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Apartments Living

Earth Marvel launched 2bhk apartments lucknow

Earth Marvel has 10 blocks of multi-storey apartments, which have 2 & 3 BHK apartments. 2 BHK apartments have a super area of 1225 sq. ft. and 3 BHK apartments have 1545 sq. ft. The cost of the flat is Rs. 2650/sq. ft. according to the construction linked plan and Rs. 2350/sq. ft. as per the down payment plan.

Earth Marvel is a residential project in Mohanlalganj, Raebareli Road, Lucknow offering a great location, incomparable facilities & amenities, landscaped open spaces and beautifully laid out architectural design by Earth Group of Companies-India’s most innovative, trusted & fastest growing real estate company incorporating its genuine concerns for a greener & happier earth and based on the theme of innovation that goes beyond the imagination. The project is offering 2 & 3 BHK residential apartments and has a Vaastu compliant layout with lush green landscape, water bodies, jogging track, Gazebo and lily pond. Each apartment of the projects has balconies to create a small garden or a space outside to call your own. It is aesthetically designed and offers splendid views of the lush green ambience. It offers comfort & blissful living along with lush green surroundings and an infrastructure based on green building concept.

Earth Group is offering special zones in this project like Sports Zone- Tennis Court & Basket Ball Ground; Health Zone Area- Spiritual Zone, Yoga & Aerobics Classes Area; Art Zone Area – Music, Dance & Painting; Caring Zone – Round-the-clock Chemist Shop and Hospitals in neighborhood; Entertainment Zone- Barbeque Corner, Party Area with Pavilion and Aromatic Garden; Club Zone Area – Spa Facility, Card Room, Ball Room, Salsa Dance Classes etc.; Fine Dining Zone- Lounge and Roof Top Cafeteria, Creche facility.

Earth Marvel’s most outstanding exquisite and pre-defined specifications include flooring-Vitrified tiles in drawing room and bedroom, Wooden laminated flooring/Vitrified Tiles in Master Bedroom, Anti-Skid tiles in Bathrooms and Balconies; Kitchen – Granite working top with stainless steel sink; Telephone – One landline connection having intercom facilities, Provision for DTH connection; Doors & Windows – Outer doors & windows of aluminum / UPVC; Electrical – Light & fan points in drawing room, modular switches as per architectural design; Toilets – Ceramic tiles on wall up to facility level, CP fitting and Mirrors in all the toilets; External – Underground & Overhead water tank with pump and 24 hours uninterrupted water supply, provision for lift Power backup and mail delivery box in every tower.

Earth Marvel has 10 blocks of multi-storey apartments, which have 2 & 3 BHK apartments. 2 bhk apartments luchnow have a super area of 1225 sq. ft. and 3 BHK apartments have 1545 sq. ft. The cost of the flat is Rs. 2650/sq. ft. according to the construction linked plan and Rs. 2350/sq. ft. as per the down payment plan.

As the project is situated on Raebareli Road, which is one of the prominent localities in Lucknow it hosts a well-designed gated community, wide roads, lush greenery, and aesthetic landscaping and has prominent landmarks like SGPGI hospital, Amausi Airport, and Charbagh Railway Station in its nearby vicinity. This particular location has important educational institutions too like Sardar Patel Dental College and SKD Academy. Four five-star hotels, a metro station and an AIIMS Hospital are in the projection list, which is set to be coming up soon. Important industries such as ITI Limited, Rail Coach Factory, and NTPC Limited are already situated here on Raebareli Road.  Behta Bridge, Indira Gandhi Memorial Botanical Garden, Samaspur Bird Sanctuary, Bara Imambara, Hazratganj, Chandrika Devi TempleFree Articles, Lucknow Zoo are the major landmarks of this location. This exceptional commercial and residential front will definitely make this place an astounding locality to live in.

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Apartments Living

Expert Interview: Avoiding Aesthetic Monotony in Your Rental during Quarantine

Expert Interview: Avoiding Aesthetic Monotony in Your Rental during Quarantine

If you’ve lived in your apartment for a while now, it is sure to carry your unique style with it. However, being indoors all the time can make the apartment feel a bit too flat, since you’ve probably gotten used to the layout and the overall look of your design. That’s why it is a good idea to look for design tips and implement some creative solutions for avoiding aesthetic monotony in your rental.

These solutions can range from rethinking your layout and moving the furniture around, to painting your walls or adding some accents. Depending on your lease and your level of commitment, there are different options for you to try. Below, you will find some tips from interior designers on how to do just that.

add art colors

Also, as more and more people start working from home, another innovation is likely to pop up in your apartment: a home office or a workspace. Although many people think it takes a whole lot of space, that mustn’t always be the case. Check out what practical tips these experts have about creating a productive workspace.

Beth Diana Smith, owner of Beth Diana Smith Interior Design

interior design advice“Art and décor are both quick and simple ways to transform a space; plus, they’re easy to take with you when you move. If you’re not ready to make a large art investment, prints and digital prints are budget-friendly especially when you use places such as Etsy, Minted, and Juniper Print Shop. As far as retail décor goes, CB2, Jung Lee NY, and West Elm are great online choices.

When it comes to creating a workspace, keep it clean and create storage for the items that you want easy access to such as pens, scissors, AirPods, and charging cords. And you could easily do that now by using items you have around the house; for example you could use a mug for pens and scissors, a simple binder clip to help you keep the cords at bay, etc.”

Kesha Franklin, principle designer of Halden Interiors

interior design advice“With the standard restrictions that come along with renting an apartment, renters can sometimes feel like it’s not worth investing in decorating their home. But, there are ways to add interest in the space. One of my go-to recommendations is hanging art on the walls. A gallery wall in particular can make a great statement and show off your personal interests. Another cool visual option is removable wallpaper which has a big impact; it’s easy to install and won’t cost you anything to bring the apartment back to its original state when it’s time to move on to bigger and better things!

Let’s discuss the home office situation. Typically, a rental apartment means there is limited space. So, having a designated area to work from home during times like this can be a challenge. A few tips that I would offer are to find a spot near a window to pull on the outdoor energy to feel productive. You can also purchase a folding screen to create a work area with a small desk and chair, that you can use and keep visually separate from the rest of your living space. Lastly, a C-Table is a great option to easily use at your sofa where you can place your laptop, phone and notebook. They come in a variety of heights, widths and finishes and are aesthetically pleasing to compliment your existing décor!”

Mally Skok, founder of Mally Skok Design

interior design advice“I am an Etsy fiend. Nothing warms up a space like a fun Turkish or Morrocan vintage rug. The Etsy shipping is usually free, the vendors are reliable, and there’s a whole lot of bang for your buck. Also you can roll the rug up and take it with you when you need to move.

Colorful pillows are a way to make your space feel distinctly yours. John Robshaw has ready-made pillows that are gorgeous; if these are too pricey, you can always find some cheery ones on West Elm or Crate and Barrel.

There are some clever new ways of hanging pictures on the walls without a nail. I am all for piling up the things you have hanging around in your life — old posters, old photos or postcards. Buy ready-made frames off Amazon and go bananas on your walls.

Another great idea for a quick improvement is plants. Do some research on plants that do well with limited water and sunlight. There are many! Having another living thing in your space — even though it won’t talk back — will make your apartment a whole lot homier.”

Stacey Sheppard, founder of The Design Sheppard

interior design advice“When you live in a rented property it is often difficult to put your own stamp on it. Many landlords are not particularly flexible with what they allow you to do to a property, but there are plenty of creative ways in which you can adapt your home to avoid aesthetic monotony. Changing up your textiles is a great way to make a space look different. Adding new cushions, blankets, rugs or curtains/blinds is very simple. You can change them with the seasons and — by switching to a new color palette — you can give a room a whole new look.

Repainting is a cheap and easy option that has the ability to completely transform the look and feel of a room. You don’t necessarily even need to paint entire walls. Making a feature by painting geometric shapes in different colors can work wonders. Wall art is also a great way to add visual interest. If you aren’t allowed to hang pictures, consider investing in larger framed pieces and simply lean them against the walls. And don’t forget the power of plants. Plants are not only good for our well-being and our health, but they can really bring a room to life. Move them round to change things up, buy new ones to fill empty spaces or — even better — propagate your existing plants to breed new ones.

add plants

To comfortably work from home, you should design a space for your home office. You don’t need a huge amount of room to set up a productive workspace. There are plenty of space-saving desks on the market that will fit into narrow spaces, unused corners or even that fold away when not in use. Make the most of the space you have available by putting wall shelves up above the desk to store all your office supplies. If your landlord won’t allow you to drill into the walls, consider buying a freestanding shelving unit that has a small desk shelf built-in. It is extremely important to invest in a good office chair that supports your back and provides maximum comfort. Whatever your desk space is like, try to ensure you position it in an area of your home that gets plenty of natural light, is quiet and comfortable. You’ll be most productive when you enjoy spending time in a space.”

We hope these tips proved useful and you’re ready to embrace a bit of change. Even the simplest details can wake up your apartment, so don’t be afraid to experiment. Start small and build your way up to refresh your home.

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Published at Wed, 06 May 2020 11:51:30 +0000

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Apartments Living

How to Disinfect Your Home in the Time of Coronavirus

How to Disinfect Your Home in the Time of Coronavirus

There’s
everyday clean, guest clean, and then there’s COVID-19 clean.

To get down the absolute nitty gritty on how to disinfect your home, you’ll want your big guns: bleach, rubbing alcohol, and hot water.

The
Best Disinfectants

For your high-touch surfaces, the Centers for Disease Control recommends a bleach solution diluted with water, or a 70% alcohol solution.

Follow
this bleach recipe: 5 tablespoons (1/3 cup) bleach per gallon of water, or 4
teaspoons of bleach per quart of water.

Make sure to properly ventilate when disinfecting with bleach.

And check to see if your bleach has expired. Who knew it could? After
about 9 months to a year, and if it smells less bleachy, it’s lost its disinfecting
power. Time for a new jug.

Tip: Don’t mix bleach with anything other than water; otherwise, it could set off a dangerous chemical reaction. For instance, bleach + alcohol is a deadly combo.

How to disinfect your home if you don’t have bleach? Regular old rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol or ethyl alcohol) works, so long as it’s at least 70% alcohol, according to the CDC. The alcohol concentration will be listed on the bottle. Rubbing alcohol you buy should already be diluted, unlike bleach.

Is There a Such a Thing as Too Much Disinfectant?

According to an EPA fact sheet, studies have found that using some disinfectant products can cause germs to become resistant.

The EPA has issued a list of disinfectants on the market that it believes are effective in killing COVID-19. Look for the EPA registration number on the product and check it against this list to ensure you have a match.

Erica Marie Hartman, an environmental microbiologist at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., whose research focuses on resistance, confirms soap, bleach, and alcohol are your best bets.

What about the various disinfecting wipes on the market (at least if you can find them)? Hartman says the active ingredient in many of those is an ammonium compound, which could become resistant to viruses over time.

Surfaces That Need Your Attention

With your preferred disinfectant, wipe down high-touch surfaces like doorknobs, light switches, tables, remotes, banisters, toilets, sinks, and faucets daily or more often, if someone in your home is sick.

Contact time is another key aspect of surface sanitizing. “Disinfection isn’t instantaneous,” says Hartman. [For a bleach solution], you want to leave it on the surface for 10 minutes before wiping it off. ” 

By the way, new research from scientists at the National Institutes of Health, among other agencies, shows that at least some coronavirus can live for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to three days on plastic and stainless steel.

But a report in “The Washington Post” notes that the most likely period for infection from the virus on surfaces is in the first 10 minutes to one or two hours.

Not All Floors Can Handle Bleach

For your nonporous floors, like those in the bathroom, the CDC recommends mopping with the bleach solution. 

Avoid bleach on hardwood and other porous floors because of staining. Instead, use a disinfecting wet mop cloth without bleach.

Cleaning Isn’t Disinfecting

From the you-might-be-surprised files: Disinfecting with bleach isn’t actually cleaning. If you also need to clean your countertops of dirt and grime, do that first with soap and water. Then use the bleach solution or rubbing alcohol to combat the virus.

Killing Microbes on Clothes

Most washing machines today do a bang-up job on dirty clothes with cold water, which is best for energy savings. But, and especially if you have a sick person in your house, the hot-water setting followed by a high-heat dry for about a ½ hour to 45 minutes is best for virus eradication.

Don’t forget about your laundry hamper. Wipe it down like you
would other surfaces. You can also use a reusable liner bag, which you can
launder with the clothes.

What If I’m Selling My House, and Inviting More Germs In?

How to disinfect your home when it’s for sale? Virtual showings and tours are the ideal, and your agent can set those up.

However, if there’s a need to have someone come in, talk to your agent who will work with you to establish a hygienic protocol, including requiring visitors to wash hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer when they arrive, and to remove shoes or wear booties before entering. Removing shoes not only reduces dirt coming in, but potentially germs.

In addition, many agents are eliminating open houses.

After any showings, practice your surface wipe-down routine.

Finally, when you work with disinfectants, practice some self care. “Alcohol and bleach can be very aggressive on your skin, so wearing rubber gloves can help protect your hands,” Hartman says. 

Related: 9 Cleaning Tasks That Homeowners Tend to Overlook


Published at Tue, 17 Mar 2020 14:46:32 +0000

Categories
Apartments Living

Evictions Dropped Thanks to Cuomo, and Gravesend Is Now One of the Most Livable Places in NYC

Evictions Dropped Thanks to Cuomo, and Gravesend Is Now One of the Most Livable Places in NYC

Finding the right apartment is never easy, especially in the City of New York.

To find the right apartment, we need to first identify the right neighborhood. But how do we do that? Well, this is where data science comes in handy. Instead of blindly recommending neighborhoods based on how “hip” they are, the Data Science team at RentHop crunched the numbers and ranked the NYC neighborhoods by livability. We understand that each person values different things. For some, finding an apartment in a quiet neighborhood is of the highest priority, while for others the number of subway stops in the area is just as important. We believe, by analyzing the pros and cons of each neighborhood, we can help renters make an informed decision.

Our findings this quarter include:

  • Battery Park City-Lower Manhattan ranks the best neighborhood among 150+ NYC neighborhoods for the second straight quarter. The NTA, which includes FiDi and Battery Park City, has 14 subway stops, or 20.5 per sq mi, with a renter-friendliness score of 93.6. However, its quiet score went down 21%, from 91.2 to 72.9 this quarter, possibly related to COVID and the State’s stay-home order. [Neighborhood Livability Infographic]
  • Upper East Side-Carnegie Hill replaced Brooklyn Heights-Cobble Hill as the second most livable neighborhood in NYC with a high cleanliness score of 93.1, which means that the residents experience fewer poop complaints and rodent sightings. With median 1BR rent at $3,050, it is more affordable than Lower Manhattan. [Neighborhood Livability Map]
  • Brooklyn Heights-Cobble Hill continues to be the most livable neighborhood in the Brooklyn Borough. However, its overall ranking dropped from #2 to #3 this quarter due to lower cleanliness and noise scores. The noise score dropped 11.3 points to 78.6 this quarter. [Top 5 Neighborhoods in Brooklyn]
  • Erasmus remains one of the least livable neighborhoods in New York City. The neighborhood suffered in categories including quiet score and renter friendliness in the past three months. From January 14h to April 13th, Erasmus received in total 492 noise complaints (or 481.3/10k households) and 418 heat complaints (or 521.0/10k renter-occupied units).
  • Many neighborhoods experienced a significant drop in their quiet score due to noise complaints, including Manhattanville (-36.4 points), Washington Heights North (-34.8 points), and Prospect Lefferts Gardens-Wingate (-25.1 points), which could be related to people staying at home and practicing self-isolation.
  • As the most livable neighborhood in Queens, Ft. Totten-Bay Terrace-Clearview improved its overall ranking from #12 to #5 in our Q2 index, thanks to its perfect cleanliness score and outstanding quiet score (94.6). Meanwhile, Oakland Gardens improved its ranking from #38 to #9 with a 10-point increase in the cleanliness score. [Top 5 Neighborhoods in Queens]
  • The average score among neighborhoods in the Bronx is 60.3, 1.4 points lower than the previous quarter. This is mainly due to the growing noise complaints. [Top 5 Neighborhoods in the Bronx]

NYC Neighborhood Livability Map

The map below illustrates the livability of each NYC neighborhood. The darker the shade, the higher the score. You can click on the neighborhoods to learn more about the score breakdown as well as the median 1BR rent.

Thanks to Gov. Cuomo’s mandate, evictions were down in most NYC neighborhoods, including Crown Heights North (-26) in Brooklyn, Crotona Park East (-20) in the Bronx, and Central Harlem South (-18) in Manhattan. However, most neighborhoods saw an increase in the number of noise complaints in the past 90 days due to the COVID pandemic and the New York State “stay-home” order. In fact, over 85% of the neighborhoods in our index experienced a surge in noise complaints, which resulted in city-wide changes in the quiet score category.

Generally speaking, Manhattan neighborhoods enjoy higher base scores thanks to the comprehensive MTA subway lines. Compared to the other three boroughs, Manhattan neighborhoods also have relatively higher renter-friendliness scores (average 83.2). The average quiet score in Manhattan is down from 75.1 to 63.0 this quarter, which translates to a 16.1% dip. Specifically, Central Harlem North-Polo Grounds and Washington Heights South had seen over 2000 noise complaints respectively in the past 90 days.

In Queens, the average cleanliness score went down 6.7 points, from 91.6 to 84.9, only 0.1 higher than Manhattan. Brooklyn neighborhoods scored an average of 83.7 in terms of safety, 1.1 points lower than the previous quarter. But the borough is a lot noisier these days – Prospect Lefferts Gardens-Wingate and Bushwick South saw 903 and 821 more complaints respectively in the past 90 days. The neighborhoods in the Bronx improved slightly in the renter friendliness category thanks to the warmer weather and fewer heat complaints. The borough also saw some positive changes in terms of cleanliness. The score went up 19.2 points (27%) in Spuyten Duyvil-Kingsbridge and 10.9 points (14%) in Pelham Parkway.

Here are the Top 10 Neighborhoods in New York City

How We Did It

To determine the most renter-friendly and best neighborhoods in New York City, we compared over 190 Neighborhood Tabulation Areas (NTAs) across six key categories, including (1) Neighborhood Greenness, (2) Transportation, (3) Quality of Life, (4) Renter Friendliness, and (5) Safety, using in total 13 relevant metrics.

The following metrics were used for this neighborhood livability index:

Base Score [25 points]

  • Population Density — NTA Population / Land Size (sq mi) [2.5 points]
  • Transportation — MTA Subway Stops / Land Size (sq mi) [10 points]
  • Neighborhood Greenness: Tree Data — Street Tree Count / Land Size (sq mi) [6.25 points]
  • Neighborhood Greenness: Park Coverage — Park Area / Land Size (sq mi) [6.25 points]

Cleanliness [15 points]

  • Poop Complaints — 311 Canine Violations / 10k Households [7.5 points]
  • Rodent — 311 Rat Sightings / 10k Households [7.5 points]

Quietness [20 points]

  • Noise Complaints — 311 Residential Noise Complaints / 10k Households [16 points]
  • Potential Construction Noise — DOB Permits Issued / Total Housing Units [2 points]

Renter Friendliness [30 points]

  • Landlord Level of Responsibility: Heat Season — 311 Heat Complaints / Renter-Occupied Units [9 points]
  • Landlord Level of Responsibility: HMV — Housing Maintenance Code Violations / Renter-Occupied Units [3 points]
  • Percentage of Renter-Occupied Units — Renter-Occupied Units / Total Occupied Units [3 points]
  • Evictions — Evictions / Renter-Occupied Units [15 points]

Safety [10 points]

  • Motor Vehicle Collisions — Collisions / 10k Population [10 points]

We also adjusted the curve based on rental unit availability since that it’d be easier for renters to find an apartment in a given neighborhood if it has more available units on market. The rental rates were calculated using RentHop listings from January 14, 2020, to April 13, 2020.


We will be releasing the RentHop Neighborhood Livability Index on a quarterly basis, and we’d love to hear from you! Think we missed something? Any specific 311 complaints or dataset you’d like us to include? Or, would you like to work on an urban planning project using our underlying dataset? Email us at press@renthop.com.
 
You can also check out our previous quarterly report here.

Published at Mon, 20 Apr 2020 14:20:31 +0000

Categories
Apartments Living

Home Buying and Selling During the Pandemic: What You Need to Know

Home Buying and Selling During the Pandemic: What You Need to Know

Technology and good-old-fashioned creativity are helping agents, buyers, and sellers abide by COVID-19 health and safety practices while getting deals done.

Some buyers are touring houses virtually. Others visit in person while remaining at least six feet from their agent. Sellers are hosting open houses on Facebook Live. Appraisers are doing drive-by valuations. Buyers are watching inspections via video call. Masked and gloved notaries are getting signatures on doorsteps.

“We have had to make some adjustments, for sure,” says Brian K. Henson, a REALTOR® with Atlanta Fine Homes / Sotheby’s International Realty in Alpharetta, Ga. “Everyone is trying to minimize face-to-face interactions. There have been some delays, but mostly, deals are getting done, just with tweaks.”

Here’s what home buying and selling during the pandemic looks like.

Showings Go Virtual

The rules around in-person showings vary by city, county, and state. Some allow them and some ban them. Check with your state, county, and local government to get the latest on business closures and shut-down rules.

Agents have conducted home tours via FaceTime and other similar tools for years. But these platforms have proven invaluable for home buying and selling during the pandemic. Real estate sites report a surge in the creation of 3D home tours. Redfin, a real estate brokerage, saw a 494% increase in requests for video home tours in March.

“I’ve done several FaceTime showings,” says Henson. He conducted virtual showings before COVID-19, too. He recently closed a deal on a home the buyers only saw on video, he says, but hasn’t yet done so during the pandemic.

In places where in-person showings are allowed, agents wipe down door handles, spray the lockbox with disinfectant, and open up the house, closets, everything for a client. “We leave all the lights on so no one touches switches, and we don’t touch cabinets or doors during showings,” Henson says.

Safe-Showing Guidelines

The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, which produces HouseLogic, recommends only one buyer enter a home at a time, with 6 feet between each guest. NAR also recommends agents have potential buyers wash their hands, or use hand sanitizer when they come in the door. They should also remove their shoes. No children should be present at showings, either.

“We’re living in extraordinary times and unusual circumstances. If you have the ability to work, you have to be creative,” Mabél Guzmán, a Chicago real estate agent, told NBC News. Guzmán, who is also vice president of association affairs for NAR, has put together a video offering tips and strategies for virtual showings during the pandemic.

Down Payment Help

Many organizations offering down payment assistance to first-time home buyers have temporarily suspended the programs or changed the rules. You can check the status of programs in your area at the Down Payment Assistance Resource site.

Desktop, Drive-By Appraisals

Appraisers are essential workers in many areas, so home valuations are continuing. But often remotely. New, temporary rules from the Federal Housing Finance Authority allow drive-by and desktop appraisals for loans backed by the federal government.

In a desktop appraisal, the appraiser comes up with a home estimate based on tax records and multiple listing service information, without an in-person visit. For a drive-by, the appraiser only looks at the home’s exterior, in combination with a desktop appraisal. The Appraisal Foundation has put out guidelines for handling appraisals during the pandemic. Here’s the FAQ.

And here are specific new appraisal guidelines by agency:

On the other hand, some private lenders still require in-person appraisals, which are allowed even in areas with shutdown orders. Private lenders hold about 35% of first-lien mortgages, according to the Urban Institute

When appraisers come to your home, they should adhere to Centers for Disease Control guidelines, including wearing gloves and a face mask, keeping at least 6 feet apart from anyone in the home, and asking if the homeowners have been sick or traveled recently to a COVID-19 hotspot.

Inspections Via Live Video

Inspectors are now often working alone, no buyers in tow, and using hand sanitizer and alcohol wipes. The National Association of Certified Home Inspectors advises inspectors to videotape their inspection so clients can watch it at home later, or to use FaceTime or other live video chat apps to take their clients along on the inspection, virtually. They can also call clients with their findings after they’re done.

The American Society of Home Inspectors has also issued guidelines for inspectors so they keep themselves and the homeowners safe while providing an accurate assessment of a home’s condition.

Mortgage Rates and Locks

With mortgage rates fluctuating quickly and closing times taking longer than usual, some lenders are extending mortgage rate lock periods. You can grab a good rate and hang on to it even if your lender takes longer than usual to process your loan.

But the protocol depends on the lender and the loan. Some lenders are offering this for all loans; others for refis. Check with your lender about its policy.

Related: How to Get Home Financing

Employment Verification

An important step in getting a mortgage is proving the borrower has a job. In pre-coronavirus days, lenders called the borrower’s employer for a verbal verification.

The Federal Housing Finance Authority, which oversees Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and federal home loan banks, has relaxed the rules for loans backed by the federal government because so many businesses are closed.

Lenders for federally backed loans now accept an email from an employer, a recent year-to-date paystub, or a bank statement showing a recent payroll deposit as proof of employment.

Walk-throughs

Home buying and selling during the pandemic means real estate agents can conduct the final walk-through via video with their clients. Or they can just open the home and have buyers walk through on their own. Henson says he still accompanies his clients, but stays six feet away and has them wash their hands when entering and exiting the house. Everyone’s wearing masks, too.

And, of course, when the buyers take possession, they should disinfect.

Remote Notarization Depends On Where You Live

About one-half of states have permanent remote online notarization (RON) policies. These allow a notary and signer in different locations to sign electronic document, usually by use of video apps like Zoom or FaceTime. Notaries will watch you sign either a paper document or do an electronic signature on an e-doc, via camera.

Some states have rolled out temporary rules allowing RON. Here’s a state-by-state list of notary law updates, and the type of remote notarizations allowed. The number of states allowing remote notarization could grow as federal and state pandemic legislation expands.

Closings Get Creative

Traditional closings, where everybody gathered around a big table to sign the final papers, are no longer possible. Title companies and banks are getting super creative in dealing with the limitations.

A Minnesota company, Legacy Title, rolled out a drive-thru closing service at one of its offices in an old bank branch building. The title company rep sits in a bank teller window and handles the closing papers while the customer sits in their car. Legacy completed 14 closings in the first week it offered drive-thru service.

Then there are drive-by closings, where the entire transaction takes place in cars. Masked and gloved notaries meet buyers in parking lots and pass documents through car windows.

“I had a closing where the buyer sat in her car the whole time. The attorney came out to her car, gave her paperwork, had her sign in her car, and my buyer never got out of her car,” Birmingham, Ala., agent Isaac McDow told WBRC television.

Says Georgia-based agent Henson, “I’ve had closings the last three weeks [that] I’ve been asked not to attend. There was one where the seller signed two days before buyer. Then the seller came back two days later and signed.”

Henson, who is also licensed in New York, has had to extend closing dates on two sales there since. Co-op boards won’t let non-residents into buildings ­­­– not even an electrician who needs to make repairs as part of an issue that came up in the inspection. He left the closing with an open-ended date.

“It’s all about being really flexible right now,” he says.

TIP: Find out if your county recording office can complete the deal online.

Student Loan Relief

Finally, if you’re also trying to swing your student loan payments, know that federal student loan borrowers get an automatic six-month break in loan payments from April 10, 2020, through Sept. 3, 2020. Thanks to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, they also won’t be charged a dime of interest in that time.

Learn more at the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau’s site.

Keep in mind that payment suspension only applies to federal loans owned by the Department of Education. Some help may be available to borrowers with private student loans and other loans (like Perkins Loans and Federal Family Education Loans) that aren’t covered. But it’s not automatic. Reach out to your student loan servicer for information.

So, Should You Buy or Sell?

The real estate industry is creatively and safely responding to the situation, and mortgage rates remain low. Your agent is a great source of information about home buying and selling during the pandemic to help you feel comfortable. But, ultimately, it’s a question only you can answer.

Related: 5 Questions to Ask Your Agent When Buying a House

Published at Fri, 01 May 2020 21:31:14 +0000

Categories
Apartments Living

The Best Cities for Fishing

The Best Cities for Fishing

What better way to be socially distant than with fishing?

The early morning wakeup, the drive to the lake and the many hours of quietly waiting for a bite — it’s all worth it when you get your first catch. Fishing as a hobby has steadily remained a popular outdoor activity through generations.

In fact, in 2017, 49 million Americans took to the water to wait for their next catch. That’s more than those going golfing every year.

These are the best cities for fishing

If you’re looking to relocate to one of the best cities for fishing, whether it’s freshwater, saltwater or fly fishing, we found the 10 cities with the most fishing businesses per capita.

There’s one state here that’s really a catch, showing up four times in our list, but the number one spot is truly a keeper for fishermen.

10. Duluth, MN

duluth minnesota

  • Fishing businesses per capita: 12.8
  • Water area: 19.64 sq. miles

Duluth’s Lake Superior makes up most of the city’s fishing access. The lake offers several tributary streams with seasonal trout and surrounding lakes, bass, catfish and walleye. Not even the cold winter can stop you from fishing as ice fishing is popular in the area. Just keep an eye on the state’s strict regulations surrounding catch-and-release and possession limits for trout.

Catch a big fish and a good deal for a one-bedroom in Duluth, they go for $1,232 a month on average.

9. Lake Charles, LA

lake charles la

  • Fishing businesses per capita: 12.8
  • Water area: 2.74 sq. miles

Outfitted with your valid fishing license, Lake Charles offers excellent redfish, trout and flounder fishing. Freshwater, brackish and saltwater fishing can be accessed around Lake Charles, with not all fishing requiring a boat. There are a couple of fishing bait stores and fishing stations for your use.

The local lake also has many inland beaches with white sand and mild temperatures for the whole family to enjoy. You can rent a one-bedroom apartment for $1,045 a month on average in Lake Charles.

8. Casper, WY

casper wy

  • Fishing businesses per capita: 13.9
  • Water area: 0.34 sq. miles

Casper’s North Platte River attracts many anglers with its abundance of rainbow and brown trout, especially when the water is clear. Many in the area fly fish and there’s plenty of support in Casper as there are many fly fishing stores and fishing tackle dealers.

Another great spot to fish close to the city? Bryan Stock Trail Pond. Stocked with a variety of fish year over year, the lake is calm as gas motorboats are not allowed.

Casper’s one-bedroom apartments rent for $649 a month on average.

7. Bonita Springs, FL

bonita springs fl

  • Fishing businesses per capita: 13.9
  • Water area: 7.77 sq. miles

What’s better than Florida weather and a good day of fishing? Bonita Springs offers plenty of opportunities for fishing, especially around Estero Bay. The bay is fed by more than 10 rivers and streams with sea trout, redfish, snapper and grouper available for the catch. The salty water spot can even surprise you with a barracuda or two.

There are several boat rental places and bait shops in the area to help you get on your way and outfit yourself with the right gear. On average, you can find a one-bedroom apartment for $1,371 a month in Bonita Springs.

6. Missoula, MT

missoula mt

  • Fishing businesses per capita: 14.8
  • Water area: 0.16 sq. miles

Fly fishing rules in Missoula — there’s even a movie about it, “A River Runs Through It.” The community lives and breathes fly fishing around these parts, with three rivers for anglers to choose from. Lake fishing is also available at Flathead Lake, Georgetown Lake and a few others.

Applying for a fishing license can quickly be done online, too. The views of the mountains and the fresh air will urge you to rent a one-bedroom in Missoula, which goes for $1,558 a month on average.

5. New Bedford, MA

new bedford ma

  • Fishing businesses per capita: 16.8
  • Water area: 4.13 sq. miles

For 19 years straight, the New Bedford port has been named as the nation’s most valuable port, since it’s a vital part of the global seafood economy and supply chain. It’s no surprise that the city made it to the top five on our list of best cities for fishing. The area has many lakes and streams that are primed for recreational fishing.

Among the catches, keep an eye out for striped bass, tautog, halibut, pollock and cod. A fishing enthusiast can find a one-bedroom apartment for $1,445 a month on average in New Bedford.

4. Jupiter, FL

jupiter florida

  • Fishing businesses per capita: 18.3
  • Water area: 1.79 sq. miles

The sleepy beach town of Jupiter is the perfect getaway as a fishing enthusiast. Here, your line is most likely to catch a blue marlin in saltwater. Other fish in the area include sailfish, tarpon and grouper. You have a few bait shops and fishing tackle dealers to choose from.

There’s plenty to do outdoors in the area, including a visit to the Loggerhead Marinelife Center and the Blowing Rocks Preserve. A one-bedroom apartment in Jupiter rents for $1,704 a month on average.

3. Pensacola, FL

pensacola fl

  • Fishing businesses per capita: 20.9
  • Water area: 18.16 sq. miles

In the spring, Pensacola sees a surge of cobia, pompano and Spanish mackerel catches just went it gets hot outside. You have your pick for location in Pensacola. You can head to the Miraflores Park Pier, Pensacola Bay Fishing Bridge or Civitan Fishing Pier. It’s best to go in the evening to get a chance to grab those catches in the springtime.

Fishing is available year-round in the area, though, with spring and fall being the best times for getting lucky. Anglers that feel at home in Pensacola can rent a one-bedroom for $1,009 a month on average.

2. Sarasota, FL

sarasota florida

  • Fishing businesses per capita: 26.0
  • Water area: 10.53 sq. miles

With 15 total fishing establishments, Sarasota rises to the No. 2 spot for best cities for fishing. Here, you have the usual catches, such as speckled trout, black drum, mangrove snapper and grouper. You can fish right off the beach in Sarasota, with Lido Key and Siesta Key beaches being the best.

If you choose to fish from a dock, grab live bait at one of the local bait shops for the most success. As far as rentals, a one-bedroom rent for $1,465 a month on average if you need a home base in Sarasota.

1. Galveston, TX

galveston tx

  • Fishing businesses per capita: 39.6
  • Water area: 168.12 sq. miles

With the most significant water area available (168 square miles!), Galveston takes the top spot on our list for the best cities for fishing. With 20 total fishing establishments and lots of places to drop a line, this Texas city is a fisherman’s paradise.

The city has plenty of spots for families and professionals alike, like the Galveston 61 Pier, where you can rent all of the equipment and grab frozen bait. Catches include everything from redfish to black drum.

With fishing being excellent year-round, Galveston can be especially luring to fishing enthusiasts. You can find a one-bedroom apartment in Galveston for $1,064 a month on average.

50 best cities for fishing

And now for the 50 best cities for fishing. Factors like fishing bait stores, water area, fishing lakes, repair centers and fishing clubs are all essential for a good fishing experience.

Methodology

To determine the best cities for fishing, we looked at every city in the U.S. with a population of over 50,000 and at least one fishing-related business (bait stores, fishing stations, tackle dealers, tackle repair stores, public fishing lakes, fishing piers and fishing clubs).

We then divided the total number of fishing establishments by the total population and multiplied that number by 100,000 to determine the number of establishments per 100,000 people. The cities with the highest per capita rating were determined to be the best cities for fishing in our quantitative report.

Data sources:

  • The population is based on 2018 estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau
  • Water area is based on demographic information from the U.S. Census Bureau
  • Total live music establishment counts are from a database of 8 million commercially available business listings. These listings may not reflect recent openings or closings.
  • Rent prices are based on a weighted average from Apartment Guide and Rent.com’s multifamily rental property inventory from April 2020 to April 2019. We use a weighted average formula to more accurately represent price availability for each individual unit type and reduce the influence of seasonality on rent prices.

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.

Published at Fri, 01 May 2020 13:34:27 +0000

Categories
Apartments Living

Coronavirus Mortgage Relief: What You Need To Know

Coronavirus Mortgage Relief: What You Need To Know

Mortgage lenders, and the federal agencies that regulate lenders, are putting coronavirus mortgage relief measures in place to ensure homeowners have options if they’re unable to make payments.

Your first stop in the face of financial hardship is your lender or bank.

Just keep in mind lenders are working to figure out and implement the new mortgage relief polices outlined by the regulatory agencies. So you might read one thing from the FHFA, a federal regulator, but your bank might be doing something else.

In addition, due to the number of homeowners affected by the pandemic, lenders are dealing with a crush of calls and online queries. Be patient, persistent, and prepared to spend time on hold.  

Here are the resources you need now.

Your Mortgage

Federally Backed Mortgages
If you have a mortgage backed by Federal Housing Administration (FHA), Veteran’s Administration (VA), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac, your loan servicer must offer you deferred or reduced mortgage payment options – called forbearance — for up to six months. This means you don’t have to pay your mortgage and you won’t be charged late fees, penalties, or interest while you can’t pay.

Loan servicers for FHA, Freddie, and Fannie must provide an additional six months of forbearance if you request it. 

Not sure who backs your own loan? Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have loan look-up sites where you can find out who owns it, and how to get in touch with them.

In addition, here are direct links to some lenders and banks’ Covid-19 resources:

Mortgages Not Federally Backed
If your mortgage is one of the 5 million in the United States not backed by a federal entity, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which includes a coronavirus mortgage relief mandate, doesn’t apply. But regulators have encouraged those lenders to work with borrowers who can’t pay their mortgages, and most banks and other lenders are suspending mortgage payments or offering forbearance.

The level of relief you get will depend on who owns your loan. Contact your lender to find out what’s available.

Regardless of the type of loan you have, you must apply for coronavirus mortgage relief through their mortgage servicer. That’s the entity that collects your monthly payments and decides how long the assistance will last. When you reach your mortgage servicer, you’ll need to explain your situation and provide information about your income, expenses, and assets. 

TIP: If you’re an at-risk homeowner, this downloadable PDF will help you understand the sources you can approach for help.

Foreclosure and Evictions

Federal officials have imposed a nationwide halt to foreclosures and evictions for more than 36 million Americans with home mortgages backed by the FHA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac.

The moratorium only affects borrowers with mortgages backed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, VA, and RHS (Rural Housing Service loans through the USDA). This doesn’t apply to the roughly 35% of mortgages held in bank portfolios and private label securities. But some individual lenders are offering relief.

Some cities, counties, and states, including Delaware, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Texas, have placed a moratorium on foreclosures. Check with your city, county, and state governments. Find state-by-state tallies online.

Housing Counselors

Another tool in your relief toolbox are housing counselors. Counselors can provide independent advice on buying a home, renting, defaults, foreclosures, and credit issues. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s look-up tool lets you can find counselors in your state.

Your Credit

The CARES Act forbids lenders from dinging your credit score for missed payments on federally backed mortgages and student loans during your forbearance period. The federal government is also encouraging private lenders to suspend reporting late payments on eligible mortgages. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has more advice about protecting your credit.

To keep close tabs on your credit, you can now obtain a free credit report from each of the three credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, every week for the next year through April 20, 2020. The companies ratcheted up their once-a-year allowance to help consumers “protect their financial health during the sudden and unprecedented hardship caused by COVID-19.”

Get all three reports in one spot: annualcreditreport.com.

Your Student Loan

The CARES Act includes immediate relief for those who can’t make their monthly payments on federally held loans due to coronavirus. All loan payments (both principal and interest) are suspended through Sept. 30, 2020, with no penalty. You don’t need to apply for this program or contact your lender. It’s automatic.

If you keep making payments, they’ll be applied entirely toward the principal. These suspended payments will count towards any student loan forgiveness already in effect.

Here’s a list of servicers — and their phone numbers — for loans backed by the U.S. Department of Education.

Some loans under the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program and some Perkins Loans not owned by the Department of Education aren’t eligible for suspended payments. Nor are private student loans owned by banks, credit unions, schools, or other private entities. If you can’t make payments, contact your loan servicer to find out what options are available. Many are offering ways, like forbearance, to postpone payments.

Not sure who your servicer is? Look on your most recent statement and contact the servicer immediately.

If your student loan is already in default, the relief act immediately suspends wage garnishments or tax refund deductions. They’ll resume after the suspension ends.

Find out more about student loan relief at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Your Taxes

The IRS has pushed back the deadline for filing and payment of federal taxes to July 15, 2020. Many states are following suit. Check with your state tax agency, or see this list from the American Institute of CPAs for details on deadlines.

Related: Tips to Get Filing Ready for (Delayed) Tax Deadline

Your Real Estate Transaction

If you’re going to be buying or selling a home in the near future, find out if your county recording office can complete the deal online.

In addition, more than half of states, many under emergency state directive, allow for remote online notarization of documents. This makes it safe and easy to complete real estate transactions under social distancing orders. The number of states allowing remote notarization could grow as pandemic legislation expands.

Your Appraisal

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have provided detailed appraisal alternative guidelines, so homeowners and appraisers can practice social distancing on Freddie and Fannie loans through May 17, 2020.

FHA, VA, and RHS are also allowing variations on the usual appraisal protocol. Check with your servicer for details.

Look Out For Scams

Fear breeds scams. And scammers are out in full force during the pandemic. Beware of third parties offering mortgage assistance and other help. Seek help from your lender directly.

For information on circulating scams, and guidance on identifying them, visit the Federal Trade Commission website.  

With additional reporting by Christina Hoffmann

Published at Tue, 07 Apr 2020 13:23:42 +0000

Categories
Apartments Living

FINDING AN APARTMENT DURING COVID-19

FINDING AN APARTMENT DURING COVID-19

FINDING AN APARTMENT DURING COVID-19

It looks as though social distancing will no longer be the new norm, but the way that we will now be living our lives. It was only 2 months ago that we had never heard of PPE, unless we worked in healthcare or unless you were a scientist, flattening the curve was about weigh loss. Mostly about flattening our stomachs. So here we are all settled at home wondering how to move forward. (Source: NAA)

But what about the folks who were thinking about moving or who were in the middle of a relocation? Any sort of housing transition is stressful enough without having to deal with a national health crisis. But during social distancing it could be additionally stressful.  Take heart, there are many technologies that can help us lease an apartment while keeping you and your apartment community staff safe.

There are many digital advertising sources that you can access from the safety of your living room or kitchen. You can search by typing the word “apartments” into any browser. This will give you a very broad search. After you feel comfortable with user experience with an Internet Listing Service provider, narrow your search by location, price, floorplan size, schools and amenities. Or you use a “long tail search”. For example, a “two-bedroom apartment in Richmond, Virginia with a pool”. This may be more time efficient than a more generic search such as “apartments”. It will provide a short and more refined list of apartment communities that fir those criteria.

Another new aspect to think about during physical and social distancing, is the systems that the community uses to communicate with their residents after you move in. Can you pay your rent on-line? How do they let you know about any community events or repairs? Many communities use Call Assist 24/7. It’s a way that you can send a video or photo of your emergency service request to the on-call maintenance technician.  This will keep you informed via text throughout every step of the process. You will even get a photo of the technician coming out late at night. How cool is that!

Most listings have virtual tours of generic units or their furnished model. Seeing a furnished apartment is always a good way to get a feel for what the space may look like with your own furnishings. (Source: Realtor.com) Many leasing agents are happy to use zoom, skype and Facetime to show you the actual unit that is available if it is currently vacant. Ask the agent to walk through the community as well so you may see the location of your apartment home. Is it close to the pool or does it have a view that you like? Google maps is a great resource for information on shopping, parks and interstates. If you are moving locally, go drive through the apartment community at different times of day to see where the sun sets or where the bark park is located. So there a lot of great resources to help you navigate through finding the perfect new apartment home during Covid-19. Be safe and have fun!

Published at Thu, 23 Apr 2020 12:40:08 +0000

Categories
Apartments Living

How to Compost in an Apartment 

How to Compost in an Apartment 

If you’re interested to learn how to compost in an apartment, you’d be doing both yourself and the environment a favor. Composting is a natural process in which organic waste turns into a nutrient-rich, decomposed matter which helps plants grow. It happens by itself in nature, but you can replicate it at home with food scraps and other organic waste. The resulting compost is a natural and highly nutritious method to feed your plants and reduce food waste. If you have a home garden, house plants or just want to recycle your food scraps, here are the why, the what and the how of composting in an apartment:

Why You Should Compost in an Apartment 

Organic waste, such as food scraps, yard trimmings, and paper, makes up 53% of landfills. Out of that waste, we could recycle at least 40% into compost. But why do it? First, you’re protecting the environment. In landfills, this organic waste produces methane, a greenhouse gas that contributes to the climate crisis. Also, compost is a valuable resource. If you use it in your home garden, your plants will get better nutrition and retain more moisture without chemical fertilizers. And even if you just store your compost and use a collection service, you’re still making sure less methane pollutes the atmosphere.

What You Can Compost in an Apartment 

You can recycle most organic waste in your apartment, but there are a few types of food and plants you should keep out of the composting process. You can compost a large amount of food waste, such as fruits and vegetables, eggshells, tea bags, and coffee grounds. When it comes to your home garden, feel free to recycle all trimmings, cuttings, leaves, and dead houseplants. You can even compost items from your bathroom and home office, such as paper, cardboard, and rags or towels made out of cotton and wool. 

How to compost in an apartment without worms

However, there are a few things you should steer clear of when it comes to composting. Don’t try to recycle dairy products, fats and grease, oil, animal-based scraps (except for fur), and animal feces. At the same time, while a little bit of dairy or oil won’t harm your compost, they will generate unpleasant odors, which can attract pests such as insects and rodents.

How to Compost in an Apartment  

Compost Method #1: Composting with Worms 

When thinking about how to compost in an apartment, worms might not be the first thing that comes to your mind. However, vermicomposters, as they’re called, are actually easy to set up and maintain. You’ll need a few items you can get at any home supplies store, such as some storage bins, a drill, dirt, and some worms, of course. Worms are easy to purchase online, so you can get started at any time. 

How to compost in an apartment with worms

This indoor method will get you the highest quality compost. If you’re not too squeamish, it’s also the most natural way to go about it. You can find a quick and easy step by step guide on how to set up a vermicomposter on the EPA website, and you can buy a ready-made worm composter online.

Compost Method #2: Electric Composters 

Food recyclers are a great option if you don’t want to spend too much time managing your compost bin. They automate the process, which means all you need to do on a regular basis is to add your food scraps and wait for your compost to be ready. However, it comes with a drawback: electric food recyclers do just that — recycle. Technically, what they produce can’t be called compost and doesn’t have as much nutritional value, but will still be healthier for your plants than chemical fertilizers. An electric composter will dry the waste, heat it, grind it down, and then cool the material off. 

The food recycler is quiet and doesn’t take up much space, so if you’d like to avoid the hassle of taking care of a worm-based composter, this solution is right for you.

Compost Method #3: Bokashi 

Bokashi is another easy method to compost at home. The word comes from Japanese and means “fermented organic matter”, which is exactly what it produces. This method requires more maintenance than a food recycler but produces higher-grade fertilizer. How does it work? You use a special airtight bucket to mix in layers of kitchen scraps with an inoculant such as wheat germ and molasses and wait for it to do its magic. After a while, the fermenting waste will start producing a juice that you need to drain to avoid unpleasant odors. However, the juice is highly effective in feeding houseplants.

Bokashi produces higher quality fertilizer than electric recyclers, so if you’d like to learn how to compost in an apartment without worms, this is the best method for you. You can get stared easily with a ready-made Bokashi composting kit and find a great guide on how to set it up and get the most out of your fertilizer here

Compost Method #4: Collection Services 

 Finally, if you don’t have the time or resources to start composting by yourself, check if you can find local collection services. Some local governments provide curbside organic waste collection, and in bigger cities, you can also find non-profits that will either pick up your food scraps or have drop-off boxes around the city. 

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Published at Tue, 21 Apr 2020 06:32:38 +0000

Categories
Apartments Living

5 Apartment Common Area Coronavirus Safety Tips

5 Apartment Common Area Coronavirus Safety Tips

Most states have adopted some type of shelter in place order to protect people from the coronavirus pandemic. But apartment-dwellers face some unique challenges compared with those who live in single-family homes, as sometimes it’s simply impossible to avoid common areas and amenities like stairwells, the laundry room, the mailroom and elevators.

Fortunately, many apartment powers-that-be are way ahead of the game when it comes to protecting their residents. Michigan-based Brookfield Management is one that has preemptively revamped cleaning standards.

“Our third party cleaning company cleans all of our common areas twice a week, and they have added the following to their services: disinfecting all door knobs, disinfecting all stair rails, cleaning and disinfecting all basement doors and fully disinfecting all laundry rooms,” explains Justin Becker, the owner of Brookfield Management.

Indeed, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using of EPA-registered household disinfectants, both for professional and personal use.

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Whether or not your community has taken these additional precautions, it’s probably a good idea to further protect yourself when forays into the common areas are necessary.

Here are a few handy suggestions to stay safe from coronavirus when in apartment common areas.

1. Wear a mask

Although there has been much back-and-forth about whether using a face mask is beneficial, the most recent research analyzed by CDC indicates that they’re a helpful measure in preventing the spread of coronavirus. This is especially critical in close-quarter places where it’s more challenging to maintain the six-foot social distancing recommendation, such as a small laundry room or in narrow hallways.

This measure is not just to protect yourself, however. Many people have the disease, but never show symptoms. Others take a while to show symptoms but are still contagious. By wearing the mask in public you’re preventing the spread of any disease that you’re currently unaware of, itself a commendable public service.

Masks also help to keep people from touching their own faces with contaminated hands, so many people opt to don them for that purpose. There’s no need to hunt down medical-grade masks that healthcare professionals rely on to stay safe, however. A homemade cloth mask will do just fine.

elbow

2. Touch as few surfaces as possible

You really don’t know how many people have touched those elevator buttons or handrails in the stairwell.

If you must press an elevator button, use your elbow. And if you do come in contact with high-traffic surfaces (like knobs in the laundry room) wash your hands as soon as possible. In fact, minimize exposure to these surfaces by bringing a napkin or cloth with you to use as a barrier!

3. Adjust your schedule

If possible, avoid common areas during peak times, and opt instead to visit them early in the morning or late at night. Fewer people equals less chance that someone will sneeze and set off a coronavirus chain reaction of sorts.

elevator

4. Wait your turn

Elevators are extra-tricky when it comes to the “stay six feet away from other people” guideline. Instead of putting yourself and others at risk, wait for the next elevator to come so that you can ride in blissful, and hopefully, hygienic solitude.

You could also consider taking the stairs. Gyms are closed right now, so it’s an easy way to get in a quick leg workout. Just remember to keep your hands off the railings.

The same goes for the laundry area or mailroom. If someone is in there getting a package or their mail, stay off to the side (at least six feet away) and wait patiently for your turn.

5. Park at a distance

By the same token, it’s safer to park a little farther away from other cars, so that you don’t have any awkward close encounters. Try to park at least one spot away from other vehicles, more if possible.

We’re all in this together

Coronavirus is scary, but the good news is that practicing stellar hygiene habits and using common sense can help keep you and everyone around you safe. Now that’s being a good neighbor.

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Published at Tue, 21 Apr 2020 12:00:27 +0000