Tag: Style

20 DC Apartments for $1800 or Less

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Top-20-apartments-in-dc-under-1800

 This week we found 20 apartments for under $1800 available to rent now in Washington, DC! Apartment hunting on a budget in Washington, DC can be challenging. It’s all about what trades you are willing to make.  A less trendy neighborhood will likely result in a larger apartment or a lower rent. Is a state of the art gym a must-have amenity for you? That’s okay, just know that you’re going to be squeezing into a smaller apartment.  The good news is, there are plenty of options!  This week we bring you 20 apartments for under $1800 available to rent now!

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apartments-under-1800-1400-van-buren-street-washington-dc-apartments

1400 Van Buren

One Bedroom $1395

1400 Van Buren NW
Washington, DC 20012

1400 Van Buren is an apartment community with one and two-bedroom apartments for rent in the Brightwood neighborhood. You will feel comfortable and at home in these apartments with their beautiful hardwood flooring, ceiling fans, central A/C, and spacious floor plans. The apartments are located in a charming brick building with controlled access, on-site maintenance, on-site management, on-site laundry facilities, and more. 1400 Van Buren’s convenient location gives residents access to everything they need on a daily basis.

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Park Chelsea at the Collective

Studio  $1800

880 New Jersey Avenue SE
Washington, DC 20003

Park Chelsea at the Collective is the first phase of three buildings that make up The Collective.  The concept is that no matter at which of the three buildings you live, you have access to amenities at all three buildings.  Amenities include indoor pools, rooftop heated pools, clubrooms, fitness centers, Peloton bikes, golf simulator, hydro massage beds, and even a Whole Foods on site.  This time of year, you can get great deals on apartments and this studio for $1800 is an exceptional value for everything you get with your rent!

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Alexander Gardens

1 Bedroom  $982

1617 17th Street SE 
Washington, DC 20020

Park Pleasant located off 16th Street in the District of Columbia. Beautifully landscaped, this comfortable, sought-after community is convenient to Adams Morgan, is within walking distance of the Columbia Heights Metro Station, and is four blocks the new Target and Staples! Park Pleasant offers affordable, spacious studios, one bedroom and one bedroom/den apartments. So don’t delay, call or visit Park Pleasant today!

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Park Pleasant

1 Bedroom  $1700

3339 Mt. Pleasant Street NW
Washington, DC 20010

Welcome to Park Pleasant located off 16th Street in the District of Columbia. Beautifully landscaped, this comfortable, sought-after community is convenient to Adams Morgan, is within walking distance of the Columbia Heights Metro Station, and is four blocks the new Target and Staples! Park Pleasant offers affordable, spacious studios, one bedroom and one bedroom/den apartments. So don’t delay, call or visit Park Pleasant today!

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Baystate Apartments

Studio  $1595

1701 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington, DC 20036

Looking for features that look and feel like they came from a book and tell a story? The Baystate offers beautiful studio apartments for rent in a variety of floor plans. All utilities are included! No need to worry about extra bills. With the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington, DC only two blocks from your front door, be fascinated with local culture and flavor. Having the Red Line Metro within walking distance means all of Washington, DC is yours to explore. Find touches of extraordinary in the every day.

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The Kenmore

1 Bedroom  $1749

5415 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20015

Experience a lifestyle that is as rich in history as it is in local activities. The Kenmore’s Connecticut Avenue location is distinct and convenient. This residence offers a 24-hour concierge beautifully renovated, classic style interiors. Spacious studios, one and two bedroom apartments are equipped with expansive windows that offer exceptional views.

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Studio  $1560

4550 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008

The Frontenac is nestled in the heart of elegant upper-Northwest. The Frontenac boasts spacious apartments with updated kitchens and bathrooms. Its classic architectural style, evident in our grand lobby’s high ceiling and in our apartment units’, arched doorways and traditional wainscoting, attracts tours of local art history students.You can meet your neighbors or take advantage of WiFi on the Frontenac’s peaceful roof deck or in its spacious laundry room. Take a stroll to the Van Ness metro station, Giant, Whole Foods, pharmacies, dry cleaners, restaurants, shopping, and great schools for students of all ages. Our neighborhood is full of hidden gems..

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The Channel Apartments

Studio  $1778

950 Maine Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20024

The Channel is the beating heart at the center of The Wharf. With an industrial design aesthetic and jaw-dropping amenity spaces, including a one-acre rooftop green space, this is an urban lifestyle that’s here to be explored, taken in, and experienced like never before. These stylish apartment residences, situated in the heart of a bold and vibrant waterfront neighborhood, are designed to deliver both modern beauty and faultless functionality. Join the ranks of those who live life amplified and move to The Channel today.

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The Swift at Petworth Metro

Studio  $1800

3828 Georgia Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20011

The Swift is one of our favorite communities in the Petworth neighborhood. The Swift’s beautiful apartments, luxurious amenities, and fantastic location allow residents to fully immerse and enjoy themselves in city life. The building offers studio, one, and two-bedroom apartments. The apartments are pet-friendly, spacious, and comfortable, while still maintaining a luxurious and stylish feel. Residents have access to a clubroom, fitness center, a rooftop with lounging areas, grills, and a fire pit. Whether you are simply coming and going from your apartment or lounging on the rooftop, any and all dogs and other pets are more than welcome. 

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Hampton Courts

Studio  $1095

2013 New Hampshire Ave NW
Washington, DC 20009

***Special Note about this unit.  It does have a full kitchen.  But with that location and the service at this building, this unit is a steal!!!****

Constructed in 1926, Hampton Courts has the elegant appeal of the early 20th-century architecture. The building is equipped with two elevators, a controlled intercom entrance, and a laundry room with a card payment system. The studio, one, and two bedroom apartments at Hampton Courts has updated appliances and spacious floor plans. All utilities are included in your rent, so no need to worry yourself about additional bills. The U Street Metro Station is three blocks away and provides access to the yellow and green lines. Zipcar and car2go vehicles, as well as Capital Bikeshare bicycles, are just a block from the building giving you endless means of transportation. The Saturday Farmer’s Market, Yes Organic Market, Trader Joes, Vida Fitness and several yoga studios are all a few blocks away from your front door. Come and explore the city living in Hampton Courts.

apartments-under-1800-Twin-Oaks-Apartments-Columbia-Heights-NW-DC-Apartments-Kitchen-Bar-View

Studio  $1350

3802 14th Street NW
Washington, DC 20011

Twin Oaks is a Columbia Heights apartment community that consists of two unique buildings with a variety of studio, one, two, and three-bedroom apartments for rent. Situated at the intersection of 14th Street and Quincy Street NW, Twin Oaks Apartments conveniently connects its residents to a unique group of local shopping and dining hot spots. The apartments and amenities will make you feel right at home. Enjoy spacious floorplans, hardwood floors, and central AC in the units while having access to the building’s on-site maintenance and management, laundry facilities, and package receiving services.

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Dupont Apartments

Studio  $1535

1717 20th Street NW
Washington, DC 20009

Living at the Dupont Apartments will give you the lifestyle you want, and the location you need. The apartments feature hardwood floors, high ceilings, and spacious floorplans in a controlled access building. You will love the floorplans at Dupont Apartments. They have the best micro-units in DC, and several one-bedroom floorplans to choose from. The building is located in one of the most desired locations in all of DC. DuPont Circle provides easy access to public transportation, a variety of restaurant and entertainment options, and a quick commute to many of DC’s finest attractions.

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6100 14th Street

1 Bedroom  $1389

6100 14th Street NW
Washington, DC 20011

Located in the Brightwood neighborhood of Washington, DC. There are no limitations set when living at 6100 14th street; tons of shopping and dining options nearby, a Metro bus stop right at your doorstep and only a mile to the nearest metro station. Offering spacious and affordable one and two bedroom apartment homes.

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Cambridge Square Apartments

1 Bedroom  $1595

4909 Battery Lane
Bethesda, MD 20814

Downtown Bethesda is growing by leaps and bounds, and you’ll find Cambridge Square at the heart of it all. This jewel of a property is so convenient, yet quietly backs up to a park setting. Experience a wide variety of new and exciting shopping and dining options. Cambridge Square offers an easy commute to Washington, D.C. via Bethesda Metro Station. Featuring spacious and affordable one, two, three and four bedroom apartment homes to rent. Cambridge Square floorplans offer large walk in closets and hardwood flooring.

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Klingle Apartments

1 Bedroom  $1730

2755 Macomb St. NW
Washington, DC 20008

Right on the corner of Connecticut Avenue and Macomb Avenue, you will find the Klingle. This beautifully landscaped and maintained property couldn’t be more convenient. Located at the corner of Connecticut Avenue and Macomb Street, The Klingle is in easy walking distance to Cleveland Park’s most popular shops and restaurants, not to mention the Cleveland Park Metro Station, National Zoo, and locally-famous Uptown Theater.

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Parkside Apartments

1 Bedroom  $1695

1702 Summit Place NW
Washington, DC 20009

Well designed apartments for rent that use every inch of space thoughtfully. Hardwood floors that shine when natural light pours through the windows and bounce off of them. Arched doorway details add architectural interest and the kitchens have gas stoves for cooking gourmet meals. Best of all, these affordable apartments are just blocks from both Adams Morgan and Columbia Heights; our Walk Score of 91 proves it. This is the life.

Rent-control-apartments-dc-Calverton

1 Bedroom – $1775

1673 Columbia Road, NW
Washington, DC 20009

Simple elegance. The best things in life don’t have to be bragged about. They can be simply appreciated each time you arrive home. The Calverton Apartments are in in the heart of the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, DC. An array of restaurants and grocery options are within minutes of your apartment. Inside, you’ll find updated kitchens with energy efficient appliances, grand living rooms and large windows for natural light to pour in. Whether you choose to rent a studio, one-bedroom or two-bedroom apartment, you will be treated to beautiful hardwood floors and ample closet space. This is thoughtful living.

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Penn View Apartments

1 Bedroom  $1165

2515 R Street, SE 
Washington, DC 20020

Design cannot be defined by one component but rather the artful intersection of style and function. Located just minutes away from Capitol Hill, Penn View apartments offer affordable efficiencies, one, and two-bedroom apartment homes for rent. Penn View’s luxurious kitchens and functional floor plans are just a few of the features you’ll find at this community. Quality is always on trend.

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Wakefield Hall

1 Bedroom  $1795

2101 New Hampshire Ave NW
Washington, DC 20009

Wakefield Hall’s decorative facade gives way to just as beautiful apartments. Hardwood floors, updated kitchens, and walk-in closets create a charming and comfortable living space. Wakefield Hall is located near U St./Cardozo Metro Station, giving you access to all DC has to offer via the yellow and green lines. You can step out your front door and experience the cultural vibes within your neighborhood.

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3801 Connecticut Avenue

Studio  $1750

3801 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20008

3801 Connecticut Avenue offers incredibly spacious studio and one bedroom apartments on one of D.C.’s liveliest boulevards. Residents enjoy the convenience of restaurants, unique shops, and a plethora of activities and site seeing opportunities just walking distance from their homes. You’ll fall in love with the new in-unit renovations at this community, whether it is with the designer plank floors, detailed back-splashes or stainless steel appliances. With a metro stop a few blocks away, the options are limitless in these beautiful apartments!

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Also published on Medium.

Source: blog.apartminty.com

Why I Love Wide Plank Hardwood Flooring and Why You Should Too

Why I Love Wide Plank Hardwood Flooring and Why You Should Too on Apt34

I’ve long had a love affair with wide plank hardwood flooring. I can’t actually pinpoint when the look seeped into my consciousness. I suspect it started when I began voraciously collecting European design magazines, as wide plank hardwood flooring is a mainstay of European and specifically Scandinavian design. Yet for so long wide plank floors were only used in “rustic” design in the United States. But I am the first to say that wide plank hardwood flooring is not only modern but timeless. I so firmly believe this, I made the decision from day one that I would put a wider plank hardwood throughout my own house!

Five years later, I only wish I’d know about Carlisle Wide Plank Floors when we were in the middle of our renovations. Going with a company like Carlisle Wide Plank Floors would have made my life so much simpler. They literally are your one-stop-shop for wide plank hardwood flooring – offering different wood species, various stains, and the ability to customize just about everything – you can find virtually any look you’re going for.

Why I Love Wide Plank Hardwood Flooring and Why You Should Too on Apt34

I’m particularly smitten with white oak. White oak wears incredibly well, can take a variety of stains and will blend seamlessly with the look of any home. The typically lighter hue helps make spaces feel open, brighter and bigger. And while you think light floors would show dirt, dust, dander, pet hair and scratches, that all shows much more on dark floors. Trust me, I’ve had dark floors and it was not so fun.

A wonderful example of white oak wide plank flooring is in the stunning modern kitchen and dining space pictured above. I am obsessed with the idea of a floating kitchen – one that simply exists in the space – rather than being a room unto itself. The wide plank floors from Carlisle offer beautiful sweeping movement across the room without feeling busy or distracting.

I’m also often asked if you can/should mix wood tones in your home. The answer is a resounding yes and that kitchen is another excellent example of why multiple wood tones work so well together. The darker woods used for the cabinetry and storage area add more warmth that plays off the white oak floor while the black accents throughout – chair backs, counters, light fixture, and the stove hood – serve to anchor everything.

Why I Love Wide Plank Hardwood Flooring and Why You Should Too on Apt34

In contrast, the wide plank floor used in this kitchen offers a more casual feel to what would otherwise be a very classic all-white kitchen. The floors selected here are quartersawn, meaning they’re cut to enhance the natural grain and showcase the knots and texture found in the wood. A minimal, matte stain was used, giving the wood a natural look. The wide plank floor is the perfect complement to the modern stools, stretches of classic marble and brass hardware used in the space.

Why I Love Wide Plank Hardwood Flooring and Why You Should Too on Apt34 Why I Love Wide Plank Hardwood Flooring and Why You Should Too on Apt34

If you’re looking to make an update to your home and want an elegant, timeless yet decidedly modern style, I strongly suggest considering wide plank hardwood flooring. I know I’ll put wide plank flooring in any home I do in the future (can you tell I’m itching for a new project!).

This post is in partnership with Carlisle Wide Plank Floors. Thanks for supporting posts that have kept Apartment 34’s doors open. If you’re interested in collaborating with us, please CLICK HERE.

photography courtesy of Carlisle Wide Plank Floors and by Seth Smoot for Apartment 34

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Source: apartment34.com

How to Install String Lights on Your Patio | ApartmentSearch

Close up image of stringed lights

Make those warm summer evenings on the patio with friends even cozier with the right lighting. String lights can make your apartment balcony or patio dreamy, but do you know how to hang up outdoor string lights without damaging the walls? It can be challenging! Before you start, you’ll need to do a little research. These are the methods you need to know when hanging up string lighting on your apartment balcony or patio.

Adhesive-Backed Hooks

Best for: vinyl siding, brick

Trying to figure out how to hang patio lights without nails so you can transform your apartment balcony into its own little haven? Adhesive-backed hooks make attaching lights to vinyl siding or brick as easy as 1-2-3!

  1. Make a mark where you want to secure your lights.
  2. Stick the adhesive side to the wall.
  3. Drape the lights over the hooks.

Hot Glue

Best for: vinyl siding, brick

Wondering how to hang string lights on an apartment balcony without ruining the exterior siding and incurring a damage fee? Hot glue may be a surprising option. There are two ways to attach string lights using hot glue, depending on the type of bulb.

For larger bulbs:

  1. Apply a small drop of glue to the side of each bulb socket, on the side opposite from the socket’s clip. Gluing the base of the socket can cause the socket to detach from its cord.
  2. Press the socket firmly into the wall and hold it in place until the glue dries.

For twinkle-style lights:

  1. Hold the light cord in place against the wall.
  2. Squeeze a drop of glue onto the cord and wall.
  3. Hold in place until the glue dries.

Gutter Hooks

Best for: stucco

Gutter hooks are S-shaped hooks that hang on the gutter. There is no permanent installment so you can adjust as you go. These hooks are easy to install so you can light up your night in no time!

  1. Thread the light string through one end of the hook.
  2. Slide the other end of the hook over the lip of your gutter.

Staples

Best for: wood

We’re talking a heavy-duty staple gun—think Clark Griswold, minus the mishap. When securing string lights to a wood wall or post, staples are a simple, easy option.

  1. Mark the spots where you want to attach the lights.
  2. Carefully hold the light strand in place (watch your fingers!).
  3. Press the staple gun firmly over the strand and staple into the wood, making certain to not puncture the wire when you fire the staple gun.

Metal Cup Hooks

Best for: wood

Cups hooks screw into the wall and have a cup shape, making it easy to hang and adjust the light strands so you can keep your patio fresh.

  1. Mark where you want to secure the cup hooks to the walls.
  2. Pre-drill small, shallow holes with a wood-bearing drill bit (should be slightly smaller than the hooks) at each mark.
  3. Twist the hook into each hole.
  4. Drape the lights over the cup hook and tweak the slack how you prefer.

Screw Eye Hooks

Best for: wood

Screw eye hooks screw into the wall similar to cup hooks. The difference is that while cup hooks are only a semi-circle, screw eye hooks have no opening. This means you will need tiny metal carabiners or simple zip ties to attach the strand of lights, which is more secure.

  1. Mark where you want to secure the screw eye hooks to the walls.
  2. Pre-drill holes with a wood-bearing drill bit at each mark.
  3. Twist a screw into each hole.
  4. Attach the strand of lights with the preferred method.

Extra Tips:

Decide on design. Will you hang the lights around the perimeter of the patio or start at one point and fan out multiple strands? Do you want the lights taut against the wall or drooping in between? The closer the anchors are to each other, the tauter the lights will be; securing them farther apart will allow for slack in between.

Measure first. Take measurements for both the string(s) of lights and the dimensions of the patio where you are going to hang the lights.

Plot points. As you measure, plan out where you will secure the lights and make sure the spot can handle the hanging method you choose. Mark the placement as you go.

Plan the power source. Make sure the plug is nearest to a power outlet and can either reach the outlet itself or with an extension cord.

Remove the bulbs before hanging. This will help prevent them from breaking or getting glue on them if using it.

Save energy. If you plan to use your lights frequently, also have a plan to conserve energy. LED bulbs are recommended because they help save energy, stay cool, and last longer. An outlet timer that turns the lights on and off automatically is also a good idea to ensure the lights aren’t on unnecessarily.

Choose the best bulb. Twinkle vs. café style, soft white vs. yellow … there are all kinds of combos to choose from and you can’t go wrong whatever you decide. Do look for shatterproof bulbs instead of glass if possible and opt for LED.

Ready to upgrade your outdoor living space? Search for apartments with a large patio or balcony with ApartmentSearch!

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Source: blog.apartmentsearch.com

10 Cities Near Philadelphia To Live in 2021

The brilliant city of Philadelphia is a wonderful place to work and play. But city living isn’t the life for everyone.

Fortunately, the region – known as the Delaware Valley — has a slew of options for incredible boroughs, towns and cities near Philadelphia in which to live. These spots offer a wide range of entertainment, dining, nightlife, recreation and comfortable apartments.

Of all the incredible places to live within easy commuting distance of Philadelphia, it’s hard to narrow down to a top 10. But we are sure you’ll find these 10 cities near Philadelphia — all within five to 25 miles of Center City and listed by distance from the city — perfect places to call home.

  • Haddon Township, NJ
  • Ardmore, PA
  • Conshohocken, PA
  • Hatboro, PA
  • King of Prussia, PA
  • Langhorne, PA
  • Phoenixville, PA
  • West Chester, PA
  • Wilmington, DE
  • Doylestown, PA

Haddon Township, NJ

Haddon Township, NJ facing the City Center in Philadelphia.

  • Distance from downtown: 7.0 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,530 (down 3.38 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,713 (down 13.88 percent since last year)

In New Jersey, townships are full-fledged municipalities, and Haddon Township is one of the region’s best cities near Philadelphia. Just 10 or so minutes from the Ben Franklin Bridge to Center City Philadelphia, the township offers both the quiet of a suburb and a main street that rivals any in the state for drinking and dining options.

Bustling Haddon Avenue in the downtown Westmont section is a mile-long stretch featuring some bakeries, cheesesteak joints, pasta shops, pizza places, taquerias, bars and taverns. Farther out, chain dining and big box stores line White and Black Horse pikes.

Haddon also offers plenty of green space, from Cooper River Park in the north along the lake to Newton Lake Park and Saddler’s Woods on the south.

Public transportation into Philly is a snap with Westmont Station a direct link via PATCO with park-and-ride facilities.

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Ardmore, PA

Ardmore, PA.

Photo source: Apartment Guide / One Ardmore Place
  • Distance from downtown: 7.7 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,357 (down 61.90 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $2,552 (down 35.50 percent since last year)

Among swanky locales like Bryn Mawr, Villanova and Gladwyne, Ardmore is the iconic Philadelphia Main Line’s most accessible city to everyday folk.

Ardmore’s median income comes in at a tenth that of some of the region’s richest communities and is a much cheaper home value. But Ardmore is also less insular. The city is a destination for visitors and day-trippers from across the Delaware Valley.

Ardmore splits down the middle between Montgomery and Delaware Counties and Haverford and Lower Merion Townships. Its backbone is busy Lancaster Avenue that offers retail shopping, trendy restaurants and the 500-capacity Ardmore Music Hall, one of the area’s top concert clubs.

While other Main Line towns shun outsiders, the hum of Lancaster Avenue feels welcoming to all.

And on the north end of town is one of the region’s best spots for retail therapy or even just window shopping. Suburban Square is a six-square-block upscale outdoor shopping plaza. Dating back to the 1920s, the square is one of the nation’s oldest planned shopping centers.

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Conshohocken, PA

Conshockocken, PA, one of the cities near philadelphia

Photo source: Conshohocken Borough / Facebook
  • Distance from downtown: 12.6 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,705 (down 7.82 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $2,265 (up 7.69 percent since last year)

Throughout its history, Conshohocken has always held an important geographic location. Sitting at one of the largest bends of the Schuylkill River, the land was originally a large milling region along rail and shipping lines.

As interstates went up, the region morphed into a factory industrial center. As manufacturing declined, it was those same highways that turned “Conshy” into one of the most desirable suburban-chic and cosmopolitan residential commuter communities in the city.

Conshohocken lies between the I-476 Blue Route and I-76 Schuylkill Expressway at the “Conshohocken Curve.” As industry left, easy access to the region’s two major highways transformed it into a hub for upper-middle-class commuters into the city, especially as apartment complexes and mid-priced high-rise rental towers rose.

And as the population increased, so did the enclave which features shopping and dining spots and many glittering hotels.

The shoreline also features a section of the running and biking Schuylkill River Trail path.

Nearby, Conshohocken’s Fayette Street main street is popular among its young professional population, with a median age of 32 with 63 percent single. The downtown strip offers a selection of quaint boutiques, eateries and cafes, as well as a variety of notable bars.

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Hatboro, PA

Hatboro, PA.

Photo source: Apartment Guide / Livingstone Apartments
  • Distance from downtown: 15.9 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: N/A
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,695 (up 9.18 percent since last year)

Eastern Montgomery County has just a few towns with true main streets, but one of the best of the bunch is Hatboro. The borough sits along the Bucks County border, a suburban town settled among some residential communities.

Hatboro is known for its plethora of parks and green spaces, including the popular Hatboro Memorial Park and Memorial Pool. But its growing notoriety as a suburban craft beer lovers’ destination is what’s gaining prominence.

In the heart of the Craft Beer Trail of Greater Philadelphia, Hatboro offers Crooked Eye Brewery and Artifact Brewing, both opened within the last several years.

The breweries sit along York Road, Hatboro’s main street. The corridor also offers many bars and gastropubs, vintage clothing stores, hoagie shops and produce grocers, cafés and popular bakeries and Daddypops diner, a favorite of Food Network’s Guy Fieri.

The borough is also convenient for commuters, with Hatboro station along the Warminster Line to Center City just off York Road.

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King of Prussia, PA

King of Prussia, PA, one of the cities near philadelphia

  • Distance from downtown: 16.9 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $2,204 (up 5.44 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $2,544 (up 0.81 percent since last year)

To speak like a true Philadelphian, pronounce the name of the city of King of Prussia the proper way, “Kingaprusha.”

If you’re familiar with the western Montgomery County city, it’s most likely for one thing: its megamall. The King of Prussia mall is massive, at 2.8 million square feet and 450 stores. It’s the third-largest mall in the nation behind only the Mall of America and the new American Dream in New Jersey.

This central town nestles right along the Schuylkill River — between four major thoroughfares: the Pennsylvania Turnpike, I-76 Schuylkill Expressway, and U.S. Routes 202 and 422. Sitting between renowned Valley Forge Historical Park and county seat Norristown, King of Prussia is both a popular commuter city and an important edge city in its own right.

One key location in KOP is the King of Prussia Town Center. Opened in 2016, the large planned lifestyle development has become a hub of residential activity in town. Acting as the city’s downtown, Town Center offers a bevy of apartments and townhouses at Village at Valley Forge with mixed-use and office space, upscale department stores and a Wegman’s grocery, retail shops and several new restaurants and bars.

Nearby are several office parks, Upper Merion High School and the Valley Forge Casino Resort.

The area is growing so quickly, local transportation authority SEPTA is developing a $2 billion regional rail line to directly connect King of Prussia with University City and Center City Philly.

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Langhorne, PA

Langhorne, PA.

  • Distance from downtown: 22.0 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,413 (down 1.55 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,691 (up 6.72 percent since last year)

One thing you can have living in the suburbs that you usually don’t in the middle of a city is an amusement park down the street. That’s one of the features of living in the borough of Langhorne and adjoining Middletown Township. Here you’ll find Sesame Place, the Sea World-owned young children’s Sesame Street theme park.

Langhorne borough proper and surrounding Middletown Township are collectively referred to as Langhorne.

The area is an important business and shopping center along Neshaminy Creek in charming Bucks County. Along with numerous national chains and big box stores, a myriad of service centers, retail shops and old-school restaurants line Pine Street and Maple Avenue.

In addition, the borough features a quaint historic district dating back to the 19th century. Sitting just off the I-295 beltway, Langhorne is a popular bedroom community for commuters to Trenton as well as Philadelphia.

The expansive Middletown Country Club splits the borough, with the multistory Oxford Valley Mall out in the Township. And surrounding Lake Luxembourg is the expansive 1,200-acre Core Creek Park. The region offers a variety of housing options, from affordable apartments to large suburban mansions.

Several locations still offer 1950s style tract housing leftover from the expansion of the nearby Levittown planned community.

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Phoenixville, PA

Phoenixville, PA, one of the cities near philadelphia

Photo source: Borough of Phoenixville / Facebook
  • Distance from downtown: 23.9 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,229 (down 14.82 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,426 (down 12.71 percent since last year)

In 1958, a large gelatinous alien creature was let loose and devoured dozens of residents of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. That of course only happened on screen, in the Steve McQueen horror classic “The Blob,” which filmed and took place in the Chester County suburb.

The movie features a famous scene where terrified residents flee the alien out the Colonial Theater’s doors. That real-life theater is the centerpiece of Phoenixville’s Bridge Street main street as well as the annual Blobfest which celebrates the landmark film.

But as important as the film is, younger residents will tell you it’s the craft beer scene that makes Phoenixville special. After languishing for years as a rundown mill town, a revitalization plan included a call for brewers to set up shop. Today the city of just 17,000 offers 10 craft breweries.

On Bridge Street alone are four breweries, along with a tap house, a distillery and three winery tasting rooms. That collection gives downtown Phoenixville the distinction of having the most breweries per square foot of any place in the nation.

For residents, Phoenixville is more than just beer and blobs. Its absolutely teeming downtown along Bridge Street has boomed with pizzerias and bistros, coffee and smoke shops and boutiques and galleries.

Phoenixville Area High School offers a high ranking and a 15:1 student-teacher ratio. And many parks and green spaces dot the region, including the large Black Rock Sanctuary wildlife refuge along the Schuylkill River bend that also features Basin Trail for hiking and biking. The Schuylkill River Trail also crosses the borough, along French Creek.

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West Chester, PA

West Chester, PA.

  • Distance from downtown: 25.0 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,631 (down 1.23 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $2,095 (up 7.54 percent since last year)

A little under 25 miles from Center City, West Chester is a more affordable alternative to the nearby Main Line. The seat of Chester County offers a selection of bars, restaurants and shops in its surprising downtown along Gay and Market streets.

Local businesses are accessible, catering to the borough’s young, affluent residents as well as budget-conscious clientele. Need proof? West Chester’s downtown sits on the top-three list of “Great American Main Streets.”

West Chester is a more affordable, younger enclave surrounded by old-money communities like Malvern, Kennett Square and Chadds Ford, with swaths of an urban-rural buffer.

The borough offers high-ranked schools and an average age of just 24.9 years old. A vibrant part of that young community is West Chester University, ranked a Top 10 Public Regional University by U.S. News.

Why is West Chester attractive to young professionals? Perhaps it’s the borough’s title as “Most Exciting Place” in all of eastern Pennsylvania. It’s a locale to meet new people, as the state’s second-most densely populated city, fifth-best for nightlife and fifth-best spot to lead an active lifestyle.

Or maybe it’s because it’s the world headquarters of the QVC shopping network.

Find apartments for rent in West Chester
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Wilmington, DE

Wilmington, DE.

  • Distance from downtown: 26.2 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,186 (down 14.08 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,477 (up 1.09 percent since last year)

Look behind Pennsylvania and New Jersey to find the best cities near Philadelphia — don’t forget about Delaware!

Wilmington is certainly having a moment. While the previous president spent his weekends at swanky Mar-a-Lago or Bedminster golf club, the current chief executive has been taking his off weekends back in his home state of Delaware. President Biden famously grew up in and around Wilmington and is known to have commuted back to his residence weekly dating back to his earliest days as the Diamond State’s senator.

Wilmington, despite being the largest city in a completely different state, is just a half-hour drive from Center City Philly. But it’s the finance industry that fuels the economy of the Corporate City.

The 1980s Financial Center Development Act liberalized financial regulations in Delaware, removing usury laws and interest rate caps. This caused financial and insurance corporations from around the world to set up shops in Wilmington.

An attractive city to big money employers is an attractive city to its white-collar workers. And one of the favorite locals is the Christina River waterfront. Popular waterfront spots include the Blue Rocks’ Frawley Stadium, the Delaware Children’s Museum, a convention center, a movie theater, parks, trails, hotels and a slew of cafes, restaurants and bars.

And for those concerned about Wilmington’s less-than-stellar crime safety record, there is good news. The city reports being “safer now than it’s ever been.” The city is noting its lowest crime rate in recent history.

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Doylestown, PA

dolyestown, PA, one of the cities near philadelphia

Photo source: Doylestown Township / Facebook
  • Distance from downtown: 27.2 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,408 (up 25.06 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,999 (up 9.93 percent since last year)

Gateway to the colonial-estate-and-covered-bridge tourism lands of Upper Bucks, Doylestown is the charming exurban seat of Bucks County.

The borough offers a slew of cultural and entertainment options not usually found in a town of under 9,000, about an hour commute from Center City by either train or car.

Doylestown has one of the densest gatherings of museums out of all of the cities near Philadelphia. James Michener Art Museum (named for the native son author), the Moravian Pottery and Tile Works, the Mercer Museum and Oscar Hammerstein II Farm (the final residence of its namesake) can all be found here.

Just off the center of town is the historic art deco movie house County Theater which shows blockbusters and arthouse films alike.

Elsewhere in Doylestown’s downtown along State and Main streets are quaint thrift shops, big city-worthy restaurants, bookstores, coffee shops and brewpubs.

For those seeking a more natural setting, just as appealing is the natural beauty of rural Bucks County just outside of town, packed with hiking trails, bike paths, water recreation and nature watching. Favorite spots include urban 108-acre Central Park and wooded 1,500-acre Peace Valley Park.

Find apartments for rent in Doylestown
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Make one of these cities near Philadelphia your next home

No matter where you decide to call home, you can’t go wrong with any of the amazing cities near Philadelphia you might choose.

Whether in Bucks, Montgomery, Chester or Delaware Counties, across the river in South Jersey or down I-95 in Delaware, you’ll have tons to do all within a short commute into the city.

Rent prices are based on a rolling weighted average from Apartment Guide and Rent.com’s multifamily rental property inventory of one-bedroom apartments in April 2021. Our team uses a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each individual unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets.
The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.

The post 10 Cities Near Philadelphia To Live in 2021 appeared first on Apartment Living Tips – Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.

Source: apartmentguide.com

Top 5 Rent Control Apartments Available to Rent Today

top-5-rent-control-apartments-in-dc

Our Top Five Picks for Rent Control Apartments in D.C.

What is a ‘rent-controlled apartment’?

Rent control apartments can be rented by anyone.

Low and predictable rent increases are what make rent control apartments so desirable.

Why are they so low?

The annual increases in your rent may not exceed an allowable increase set by the city government. The annual adjustment is based on the Consumer Price Index {CPI} plus somewhere between 2%-10% of your rent. The combination of CPI + the  % increase can never exceed 10% total.  The law also sets that the landlord may only increase your rent once in any 12-month period. So, if in 2016 your rent was $1000 upon your anniversary/lease renewal, your rent could have a maximum increase of $25. Because the CPI was .5% and the city allowed an additional 2% increase.

We wrote a whole blog about it if you want to Read more…

Or if you want, just check out the rent control buildings below and score yourself some new digs!

One of the worst things about renting is the inevitable rent increases that you get every year.  One way to combat the impact of those rent increases is to find a rent controlled apartment.  Rent control apartments have a cap on how much your rent can be increased each year.  How rent increases are calculated is a little tricky.  You can read more about it here. We searched the Washington, DC apartment inventory and compiled a list of the top five rent controlled apartments you can rent today.

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MORE INFO

Frontenac
Studio $1495

4550 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008

The Frontenac is nestled in the heart of elegant upper-Northwest. The Frontenac boasts spacious apartments with updated kitchens and bathrooms. Its classic architectural style, evident in our grand lobby’s high ceiling and in our apartment units’, arched doorways and traditional wainscoting, attracts tours of local art history students.You can meet your neighbors or take advantage of WiFi on the Frontenac’s peaceful roof deck or in its spacious laundry room. Take a stroll to the Van Ness metro station, Giant, Whole Foods, pharmacies, dry cleaners, restaurants, shopping, and great schools for students of all ages. Our neighborhood is full of hidden gems..

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Wakefield Hall
1 BR  $1895

2101 New Hampshire Ave NW
Washington, DC 20009

Wakefield Hall’s decorative facade gives way to just as beautiful apartments. Hardwood floors, updated kitchens, and walk-in closets create a charming and comfortable living space. Wakefield Hall is located near U St./Cardozo Metro Station, giving you access to all DC has to offer via the yellow and green lines. You can step out your front door and experience the cultural vibes within your neighborhood.

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The Calverton   LEASED
Studio  $1485

1673 Columbia Road, NW
Washington, DC 20009

Simple elegance. The best things in life don’t have to be bragged about. They can be simply appreciated each time you arrive home. The Calverton Apartments are in in the heart of the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, DC. An array of restaurants and grocery options are within minutes of your apartment. Inside, you’ll find updated kitchens with energy efficient appliances, grand living rooms and large windows for natural light to pour in. Whether you choose to rent a studio, one-bedroom or two-bedroom apartment, you will be treated to beautiful hardwood floors and ample closet space. This is thoughtful living.

Rent-control-apartments-dc-Calverton
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Dupont Apartments
1 BR  $1775

1717 20th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20009

Choosing this apartment community is all about choosing the location.  The building is located in one of the most desired locations in all of DC. DuPont Circle provides easy access to public transportation, a variety of restaurant and entertainment options, and a quick commute to many of DC’s finest attractions.  Living at the Dupont Apartments will give you the lifestyle you want, and the location you need. The apartments feature hardwood floors, high ceilings, and spacious floorplans in a controlled access building.

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Klingle Apartments
1 BR  $1675

2755 Macomb Street, NW
Washington, DC 20008

Right on the corner of Connecticut Avenue and Macomb Avenue, you will find The Klingle, a Cleveland Park apartment building with one-bedroom apartments for rent. The spacious layouts, beautiful hardwood floors, energy efficient appliances, and bright and open atmosphere of the apartments aren’t all that you will love. The Klingle community has on-site maintenance and management teams available to assist its residents, on-site laundry facilities, and it is conveniently located one block away from the Cleveland Park Metro. Comfort and convenience are a given when you live at The Klingle. Make it your home today!WC Smith embraces the belief that great customer service is our best amenity. Living at The Klingle means experiencing a higher level of service. Our service team is available 24 hours a day, and you can access your resident account online at any time; day or night. Discover true convenient living in the city, at The Klingle located in the Cleveland Park neighborhood.

Looking for something different?
Search available apartments in the Washington, DC area now.

Read Top 5 Rent Control Apartments Available to Rent Today on Apartminty.

Source: blog.apartminty.com

8 Free Sleep Apps for a Blissful Night’s Rest

Whether it’s fear of getting sick, worry for a loved one’s health, job anxiety, the stress of juggling parenting and career in a pandemic, or all of the above, sky-high stress seems to be the new normal.

While free sleep apps won’t solve your big-picture problems, they could help you fall asleep faster, so you can tackle life’s stressors feeling refreshed. Here are the best ones we’ve found.

1. White Noise

White noise free sleep apps are must-haves for travel, when you need a consistent noise to block out the sounds of other hotel guests, city noises, etc. The ‘lite’ version does the trick with free sleep sounds and nature sounds. For $4.99, you get 50 sounds plus the ability to create your own track that includes binaural beats, aka different frequencies that cue your brain to relax.

Find White Noise in the Apple App Store, Google Play or Amazon.

2. Relax and Sleep Well Hypnosis

Hypnosis usually costs several hundred dollars, but you’ll pay $0 for this hypnotherapy sleep app with four recordings of meditation and hypnosis. Additional hypnosis tracks are available as app purchases for $2.99 apiece. This one made Healthline’s 2019 list of the best sleep apps, so if you’re skeptical of hypnosis, their stamp of approval may persuade you to download hypnotherapy sleep apps.

Find Relax and Sleep Well Hypnosis in the Apple App Store or Google Play.

3. Headspace

Headspace’s guided meditation app is the perfect way to wind down for bed: Andy’s soothing British accent will lull you into a state of total relaxation where it seems like nothing could ever go wrong. While it’s $60 a year, Headspace often makes the best sleep apps lists. Students can pay $9.99 for annual access, and Netflix subscribers can watch the Headspace series for no extra cost. Each episode focuses on one style of meditation, so by the time you finish the season you’ll have a whole arsenal of relaxation techniques to try before bed.

Sign up for a free trial of Headspace or watch on Netflix.

Are you turning more to apps for wellness? Try these cheap or free meditation apps.

4. Deep Sleep With AJ

Deep Sleep With AJ is a cheaper alternative to Headspace, with a one-time cost of $2.99 and similarly dreamy Scottish accent. Developed by a mindfulness expert and therapist, the sleep app includes mindfulness and inspirational talks, bedtime relaxation techniques to help you wake up feeling refreshed, meditations for anxiety and panic attacks and more. You can cue up meditations to repeat a set number of times, so it ideally plays through until you’ve caught those Zs.

Find Deep Sleep With AJ on the Apple App Store or Google Play.

5. Relax Melodies

Combining relaxing sounds, free sleep stories and guided meditation for sleep, lucid dreaming, or relief from medical conditions like tinnitus (ringing in the ears that often gets worse before bed), free sleep app Relax Melodies has thousands of fans. It comes with 52 sounds including white noise, nature sounds, ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response, or that warm tingle associated with sounds like whispers) and binaural beats. Premium sounds are available as app purchases for $4.99.

Find Relax Melodies on the Apple App Store or Google Play.

6. Nothing Much Happens

Think of free podcast Nothing Much Happens as adult sleep stories designed to help you relax into a peaceful slumber. As the title suggests, the stories are fairly low-stakes. Podcast host Kathryn is a meditation and yoga teacher, so think of this as an extended savasana where it’s actually awesome if you end up snoring after five minutes.

Find Nothing Much Happens on Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts.

7. Endel

Perfect for the multitasker, Endel offers “personalized soundscapes” for relaxation, better sleep and better focus. The app pulls data from your environment (like weather, location or time of day), then moderates sounds to match your mood: focus music for daytime work and chill sounds to help you sleep. The app comes with a 7-day free trial, after which point you’ll need to buy a subscription ($5.99 per month or $49.99 per year, at present) or use the free, browser-based version.

Find Endel in the Apple App Store, Google Play, or on Twitch.

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8. Rise: Sleep & Energy Tracker

For those wanting a scientific approach to a good night’s sleep, the Rise sleep tracker app is worth checking out. It’s free to download with membership upgrades as app purchases beginning at $6.99 per month. Unlike sleep-tracking apps which just gauge your sleep cycle, Rise looks at “sleep debt”– aka how much sleep you should get but don’t. The sleep app works backward from your sleep debt numbers, drawing from sleep data and health information to help you improve sleep quality and quantity. Rise fans include pro sports teams and Fortune 500 leaders who find the price worth it to sleep better and wake up feeling refreshed.

Find Rise in the Apple App Store or Google Play.

Most people experience sleep problems for a range of underlying causes, thus it can be helpful to have multiple free sleep apps on your phone. Armed with nature sounds, bedtime stories, guided meditation, science-backed sleep habits and hypnosis for life’s most pressing worries, you can stop counting sheep and cue up what’s mostly likely to help you get a good night’s sleep.

Lindsey Danis is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

Source: thepennyhoarder.com

Fired by the Kings, Vlade Divac Selling $1.65M Home in Downtown Sacramento

Vlade Divac Sacramento Homerealtor.com, Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire

After five seasons in the front office for the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, the former NBA center Vlade Divac was shown the door in August 2020.

Now Divac is divesting his real estate holdings in the capital city. He’s put his downtown Sacramento home on the market for $1.65 million.

Located just blocks away from the Kings’ downtown arena, it’s an awesome option for a buyer looking for a classic home in the middle of an urban setting.

The charming three-bedroom residence offers 3,371 square feet and was built way back in 1900. Since then, the single family abode has been renovated and now features a classic facade with an all-modern interior.

According to the listing, “The owners have paid attention to period details, while bringing modern functionality and style.”

High ceilings throughout the home offer an airy and spacious feel. The modern kitchen features an island with double ovens, and high-end finishes and appliances.

Upstairs, you’ll find three bedrooms—all bathed in natural light. The home’s basement has a separate entrance and offers a “studio-type layout and a spacious bathroom.”

Around the rear of the home is a garage, currently configured as a home gym, with a bonus space for meditation or yoga.

A gorgeous, private backyard has an extensive tiled patio area and offers a hot tub ideal for an evening soak.

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Front exterior of home in Sacramento, CA

realtor.com

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Living area

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Kitchen

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Dining room

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Basement

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Gym

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Hot tub & sitting area

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This luxury home is located about 2 miles from the arena and would be a brisk 35-minute walk to work.

Divac purchased the downtown digs in April 2018 for $910,000 in the middle of his tenure as the general manager of the Kings.

He’s also lived in the neighboring Sacramento County town of Carmichael. In 2016, Carmichael’s Chamber of Commerce named him “Person of the Year.”

His former residence in Pacific Palisades recently sold again in November, for $3,436,000. He had purchased the property in 2004 for $2.5 million and sold it in 2015 for $2,711,500.

Divac, 52, made his NBA debut with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1989, and was a part of the first wave of players to come to the league from the former Yugoslavia. The Serbian 7-footer played for 16 seasons in the NBA and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2019.

Nev Kordic with Coldwell Banker Realty is representing Divac with the sale.

The post Fired by the Kings, Vlade Divac Selling $1.65M Home in Downtown Sacramento appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Source: realtor.com

‘I Lost My Job—and My Dream House’: How This First-Time Home Buyer Bounced Back

houseKaterina Rieckel

Imagine finding your dream home, then, a week before closing the deal, losing your job—and the house. House hunting during the coronavirus pandemic is no picnic.

COVID-19 has caused seismic changes not only to real estate markets, but also to the lives of home buyers hit with layoffs, furloughs, and other financial challenges. Just ask Katerina Rieckel, a digital strategist, knitwear designer, and first-time home buyer who, with her husband, was set to close on a glorious farmhouse in upstate New York in March.

But about a week before sealing the deal, Rieckel was laid off, which meant that she and her husband, a claims adjuster, could no longer afford the place.

As a part of our new series, “First-Time Home Buyer Confessions,” we asked Rieckel to share her story, and the hard-won lessons she wants to share with other first-timers.

Let her experiences show that even unemployment doesn’t need to spell the end of a house hunt—although it may require you to dust yourself off after a loss and try, try again.

home
Katerina Rieckel’s farmhouse in upstate New York

Katerina Rieckel

Location: Troy, NY
House specs: 1,544 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms
List price: $249,900
Price paid: $245,500

2020 has been a wild one. How did you end up buying a home in the middle of a pandemic?

We started looking for a house a year ago, about halfway through the summer. At the time, both my husband and I had recently got new jobs, so the first issue we ran into was getting pre-qualified for the mortgage without a long track record at those companies. We also both felt pressure, as our jobs were very new.

What were you looking for in a house, and what was your budget?

We were looking for a house in the country that was move-in ready, private with at least 5 acres. We started off with a small budget, max $200,000, which made our choices more narrow.

Our search continued well into the winter, and around January 2020, we finally saw a house that was all we ever dreamed of and more. It was over our budget, at $229,000, but it had been listed for over a year, so we felt there was a good chance we could get it for less than the asking price.

What did you love about this house?

It was a beautiful, slate-blue farmhouse sitting on top of a hill, surrounded by woods. The house was warm and inviting, with chickens running around, as well as a big diving pool, and a workshop in the basement connected with a two-car garage. We got along with the owners really well, and we were going to keep the chickens. Everything went very smoothly, until just over a week before closing.

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Rieckel and her husband almost bought this house, but it wasn’t in the cards.

Global MLS

So what went wrong?

It was March, and COVID-19 hit hard. The digital marketing agency I worked for had clients pause their work for unknown time. I was laid off, which meant we couldn’t afford the house anymore, and had to back out of the deal.

I was crushed. We didn’t know what was going to happen, and the country was under a lockdown. We had plans for my parents to come visit us in our new house, but instead, I ended up with no job, no house, and I couldn’t see my family, since they live in Europe.

In the summer, I was very fortunate to get my job back. So we resumed our house hunt and began to search for a new contender.

When you started the search again, how had COVID-19 changed the market?

The housing market in upstate New York got totally crazy. I heard there were houses being sold within hours. The market was just incredibly competitive, and not many houses were being listed, as a lot of people didn’t want to let strangers in their house during the pandemic.

We saw about seven to 10 houses in person, but they usually ended up disappointing us, with some strange arrangements. For example, one house had around 25 acres, but half of that acreage was on the other side of the road, behind other people’s houses, which made it almost impossible to use.

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The couple’s pet cat has settled into their new digs, too.

Katerina Rieckel

With such a competitive market, how did you end up finding the right house?

Finally, around halfway through the summer, I saw a house listed that I hadn’t noticed before. I called on it right away and set up a showing that evening.

The real estate agent told me we were really fast, as he had just relisted this house. Someone had been buying it, but backed out of the process because of personal reasons.

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Their house has tons of privacy and a great view.

Katarina Rieckel

How did you know this house was the one?

The house had over 10 acres, it was in the country, and about 35 minutes to Troy. It was move-in ready, but definitely needed upgrades, as it looked like it got stuck in the ’80s.

Even though we didn’t like the style that much, we felt instantly comfortable and decided to put in an offer that same evening. It was partly due to the pressure of the market, but in the end, we are really happy we made this decision.

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This house was totally 1980s, but Rieckel has been slowly updating it.

Katerina Rieckel

What surprised you most about the home-buying process?

Nothing prepares you for the amount of aggravation you have to go through. Buying a house is like getting a second job for about three months.

living room
After a little work, Rieckel’s home looks lovely.

Katerina Rieckel

What’s your advice for aspiring first-time home buyers?

Don’t trust the photos! The photos got me a few times. For example, a lot of times, the photos of the house are taken so that you can’t see the neighboring houses.

You think, “Wow, that looks so private!” Then you drive there, and you realize there’s a house sitting right next to it. Since privacy was very important to us, we got disappointed a few times by this. We started doing drive-bys first, before going in with a real estate agent, whenever possible.

Christmas decorations
Rieckel moved in in time to enjoy her new home for the holidays.

Katerina Rieckel

Anything else home buyers should look out for?

Call the real estate agent and ask a lot of questions before you even go see the house, like what the property and school taxes are—very important around here.

You also want to know what kind of heating the house has, as electric bills can really add up over the winter.

The driveway can also be a huge issue, which is why I think the first house we were buying was for sale for such a long time. It had a pretty steep driveway, which was definitely an all-wheel drive kind of thing in the winter.

We also changed who we were financing with while we were going through closing. We needed someone well-informed about the economy, who knew what they were doing and was ready to act fast.

Our first mortgage broker didn’t tell us as soon as interest rates started to go up—and basically sat on the information for a while. This is when we stopped trusting this person and went to work with a bank instead.

Maybe the best advice is not to fall in love with a house too quickly, since there can be so many setbacks that you will not see coming.

Katerina Rieckel
It took a little longer than expected, but this family is finally happy in their new home.

Katerina Rieckel

The post ‘I Lost My Job—and My Dream House’: How This First-Time Home Buyer Bounced Back appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Source: realtor.com

How to Set a Realistic Budget for Christmas Shopping

The post How to Set a Realistic Budget for Christmas Shopping appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom.

INSIDE: Christmas shopping can easily get out of hand. Learn how to set a Christmas budget so you can make it a great one without doing into debt.

You need a budget, especially at Christmas. Here’s how to set a Christmas budget for your family that works!

To set a Christmas budget, decide what you can afford to spend this Christmas

Knowing how to set a Christmas budget comes down to what you can comfortably afford. How much money do you make per month? Now subtract all your expenses? How much is left over? How much of the leftovers do you feel comfortable putting towards gifts? 

There’s no magic number for exactly how much you should spend on Christmas. Each family has a different budget and different circumstances. But, be reasonable. Don’t go into debt in order to buy gifts.  

Once you’ve come up with a number that is right for you, write it down and stick to it. If you want to buy a family member something special but it’s over budget, then either wait for it to go on sale or come up with a new plan. And don’t be so hard on yourself.

Avoid falling for the “perfect Christmas myth.” Your kids will be okay if they don’t get every single thing on their list. Don’t go over budget because you’re trying to make the holidays perfect. And it’s never a bad idea to teach your kids about a holiday budget.

  • Pro tip: You can still have a magical Christmas on a budget — get our tips on How to Do Christmas on a Budget.

If your budget is lower than you want it to be, consider ways you can make more money for Christmas.

Our best tips for staying on budget this Christmas

In order to set a Christmas budget and stick with it, try these tips…

Keep gift-giving simple 

When it comes to my extended family we’ve been doing Secret Santa style gift swaps for years. Not only does this reduce the amount of money that you need to spend, but it also reduces the stress of trying to come up with a thoughtful gift for every uncle and cousin that you only see twice a year. 

Make a list and stick to it

Once you’ve decided on a gift-giving strategy then you’ll know exactly who to need to buy gifts for. Create a list of names and determine how much you can budget for each person. Based on your list you can start brainstorming gifts that align with your budget. 

Give experiences, not things 

If you’re having trouble deciding what to give people for Christmas remember, give experiences, not things. Experiences are more meaningful then things and the memories you create from a good experience can truly last a lifetime. Passes to a museum, amusement park, or a gift card to a fantastic restaurant are great gift ideas. 

How to save money on Christmas gifts to stay on budget 

Between gift-giving and holiday entertaining, Christmas can get expensive. That’s why you set a Christmas budget to begin with. But, in addition, here are some gift-giving tips to help you stay on budget:

Follow the four gift rule

When it comes to the act of gift-giving, keep it simple. There are a ton of super fun gift-giving strategies that allow you to celebrate the tradition of giving without spending a fortune. My kids are still young but we’ve started practicing the four gift rule which is: 

  • Something you want
  • Something you need
  • Something you’ll wear
  • Something you’ll read

This is a great strategy to help keep you on budget while shopping for Christmas gifts. 

Give a gift card

Yes, you can argue that a gift card doesn’t qualify as a super thoughtful or meaningful gift. All I know is that I would prefer a gift card over an ugly sweater or smelly candle. Also, gift cards are a great way to stay on budget. All you have to do is pick an amount, or assign an amount that fits your budget. No waiting for a sale and no overspending necessary. 

Give a homemade gift for Christmas

Are you super artistic, an excellent baker, or a woodworking genius? Then consider giving a homemade gift to help you save money and stick to your Christmas budget.

There’s a reason why online marketplaces like Etsy are so popular. It’s because there’s a demand for beautiful homemade products. However, if the extent of your creativity involves a glue stick, macaroni, and glitter then perhaps this is not the budget-saving tip for you!

Advantages of shopping for Christmas all year 

If you’re a planner, this strategy could work for you. Although it’s strange to start to think about Christmas shopping in March or April, there are a lot of advantages when it comes to Christmas shopping all year, as opposed to saving it all for November or December. So, start celebrating Christmas in July and reap some of the financial and emotional benefits.

If you can wrap your head around the idea of shopping for Christmas gifts all year long then there are quite a few major advantages to doing it this way: 

It’s easier to stick to your Christmas budget

Can you even imagine the Christmas holidays without last-minute panic shopping? Even if you set a Christmas budget, it can easily get blown away when that happens.

When you break up your Christmas shopping over several months or even an entire year, you can make a plan. You can shop for items when you know they’re on sale, and you can take some time to save for things before making a purchase. This can help you avoid going into a ton of debt at Christmas time. 

According to a report by Statista titled, “U.S. Christmas Season,” the average American expects to spend $846 on Christmas gifts. If this seems accurate for you, then divide this by twelve months and you can set a ballpark budget of $70.50 per month. 

Early shopping means you can avoid the crowds 

While 64% of U.S. consumers purchase gifts online, many of us also find ourselves in a mall during the holidays. And, in my personal opinion, there is nothing worse than a crowded mall at Christmas. Everyone seems to be grumpy, in a rush, and deplete of holiday cheer. No thank you. 

It can result in more thoughtful Christmas gifts 

When you have a list of people you need to buy gifts for and months to do it you can take the time to come up with more thoughtful gifts. This is opposed to the regular last-minute shopping sprees where you are trying to think of something, anything that would make a decent present for your nephew or second cousin. 

It can make the holidays less stressful 

Wouldn’t it be nice to have some time to relax around the holidays? How would it feel to sit down with a warm coffee or a nice glass of wine on December 23rd instead of searching for last-minute Christmas gifts in a crowded store?

When you shop for Christmas all year round, you don’t need to be at the mall searching for a parking spot with everyone else. You can take some time to relax and really get into the holiday spirit. 

You can go into the new year on a financial high note

It’s all fun and games in December but January can be a real bummer if you overspend during the holidays. When you shop for Christmas gifts all year, you can start January on a high note and focus on achieving all of your New Year’s resolutions rather than waiting for your scary holiday credit card bill.  

Don’t forget to budget for each family member’s Christmas gift 

If you like the idea of shopping for Christmas gifts throughout the year, then it’s a good idea to still set a Christmas budget. Just as you can overspend during the last-minute Christmas rush, you can also overspend on Christmas when you’re shopping throughout the year if you don’t have a plan.  

Remember what Christmas is really about

This Christmas give yourself the gift of more time, less stress, and less debt by shopping for holiday gifts all year long! This strategy will give you the ability to focus on the things that really make the holidays special — the people, the traditions, and the memories! 

And that brings us to Christmas dinner! Discover how to create a budget for Christmas dinner too!

–By Jessica Martel 

The post How to Set a Realistic Budget for Christmas Shopping appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom.

Source: pennypinchinmom.com

6 Fun, Inexpensive Ways to Revamp Furniture

FunInexpensiveWaystoRevampFurniture

Dresser Storage

If your country kitchen is running out of room, consider a dresser. Even though you’re used to bureaus being only for bedrooms, it can be a valuable addition to a kitchen for storing napkins, utensils, and more. Repaint the dresser in colors to match your kitchen and you’ll have guests asking where you got your newest piece of kitchen furniture.

Don’t Discard Dingy Dressers

If your furniture is weathered or out of style, that’s not necessarily a reason to replace it. There are plenty of ways to spruce up old dressers, chairs, and tables. Everybody loves quilts, so why not drape one over that old chair that needs re-upholstering? You can also try using colorful fabrics on the fronts of nightstand and dresser drawers. Just get some scrap cloth from your last project or from a fabric store, and attach it to the dresser drawers with a staple gun. To have even more fun with it, we like to paint part of the piece and color-coordinate it with the cloth we’re using.

Handled With Style

If your cabinets are getting old and worn, you can revive them just by replacing the knobs and handles. A good variety should be available inexpensively at your local hardware store. They’ll make your kitchen or bathroom look brand new!

A Gift for Decoration

Dress up an inexpensive set of plastic drawers by covering them in wrapping paper. Choose some paper you love (you can even pick several coordinating designs), and cut the pieces to fit the size of the drawers. Then spread a crafting glue/sealer, such as Mod Podge, on the plastic and smooth the wrapping paper onto it, being careful to eliminate bubbles. Allow to dry, and apply a coat of sealant on top. Not only does the paper look beautiful, but it also hides the contents of the drawers, making everything appear neat and tidy.

Matching Not Necessary

You’ve probably noticed this at the restaurants you frequent, but it’s becoming more and more acceptable nowadays—even hip—to eat your meals on vintage, mismatched chairs. Instead of spending a fortune on a dining-room set, go for the mismatched look and hunt for your chairs at thrift shops and used furniture stores.

Brighten Up the Bookshelf

If you’re looking for an easy, inexpensive way to add a pop of color to a room, look no further than the bookshelf. You can paint the interior back “wall” of the bookshelf a color that either contrasts or coordinates with your decor. It will add a modern touch for not a lot of money! 

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Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Source: quickanddirtytips.com