The Complete Guide to Apartment Hunting in New Hampshire

Whether you’re relocating to New Hampshire from out-of-state, moving out on your own for the first time, or simply looking for a new place to call home, you’ll want to be sure to research and plan your move long before the day you need to start packing boxes.

To help you along on the process of finding and moving into your new apartment in New Hampshire, we’ve created a must-do list for your search:

1. List your Must-Have’s

a. For most people, this includes the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you need, access to transportation or major commuter routes, and community guidelines such as whether they offer pet friendly apartments.

b. Once you’ve identified the features you can’t live without, you can start narrowing down your search.

2. List your Nice-to-Have’s

a. The nice-to-have features on your list may include utilities, features such as a pool, patio or deck, or fitness center, or amenities like on-site laundry.

3. Determine Your Budget

a. According to recent figures, many experts agree that your total housing payment should be no more than 1/3rd of your monthly gross income. If the rest of your budget is in balance, this should allow you to cover all monthly expenses easily, and still have funds left over for saving or investing.

b. If you plan to have a roommate, be sure to take their portion of the rent and utilities, into account when factoring your budget.

4. Check out the Neighborhoods

a. Now we come to the fun part – deciding on the region and neighborhood you’d like to start calling home. As much of this will be determined by proximity to your job and means of transportation, it may be best to conduct a search on Google maps to get a feel for the cities and towns in the area along the way.

b. One of the best things about New Hampshire is that each region of the state offers a very different lifestyle than the rest. We’ve detailed out a few of the most popular regions to help you narrow down your search:

i. Nashua NH Area Apartments
1. Named one of the Top 100 Best Places to Live in America by CNN in 2010
2. Commuter-friendly and close to the Massachusetts border
3. Area consists of a small city and quiet surrounding towns – many options for everyone!

ii. Manchester NH Apartments
1. Conveniently located 48 miles from Boston on two main highways, with access to a major airport.
2. Manchester is the largest city in New Hampshire, and home to a significant percentage of the jobs and employers in the state.
3. An influx of new restaurants, entertainment venues, sporting arenas and events, and retail shops makes Manchester a great place to call home!

iii. Lakes Region NH Apartments
1. One of the regions that New Hampshire is known for throughout the country is the beautiful Lakes Region, consisting of lakes, waterfront property, and more activities, areas of sightseeing, and a never-ending list of things to see and do.

iv. Concord NH Apartments
1. Concord is New Hampshire’s capital city, and home to government offices, hundreds of businesses, and a thriving downtown area bustling with restaurants, shopping, and entertainment venues.
2. Concord is conveniently located on I-93, and is considered a midpoint between Boston and NH’s stunning White Mountains.

v. Derry & Southern NH Apartments
1. The southern NH area, and Derry specifically, is a growing region most popular with people who are commuting to work in Massachusetts, or looking for a convenient and family-friendly suburb that’s not too far from major cities.

5. Shop Online First, Then On-Site

a. Now that you have your must-have’s and nice-to-have’s narrowed down, and you’ve identified the region you’re most interested in moving to, it’s easy to do an online search to see what type of apartments are available.

b. Websites will now provide you with an Online Apartment Rental Application so you can start the entire process from home, and see what you qualify for. This will save you time from driving around and filling out applications on-site.

6. It’s time to pack, move, and decorate your new place!

a. Congratulations on finding your new apartment rental!

b. When you’re ready to move, check out our blog for great tips on decorating your apartment, storage, moving, and getting around your new neighborhood: http://www.redoakproperties.com/blog

Apartment Investing Basics

Many investors looking to get started in real estate look at investing in apartments. Apartment investing is a great way to begin investing in real estate. This is because apartments are something that we all have had some introduction to and are familiar with.

We all understand that “people will always need a roof over their heads”. And that is the nice thing about investing in apartment buildings. Getting started will take some time, and if you begin with the basics, you will be well ahead of most investors just starting out.

Benefits of Apartment Investing:

1. Cash Flow
Bought properly, apartment buildings will provide a steady source of income for the owner. If you purchase a building in a good area with good management, your apartments will remain occupied, putting money in your pocket every month. The nice thing is that all of this can more-or-less happen on autopilot because you cah hire a property manager to handle the day-to-day activities.

2. Appreciation
This is an area where apartment buildings shine. Because the value of an apartment building is based on the income it provides to the owner, when you increase the net income, you increase the value of the property. Period. It is that simple – you simply purchase properties where you can increase rents and reduce expenses – realistically – while keeping everything properly managed and maintained. Try doing something – anything – to increase the value of your stock portfolio. You have no control whatsoever over your investment.

3. Equity Increase
Your equity also increases every single month. How? Because your tenants are paying off your mortgage. It may not be large equity jumps like when you manage the income and expenses. However, every single month your mortgage principal balance is reduced, thereby increasing your wealth. Month in and month out.

4. Tax Advantages
Apartments provide the owner tax benefits both through depreciation while owning the property and through a 1031 exchange. I don’t buy based on the tax benefits, but they are a nice bonus to get involved with apartment investing.

Steps to Get Started Investing In Apartment Buildings:

Education
Begin by educating yourself on apartment investing and property management. Even if you are going to hire someone else for the property management, you will want to have some knowledge base to go from. Start out by going through some apartment investment courses – they are difficult to find, but well worth looking for. In addition, if you can attend a live event with other investors, you will benefit from that, as well. Just by getting around others with like minds, you will be heading in the right direction.

Property Analysis
Remember no matter how nice a building looks, or how new it is, or how great the neighborhood is, it all comes down to the numbers. Never, ever lose sight of that fact. Decide what your goals are for investing in apartments and choose the properties that will help you get there – fastest.

Take Action
One of the biggest mistakes I see is a would-be investor who invests in his or her education, and never buys their first property. Take your time getting educated and going through the process, but I would encourage you to follow through and take action when the time is right. Then keep going. Get your first property and keep building your wealth over time.

Tips on Getting Your Security Deposit Back From Your Apartment Rental

It is always a point of contention; once you have moved out, you expect to get your security deposit back in full-just as you gave it to the Landlord. On move out day, you take a look around your now former apartment. Everything looks good. Well, maybe a small mark on the wall here and there. And maybe you could have cleaned out the refrigerator a little better. But hey it does not cost that much to make an apartment nice again. Does it?

One of the hardest costs for Landlords to absorb is painting. On the open market, try finding a painter who could repaint your apartment for less than $500! Fortunately, apartment complexes typically have in-house maintenance staff that can do the work for less than market labor value. The costs are, more than likely, even less to the Tenant. Still, Landlords are stuck with having to absorb materials costs which remain the same regardless of any particular circumstance.

So if you have made many marks on walls, have a child(ern) that has used something other than a water soluble substance on walls, or just been careless with hanging things and moving furniture around, then chances are you will get hit with a full paint-out bill. After so many marks and scratches, it is no longer worth it nor all that possible to do a “touch-up” job.

Some common ways to mark up walls include:

  • headboards from beds
  • sofas pressed snug against walls
  • televisions pressed closely to walls (for cathode ray tubes)
  • dogs and cats scratching or rubbing against corners
  • children throwing toys or playing off walls
  • rearranging furniture, especially in the living room and bedroom
  • buying new furniture-especially when you first move-in. It is easy to forget that from day one if your movers are not careful or you are not, you could have many marks and scratches.

Another cost is floor cleaning. If there is hardwood flooring involved, and you were not that careful moving in or moving out your furniture, it can cost anywhere from $1 to $3 per square foot just to sand and refinish! Simply putting another coat of polyurethane can do the trick, however, if the damage was extensive, it will bleed through and look bad for the next Tenant-who may even get blamed for some one else’s damages! Also, if there are pets involved, this is particularly risky to the Landlord. Unlike carpeting, getting urine and urine and feces smells out of hardwood flooring is extremely difficult.
Of course, the extreme measure is to replace the parts of the floor that are really bad. That can get a bit pricey plus make the flooring look uneven and nonuniform.

For carpeting, it is much easier to maintain and clean even though the wear is faster. As a Tenant, it can be worth it to you to find a professional carpet cleaner. Typically, you can find one for between $80 to $300. If you leave it to the Landlord, expect to be charged. When you move out, it is easy to forget that the apartment was cleaned and prepared for you, and the Landlord owes that courtesy to the next Tenant.

So next time you are wondering why you have not gotten that security deposit back, remember the two biggest costs to reviving the apartment, put yourself in the Landlord’s shoes, and then start calculating.