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How to Cut Down Utility Costs in Your Rental Apartment

When you’re living in a rental apartment, there are many costs to consider other than just your monthly rent.  Between heating, cooling, water heaters, cooking, electricity, and running small appliances, the costs of maintaining your space can add up really quickly.  It doesn’t help that Mississippi is ranked the 8th highest when it comes to energy costs per state, averaging a whopping $307 per month for the typical household.  It is also ranked the state with the 3rd highest electricity consumption per consumer, a big indication that it’s time to start turning off the lights!  If you are one of the many renters looking for ways to cut down on astronomical utility costs, here are a few simple guidelines that can help you to do just that.

Off-Peak Hours

While you may not be aware of it, there’s a good chance that a simple shift in your timing could save you a whole lot of money on the electric bill for your rental apartment.  Throughout the course of the day, public demand for electricity fluctuates, creating peak and off-peak hours where rates are adjusted to accommodate the demand.  For example, a hot, summer afternoon will have more people reaching to crank up the air conditioning, creating a greater demand and, therefore, a higher associated cost for electricity at that time.  This, then, would not be the time to run the dishwasher, the washing machine, or to turn on all of the fans and televisions throughout your space.  Contact your local electric company to determine what the on and off-peak hours are for you.  It could save you hundreds per year.

Let Mother Nature In

Rather than relying solely on electricity to heat and cool your space, use the natural elements of Mother Nature whenever possible.  On a cool day, open your curtains and let the warm sunshine filter into your home to provide some comfort.  On a warm day, take advantage of the wind by opening the windows to create a cooling cross breeze throughout your rental apartment.

Filters

If you’re running the air conditioning or heat regularly in your rental apartment, you are surely collecting all sorts of dust and debris in your air filters.  Changing these regularly allows the air to flow freely and unimpeded, ensuring that your unit doesn’t have to work extra hard to achieve the same effect.

Turn That Off!

Although this may seem relatively obvious, lights and appliances being left on is likely the number one reason that the utility costs are so high in your rental apartment.  Get into the habit of turning off lights and ceiling fans as you leave rooms, maybe even going so far as to put sticky notes at eye level to help keep you reminded.  But, don’t stop there!  Did you know that unplugging small appliances, phone chargers, hair dryers, and lamps, among other things, when they are not in use can drastically reduce your electricity usage?  That’s right!  Simply having the plugs inserted into the outlet is costing you money!  Imagine that!

Power Strips

Investing a small amount of cash in power strips is another way to help reduce that phantom electricity we were just talking about from leaking out into your apartment rental!  When you’re not using any of the items plugged into the power strip, simply flip the switch to off and feel your pockets fill back up.

Roll Up Your Sleeves

Instead of depending on the convenience of modern appliances, such as dishwashers and clothes dryers, roll up your shirtsleeves and dive in.  Hand washing your dishes and hanging clothes to dry will have a remarkable impact on lowering the cost of your utility bills.  Another way to combat the cost is to bring heavy duty laundering (such as bedding) to the laundromat instead of trying to overstuff the washing machine in your apartment rental.  Scraping together a few quarters is a great way to lessen the blow of your electric bill.

Consider an Upgrade

If you have a good rapport with your landlord, you may take it to the next step and request that they update any old or outdated appliances within your apartment rental.  Will this work every time?  Not necessarily, but you never know unless you ask.

Looking for an Apartment Rental in the Hattiesburg Area?

Now that you are privy to all sorts of easy tricks to help keep your apartment living costs down, it’s time to find the perfect space that will act as your new home!  At Hattiesburg Apartments, our team of dedicated employees has gone to great lengths to put together a database of only the highest quality apartment rentals in and around the Hattiesburg area.  If it’s time to find a place to hang your hat in Hattiesburg, look no further.  Contact one of our team members and let’s get looking today!

What to Look for in a Quality Rental Apartment

I think it’s a pretty fair statement to say that not all rental apartments are created equally!  Whether you’ve spent a considerable amount of time living in apartments or this is your first go-around, it is obvious that there are some places that just feel more like home than others.  But, how do you know for sure that you are getting into one of those places as opposed to the place that looks great during a tour and quickly turns into a nightmare upon move-in?  Here are a few tips that can help to keep you on your toes so you don’t get lost in the luster and sign up for a regrettable stay in apartment hell.

Response Time

Exterior View of a Rental Apartment Your first indication that a rental apartment is of good quality is your interactions with the management team.  When you are calling around to set up walk-throughs of your potential new digs, you should expect to hear back quickly.  A management team should be eager, ready, and willing to show you around and showcase all of the characteristics that set them apart from the competition.  A less-than-enthusiastic acknowledgement of your inquiry could be indicative of a management company that doesn’t put their tenant’s needs first.  If they can’t even make the time to show you the property, how do you think it might be handled if your radiator breaks or your kitchen sink starts leaking?  Just saying.

Look Beyond the Shiny

As you go to tour each rental apartment, it can be easy to get caught up in the thrill of shiny, new appliances and pristine, laminate flooring, but don’t let these decoys keep you from seeing what’s underneath.  It’s unfortunately common practice in many cases for those not-so-credible landlords out there to “pretty up” their spaces in an effort to mask bigger, existing problems.  Similarly, many will hire “professionals” that do mediocre work simply because they charge less.  Pay attention to the smaller details.  Is paint sloppily applied or does it look professional?  Are appliances installed correctly and in working condition?  Check under sinks and behind toilets for signs of leaks or water damage.  Getting caught up in the surface-level stuff can make for great aggravation down the line.

Location

As with any other type of real estate, the location of your rental apartment is a good indicator of whether or not it is a quality place to live.  That’s not to say that there aren’t amazing apartments available in up-and-coming parts of town, but you do need to know where you’re living.  Much like was just discussed, sometimes landlords will “fluff” their spaces to make them seem more appealing, all the while forgetting to mention the noise of the nearby train that’s probably going to drive you crazy, the rising crime rates within the community, or the rush hour traffic that is a guaranteed impediment on getting you home before The Bachelor comes on!

The Grounds

If you’ve done your diligent inspection of the rental apartment unit and it seems to pass the test, that’s great!  However, don’t sign that lease just yet.  Ask to be shown the grounds within the rental community.  A well-maintained exterior is suggestive of a management team and community of neighbors who take pride in keeping their neighborhood clean and pleasant.  If, however, you find a property full of overgrown or unkempt landscaping, free-floating trash and debris, and chipping, peeling paint, you may want to take this into consideration.  It is assumed that you will want your new home to feel welcome and inviting and nothing gets you further from that than being greeted with an eyesore every time you drive up to your building.

The Application Process

If all of the boxes have been checked and red flags waived, it’s time to start the application process for your new rental apartment.  Now, what I’m going to say might seem counterintuitive, but hear me out.  The application process should be a bit rigorous.  Wait, what?  Yes, that’s what I said.  A good landlord cares about the people he/she is renting out their property to.  They’ve likely put a lot of work into creating a quality renting experience and they should want to maintain that standard.  If the application process doesn’t require a background or credit check, you might want to start asking some questions.

Looking for a Rental Apartment in Hattiesburg?

Now that you know all of the things you need to keep an eye out for as you begin your apartment search, it’s time to get hunting!  Using the assistance of a professional, such as those at Hattiesburg Apartments, is another valuable tool to ensure that you don’t get caught signing a lease on a property that ends up to be anything but desirable.  Our database of available rentals includes units in 17 of the most desirable and beautiful local communities in the Hattiesburg area.  Don’t wait another minute, contact us today!  We can’t wait to help you find your new home!

8 Things Your Landlord Doesn’t Want You to Know

If this is your first search for an apartment for rent, you may not know the ins and outs of how the landlord/tenant relationship works.  It might seem as easy as finding your apartment, signing a lease, and paying your monthly rent, but what you don’t know could hurt you in the long run.  Check out this list of 8 things that you probably don’t know about renting…and that your landlord is perfectly fine keeping you in the dark about.

1. How Private is Private?

When searching for the perfect apartment for rent, privacy is something that you should probably consider.  It might seem as if your space will remain undisturbed by others throughout the term of your lease but your landlord has rights you might not be aware of.  Your landlord has an obligation to make sure that your apartment is safe, clean, and in a state of repair.  This may mean, at times, hiring outside contractors for routine maintenance or repairs, or entering into your apartment themselves. Some may give between 24 and 48 hours notice before entering the rental apartment.

2. You Could Be Paying Too Much

After finding the right apartment for rent, you might be tempted to sign on the dotted line without much thought. Stop right there!  Your landlord has likely set the price for your unit and they are under no obligation to disclose whether or not that price is fair.  Do your homework by researching comparable properties in the area that have similar amenities and square footage.  If you notice that your landlord is way above comparable rents, it might be time to jump to the next paragraph.

3. Your Lease May Be Negotiable

For many of us, particularly new renters, we see an apartment for rent that we like and we sign the lease, no questions asked.  You are not, however, necessarily obligated to accept the lease terms as they are spelled out in the original contract.  This is particularly true if you are renting from an individual owner rather than a management company.  If there are terms within your lease that are raising questions, sit down and discuss them with your landlord.

4. You Can’t Be Excluded Because of Your Family

Unfortunately in the world of rental apartments, there will always be that landlord who feels that they need to implement a no kid’s policy.  Unknown to many, a landlord does not have the power of making such a decision.  Landlords should not turn down tenants during the rental application process simply because they have children. This is according to the federal Fair Housing Act.

5. You Have the Right to Know Who You’re Renting From

As you move through the process of applying for an apartment for rent, you will probably notice that your landlord is asking you for a LOT of information.  Most landlords ask tenants to submit a credit check and a criminal background check.  It might seem as if like the scales are tipped in the landlords favor, but there are some tools you can implement to learn a bit about them too.  Ask current tenants for feedback, google your landlords name, check online apartment ratings, or search for any notices of default.

6. Not All Space is Rentable

If you’re searching for your next apartment for rent and you are shown a property that feels a little iffy, you may be onto something.  Some “apartments” are actually not legitimate rental properties at all. Landlords advertise them as such to make extra income. Contact your city’s building safety department and pull records on the property to determine how many apartments should be available.  If the complex shows 20 units and you are being shown a number 21, that’s a good indication that you are being misled.

7. You Have a Right to Livable Conditions

Signing a lease on an apartment acknowledging  that you accept it “as-is” does not mean that you are destined to live in squalor.  Of course, the conditions that determine “livable” space cannot be the same for all states, but it definitely pays to know when your apartment is being neglected.

8. There’s Power in Numbers

If you feel that a complaint has gone unresolved, reach out to other renters within your building who might be experiencing the same problem.  There are also several tenant advocacy groups throughout the state who resolve landlord-tenant related issues.  Sometimes just having others to back you up will be enough to get the ball rolling.

 

Looking for an Apartment for Rent in the Hattiesburg Area?

If you’re starting the search for your next apartment rental in the Hattiesburg area, work with the best.   At Hattiesburg Apartments, we offer the largest variety of apartment rentals in the area.  Search through our properties today!

 

 

Top Benefits of Hiring Property Management

Top Benefits of Hiring Property Management For Your Apartment Rentals

If you own apartments for rent then you know how time consuming, and often stressful, maintaining a property and dealing with tenants can be. From tenant screening to rent collection to maintenance and repairs, owning a rental property comes with a lot of responsibility.

Most owners choose to hire a professional property manager in order to not only keep their sanity, but to also improve property value. Below we outline the most important benefits a professional property manager will have on not only your apartments for rent, but also your bottom line.

Higher Quality Tenants

Property management for apartments for rentRental properties exist to produce income for their owner, and no other factor can affect an assets revenue stream more than a bad tenant. This is why a thorough tenant screening process is so important. Experienced property managers know how to perform quick, quality and consistent screening processes that:

  • Easily spot risky tenants
  • Avoid rental scams
  • Ensure avoidance of discrimination lawsuits

Resulting in tenants who:

  • Pay their rent on time
  • Lease for longer periods of time
  • Cause less damage/wear-and-tear on your property

Shorter Vacancy Cycles

For property owners, empty apartments for rent mean empty bank accounts. A rental that sits vacant for months can lose an owner thousands in revenue potential, which is why hiring a property manager is so important. Beyond the tenant screening process, managers will perform these essential tasks that result in much shorter vacancy cycles:

  • Determining optimal rental price: Pricing for apartments for rent is crucial to consistent vacancy. Too low and you are losing money, too high and it sits empty. Managers use local market data and rate comparables to define the rental rate optimal to occupancy.
  • Using effective marketing tactics: In order to fill your vacancy with quality tenants they first need to know your rental exists! An experienced property manager knows where to list/advertise your rental and how to communicate to the type of tenant you want. From finding prospects, to closing the deal, owners who enlist the help of property management have access to larger and higher quality candidate pools. This results in getting your apartments for rent off market quicker and easier.

Maintaining Consistent Cash Flow

“Cash flow” for owners of rental properties is just another word for “rent collection”. Rent payments, and subsequent late fees, can make or break a property’s annual earnings. The only way to maintain consistent and reliable cash flow is to ensure on-time monthly rent collection.

How many times has an owner had to deal with sob story excuses as to why the rent is late, or be the bad guy and chase down tenants to pay up? Worse case scenario an owner has to deal with the eviction process. But, when an owner hires property management they put a buffer between themselves and the tenant, allowing a third party to effectively enforce the lease terms. This allows for a non-negotiable process where tenants pay on time, on a consistent basis.

Lowered Maintenance and Repair Costs

Every rental property will require regular maintenance and repairs. This keeps tenants happy (which keeps space occupied and rent coming in) and increases property value (which increases returns).property management for apartments for rent

While owners are aware of (and prepared for) these costs, they may not realize that professional property managers can significantly reduce them. Yes, property management costs owners money, but those costs are almost offset by the pricing breaks their property managers have access to. They realize these cost savings through:

  • Enacting preventive maintenance and repairs
  • In-house maintenance staff
  • A network of quality contractors and vendors
  • Volume discounts

Increased Property Value

Due to all of the benefits we’ve listed above – quality tenants, occupied units, consistent rental payment and efficient maintenance – professional property management will increase a rental property’s value.

To really understand this, owners should know how the property valuation process works. The two main factors that affect a property’s value, i.e. listing it at a higher price and making it desirable to buyers, are (i) the quality of the current tenants and the lease terms in place and (ii) the physical health of the asset. These are two things directly affected by property management, (i) tenant screening and retention and (ii) preventative maintenance.

Seeking property management in Hattiesburg or surrounding areas?

If you own apartments for rent in Hattiesburg or surrounding areas and have read this whole article then you now realize the advantages of hiring professional property management. With over 35 years experience in the Hattiesburg rental market, the team at SVN | Southgate Realty, LLC has the experience and tools to provide the most comprehensive property management services you will find in the area. To get a custom quote, or for more information, contact us today!

5 Tips For Hiring Property Management

Property management for all real estate is something many owners struggle with. Hiring property management can help an owner take care of their real estate. But it can be tricky finding someone you trust to handle your investment. It is important to do research and take your time before hiring someone to handle your business. Check out this excerpt from a blog post by SVN | Percival Partners for a few tips on how to hire the right property management company. Click the button at the bottom of the page to view the full post.


Running the day-to-day property management operations of a single, or portfolio of, commercial real estate assets is not an option (or desire) for every owner. For those who prefer, and have the budget, to hire property management it’s important to ensure you take your time. Do Property management keysextensive research before just letting anyone take care of your investments. After all, hiring property management is a very important and critical step to protecting the value of your commercial real estate investment.

Property Managers do more than just collect rent. A quality property management firm can keep your property at high occupancy, maintain its long-term and immediate value and keep operating costs low without sacrificing quality. In order to choose the right property management company, and avoid losing money by hiring the wrong one, we’ve outlined our top 5 best tips. Follow these and you will make the best decision for your property…and bottom-line.

Get Referrals

Your first tip in finding property management is to ask around. See an asset that is maintained well and always full of tenants? Inquire who manages the property. Know other property owners in your area? Ask them who they use, and if they are happy with them. Have a commercial real estate broker, or know a few? Ask them what property management firms they’ve had a good experience with.

In property management you need proof of quality, beyond what you can read on a website or in an RFP. By asking for referrals you are getting firsthand, “it happened because I was there”, insight into how a property management firm actually functions and handles issues. Make sure to collect referrals from a few different sources, as you don’t want to get caught up in too much bias. Though, the old saying is true, where there is smoke there is fire. If you keep hearing the same thing about a property management firm, chances are ….

 

3 Signs of Great Apartment Property Management

Apartment property management is important to consider when shopping for a new apartment. This is true for both a tenant and landlord/owner. A property management company is responsible for the day-to-day operation of an apartment community. These operations include anything from rental payments to maintenance requests. Management can either make or break its success.

Apartment Property ManagementFor tenants, property management is responsible for handling every request and need they have. As such, management is someone they will frequently have to interact with. A good property manager can make apartment life amazing. Although, a bad one can make a tenant wish they had never moved in.

From a landlord perspective, hiring the right apartment property management can mean the difference between a fully occupied complex and an empty one. Tenant satisfaction is the number one factor in lease renewals. Unhappy tenants mean empty properties and lower returns.

Since they are so important to tenant satisfaction and an owner’s bottom line, it’s important to seek quality property management. When either moving into a new apartment complex or hiring one for your multifamily property, it’s important to find a great one. Below we outline the three signs of great apartment property management so you know what to look out for.

They Have the Right Credentials

Apartment property management handles everything for a property. These responsibilities include collecting monthly rent, performing building inspections, managing budgets, and more. Most also handle the leasing of an apartment complex, from showing space to negotiating terms. To ensure proper leasing procedures, the State of Mississippi requires those property managers to obtain either a broker’s or salesperson real estate license.

In addition to the required licensure, a great property manager will also have the proper industry certifications and accreditations. It’s more than having letters after your name or a pin to wear on your lapel. When apartment property management has these designations they affirm a commitment to excellence. They are also committed to using the most current techniques to best serve their tenants and landlord/owners.

Apartment Property Management - CredentialsSome of the more well-known and impressive credentials include:

  • Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM):CCIM Member has completed numerous hours of coursework and real-world training to be considered proficient in financial, market and investment analysis and negotiations. They are considered experts in commercial and investment real estate.
  • Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM): IREM offers several credentials that most certainly define a property manager as the most experienced and educated in the industry.
    • Certified Property Manager (CPM): The CPM designation is for property mangers that expertly handle large portfolios of apartment properties.
    • Accredited Residential Manager (ARM): This designation is earned by property managers who have proven their vast expertise and reliable skill set in the management of investment properties.
  • National Association of Home Builders (NAHB): The NAHB offers the Registered in Apartment Management (RAM) designation, which recognizes property management that has been trained in every aspect of apartment management, from marketing to security and maintenance.

Click here for more information on Hattiesburg and Mississippi specific organizations and memberships.

They Use Real-World Technology

For a tenant and owner, it’s important to find apartment property management that is innovative. Great property managers offer Technology - Apartment property managementtechnologically savvy platforms. Everything we do in today’s world happens online, and your property management operation should function no different.

Be sure to check that they offer online owner and tenant portals when researching your apartment property management options. From rent payment and maintenance requests for tenants to operating and budget reports for owners, an online platform allows for easy access, flexibility and security. This convenience allows unparalleled access and management for everything that is important in your daily apartment use.

They Really Care

While you can’t quantify it with a credential and can’t log into it on a secured server, this sign of great apartment property management is probably the most important. Like any service-oriented industry, you can spot the individuals who genuinely care about what they are doing from the ones that don’t. This distinction makes all the difference in a successful operation.

Apartment property management that cares will invest their time and efforts doing their job. They will also make a commitment to both maximizing long-term profitability for landlords/owners and maintaining excellent housing for tenants. They will go above and beyond to handle tenant requests in a quick time frame. In addition, they will provide only the best reporting and information to owners. In reality, a property manager that cares is the true barometer to tenant and owner satisfaction.

Looking for Great Property Management in Hattiesburg?

By now, hopefully you understand the importance apartment property management plays in your housing and investment decision. If are seeking to either rent or invest in Hattiesburg apartment communities contact us at Hattiesburg Apartments. As the most accredited property management team in the Hattiesburg area, our staff has the history and experience to successfully serve every tenant and investment need. Search through our properties today!