telephone number and you will not be contacted personally by anyone.

Same as apartment locator, most apartment database are free to use, in some cases you are even offered an Apartment Rebate of $100.00 or more if you tell the property you visit and/or lease that you where sent by a specific referring source ( apartment locating database or website). So, which is better for you? The apartment locator or the apartment database?

London Apartment – Everything You Need To Know Before Booking A Serviced London Apartment

A few weeks ago a secretary telephoned me in absolute desperation. She was desperately searching for accommodation in central London for some VIPs from abroad. She stumbled onto my website, not really understanding what the service was about. I think the words ‘free service’, ‘apartments’ just helped her to figure out that Quality London Apartments had something to do with accommodation. Apologies for my long opening, but it is a prime example of how little travelers in the UK and Europe know about the serviced apartment industry. After explaining the concept of serviced apartments and helping her find an apartment, I realized that I needed to share this knowledge further afield. Thus, this article is my contribution to open up this elusive industry and offer tips to travelers.

What is a serviced apartment?

A serviced apartment is a flat in a block, which has a separate bedroom, sitting room/lounge, fully equipped kitchen, your own private keys to own door. Serviced apartments can be in the form of a studio flat (all in one room with a kitchenette), one, two or three bedrooms.
All apartments enjoy maid service, utilities and a management team to help….just like a hotel. Guests only pay for a nightly rate and can live in a flat with everything they would have in their own home.

Pros: Serviced London Apartment vs Hotels

  • More value for money and cheaper. In a hotel, no matter which star rating, you pay per night for one room which will have a TV, bathroom, sofa and a bed. This is similar to a studio apartment! In an apartment there is a separate bedroom, kitchen, sitting room, bathroom and dining table (exception is studio)
  • Pay per apartment and not per person. An example would be paying £250 per night for a two bedroom apartment, which could accommodate up to 4 people, that works out at £62.50 per person.
  • Freedom and privacy. An apartment is like being in your own home and there is plenty of space. You have your own keys to your own door.
  • Booking is easy, just like hotels. The majority of apartments require a credit card to guarantee, pre-payment before you arrive and that’s it. No deposits, no tenants’ contracts.

Cons: Serviced London Apartment vs Hotels

  • Apartments lacks the buzz and services of a hotel such as restaurants and Room Service. Albeit some apartments are owned by hotels and offer you the use of their restaurants and other services.
  • No 24-hour service around the clock. The apartments are ran by a small team who work Monday to Friday 9:00am – 6:00pm, so you are on your own during the weekend. There are emergency numbers to call should you suffer an electric cut, but no 24-hours hotel Duty Manager to run to your room.
  • No pool, massages, saunas like hotels

What to look out for when booking a serviced London apartment?

1. Quality of the apartment – make sure you find out if they are clean, well furnished and well maintained. How? Check the photos, and ask if you can book an appointment to view the apartment. This is very important if you are staying over a long period of time.

2. Do they have a friendly and efficient management team? If you need the comfort of a welcoming face to greet you on arrival, then ask for an apartment with a reception. Some apartments provide key boxes, so you can arrive any time, but there is no-one to meet you. A friendly and small team will be able to give you a very personal touch.

3. Opening time of the apartments office – doesn’t sound important? Well it is because the majority of apartments’ operations team open Monday to Friday 9:00am to 6:00pm. If you arrive at your apartment during office open hours, then fine, but any other time and weekends will mean that you will need to pick up the keys from a different location.

4. Key delivery by car at the airport? – If you are flying from abroad to London, and do not fancy traipsing throughout London at night to pick up keys, the majority of apartments will hire a taxi to deliver your keys to the airport upon your arrival. Convenient for a small charge.

5. Payment procedure and cancellation policy – every apartment vary in their guest terms and conditions. All will accept a credit card as a guarantee of reservation, some will ask for 100% pre-payment at least 7 days prior to arrival and cancellation can range from 12:00pm on the day of arrival to 28 days. So, before you confirm the reservation, be very clear about the terms and conditions. Ask your apartment agents to explain the procedure to you and read the terms and conditions on your confirmation emails. It will save you a great deal of trouble and headache later.

6. Apartments are always allocated on arrival. This policy is the same as any hotel, so unless you are a regular guest to a specific apartment, apartments are on allocations. In the same breath, some apartments only have a small number of flats, so if you are reserving the only 3 bedrooms penthouse in their collection, then you are guaranteed that specific apartment.

7. Rates become more competitive the longer you stay. In this, we mean you have more bargaining power if you are staying for one month or longer. This is when your apartment agent can really help you by negotiating with a variety of apartments to get you the best deal.

8. Using an apartment agent will also save you time searching, but most importantly they will work with your budget and negotiate a great deal for you. Of course, you also need to be realistic about what you can book, don’t expect to spend £80 per night for a luxury apartment. For example, one of our clients had £300 budget per night for a two bedroom apartment and he wanted something luxury. For those readers who know London well, also understands that this budget is actually very small. Despite that, we booked him and 3 friends into the Victoria Park Plaza luxury apartment (£150 per night less than the usual price) for £300 per night with free breakfast, gym and access to the executive lounge. Any apartment agent worth their salt can and will move mountains to help you.

What if I don’t like the apartment when I get there?

If you really feel that you have been hard done by, tell the apartment management team and ask to be moved to another apartment. All of the apartments that we work with are very customer focused and try to help guests enjoy their stay. If this does not work, talk to your apartment agent, if that is how you booked. Best advice though, is to ask all the right questions before you book an apartment.

Your appetite for apartments is now whetted – how do you find London apartments?

1. As already explained, you can choose a free search and book service of an apartment agent or go direct to a specific apartment that you know. Both methods are absolutely fine, dependent of your knowledge of London apartments. Using an agent will mean that they will search far across their portfolio and present you with a variety of choices…all within 10-15 minutes. Agents are impartial and will only (good agents anyway) recommend the quality apartments for your needs.

2. You can use search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN to find apartments. Type in keywords like ‘London serviced apartments’ or ‘quality London apartments’ and so on.

3. Stating the obvious but, ask for a recommendation from friends and acquaintances.

4. Check on Tripadvisor and other customer review websites.

Summary

If you have read this far, then thank you for your time. I have tried to make this article clear and as helpful as possible, but I welcome your comments and any further information that you feel is very important.

The Concept of Low Cost Apartment in Nepal

Whenever, we see an advertisement in daily newspaper referring to Apartments available in 13 Lakhs to 14 Lakhs, we do not try to understand more about it. People rush to the Apartment office or the site office. I myself was very surprised, when I went to the Mero City Apartment office in Hattiban. The site was packed with visitors cars, as if a wedding reception was going on. Inside the office were around 20 Sales girls. All were busy explaining their apartment features to the customers. In fact, when I asked for the brochure, the number of brochure also had finished. The hall was packed with customers and I could see some bookings were done.

The model apartments and the computer aided 3D movie were in display. People were busy viewing it.

The price range of the Apartment was amazing. The price range of the Mero City Apartment varied from Nrs 1,500,000 for 1 BHK (386.45 sq.ft) to Nrs 4,000,000 for 3 BHK (1013 sq.ft)

Similarly Eastern Apartment by Aayusha Developers a subsidiary of Oriental Builders Pvt. Ltd in Kaushaltar also was a huge attraction for Apartment buyers.

The builders have opened the booking for only 348 of the total 448 apartments. However, they were able to sell 50% of the total booking in just first 5 days. The huge response from the customers surged the developer to call all the 448 units on booking.

Due to the huge demand, the developer requested the interested buyers to fill up an application form along with a cheque of NRs 10,000. The applicant would get the apartment on first come first serve basis.

These are the basic strategies for Developers which was already been implemented by Guna Colony for their sale of their Bhaisepati Apartment. Then, they had opened booking for the Bhaisepati Apartment price starting from 13 Lacks. There was huge respondent to the Apartments in Bhaisepati which was organized in the Real Estate Expo in Bhrikuti Mandap, Kathmandu.

Most of these apartment sizes is ranging from 386.45 sq.ft to 548 sq.ft. The apartment size of 300-500 Sq. ft is very small for a family to live in and are similar to Studio Apartments abroad. These kinds of Apartments can adjust 1/2 people in a family to live in. The Rooms are very tight and no space for adding more luxury items.

The customers must not just make their decision by viewing the 3D Modeled video. The actual room and the customers view before buying the apartment might actually just not match.

Another important factor to decide before making the booking is that the customer must check the background of the Apartment Developers. Normally, we must only trust experienced Apartment Developers. These low cost apartments that are coming up in the market have been raising huge amount of funds from the market for the Proposed Apartment/Housing. The delivery and execution of these apartments is a real challenge and we must wait and see, if they can really develop these projects and their handover to their customer. So far, the construction of any of these low cost apartments has not started yet.

Some established developers claim that the price the low cost apartments are offering is suspicious. Some claim that these low cost apartments are very expensive if one calculates the rate per sq ft. Such small apartment size is not feasible for a family to live in.

The Eastern Apartment is the least expensive with price per sq. ft of Nrs 2,890 followed by The Sun City. The most expensive is the Imperial Court. However the target market for both the apartments is completely different as Imperial Court is a Luxury Condominium.

And when we compare the different apartments, all has different facilities. Some important comparison factors of the facilities for different Apartments are as following:

1. Location of the Apartment
2. Number of Lifts
3. Size of the Balcony
4. Project Land Site Area
5. Size of the swimming pool
6. Open Area
7. Distance from the city
8. Quality of finishing goods and specification
9. Developers profile & Construction company associated

The Apartment buyers must also think in mind the extra facilities the Apartment has. Normally, these apartments will have very poor infrastructures and facilities. They might actually come up with a very small swimming pool & very less open space.

And not to forget is the fact that these low cost apartments come with hidden cost. Mero city Apartment comes with cement flooring. If you want a Parke ting or tiles on the floor, you will have to add all the internal decorative items for the Apartment.

Mero City offers the following features:

* Kitchen: Tiles, Sync

* Flooring: Cemented

* Wall: Distemper

Things you have to add by yourself

1. Mostly, the modular kitchen
2. Bathroom sanitary items
3. Electricity bulbs
4. Flooring Tiles or Parke ting

This will at least cost you Nrs 400,000 to 500,000 for the completion of the Apartment. So the Total cost for the 391 sq.ft Apartment is now Nrs 2,000,000 which actually brings the price per sq.ft for the Apartment to Nrs 5115.

Similar is the case of the Eastern Apartments. The Eastern Apartment comes with no finishing in the bathrooms. The buyers will have to finish the bathroom costs & Tiles which will also cost them minimum extra NRs 400,000 to 500,000 for their flats. This will cost the buyers of Eastern Apartment an average cost per sq ft of Nrs 3,608.

This is actually expensive than some of the other Apartments with better facilities. So the customers must be aware of the concept of the low cost apartment that is coming in the market and not be fooled by the price they are offering. One should always calculate the Rate per sq. ft.

Choosing Right Home Furniture

A house without furniture often sounds like a flower without fragrance. Furniture takes away the emptiness of a home, and makes it attractive and functional. For those reasons, it’s important to choose the right furniture items that function, add to the appeal, reflect your taste, and provide a great value for the price. It turns out not too many shoppers exhibit satisfaction when they are exploring choices for quality home furniture. One of the major reasons for this dissatisfaction is the lack of priorities that a shopper must set to determine what exactly to look for. Also is there a group of buyers who finds it a nerve-wracking task to select right furniture for their homes out of the multiple choices being offered by internet today.

If you have happened to be facing any of the afore-identified situations, you should seek some guidelines for a better understanding of finding and buying good-value furniture and accessories. Below is brief list of points-to-note to be kept in mind and considered before going on a shopping spree:

Room and requirements: Every house comprises different rooms; the main being living room, drawing room, dining room, guest room, and TV lounge. Each room requires different furniture items for its distinctive classification. For instance, a dining room requires to be filled with a dining table set instead of sofa set whereas a bed room needs to be graced with a dressing-table set instead of a utensil storage cabinet. It is important to determine what room requires what kind of furniture.

Similarly, if you intend to buy a sofa or a cabinet, create an appropriate place for it in your home. A sofa fits well in a living room or a drawing room whereas cabinet should find its way to a bedroom or kitchen depending upon its use.

Furniture replacements: If you decide to redecorate your old home by replacing its furniture with a new line, do it systematically. Choose the living room to begin with, for being the most occupied place of your home. This is where your family members or friends sit, relax, chat and enjoy. Make sure you find and buy living room furniture items in colors and designs that match with the colors of walls and/or floor of your room or house. Once done with your living room, go with the redecoration of a guest room, drawing room, dining room, so on and so forth.

Furniture size: Consider room space before settling on any furniture item. If your room is too large, choose mirrored furniture which will make your room look small.

Wholesale living room furniture: Go for online stores of wholesale furniture where you’ll have more chances to get your favorite furniture pieces at the most competitive prices and get discount deals on your purchases.

A common misconception attributed to cheap furniture is that it is neither durable nor reliable. If truth be written, cheap furniture is the line of furniture that is offered at a cheap price. Quality remains the same though. Hope, you are pretty sure how to choose and buy right furniture for your home now!

Why Travel Solo – My Reasons For Travelling Solo

Many of you reading this article are thinking to yourselves ‘why travel solo… are you crazy’, while others are reading this in total agreement. Like for all travel needs, individual tastes, interests and goals will be the concern for any person traveling.

For me personally I prefer to travel solo myself but It all boils down to the type of trip you’re taking and what you plan on doing… obviously there are times where group or couple travel is inescapable and is of course still going to be a great experience… all travel is. These times could be team getaways, events such as weddings or corporate and clearly for a romantic getaway or honeymoon where I’ll assume that you would prefer not to travel solo.

Maybe you don’t have a partner or perhaps you didn’t know anyone else you wanted to travel with you… but you know with all your heart you want to go, have to go. Are the people who said no going to stop your travel? If so, why? Is it safety concerns, is It the unknown? Those questions might be on your mind, but think about it this way… doesn’t it make it more exciting? Wouldn’t you feel more accomplished if you did it by yourself?

Let me explain why I travel solo and the reasons why.

Avoid The Drama Of Others

Drama is often inescapable as all people including myself has some sort of drama in their lives. However in my experience below

A few years back I backpacked Europe and after about a week or so met up with a group of friends for roughly a month. In this time the couple traveling with us had a bad break up, which in turn almost severed another relationship. That night while this couple was fighting, bags were snatched, wallets stolen and because of the public outburst questioned by the police… and this was just the beginning of the drama, we still Christmas to get through after this. When the whole group of my friends had left I felt relief and like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders.

You may not want to travel solo but if you’re single then my recommendation is that you at least don’t travel with a couple, not without at least some other single people there.

Indifference Of Ideas

All travelers have their own ideas of what they want out of their travel and so they should. Compromise can be much easier in a couple and certainly traveling solo but in a group it can be a nightmare. You may want to go to a museum you’ve always wanted to see where as the others in your group want to just hit the pub.

Whoever has the numbers or the dominance will most likely win which puts you in an awkward situation. Yes, you could leave and go the museum by yourself but then what do you friends think of you and say about you later on. You may also not be contactable by phone, being in another country without a sim card which makes it much harder to meet up and find out when others will be back etc.

I remember road trip we took just 2 hours away from home with six guys and we had one of the worst weekends away possible. Some of us wanted to go prawning, others wanted to go somewhere else for fishing and some of us just wanted to hang out at the hotel by the beach and drink. The problem was we were all stubborn and because we only had the one car and two sets of keys it caused arguments left, right and centre.

Living In Close Quarters

When traveling with others, particularly for long periods of time you need to ensure that your travel buddy is someone you could live with in close quarters for however long it is you are traveling. We all have friends that we know that are good friends but you could never live with them, maybe they are messy, maybe they are snappy and the list goes on. If you can’t live with them… what makes you think you can travel with them?

Be Who You Want

A bonus to traveling solo as well is that others you meet along the way and you get to be the person you’ve always wanted to be or at least be able to interact differently with others. I truly believe you meet a lot more people when traveling solo as you have more reason to talk to others and you will meet more like-minded people to you as there are no indifference to ideas of what to do.

These are four of the main reasons why I travel solo but there are many more personal reasons like independence my goal when backpacking Europe was to get out there in the world and do it all myself. Escapism is another big reason for me sometimes with work and the same old routine you just need to escape the daily grind and get in some alone time.

Traveling solo isn’t for everyone and isn’t for all kinds of travel but if you’re after a fulfilling holiday and experiences then there really is nothing like traveling solo. You will not only meet more like-minded people, get to be who you want, gain independence and a sense of fulfillment as well avoid an indifference of ideas, living in close quarters and avoid anyone else drama while you enjoy what you want to do on your dream holiday. This is why I travel solo.

School Bus Safety Tips For Drivers and Their Children

Imagine: millions of students nationwide start their day by getting on and off the school bus. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that year after year, pedestrians who are usually below the age of 19 have died in school bus-related crashes. More school-age pedestrians have been killed between the hours of 3 and 4 p.m. than any other time of day. The NHTSA has even formulated several safety tips for both drivers and children:

Take note of the crosswalk/school zone sign.

 

  • Drivers: This means that during mornings and afternoons, these areas are likely to be crowded with children — some even on their bicycles or in-line skates. All of them are no match to a bus, so extra care in part of the driver is needed.
  • Children: Do what you learned in pre-school: look left, then right to see if vehicles or people are going to pass before crossing the street. If you could, go along with other children/people using the crosswalk.

Learn the “Flashing Signal Light System”that school buses use.

  • Drivers: Alert motorists if you are preparing to/stopping the school bus using the yellow/red light.
  • Children:Just because they are in a stop position does not mean there is no more danger. Take note of the danger zones around a stopped school bus, namely, the front and back (which are the most dangerous zones) and the driver’s side of the bus.

Slow down.

  • Drivers: Be alert around school zones. Young people may be rushing about on their way to class or to meet a parent.
  • Children: No need to rush when getting on or off. Wait until the bus hits a full stop, with the doors wide open before getting in. Use the handrails to avoid falls.

Visibility.

  • Drivers: For a vehicle such as a school bus, you really can’t see what’s directly below you. Be careful before speeding on.
  • Children: When crossing in front of a bus, put a safe distance (say, 10 feet) between the bus and where you plan to cross. Use sidewalks and walkways where you’re sure the driver sees you.

Backing up.

  • Drivers: Be aware if children/bicycles are crossing behind you.
  • Children: Never be the children/children-in-bicycles who cross behind buses.

To enforce traffic safety, the state of Florida has enforced tougher penalties for passing a stopped school bus while loading or unloading children. Previously the fine was $65.00, however now they are required to attend a 4-hour basic driver improvement course. This course explains Florida traffic laws and provides a refresher on defensive driving techniques.

So, for all drivers before you rush to pass a stopped school bus remember that the school bus uses the red flashing lights for a reason. And for pedestrians and children always but safety first and proceed with caution when exiting or entering the bus or in school zones.

Tips When Buying Home Furniture

When buying for home furniture, there are a lot of tips that you need to be aware of in order to get the best out of the quality and from the price. There are numerous stores that sell furniture for the home and you may get confused on which place is the best for you. It is never recommended to buy the first furniture that you like. Always look for more items and selections first so that you can make sure that what you are buying is the best in the market.

The bedroom is one place in your home that you may want to redecorate. When choosing home bedroom furniture the best tip to follow is finding the best and the most comfortable. The bedroom is your private sanctuary and it is very important that your bedroom furniture is comfortable. For instance, when you are buying a bed for your room, choose the one that you find at ease with. Do not be afraid to test out the bed, its foam and how it feels once you lay on it. Also do not forget to measure the size of the bed that it can fit perfectly in your room. For the home bathroom furniture, choose the ones that can fit into the space of your bathroom. Keep it elegant and simple.

For the furniture in your home, the trick is finding the perfect design and color that can match your place. One home furniture store can carry countless furniture that have different color, designs and materials to suit your home. Some of them may have offers of making made to order furniture if you cannot find the design and the color that you want. These made to order furniture may cost more than the regular ones in the store, but if you have the budget and you are willing to wait, this could ensure that you will get the furniture that you want. When shopping for home furniture, it is important that you are getting items that are of good quality. You may want your furniture to last for years. Paying for cheap but low quality furniture will only cost you more in the long run because you will need to repair or buy new furniture from time to time.

When choosing the sofas or armchair of your living room, the rule is like that of the bedroom, choose the sofa or armchair that can give you comfort. Your guests or family will be sitting in these sofas when you get together or watch television, a comfortable sofa means a lot. Also make sure that the sofa can match your room color. It does not have to be the same color, but something that can compliment your home. There is also other home décor furniture that you may want to add like coffee tables, side tables or a small chair or tea table. These are good furniture to add to your room if you have enough space. Overcrowding a room with furniture is never a good idea. It will only make your home look smaller and disorganized.

Travel Pre And Post Internet

Travel Pre Internet:

I’ve been traveling for over 40 years – by thumb in my early days, by boots in the Scouts, a Lambretta came next and then my first old banger followed by newer old bangers to the beaches of the Costa Brava.

My thumb, boots, bikes and bangers took me all over Europe and the UK before finding that a charter flight to Spain on an old ‘Connie’ could get me to the beaches and bars a lot quicker and allow more time to enjoy the local travel opportunities by horse and cart and the occasional bus and train.

‘Go West and Prosper’ seemed to be a good idea so instead of taking an 8 hour flight I took an 8 day transatlantic crossing from Tilbury to Montreal on the Stephan Batory of Polish Ocean Lines ensuring that jet lag did not trouble my travel plans. Some years later I crossed the pond again on a ship but this time it was 5 times bigger and I traveled in style on the QE2 and dined in the Queen’s Grill somewhat removed from my earlier experience. I highly recommend ocean voyages but cannot see myself on one of the modern cruise ships going from port to port with constant line-ups to get on and off to buy t-shirts. However, I have done 10 Windjammers and a Star Clipper cruise in the Caribbean which were all memorable (let’s hope Windjammer Barefoot Cruises recover from their woes). But I digress.

I had read that Canada is a spectacular country, from sea to shining sea, and my entrance into the St. Lawrence River to Montreal and then heading west in an old Econoline van from the Great Lakes, across the Prairies to the Rocky Mountains before ending up whale watching off of the Pacific Coast of Vancouver Island was a trip of wonder to a bloke from London. Today the scenery is still spectacular and the best way to go is still by road so rent or buy a car, motorhome or motorbike, take the train or tour bus but remember the maps, a fly rod, good boots and take your time.

My favorite part of Canada / USA for adventure travel has to be Northern BC / Alaska, to hike the Chilkoot Trail in the steps of the goldseekers of 1898. The Northwest Territories to canoe the Nahannie River and the Yukon to drive from Dawson City to Chicken, Alaska. If you like the outdoors and can put up with a few bugs, cast a fly and scale a few hills or drive on endless dirt roads sharing the space with moose, caribou, elk, bears and eagles, then these are the places to put on your list. The pleasures and experiences in driving to Inuvik on the Dempster Highway or to Prudhoe Bay on the Dalton Highway or even the Canol Road can only be felt by doing them. I would have mentioned the Alaska Highway but now it is an easy drive unlike the aforementioned.

Today the costs of driving these distances may mean that sharing the journey with others is required, but RVing or simply vanning and camping is a great way to see beyond the horizon. Some enroute adventures now need to be booked in advance whereas when I hiked Denali and the Chilkoot Pass it was just a case of turning up, registering with the local ranger office and heading on out. A little more forward planning is needed for today’s traveller and cost considerations of lengthy flights or drives have to somehow be countered with more careful planning. In the days of reasonable gas prices I would not even consider the driving or flying costs and have driven to Key West from the northwest coast, down the west coast to the Baja and to the west coast from New York. I once even flew my 1946 Fleet taildragger from the Pacific to the Atlantic and back using around 5 gallons an hour of avgas. Before the oil and credit crisis I drove from Rio de Janeiro to Lima, down to Tierra del Fuego and back to Rio covering over 15,000 miles of spectacular scenery and with no consideration about the cost of gas. South America should be on your itinerary too! Some other memorable drives that may now require a mortgage with the gas companies include London to The Nordkapp, Norway, Skippers Canyon in New Zealand and the loneliness of the far north of Australia and the amazing coast of Western Australia stopping by at Monkey Mia and Wave Rock.

We tend to forget that the real cost of traveling is often less today than over the 40 years of my travels. In 1977 my round-trip airfare from Canada to Australia cost over $1700 in 1977 dollars so today it is far cheaper to fly, even with the airlines gouging for fuel, extra baggage, no service and no pleasure. The ‘Big Mac’ method of price comparison as developed by The Economist newspaper gives us a good gauge for most expenditures of today compared to yesterday but my $1500 cost to get a private pilots license in the 1970’s seems cheap by comparison to today, but obviously not when using this Big Mac principle. Other travel costs are also far cheaper today but this should not mean that travelers should disregard the many methods of saving costs that can then be put to extended or improved travel experiences

Travel Post-Internet:

In my 40 years of travel I have had to use travel agents to make even the simplest of reservations and buy tickets, not even thinking to ask them if they had “been there, done that?” It was just a case of there being no other options to buying travel. Now we have unlimited choices and can seek out better travel agents, better prices, better selections and information about anywhere in the world for our travels – without even leaving home.

The Internet now gives travelers ideas and options of Where to go, When to go, Why to go, What to do, Who to book with and How to save money and offset costs. We can search and find experts for every travel option. If we are comfortable with the Internet we no longer have to go to a travel agent to make reservations and buy tickets except to book with some of the larger travel companies that still produce glossy brochures and offer all inclusive packages or tours that only sell through the agency system. The Internet also allows those of us who are smart enough to know when to seek out a top travel agent with knowledge, experience and expertise (KEE skills) of destinations and activities about where to find them. There is no longer any need to only use our local agents when we can find one somewhere else in the world. When we do not need ‘the knowledge’ and can do it ourselves we simply surf the web so that we can book directly with tour and travel operators wherever we have decided to go.

Some travel agents operate their own tours, some are both wholesale and retail, some limit consumer selection by only selling their ‘preferred’ suppliers and some have professional consultants with years of experience invested in gaining knowledge, experience and expertise and are worth their weight in gold to the savvy traveler. Beware though, as some are also called destination specialists and some of these designations merely require the agent to take a rudimentary test offered by tourism offices, destination marketing groups or even tour operators and in my opinion can harm the reputation of the travel industry. A specialist is not necessarily an expert.

Travel is probably the most used commercial aspect of the Internet and if retail agents want to harness this exciting medium to offer ‘the knowledge’ and their ‘kee’ skills to a global audience, not just their local community, they must embrace the changes that are happening. Travelers now have the ability to seek answers to the 5 W’s of travel and the important ‘How to’ save money and offset costs by having information just a click away.

And then it occurred to me that even internet travel prices often include a commission element even when sold directly to the consumer. If we book directly with operators we should not have to pay full retail prices as we are doing for ourselves what a retail agent would normally do for us. A dilemma for the operator is that to show a both a retail and a cost price option could deter many agents from selling the services as travelers could use an agent for free advice and book directly with the operator to get a ‘net of commission’ price. Obviously this two tier pricing is not often available but travelers who do not need advice should also not be penalized by retail pricing. A new way had to be found and I think I have found it!

The need for fairer fare prices is why I developed the Top Travel Voucher program at The Top Travel Club and I even found a dot com for it. All travel selections on the site are at ‘net of commission’ prices for members who handle there own travel arrangements directly with the operators linked on the club website using our voucher program.

I am inviting travel operators from around the world to join this program, from B&B’s, Motels, Hotels, Luxury Lodges, Eco Resorts, Beach Resorts and Tour and Adventure Operators who want to promote their products and services to travelers who are comfortable with direct bookings and reservations.

I am also inviting Travel Agents with knowledge, experience and expertise of destinations and activities to showcase their skills to a global audience of travelers and to the members of this new travel club. I am leery of ‘specialist agents’ and only want experts to showcase their services.

This opportunity is available to the travel trade at no cost except for them to offer net, wholesale or outlet prices to club members and visitors to the website using top travel vouchers. I believe this program offers fairer fare prices to direct-booking travelers. The operator would normally be paying commission anyway but now travelers get the savings because they make their own arrangements.

The Top Travel Club opened in mid-April 2008 offering thousands of top travel vouchers for travel in over 70 countries with around 150 travel operators on-board. Every week we add more travel operators with more choices for members. Currently you can get savings on accommodations, adventure travel, boat charters, culinary tours, hike, bike and dive tours, auto and RV rentals fishing lodges and guides, safaris, vacation rentals, single travel, women only and dude ranches. Members get the vouchers free of charge by paying an annual membership fee and non-members can buy the vouchers on the internet at Top Travel Sites at deeply discounted prices to the face-value. The future growth will include restaurants, travel clothing, travel insurance and the opportunity to access air ticket consolidators who want to deal directly with consumers.

The way I have traveled and the way I see travel is that consumers should have unlimited access to every travel opportunity with the ability to do their own due diligence or to find a professional who can offer quality advice and services at fair prices, and to find all of this without needing endless hours of searching.

To find out more about the new way of cost offsets for travel please go to The Top Travel Club and my apologies for some of the spelling (traveler / traveler) but that is what I was taught. As long as we all understand the meaning, vive le difference!

The Health, Medicinal Benefits of Garlic – Part 1 Getting Heart Healthy!

Part 1: Health, Medicinal Benefits of Garlic:

There are many reasons that adding raw garlic to your diet will increase your health. In part 1 of this article you will learn 10 facts about how garlic affects your health.

1. Garlic supports a healthy heart. It can help you lower your bad cholesterol levels, and prevent hardening of the arteries, among many other benefits for your heart.

2. Organic garlic has a higher amount of sulphur in it, and the higher this amount the more health benefits there are.

3. Garlic that has been aged has more antioxidants than garlic that is not aged.

4. Garlic can be used in diabetics to lower blood sugar, or continue to keep it low.

5. Too much garlic can cause irritation to your bowels.

6. One of the compounds of Garlic can be used as an anti-fugal.

7. Microwaving garlic will completely kill the antibiotic and anti-fungal properties of it.

8. By crushing fresh organic garlic you will get the most medicinal use out of it.

9. The fresher the garlic and the freshest chopped or crushed the more taste you will get out of it.

10. Garlic has been used for over 5,000 years for medicinal purposes, starting in India.

From reading this you can conclude that by buying raw organic garlic bulbs and only opening them right before you crush or chop them for immediate use, you will get the most medicinal purposes out of your garlic. The smaller the garlic pieces when you are done chopping, mincing or crushing the more of the healing components you will get out of it, these components are activated when you cut the garlic, as time goes by the benefits will diminish, that is why it is very important to only get the garlic ready just before using it. You may also want to note that by using garlic this way you will get more taste out of it, so you can actually use less.

Benefits of Collaboration in the Luxury Travel World

The luxury travel industry has been the core of my business world for many years. In my role as marketing consultant have seen travel companies grow and fall as the trends for vacations and short breaks changed in line with needs for the industry’s most important component – the customer.

From just one holiday or vacation a year, the trend has grown to a pattern of two maybe even three vacations. For those with more disposable income, a sprinkling of short breaks throughout the year has become a typical indulgence… until now.

With the onset of the financial recession from 2008 onwards large families and travelers in their 40-50s were hardest hit in terms of the number and quality of holidays taken. Excited at the opportunities afforded by budget flights and exciting destinations many families looked forward to a few weeks in the sun with cheap food and drink plus the opportunity to pick up some duty free luxuries and a tan.

But the fall out from flight route closures on the cheaper airlines, the rising costs of hold baggage and the affects of currency fluctuations have made larger numbers of potential holiday makers taking the cheaper option and staying at home.

The younger singles market still managed the short luxury breaks to European cities such as Prague and Barcelona and the island retreats of Ibiza and Mallorca. But even this market is being eroded as salaries dip in line with recession. Currency fluctuation and exchange rates have hit the cost of bed and board rises dramatically in the once celebrated destinations. Add in the effect of ‘global warming’ on the conscience of the younger travelers and its easy to see why so many of the budget holiday companies are falling on difficult times.

And what about the luxury end of the market? Believe it or now but some of the top end companies are having a very profitable time. How? They have talked to each other, joined forces and shared resources to help bring their marketing costs down and in many cases their market coverage up.

I have seen groups of top Scottish Hotels who might have been fighting for a customers attention, become a collaborative marketing group whose aim is to sell the destination first and then divide up the spoils among their spa resorts, golf complexes, boutique hotel partners and city centre apartments.

I have also seen small specialist travel agents collaborate by forming a collaborative venture specializing in high end luxury travel destinations – each member having a unique destination or service. With one innovative marketing message they have a louder voice than they might have as individual travel operators.

On the customer side collaboration is also proving very beneficial. Instead of taking lots of individual holidays there is a growing trend for groups who might have booked separate hotels and a similar destination to team up and book a large villa or apartment. Combining their entrepreneurial skills, purchasing skills and cooking skills they are able to eat well, organize great activities while staying at some of the most exclusive holiday destinations.

The Basic Elements of Style

Wearing the latest in fashion is what every one of us likes to do. But it is very important to carry the clothes in style. Having a great wardrobe is definitely essential but some basics of style should also be adhered to in order to make a striking fashion statement. There are lots of online wholesale apparel shops that cater to the fashion conscious generation. But apart from stocking up a fantastic collection, there are a few other issues that need to be paid attention to.

• A well groomed appearance is very essential in order to carry any ensemble with style. Nobody looks good with straggly, greasy hair, chewed up fingernails, gross skin, unplucked eyebrows, and leg stubble.

• Taking good care of your clothes is also very important. Well maintained clothes are the basic requirement of carrying off any stylish look with elan.

• Over usage of accessories can kill any fashionable ensemble. It is always best to make minimum use of accessories so that they can act as a compliment to the basic outfit and add some style.

• Try to choose outfits based on which colors and styles look nice on you. It is a good idea to match what you are wearing with your own personality. This helps in bringing out your true colors and helps you look and feel great.

Each year new fashion trends are born and it is time for the old ones to retire. Though it is definitely a great idea to go with what is in vogue, but at the same time you should keep an eye out for the comfort factor as well. Comfort and style goes hand in hand and choosing apparel based on how comfortable you feel wearing them is the smartest decision. Fashion trends appear unexpectedly and fade away even quicker than they appeared.

There is no limit to the permutations one can think of in terms of mixing and matching clothes and creating a style that is comfortable yet elegant. If you want to achieve a great look, be in line with new fashion styles that are influenced by different seasons. In recent we have seen the rise of new brands as well as the comeback of some old fashion trends. To wear something different and with style is to create fashion and with a bit of creativity you can come up with unique combinations that can become a personal fashion statement.

Looking Effortlessly Stylish and Creating Your Own Unique Fashion Style

There’s a famous saying that goes, ‘the clothes make the man (or the woman).’ This simply means that what one wears can say a lot about him; some actually judge people on the kind of clothes they wear. Ever since that time when man decided to put on something to cover his naked body, he has always been paying attention to what he wears not only in terms of how it protects his body, but also on how he’s going to be perceived by other people. Today, fashion trends come and go as fleeting as the latest smartphones.

If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t necessarily keep up with the latest trends in fashion but don’t want to look old-fashioned either, you can follow these tips on how to dress up in style without necessarily spending a fortune or without looking like you’re trying to follow the trend:

Choose clothes that complement your skin color, height and size – Some people make the mistake of putting on something that they’ve seen their favorite celebrities wear that may not necessarily be ideal for them. Always go for outfits that will highlight your good features and downplay the not-too-good ones.

Don’t go for too much: It’s okay to make a statement with what you wear, but you don’t necessarily have to go over the top for it. You can be bold sometimes, but don’t make yourself appear like a human placard.

Have a few pairs of jeans: Jeans always work with almost anything and are never out of style. Jeans can also be used to neutralize your overall look in case your top looks too formal or too elegant if you’re only attending a small soiree. However, you should still stay within the bounds of good taste and decency by not going too low waist-ed with them. Tattered jeans are fine, too, but overdoing it may just result to a fashion disaster.

Know how to mix and match: When shopping, look for clothes with neutral colors and plain prints so you can match them with anything in your closet. But this is not to limit your shopping range. Of course, you can always go for shirts that have different colors and exciting prints, but nothing too outrageous.

Create your own style – There’s nothing wrong with looking like your favorite celebrity, but wearing exactly the same shirt, pants, shoes, and accessories he or she has worn in a picture you’ve seen in a magazine makes you look like a copycat. Some people would even think it’s creepy. Experiment with different combinations and create a style all your own.

Looking stylish with the clothes you wear is certainly not rocket science. Just know who you are and what looks good on you and you can strut your stuff with panache wherever you go.

Business Travel Agents Tips: A Corporate Travellers' New York Airports Guide

New York City is one of the most popular key travel destinations for corporate travelers worldwide. The city is the center of much that’s great, dynamic and profitable in America. It is home of one of the world’s principal financial centers (i.e. anchored by Wall Street), and a popular business hub for the publishing and entertainment industry at the same time. So, it’s no surprise it features three airports, Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), LaGuardia Airport (LGA) and J. F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). As a frequent corporate traveler you probably may have flown to one of the three New York airports at some point or another. With JFK being a major international gateway to the US, this city guide aims to provide some helpful travel agents tips for corporate travelers flying to or from JFK Airport.

New York JFK Facts & Figures

Located about 25km away from Manhattan in Queens, JFK Airport is the largest airport in the state of New York and one of the busiest business travel hubs (over 50 million travelers/year) in the US and internationally. It has six operating terminals (numbered 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8; terminal 6 was demolished in 2011, Terminal 3 in 2013). Currently, the 4th runway is under redevelopment to comply with the needs of Group VI aircraft (until December 2015 as planned so far), which may cause delays, but measures are in place to minimize them, so you shouldn’t be too much affected. With more than 90 airlines arriving and departing from JFK, various business travel solutions for flights to New York can be arranged. Points of origin and destinations include places within the US, Canada, Latin America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Pacific, Australia/New Zealand, basically all over the world. The airport offers corporate travelers a choice of non-stop flights to about 100 international destinations which may prove convenient for your next business trip. However, JFK is very susceptible to weather-related delays due to its position. Corporate travelers are well advised to consider and prepare for possible thunderstorms in summer, causing delays across the US, as well as snow, icing and assorted slush throughout the winter season. For the months between June and November the risk of potential hurricanes is increased.

In general, our business travel agents team advise leisure and corporate travelers to allow plenty of time for getting to and from JFK. Serious traffic incidents on the way between the city and the airport left many wondering whether they’ would be able to make it in time or miss their flight. Furthermore, don’t forget that this is America. Therefore, bear in mind that the TSA rules supreme over security checkpoints. So, take a deep breath and take maybe a book with you or something else to keep you busy. Make sure you arrive early.

Useful JFK terminal facilities for corporate travelers

In most public areas within most terminals, corporate travelers will conveniently find that Wi-Fi is available for free for up to 30min. You can get online near the ticket counters, boarding gates, designated work stations and food courts. The Wi-Fi access is provided by Boingo Wireless Company. If you need to use the internet for longer than 30mins., consider the following options: 1) $4.95 (£3.01, €3.77) per hour (pay as you go), 2) $7.95 (£4.83,€6.05) for unlimited access throughout a 24-hour period (day pass), 3) $9.95 (£6.04,€7.58) per month (unlimited access via a monthly subscription, to be used worldwide), or 4) if you already have a user account, simply log in using your user name and password. ATMs, currency exchange options (Lenlyn or Travelex), a rental phone shop, and more than 100 shops alongside various dining options are available at the terminals.

Ground transportation services from JFK Airport to New York City

The most convenient, stress-free way for travel from and to JFK Airport is to take the AirTrain. It is a cost efficient and helps you make sure you arrive at the airport in time, whilst avoiding possible traffic jams. You can access AirTrain services via the New York City subway system, which is also connected to the Long Island Railroad (LIRR). The journey from/to the city takes just over an hour. AirTrain is operated 24 hours on 365 days a year. Within the airport area, it connects terminals and also enables you to easily access car rental services, hotel shuttle areas and parking lots. At peak times the trains depart every 7 minutes and at off-peak times they go every 15 minutes. However, be clever in choosing your business travel route, as various routes make different stops within the airport. Good news for corporate travelers is that travel within the airport is usually free of charge. However, travel outside the airport is subject to a fee. AirTrain prices generally start from $5 (£3.04, €3.81). For more details on ticket prices are provided on the JFK Airport website under costs and tickets. If you travel via New York’s public transport network, then it is a good idea to use MetroCard, which is widely accepted and is worth to purchase for travel via subway, local trains, or buses. You can find vending machines for buying a MetroCard at Howard Beach and Jamaica Station. A good alternative for corporate travelers would be to take a taxi (for up to 4 passengers). Simply wait in the cab line for a licensed and insured cab to take you to your destination (about $52, i.e. about £31.58, €39.59, flat rate between JFK and Manhattan, excluding tips and tolls). The time for this trip should be about an hour. However, it can take much longer during rush hour.

Shared-ride shuttle services are a cheaper option than taxis, but can involve a lot of waiting and being driven around New York City to drop other people off first. You can find a full list of providers on the airport authority’s website. But remember to tip appropriately, as tipping (around 20% of transfer cost) is quite common and keep in mind that bridge/tunnel tolls are not included in the shared-ride shuttle services fares. Another option is to ask your business travel company to arrange a shuttle service for your trip from and to John F. Kennedy International Airport as prices can vary greatly depending on location and number of passengers. In this way you can ensure that you are traveling with a reliable supplier.

An express bus service is also available for a nominal fee from Penn Station (reachable e.g. by AirTrain or taxi). The service operates from early morning to late night, with buses running at least every half hour.

The airport is also home to several car rental agencies. Leisure and corporate travelers can choose between a number of car major rental companies including Advantage, Thrifty, Dollar, Enterprise, Budget, Hertz, National and Avis.

So, which mode of transport should corporate travelers choose for a trip from JFK to Newark and LaGuardia airports? Usually the best way to get to Newark Airport from JFK Airport is to simply take the AirTrain. However, if you need to travel to LaGuardia during your business trip, it we recommend to take advantage of a convenient shuttle bus service, using the free Route A (running every 10-15 minutes from 4:00am to 11:30pm) or Route B (running every 10-15 minutes from 6:00am to 2:00am).

Hotels near JFK Airport

Hotel booking services for corporate travelers flying to New York JFK Airport-although there are no operating hotels at JFK Airport at the moment, New York provides corporate travelers a huge choice (from budget accommodation to luxury suites) of hotels and motels, which are conveniently located nearby the airport. Most hotel accommodations nearby offer shuttle services. Alternatively you can take the AirTrain to the Federal Circle station and follow the “Courtesy Hotel Shuttles” signs. There are telephone services for the hotel courtesy shuttles located at the AirTrain Federal Circle Station and in the arrival areas of the airport terminals ($5, i.e. about £3.04, €3.81, Service Charge for making reservations). The range of motels and hotels include the Hilton*, the Courtyard* by Marriott, Hampton Inn*, Sheraton*, Hilton Garden, Comfort Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Fairfield Inn* by Marriott, Days Inn, Best Western and Howards Johnson. The ones marked by an * are also offering conference and meeting rooms for corporate events.

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In part two of our New York City Airport guide we’ll provide you with some business travel agents insider tips on Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) and LaGuardia Airport (LGA).