Renting

Where to Live at College?

One of the first things students think about when college comes around is, “where am I going to live?!” For some students, living on campus in the dorms is where they belong. The dorms are close to class and student activities, and cluttered with other students just begging for a study buddy or a friend. For others, off campus living holds many benefits. Conversely, living off campus can be a make or break move financially for any young and eager student. There are generally two options a student has when it comes to off campus living; rent an apartment or live at home.
Renting an apartment can be a large commitment for a new student with a full class load. Rent can range anywhere from $500-$1000. However, there are also things like internet and electricity bills, not to mention things like cleaning, which can really take a toll on your checking account and free time. Students who make the decision to rent an apartment usually find themselves working at least a few nights a week, taking up valuable study time.

I, like many other students, have taken option number two; living at home. After moving to Iowa City from a little town in Illinois to attend college, my grandparents graciously offered my twin sister and I one of the apartments they rent out or a room in their basement. I was prepared to jump into apartment living. The excitement of living on my own was almost more than I could handle. I was ready to sign the lease when my sister stopped me and said we should consider living with our grandparents. Forgive me if I didn’t find as much excitement in living with my grandparents as I did with living on my own. Thoughts of curfews and homework checks clouded my mind. But, then I sat down and figured out how much money I would be spending renting an apartment. With a $500 rent, at least $100 in groceries every two weeks, and a little extra gas money driving the extra distance to class, living in the apartment began to lose a lot of its appeal.

My second semester of college and of living with my grandparents is rapidly coming to an end and I could not be happier with the decision I made to live with my grandparents. The money that I saved not renting an apartment now populates the empty space that I once called my savings account. The education I am receiving at college is paid for and I am able to afford filling up my gas tank to visit home every now and then. The choice I made to live with family instead of renting an apartment on my own was one of the best decisions I could have.

How to Add Value to Your Home

Home improvements are always regarded as the ideal investment to make in a home. They work to greatly add value to your home price. The apparent belief is that home improvements not only make the house more of a pleasurable living experience to endure but they also increase the value of your property.

add value to your house

This is a fair definition of what home improvement should achieve but a lot of the home improvement carried out doesn’t actually get to reach these and other less obvious but just as important goals of home improvement.

So here are some basic characteristics of what would make for good home improvement efforts:

a) They should improve the overall value of the property, in particular regard to two potential audiences: banks and property buyers.

b) They should make the house more practical in terms of being used as a living space. Open space improvements, for example, help reduce on walls which take up space and make navigation cumbersome, even in large houses.

c) They should have an overall impact on reduction of the cost of utilities. Home improvement projects that improve water use, drainage systems, save on electricity bills by improving access to natural light or by providing efficient lighting systems as well as improving central heating systems certainly fall into this category. If by home improvement you are adding a paint type, for example, that enhances lighting in your house, even at that level, you are on the right track.

d) Home improvements that improve the safety of the property are certainly vital as well. These include improving heat and electrical insulation, fire systems as well as general security systems like alarms. If you install nets in areas with houses that can be accessed by insects or storm windows for bad weather-prone areas, you are getting value for your home improvement investment.

e) Home improvement is also probably best done by a professional. It is all very well to try and do things around the house once in a while but installing new garage doors or re-tiling the kitchen really should not be done by you. The less than professional work actually shows, even to an untrained eye.

f) Convenience also really helps home improvement worthwhile. If you upgrade some of the bedrooms, particularly the master bedroom an en-suite bedroom, the value for the property is bumped up considerably due to the added convenience.

Of course you may have some improvements that do not fall directly into this category, that though they may be pleasing to the eye or your own personal tastes, really do nothing for you intrinsically, or for the property in terms of adding value. These include things like interior decor and swimming pools. You may add them of course, but only as a bonus.

In the long run, it helps to get all the other aspects out of the way first.