5 Ways to Pick the Perfect Time to Sell

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Note: This article was originally posted on Trulia Blog (www.trulia.com/corp) on June 25, 2015 by Tara Nicholle Nelson http://www.trulia.com/blog/5-ways-to-pick-the-perfect-time-to-sell/

Choosing the right time to list your home can make all the difference. 

There’s a season for everything — including real estate.

If you’re gearing up to list your home for sale, you should connect with your agent to discuss your home sale action plan. But there are also a number of calendar-based factors you should be just as thoughtful about as you put together your plan for selling.

Here are five calendars that should be on every home seller’s radar.

1. The academic calendar

Families with school-age children often find it less disruptive to house-hunt in late spring/early summer with the aim of moving in before school starts. Of course, we all know what they say about the best-laid plans, so by no means should you let this stop you from listing your home at another time of year.

Demand for homes with convenient proximity to strong schools can increase during the summer school break and around other times of year when kids are not in school.

2. The tax calendar

I cannot count the number of relatively unmotivated looky-loo buyers I’ve worked with over the years who became suddenly motivated from a massive, looming tax bill. For instance, many new professionals will seek to close escrow on homes between the time they graduate and the end of that same year, in an effort to deduct their closing costs and mortgage interest from their new large incomes and avoid a big tax bill the following April. Similarly, just after tax time in April, a flood of newly motivated buyers come into the market, advised by their CPAs that the mortgage interest deduction is their best bet for not having to write as big a check to the IRS next year.

Fortunately for sellers, more buyers and more motivation means more demand and can translate into a faster sale at a higher price than at other times of the year.

3. The weather calendar

Many sellers who live in cold-weather climates are aware that wintry conditions can dramatically cut down the numbers of buyers who are out viewing properties. This is why buyer searches for homes on Trulia peak in January in warm-weather states like Hawaii and Florida — and not until after the spring thaw in the Midwest, the South, the Northeast, and most of the West.

The combination of what’s happening with the weather and the specific features of your home can interact to impact your home’s prospects for sale — and its ultimate sale price. Behavioral economics researchers have found that homes with swimming pools (and water slides, perhaps?) sell for more in the summertime than they do in winter.

“When it is sweltering outside, a swimming pool just looks attractive. There’s an emotional connection because it reminds us of fun times we have in the summer,” says Jaren Pope, assistant professor of economics at Brigham Young University.

So if it’s summer and you’re selling a home with ski slope access, you might want to paint the picture of a cozy, fun-filled winter by staging the place with ski gear and other items that help prospective buyers visualize how much fun they’ll have when winter comes. And vice versa: If it’s winter and you’re selling a house with a pool, consider making sure it is steamy and heated, if it has those features. Stage it with lounges, towels, lights — anything that showcases the pool to offset a cold-weather buyer’s psychological tendency to discount the appeal of a pool in the winter.

4. The holiday calendar

During the holidays, many buyers simply prefer to spend their downtime celebrating with family and friends versus. house hunting, especially in locales where the winters are wet or cold. Nationwide, December is the slowest month of the year for home searches, and November is the second-slowest.

Does this mean the holidays are a bad time to have your house on the market? Not necessarily. Some homes show beautifully when all lit up and tastefully dressed up for the holidays. And the truth is that there is a hardy contingent of buyers motivated to close by year’s end for tax purposes, every year in every market. While buyers might be fewer in number, those who will brave rain, sleet, and snow and forgo holiday parties to house-hunt can be some of the most motivated buyers of all.

5. The Gregorian calendar

We’re talking about the regular old January-through-December calendar here.

Home buying tends to be a popular resolution among those with money on their minds at the beginning of the year — and also among people looking forward to career promotions, developing their love and family relationships, or relocating to a new hometown. Make sure your home is well-represented on sites like Trulia at the beginning of the year, when these life- and financial-change visionaries start searching for their next nests.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Or just pure reactions? Tell us what you think by completing the form below and let us know, we’ll be more than delighted to hear from you!

5 Ways to Deal With the Eyesore Next Door

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Note: This article was originally posted on Trulia Blog (www.trulia.com/corp) on June 18, 2015 by Laura Agadoni http://www.trulia.com/blog/5-ways-to-deal-with-the-eyesore-next-door/

Don’t let the neighborhood eyesore put your home sale at risk — take action with these 5 tips.

You’re almost ready to put your house on the market when you realize it: The neighborhood eyesore is going to pose a problem.

Sure, we know some people might view any attempts to hide an eyesore from view as being underhanded, sneaky, and designed to fool unsuspecting buyers. They might envision unscrupulous sellers and agents who keep their fingers crossed, just hoping no one spots the eyesore next door.

If you feel that way, by all means, point out the junkyard behind you that’s worthy of American Pickers, the yard next door that looks more like a prairie than a lawn, or the bail bonds sign spray-painted on the wall across the street.

For the rest of us, here are five ways to resolve these eyesore neighbor homes so that would-be buyers won’t be scared off. And who knows? Maybe if you tackle these unsavory sights, you’ll decide not to sell your home after all.

1. Ask your neighbor to fix the problem

This solution can be tricky. There’s really no easy way to tell someone that his or her house is the neighborhood eyesore. But there are some methods that might help.

“Just writing a friendly note (dropped off with a bottle of wine or another small gift) can sometimes do the trick,” says Ross Anthony, a San Diego real estate agent.

It also can’t hurt to mention to your neighbor that the more your home sells for, the more his or her home will be worth.

2. Be neighborly

You know how people can become desensitized to certain smells? (“How did you know I had a cat?”) Well, people can become so accustomed to the condition of their house that they don’t notice when it looks run-down.

This sometimes happens with elderly homeowners: either they haven’t realized the condition of their home or they simply can’t manage the upkeep. You might think a condo or townhouse situation might better suit your overwhelmed neighbor, but steer clear of that suggestion.

Instead, offer to spruce up the house yourself. “If it is an elderly person, I offer to help,” says Sarah Bentley Pearson, an Atlanta real estate agent.

But it’s not just elderly neighbors with houses that could benefit from a little TLC — just think of all the work you did to get your house in selling shape!

Alexander Ruggie of 911 Restoration in Los Angeles says that if the next-door neighbor has a poor paint job, a wobbly fence, or a caved-in garage, there’s no reason you can’t offer to help fix the problem. “Most people would be surprised how much they can convince people to do when they offer to help do it.”

3. Notify your HOA

If you live in a community with a homeowners’ association (HOA), let it know about the unkempt house near you. One of the main reasons HOAs exist is to prevent homes in the neighborhood from becoming eyesores that could drive down the value of your home.

Your HOA might send a letter to the offending neighbor warning him or her to fix the problem or face fines. Or the HOA might take care of the problem and then bill the homeowner.

4. Call the city

If your neighbor won’t mow his or her lawn, get rid of the junk outside, or let you help tidy up, you can always call your local government.

“If there is a really bad problem, like the grass is a foot tall and there are junk cars on the front lawn, your neighbors are probably in violation of local codes and can be forced to clean up,” says John Z. Wetmore, producer of the TV show Perils for Pedestrians.

Do this well in advance of putting your house on the market. The city could give your neighbor up to 90 days to meet housing codes.

Wetmore also suggests that you “walk around the block and pick up any litter along the public streets and sidewalks.”

If the house is a bank-owned foreclosure, find out which bank owns the property by checking county title records. Insist the bank maintain the property.

5. Plant view-blocking trees or install a fence

It might be worth the investment to block an unsavory view. If you plant trees, choose ones that are at least 6 feet tall to give you an immediate sense of privacy. Privacy fences should also be 6 feet high.

If your neighbors are noisy, putting in a small waterfall can drown out the racket.

“You only have one first impression,” says Ross Anthony. “You want potential buyers to fall in love with your home before writing it off due to an unkempt neighboring property.”

Thoughts? Suggestions? Or just pure reactions? Tell us what you think by completing the form below and let us know, we’ll be more than delighted to hear from you!

6 Ways ’90s Sitcoms Ruined You for House Hunting

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Note: This article was originally posted on Trulia Blog (www.trulia.com/corp) on June 15, 2015 by Aleigh Acerni http://www.trulia.com/blog/6-ways-90s-sitcoms-ruined-you-for-house-hunting/

House hunting can be hard enough without letting your “Friends” get in the way. 

Ah, the ’90s — that carefree time of cheap gas, babydoll dresses, Sun-In, grunge music, the Spice Girls, and seriously overplucked eyebrows.

It also gave us Friends, Will & Grace, Roseanne, Full House, Married with Children … should we go on? And all that great, must-see TV served up some seriously high expectations about what our living situations would be like once we officially left the nest.

House hunting can be hard, even when you know exactly what you want. Add in hours of daydreaming about living in an apartment like Monica Geller’s someday? It’s time to come back to life (back to reality).

1. Unrealistic expectations of size

Monica Geller Bing: Belated congratulations on your enormous, charming, rent-controlled apartment that lets you support yourself as a part-time chef in New York City. (Clap-clap-clap-clap.)

However, now that we’ve all been around the block a few times, we’ve realized this sad reality: The real-life existence of this apartment — rent-controlled or not — is about as possible as finding a unicorn in the wild. Thanks a lot for getting our hopes up, Friends.

Forget waiting until the rain starts to fall. Instead, make sure you understand what you can afford before you start looking for your next place.

2. The best friend next door

Doogie Howser had Vinnie. Seinfeld had Kramer. Will & Grace had Jack. Family Matters had Steve Urkel. (OK, that last one may be a stretch, but even if Laura never would’ve admitted it, Urkel really was a great friend to her.)

For many of us who were raised on ’90s TV, we imagined that as adults we’d be surrounded by our best friends. They’d live next door (or at least around the corner), and we’d hang out all the time.

In real life? Your BFFs might not live in your neighborhood or even in your city — let alone right across the hall or street. But even without a built-in best friend, there are plenty of ways to get settled in your new neighborhood.

3. Designer-y spaces

We’ll give Will & Grace a pass on this one, since Grace is an interior designer — of course she’d have beautiful furnishings. But looking back, plenty of characters and families from ’90s sitcoms have surprisingly lovely homes.

Would the hot mess that is Ross Geller really have had such a dashing apartment? (After all, this is the guy who once tried to “PIVOT!” a new couch up the stairs instead of paying to have it delivered.) Peg and Al Bundy had some serious Mid-Century style on a shoe salesman’s budget in Married with Children. Even the working-class Midwestern family in Roseanne had a cozy — albeit slightly country — home.

Of course, most of us don’t have the budget for a set designer interior designer. But we do have time to pin the DIY hacks to get the look on a budget.

4. The wise next-door neighbor

This is not an actual thing.

There are loud neighbors, judgy neighbors, nosy neighbors, rude neighbors, neighbors who let their lawns go to seed, neighbors who never leave their homes, nice-but-not-BFF-material neighbors … the list goes on. But you might not encounter the quirky, wise next-door neighbor who’s always ready to offer brilliant advice — and also understands that good fences make good neighbors.

Instead, you can try your best to end bad neighbor behaviors — and maybe even take a moment to see if the annoying neighbor is you.

5. Making homeownership look easy

With the exception of Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor — who never actually made home improvements, lawn care, or any DIY project look easy, even though it was his job — we bet you’d be hard-pressed to come up with a ’90s sitcom character who actually had to maintain their house. (Unless said work was related to the plot of the episode, naturally.)

The lone exception: Danny Tanner of Full House and his borderline obsession with keeping his house spick-and-span. Clean house? You got it, dude. (We bet that Victorian beauty needed a lot of upkeep, though.)

Maintaining your place might be tough, but it’s worth the effort, especially if you focus on the home upgrades that will add the most value.

6. The view from here is spectacular awful

Let’s talk about Frasier for a moment, shall we? It’s not completely outside the realm of possibility for Dr. Crane and his dad to be able to afford a posh apartment in Seattle with room for a live-in housekeeper/physical therapist.

The view from Frasier’s living room, though? The one with the city behind it and the Space Needle in prominent view? It doesn’t actually exist. (Record scratch!)

According to the bonus features in the season one box set, the photograph used on set was taken from a popular spot in Kerry Park.

Lesson learned? There’s no such thing as the perfect home, the perfect view, or the perfect neighborhood.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Or just pure reactions? Tell us what you think by completing the form below and let us know, we’ll be more than delighted to hear from you!

Buying a Flipped Home? 5 Ways to Spot Shoddy Work

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Note: This article was originally posted on Trulia Blog (www.trulia.com/corp) on June 3, 2015 by Michelle Hainer  http://www.trulia.com/blog/buying-a-flipped-home-5-ways-to-spot-shoddy-work/

There are benefits to buying a flipped home — just be sure to do your homework first. 

Buying a flipped home can be tempting. They do it all the time on HGTV with fabulous results — what could go wrong?

What you may not realize is that flippers want to unload their property quickly, so there are usually some shortcuts involved — which can lead to headaches for you later on.

Here are five ways to make sure your flip doesn’t become a flop.

1. Suss out the sellers

Are they serial flippers? If so, there are a bunch of buyers out there who can attest to their credibility. Get their names and call them to ask about their experience. Don’t know your seller? A trip to the county assessor’s office will reveal the name on the deed and Google can take care of the rest. If the seller has a lot of experience with flipping homes, your real estate agent or home inspector will also probably know who they are, and whether their reputation stands up.

2. Do your due diligence

It goes without saying that you should always have your prospective home inspected, but this is especially important when buying a flip. And if any of the findings come back less than stellar, hire an inspector with experience in that particular area, whether it be mold, lead, or termites, to get a deeper reading, says Jeralyn Burns, a real estate agent at William Raveis Realty in Cheshire, CT.

Permits and land records are available to the public, so stop in to the local town hall (or look up the records online). And be sure to get a list of renovations done from your sellers and who did the work. Then cross-check to make sure those contractors are licensed.

3. Find out when the home was built

This can also help you decipher whether structural work has been done. If the home is 75 years old or more, the foundation has probably been repaired at least once. (If it hasn’t been, get a structural engineer in there pronto to look at it.) If it was built in the 1980s, chances are, that new “open concept” layout was created by removing walls, and you’ll want to know that this was done properly.

4. Look behind the shiny façade

You may see what looks like a new bathroom, but maybe the sellers only had it reglazed. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but if the home was built in the 1950s, the pipes may be rotting behind the walls, says Anthony Giannico, a home inspector with AG Home Inspections in Nanuet, NY.

Ask the sellers if the plumbing was updated and whether they have the paperwork to prove it. Ditto the electrical system. If the electrical outlets have been painted over, that’s a good indication no one checked the electrical system.

5. Act as though you live there

Most flipped homes are vacant, so when you view the house, walk in as though you own the place. Flush the toilets, flip some switches, and turn on the faucets and stove burners. Open the windows and give the floors a closer look to see what kind of condition they’re in.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Or just pure reactions? Tell us what you think by completing the form below and let us know, we’ll be more than delighted to hear from you!

12 Ways to Supercharge Your Home’s Online Listing

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Note: This article was originally posted on Trulia Blog (www.trulia.com/corp) on May 28, 2015 by Michael Corbett  http://www.trulia.com/blog/tips-to-create-a-great-online-listing/

Follow these tips to engage potential buyers who prefer to shop online.

More than 90% of all buyers start their home search online. That means sellers now have the chance to really soup up their listing, adding all the bells and whistles to help their home jump off the screen. Here are 12 tips to supercharge your online listing.

1. It all starts with the photos

Yes, buyers do judge a “book” by its cover, and the photos of your home are the first opportunity you have to attract interested parties. If they’re not good, it can spell disaster for your hopes of a quick sale at your ideal price. Well-shot, clear, and crisp photographs are critical for snagging buyers. Usually, your real estate agent is responsible for providing photography. Make sure you and your agent select as many shots as possible; Trulia accepts and posts almost as many as you’d like.

2. The money shot

It’s that one quintessential snap that says, “I want to see more of this house!” You don’t need a professional camera crew to capture it. Just grab a digital camera and try all the different angles of your house — and don’t forget to play with the lighting by shooting at various times throughout the day. Typically, your money shot is one from the curb — but not taken straight on. Try positioning yourself just slightly to the left or right so you get an angled shot that still shows the entire front of the house. Your real estate agent should have a pretty good eye for this and will be able to offer feedback. When we get our own photos taken, we all have “good sides,” and houses do too.

3. Kitchen features

The number 1 most important room in the house is the kitchen, so give it lots of love in the listing. Highlight new appliances, granite or marble countertops, built-in wine storage, walk-in pantries, etc. And give brand names for upgraded items like a Viking range or Sub-Zero refrigerator. Is there lots of light? A large cooking or prep space? An open floor plan that allows easy access to the dining room or den? Is it perfect for family gatherings or parties? Mention it!

4. The baths

The second-most important room in a house is the master bath. Detail special features such as spa tubs, walk-in showers, dual sinks, and spacious dressing areas. Note: A full bath has both a tub and a shower; a three-quarters bath has a tub or shower only; and a half bath contains just a toilet and sink.

5. The upgrades

This is your chance to talk about any of the elements in the house that have been recently upgraded or remodeled. We’re talking about a new roof or electrical system, fresh carpet, converted and finished basements or attics, upgraded closets, replastered pools, and so on. Remember, all of these updates allow buyers to keep more money in their pockets when it comes to budgeting for future repairs.

6. Brag about the original details

A huge number of properties that come on the market are older or existing homes, not new builds. It’s important to highlight and celebrate their architectural details and character. A craftsman from the ’20s might have original built-in bookshelves. An original Spanish Colonial from the ’30s could offer up arched doorways. And a Mid-Century Modern from the ’50s would want to boast about floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors.

7. Give a green light

Green features are the rage these days — and for good reason. As utility bills soar, any eco-friendly upgrades are a welcome plus. Make sure you mention them in your listing. Solar panels on the roof, self-programming thermostats, additional insulation in attics and crawl spaces, and tankless water heaters all make your home a highly attractive, low-maintenance (and lower-cost) option.

8. You are selling a neighborhood, not just a house

It’s all about location, location, location, so talk about your ’hood. Can you walk to public transportation? Are there outdoor amenities nearby like hiking trails, bike paths, or a community pool? How about the nightlife, restaurants, and shopping? Is this a safe, low-crime neighborhood? If you don’t know, take advantage of Trulia’s crime map to find out. And don’t forget the importance of nearby medical centers and hospitals.

9. Talk about your neighbors behind their backs (in a good way) 

Brag about your block if you love your neighbors. Tell potential buyers how great and friendly they are. If you’re on a quiet cul-de-sac that holds a block party once a year, let it be known. A great sense of community is a hot commodity.

10. School time

I can’t tell you how many homebuyers with young children want to find houses in good school districts. In major metropolitan areas, it’s an especially big deal-sealing feature. If your school district is rated one of the best in the city, get that info into your listing. If you don’t know, find out how your school district is rated.

11. Know what’s trending

It’s important to know your market — and the features buyers in your price range are looking for. Search comps for popular keywords, then make sure you’ve added the applicable words to your online listing too.

12. Outdoor living

In many areas of the country, indoor/outdoor living is crucial at least six months of the year. And yet, listings barely give that feature a mention. Show off all the outdoor living spaces your home offers, like a rocking-chair-ready front porch, a sizzling outdoor kitchen or grilling area, wraparound decks, and grassy backyards. Flaunt fenced, private outdoor play areas for children and pets, flower beds, and fruit trees, and instead of simply mentioning the “pool,” try inviting buyers to “sunbathe on the generous deck overlooking the sparkling pool.” When it comes to the great outdoors, create an image in buyers’ minds and sell an alfresco lifestyle — not just a backyard patio

Thoughts? Suggestions? Or just pure reactions? Tell us what you think by completing the form below and let us know, we’ll be more than delighted to hear from you!

12 Unexpected Buyer Turnoffs

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Note: This article was originally posted on Trulia Blog (www.trulia.com/corp) on May 21, 2015 by Laura Agadoni  http://www.trulia.com/blog/12-unexpected-buyer-turnoffs/

Not getting a great response from potential buyers? Easy-to-overlook buyer turnoffs could be the culprit. 

Homebuyers are a notoriously picky bunch. Even if your house is practically perfect, with lots of light, amazing curb appeal, a large kitchen, and spa-like bathrooms, you could be missing the mark.

What’s holding you back from selling? You may be overlooking some unexpected buyer turnoffs.

1. Pet water bowls in sight

Your house might not smell of dog, but if a potential buyer spots Spot’s bowl, you might ending up feeling sick as a dog when you lose the sale. Even a hint of a canine resident can send fraidy-cats running.

2. Hot tub time machine

Although you might think that groovy backyard hot tub will impress, potential buyers might view it as a huge hassle — just think about the expense and aggravation of removing it to expand the deck!

3. Too much light

No one wants to live in a cave, but the flip side also can be true: sometimes a room is just too bright.

Northern California real estate agent Aileen La Bouff says that when her client walked into a bright kitchen with tall windows and a skylight, she squealed, “Eww … too much light. I feel like I’m on display.”

“That had to be a first in my book,” says La Bouff.

4. Single-pane windows

San Francisco is a big city with big-city noise,” says Roh Habibi, star of the TV show Million Dollar Listing San Francisco. He paints a noisy picture of buses, cars, sirens, bars, and nightclubs. Exciting, yes, but most people would like some quiet inside.

Single-pane windows don’t hide city noise, and buyers are often turned off if they hear it; soundproofing can be an easy fix.

5. Dated hardware

The hardware and fixtures you installed in the ’90s might be off your radar, but potential buyers may find them dated.

“A quick and easy fix is to switch the brass lighting, cabinet hardware, and door hardware to brushed nickel,” says Illinois real estate professional John Michael Grafft.

6. Visible signs of mold or mildew

You already know this one isn’t good, but having mold and mildew in the house is even worse than you might think. Buyers see it and imagine “spacesuits, masks, and thousands upon thousands of dollars in repairs running out of their bank accounts,” says Los Angeles real estate agent and coach Chantay Bridges.

7. Personal artifacts

You might cherish those years of enjoyment gazing at your child’s artwork, the prize fish you caught, or your creepy-cute doll collection, but those are all turnoffs to buyers.

8. Dirty laundry

You’ve probably heard the expression “Don’t air your dirty laundry in public.” (If not? Bless your heart. It means don’t discuss private issues in public.)

But in the case of showing your home, you can take the phrase literally. If buyers see your dirty laundry, they’ll flee before they look at the rest of the house, says Denise Cheshire, a professional home stager in Oregon.

9. Odd use of space

Buyers want to visualize themselves living in the home. Why make things difficult for them by showing your space in an unconventional way?

“When buyers see four tables in the same room or a love seat in the dining room, it can be quite confusing,” says Tampa, FL, real estate associate Timothy Norman Frie.

10. Dirty windows

We know it’s a pain to clean the windows (inside and out), but it can make a world of difference to buyers when they can actually see the world around them.

11. Unfriendly reading material

Any object in the home can make an impression on a potential buyer. Margaret Innis, a professional home stager in Massachusetts, remembers the time she staged an attorney’s condo that was filled with books on litigation. “The last thing a buyer wants to think about is getting sued by a seller,” says Innis.

12. Mismatched flooring

“Three different shades of hardwoods or multiple types of laminate throughout a house can be unpleasing to buyers,” says Kansas City, MO, real estate broker Brittney Orellano.

All they’ll see are dollar signs as they figure how much it will cost them to redo the flooring.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Or just pure reactions? Tell us what you think by completing the form below and let us know, we’ll be more than delighted to hear from you!

6 Premium Apartment Amenities Worth the Extra Cost

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Note: This article was originally posted on Trulia Blog (www.trulia.com/corp) on May 11, 2015 by Trulia http://www.trulia.com/blog/6-premium-apartment-amenities-worth-the-extra-cost/

Before dishing out the additional cash, make sure the flashy perks offered by your potential landlord are worth the cost.

If you’re shopping for an apartment, you’re likely to come across a lot of amenities that simply aren’t worth the money. Really, how often are you likely to use the sauna, and who wants to use a wobbly pool table with bent cue sticks? But some amenities really are worth the cost — these six top the list.

1. On-site fitness center

The ease and convenience of an on-site fitness center means you have fewer excuses not to stay in shape. Particularly if you live in a harsh climate, this perk means you’ll get in your workout even when it’s brutally hot (or insanely cold) out. Of course, this applies only if the gym equipment is in good condition, and if it’s not so crowded you can’t get on a treadmill. Stop by and see the place for yourself during peak workout times before deciding.

2. Doorperson or porter

A doorperson isn’t just about feeling important or having someone to greet you each morning or evening. This person is also a valuable security feature. If you were a criminal, would you choose to cause trouble where someone was on watch or opt for the easier target down the street? While a doorperson isn’t the same thing as a security guard, they may pose enough of an obstacle to deter crime.

3. Better location

If you can cut 10 or 15 minutes off your commute over the course of a year, this is a real savings. It’s always worth the extra price to get an apartment close to work, school, or the places you frequent. Also, consider an apartment that’s convenient to your favorite shopping centers and restaurants.

4. “Free” Wi-Fi

If you have access to complimentary Wi-Fi, you can lower your cellphone data plan expense and save money every month. Plus, you’ll have Wi-Fi for as many devices as you own, and you don’t have to worry about charges for sharing your data plan or overage charges. In the long run, it’s cheaper to add this to your rent than to pay individually for each of these services all year.

5. Storage

Search “apartment storage ideas” and you’ll find pages of great ideas to make your apartment seem larger than it really is. If you aren’t the DIY type, you might consider renting an extra storage closet on-site, typically in the parking garage or basement. Besides providing quick access to your bike and seasonal decorations, an on-site storage closet may save you from looking for another bedroom, which can cost more than another $500 in rent per month.

6. Pet services

Pet daycare, dog walking, grooming, and other pet services can be expensive if you have to hire someone to do them. Including this with your rent is often cheaper and more convenient. One caveat: check out the service providers before agreeing to this arrangement. If the services are well managed, it’s a valuable perk.

Any amenity you’ll use is a good value for you. The key is to avoid paying for amenities that aren’t going to directly save you money or give you added convenience.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Or just pure reactions? Tell us what you think by completing the form below and let us know, we’ll be more than delighted to hear from you!