Real Talk: You Need Renter’s Insurance

Thinking of skipping or canceling renter’s insurance in order to save money? Think again!

Renter’s insurance is the #1 most important coverage for anyone who is not already covered by homeowner’s insurance.

Let’s say it again for the folks in the back: If you do not own your current living space, you need renter’s insurance.

“What’s the big deal?”

Unless you personally have homeowner’s insurance or are legally married (not just engaged) to someone with homeowner’s insurance, your personal items are not covered by an insurance policy. Meaning, if there is a flood, fire, tornado, accident, or Act of God of any kind, your items are gone forever and you’ll pay out of pocket to replace them.

Your landlord’s insurance policy only covers the actual building and any appliances/features owned by the landlord in your rental space.

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“Doesn’t it cost a lot?”

No. The average policy is around $15 per month ($180 per year), and now there are new companies like Lemonade boasting rates as low as $5 per month. Even if you underestimate the value of ALL your personal belongings in your living space, the cost is no comparison (Think: Computer, phone, clothes, shoes, dishes, furniture, etc.).

Your car insurance company usually also has renter’s insurance, which can help you save money by bundling policies.

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“Doesn’t it just cover my stuff?”

No. If your policy includes liability coverage (and you should definitely have it), you are covered if a guest gets injured in your apartment or if you accidentally burn half of your kitchen down attempting your own cooking show. Your out-of-pocket costs can escalate quickly if you have to repay any medical bills, legal expenses, and/or repair costs.

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Bite the bullet and get renter’s insurance now. Tree falls through your roof? Covered. Pipe bursts in the winter? Covered. Break-in? Covered.

Your future self and wallet with thank you!

The True Cost of Paying Rent Late

The first of the month can sneak up on you, and if your bank account isn’t ready to pay up, you could be seeing red. How much does it actually cost to pay your rent late?

Know the fees.

Your lease agreement will list the late fee charged by your landlord if you pay after the designated grace period (also noted in the lease).

Cost: 5%-10% of rent amount

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Know the deadlines.

If you still have not paid rent after the late fee, your landlord will most likely begin the eviction process. Depending on your state’s laws, the landlord will send a written demand to pay rent or move out (also known as a notice to “pay or quit”) with a deadline of 3-10 days. Landlords usually charge a filing fee that covers the court’s fees and processing.

After the period of time in the notice expires, your landlord can file for eviction or dispossessory, which is a legal notice to the court that you have not paid rent and the landlord wants to take back possession of the property. The sheriff’s office or a designated process server will notify you in writing (via USPS mail or posted on your front door) that the landlord has filed eviction. Pay attention to any court deadlines such as filing your answer.

  • Filing an answer means you are officially responding to the court’s notice of eviction. In most counties/states, filing an answer automatically places your case on the court’s magistrate calendar. This also means that your landlord may charge an additional attorney fee for attending the court date.
  • Failing to show up to your court date will result in a “default judgment” in the landlord’s favor. A writ of possession will be taken out right away, which means the landlord is allowed to take back possession of the home once the sheriff’s office completes the eviction.
  • Attending court may allow for a court-ordered payment plan, but it may be risky depending on your state’s usual process. If you miss any court-ordered payments, the landlord can file the writ of possession.

Costs: $100-$250 Filing Fee
             $200-$300 Attorney Fee
             $50-$100 Writ of Possession

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Know how it affects your credit.

Did you know that civil court filings are part of your credit score? Every time a landlord files for eviction, the case is reported to the credit bureaus. Future landlords and creditors will see the eviction filings, even if the eviction was cancelled by a payment made in full. Too many filings will disqualify you from some rentals. It’s a good idea to use free credit reporting sites yearly so you’re not surprised by your score or history in the future.

Cost: Negative rental history and/or lower credit score

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Know your options.

Till now offers a rental loan that may be cheaper than your late fee! Depending on your state and application, using a rental loan that can be repaid bi-weekly over several months may be your cheapest option. Paying back the loan actually helps improve your credit score by building credit history! To apply for a rental loan visit: https://tillsavings.com/loan_application

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Plan ahead whenever possible and research your options so you’re not hit by surprises later. Happy renting!

 

The Real Cost of Moving

We’ve all been there: Your lease is expiring very soon, and you only have a few days to notify your landlord if you’re moving or renewing your lease.

Use these guidelines to determine your all-in, out-of-pocket cost of moving.

New Security Deposit – $1,000 (usually equal to 1 months’ rent)
First Month’s Rent – $1,000
Application & Admin Fees – $350
Pet Fees – $300 (if applicable)
New Utility Deposits – $350
Moving Company or Truck Rental – $200
Moving Boxes/Supplies – $100
Groceries – $150
Unexpected Expenses – $100

Total Moving Budget = $3,250 – $3,550

Creating a budget is the first step to determine if you’re ready to move. Although new groceries and utility deposits seem excessive, remember that starting over often means starting from scratch on both fronts. Be sure to add a cushion for unexpected expenses like gas for the 20 trips between your old & new places or your car needing repair in the middle of the big move.

Not ready to fork over that amount of dough? Ask yourself why you want to move in the first place.

  • If it’s related to maintenance or unit condition, contact your property manager to discuss possible resolutions.
  • Does the rent increase bother you? In truth, rents usually increase about 3% per year to keep up with inflation. Talk to your property manager if you think there’s room to negotiate a better rate. Remember, rents will increase everywhere, so moving doesn’t guarantee a fixed rental rate for the future.
  • Switching jobs and need a better location? Your community manager may have other properties closer to work, so ask! You may be able to transfer your security deposit or negotiate your rental amount just for being a loyal renter.

Renewal perks are becoming pretty common, so find out if there could be a free carpet cleaning or unit upgrade offer for renewing your lease. The more years you sign on for, the bigger your bargaining power.

If your landlord participates in Till’s Loyalty Program, your monthly on-time cash incentive may increase to $20, $30, or even $40 per month! Wow!

Total up your costs versus any potential savings or perks to renewing before making your ultimate decision. Happy renting!

Slow Mover

Renter-Friendly DIY Décor

You’ve moved into your new apartment or rental home, congrats! Time to add your personal touch.

Stop.

Before you start painting or hanging pictures and curtains, consider the impact to the unit – and your security deposit – when you move out.

Most landlords charge $75-$100 per wall that requires repainting, and that number can double if you use dark colors that require primer. Making holes larger than a standard-size nail? Add patching and painting to the list of damages to the tune of $25 per hole. Maximize your security deposit refund by using these renter-friendly decorating tricks from the start. Your wallet will thank you!

Removable Wallpaper

Tons of companies are offering removable wallpaper options that appeal to creative minds and cautious renters alike. Some require glue paste, while others are not reusable, so be sure to check the specifications before you purchase. Our favorite peel-and-stick options include these beautiful geometric designs by Chasing Paper and fun florals by Walls Need Love.

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wallpaper stairs

Sticker Décor

The Crafty Cathy’s out there can create your own wall masterpieces with hexagon mirror stickers or Washi tape. Need inspiration? Design Sponge used Washi tape as picture frames, and Everything Emily made her own wallpaper design using simple crosses. For a stick-and-go option that will “wow” your guests, this patterned headboard decal can dramatically change the look of your bedroom in minutes.

washi tape wall

headboard

Picture and Curtain Hanging

Command Hooks can go a long way in adding functional touches to your space, especially since they now come in brushed nickel and bronze. They can be used for towel hooks, curtain rod holders, or hanging pictures, and by design they remove cleanly without damaging walls.

Kitchen Makeover

The kitchen of your dreams is awaiting your DIY! There are so many products on the market that help transform your kitchen with minimal effort and are easily removable. Check out these subway tile wall stickers for the backsplash you always wanted. No stainless appliances? Simply add faux stainless steel drawer liner to the front of your refrigerator or dishwasher for an instant facelift under $11.

subway tile   stainless drawer liner

Fake Flooring

Rugs are so 2017. Jazz up your living space with vinyl floor cloth that comes in varieties from tile patterns to traditional hardwood. Need a more hands-on project? Peel-and-stick vinyl floor tiles are super easy to install and remove when you move out. They even come in adorable ceramic patterns.

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Don’t forget to take down your décor before your final move-out walkthrough. Save that security deposit for your next place!