RE/MAX 440
John F. O'Hara

John F. O'Hara
731 W Skippack Pike  Blue Bell  PA 19422
Phone:  610-277-4060
Office:  215-643-3200
Cell:  267-481-1786
Fax:  267-354-6973

My Blog

What Students and First-timers Need to Know about Renting

December 1, 2014 1:17 am

I recently heard a nightmare rental horror story from a friend whose son recently moved to Boston for college, and was forced to find his own place in a short period of time when on-campus options dried up.

So I went looking for advice for student and first-time renters and developed some great source material offered through the California College of the Arts (cca.edu), which posts the most common mistakes that haunt most first-time renters. Among those mistakes are:

Underestimating monthly expenses - When renting an apartment for the first time, it’s easy to forget to include rent in your monthly budget. (General rule of thumb is to allot one third of your monthly budget to rent.)

Depending on where you rent, gas and electricity, cable television, Internet access, and a phone line are standard items to include in your budget. Also consider the cost to commute to the college via public transportation - if you drive factor bridge tolls, gas, and parking, and remember to include food, entertainment, and school supply expenses, too.

Renting in a less-than-desirable neighborhood - The quality or appearance of your apartment is far less important than feeling safe. Good rent often means having undesirable compensatory factors when apartment hunting.

Bypassing the new roommate interview(s) - A best friend is not always a best roommate. Think about your lifestyle and what you want and need in your living space. Before you commit to live with a potential roommate, identify your needs.

Many friendships have ended because of different expectations within the apartment regarding cleanliness, noise from guests, and judgments about acceptable drug/alcohol use.

Agreeing on what you want and need in your living space is not the only factor to take into consideration when thinking about moving in with a friend; you must also consider if the friend is reliable enough to keep up paying rent and bills on time.

Our next report will provide even more advice to help avoid the most common issues that affect student or first-time renters.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Holiday Shipping 101

December 1, 2014 1:17 am

(Family Features) If one of your holiday tasks is shipping gifts to family and friends across the nation, knowing a few tips and tricks will ensure your packages get to them in time for the festivities.

From shipping deadlines to packaging, there are many factors to consider when sending gifts, especially during a busy time like the holiday season. Fortunately, there are dozens of resources available to help make shipping holiday gifts more convenient than ever. John Budzynski, consumer advocate at the U.S. Postal Service, offers these suggestions to help make your holiday shipping simple and stress-free.
  • Take advantage of services that make shipping more convenient. The U.S. Postal Service lets you order free Priority Mail shipping supplies from usps.com and delivers them right to your door.
  • Be informed about policies for handling fragile gifts or items that may be hazardous, such as perfume, cologne and other liquids.
  • Always include a return address. It tells the shipper where to return the package if it can't be delivered.
  • Pack smart. Pick a strong and sturdy box, cushion contents with packing peanuts, newspaper or bubble wrap, and tape it closed with strong packing tape.
  • Buy postage online and print at home. It not only saves time, but money too; in most cases, you can receive up to an 11 percent discount.
  • Don't get caught in the holiday rush. Schedule a free package pickup from your home or office.
  • Check key shipping dates to ensure your package arrives in time for the holiday. The U.S. Postal Service recommends these deadlines for delivery by Dec. 25:
Dec. 2 - International First-Class Mail
Dec. 2 - Priority Mail International
Dec. 10 - Priority Mail Express International
Dec. 15 - Standard Post
Dec. 17 - Global Express Guaranteed
Dec. 20 - First-Class Mail
Dec. 20 - Priority Mail
Dec. 23 - Priority Mail Express
Source: U.S. Postal Service

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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