How to Use Magic to Get a Bigger Security Deposit Refund

Here is an area of frequent landlord – tenant friction: the security deposit refund. At Decker Properties, we would prefer to make a full refund to everyone. Then there is no dispute.

So we work hard at that goal. We share a cleaning checklist with each tenant that has given notice to vacate. We even offer to have our maintenance staff help with moving appliances to clean under or around them. Further, we fill nail holes for free. So don’t fill them with toothpaste!

Finally, we throw in the first hour of cleaning for free. That way, even if you missed something, you could still get a full refund.

But the topic of this post is to give you one more tool in your arsenal to increase your chances of a big refund. And that tool is magic. Actually, it’s Magic Erasers.

Magic Erasers are a white cleaning sponge. They are particularly effective at removing scuff marks or blemishes on a wall. You simply wet the sponge and wipe. That’s it. There is no need to rinse and there are no other steps. So easy and inexpensive.

So try Magic Erasers. They are available at most grocery stores or hardware stores and they would be in the same aisle as other cleaning products or sponges.

And why wait until you’re moving out? You can keep your walls looking like they were freshly painted the entire time you’re living in your apartment with hardly any effort at all.

It’s so easy, it’s like magic.

magic eraser - How to Use Magic to Get a Bigger Security Deposit Refund

Moving during the Corona Virus

Here’s an idea. Let’s try to keep our lives on track as much as possible without getting sick and transmitting this virus to someone else. If your efforts in this area mean you will be moving, here are some tips on how to do so safely:

  1. If you are using a moving company, make sure they are still operating and if they’ve imposed any restrictions, find out what they are and try to comply.
  2. Box up your stuff in brand new boxes to keep transmission of germs to a minimum.
  3. Keep the PPE handy. Hand sanitizer, gloves, masks may all be needed for moving day.
  4. Remember to keep your distance whenever possible. Easier with the couch than the dresser, but try your best.
  5. Hands off. Prop open doors and consider the stairs instead of the elevator.
  6. Wipe down. Try to wipe off anything you are going to have to touch or have touched.

If your headed to a Decker Properties apartment, such as Catalina Crossing, let me be the first to say welcome home.

moving during corona virus - Moving during the Corona Virus

5 Common Repairs You Need to do When Moving out of Your Apartment

apartment living1 - 5 Common Repairs You Need to do When Moving out of Your Apartment

Editor’s note: Here’s a guest post from our friends at Omega Industries ( Just an added word to the wise – in Wisconsin, landlords can’t require their tenants to clean their carpets. Additionally, at Decker Properties, we’re very concerned with how someone untrained might do repairing their own drywall. If your repairs aren’t going to be perfect and invisible, it’s better to leave them to us. Yes, you may get charged. But you could get charged, potentially even charged more, for a botched drywall repair. – Dave

All your boxes are packed and you’re ready to move out. The last thing on your mind is cleaning and repairing the apartment you’re leaving. But, as a tenant, you have the responsibility to leave the place as you came.

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Gardening Themes for Your Apartment

Gardening Themes for Your Apartment

By Jim Blake

Great decor doesn’t happen by accident. When a space and its elements mesh perfectly, it’s because of the design work. If you’re considering a gardening theme for your apartment, some extra legwork in the planning stages can pay off in the finished product.

The choices you make in heavily trafficked areas are extra important when hosting gatherings. Most balconies have large windows and plenty of ventilation, making them perfect for plants. Here are a few ways to incorporate a garden theme into your apartment, along with plants that will fit any occasion or aesthetic.

Herbs: The Classic Indoor Garden

Herb gardens are the most popular type of indoor garden for good reason. Herbs are easy to grow and don’t need much maintenance. They’re compact, so they’re perfect for windowsills and countertops. Plus, they’re useful, since nearly every dinner recipe calls for at least one or two herbs.

Because they are small and manageable, herb gardens make excellent projects with kids. They’re also dirt cheap to create. Many claim herb garden success using little more than some potting soil and an old egg or milk carton.

Vegetable Gardening Indoors

Vegetable gardening can be a messy endeavor that requires lots of space and sunlight. But if you choose your plants wisely, you can harvest all kinds of veggies from your tidy little apartment garden.

Lettuce is the plant that keeps on giving. It doesn’t take up much space, and you can harvest part of it and wait for it to replenish. Scallions, tomatoes, and carrots will also thrive indoors. Want something decorative and functional? Try a dwarf lemon tree.
Just make sure the plants you pick like shade, won’t get too big, and that they’ll grow upwards instead of outwards. Keep in mind: some indoor vegetables not exposed to bees will require pollination. The beauty of container gardening is that you can move these plants outside for a day every spring.

Indoor Flower Gardening

What’s not to love about flowers? They’re pretty, they smell good, and they can absorb toxins from the air. Some of them even make a nice tea.

As great as cut flowers are, there’s a good reason to incorporate a few live flowers into your apartment décor, too. Live flowers have several maintenance requirements that cut flowers don’t. But they also have one big advantage: Live plants will last!

If you’re growing a garden on your patio or balcony, native plants require less maintenance and offer better success rates. Some of those Wisconsin natives, such as wild geraniums, will thrive inside your apartment as well.

Some indoor perennial flowers can bloom again and again for years after they’re planted. Once you get the hang of it, you can have an apartment that’s accented by a steady stream of living blossoms.

Displaying Your Harvest

Aside from the taste, the next best thing about fresh from the garden produce is how good it looks. Fresh vegetables either on the vine or arranged on a counter give any space an air of color and energy.

Of course, you don’t have to stick to only your own harvest when it comes to appearances. Fall vegetables like gourds and pumpkins aren’t great for indoor growing, but they’re perfect for decor. So if your autumn decor relies on a few store-bought squash to complete the look, we won’t tell if you won’t!

Jim Blake is a lifestyle and environmental writer who enjoys making the most of small spaces. His balcony is covered with a garden he built with upcycled materials.

Peak Auto is Here! Or maybe not.

Predictions are hard. Particularly predictions about the future.

But here’s a prediction that’s easy to make – we’re not at peak auto. Media goons think, and secretly hope, that private automobiles are a thing of the past. We will all be subscribers to ride sharing services faster than you can say Uber.

Just this week there was another article predicting that we are at peak auto, that auto sales are going to crater and car companies are going to crash. This defies all logic.

While there will no doubt be continued increase in ride sharing services and in dense urban environments car ownership may indeed decline, my prediction is that autonomous vehicles will result in more cars, not less.

In order to it to be otherwise, it would mean that for the first time in recorded history, a product or service will become easier to use, but we will want less of it.

There will be more cars because the gold standard of transportation is still the private automobile. If cars were about nothing more than getting from A to B, then any old used econo-box would do. Utility alone cannot explain the predominance of combat ready SUVs that are about all you can buy today.

Clearly, our cars are so much more than just transportation. They are a statement about who we are, or think we are, or wish we were.

Often, meaningless statistics are cited in defense of ride sharing services. Like the observation that our cars spend 95% or more of their time parked and not in use. My toothbrush spends 99% of its life parked in a cup next to my sink, but that doesn’t mean I want to participate in a toothbrush sharing service. Having to ride in a car previously occupied by unsupervised strangers doing who knows what is about as appealing as a public toilet or a shared toothbrush.

Autonomous cars mean that the elderly never have to give up the keys and junior doesn’t have to wait until 16 to get his (or her) first car. The blind and disabled can be car owners too. That means more cars, not less.

Autonomous cars will probably be electric cars, which means cheaper to fuel and cheaper to maintain. That’s the additional secret to why cars will proliferate, not evaporate. Not only will they be easier to use, they’ll be cheaper too.

The world will be radically transformed by autonomous vehicles. There will surely be plenty of them. That’s why you’re going to need that three car garage at Catalina Crossing!

peak auto - Peak Auto is Here! Or maybe not.

7 Simple Home Repair or Improvement Projects You Really Can Do Yourself

Of course, at Decker Properties, you never have to lift a finger, because we’re always here for you, no matter how simple or complex. But for the determined do-it-yourselfer, in a moment we’ll look at this guest post from Emily Khan, 7 Simple Home Repairs You Can Do Yourself. But first, remember to check with your landlord first! And now, on to 7 Simple Home Repair or Improvement Projects You Really Can Do Yourself.

Part of homeownership is dealing with items that need to be repaired as the need to do so arises. There are home repair projects that are also easy to undertake without professional assistance. Presented for your consideration here are seven simple home repair or improvement projects you really can do on your own.

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5 Great Gardening Tips for Small Spaces

5 Great Gardening Tips for Small Spaces

By Shawna Miller

Who needs a big yard with the hassles of mowing, weeding and fertilizing? You can enjoy the benefits of gardening on your patio or balcony, without all the headaches. Want the beauty of plants year-round? Bring your green thumb inside. Check out these five great gardening tips for small spaces.

1. Go Vertical
Most of us only look at the floor space of our homes and patios. It’s time to branch up. Vertical gardens are designed to make use of height. Consider hanging baskets to attach to hooks on a patio cover or along outdoor walls. Baskets can hold a variety of plants but are best for those that drape, such as petunias or ferns. You can create your own vertical garden using recycled materials or a trellis, or buy a vertical garden kit online.

2. Choose Plants Wisely

Plant size and production vary, depending on the kind of plants you want. Plenty of options provide delicious fruits and vegetables and are suitable for smaller areas. Melons, squash, and corn may be out of the question, but cherry tomatoes grow nicely in a small garden space. Check seed packets and make sure you’re aware of the mature size of the plants you choose. Opt for those that produce a lot of edibles per plant to maximize your production.

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8 Really Cool Gifts for a Traveler That Are Also Really Useful

image?url=https%3A%2F%2Fcdn wearing headphones at airport NONOISE0418 - 8 Really Cool Gifts for a Traveler That Are Also Really Useful


So, what kind of gift to get for your favorite world traveler? Or, maybe it’s just someone who travels for business, or occasionally for pleasure. Suitcases and toiletry totes are nice gift ideas, but they’re also a more personal type of purchase.

There are neat little things you can buy for a traveler that are not only cool, but really useful. We’ve picked out eight cool gifts for the traveler that should bring a smile to the face of anyone who travels a little or a lot.

Rest it

If you’ve traveled very often, you’ll immediately appreciate how difficult it can be to get comfortable. There are countless situations that arise where you have an opportunity to grab a little rest, but you can’t get comfortable. One reason is the inability to rest your head and neck.

Problem solved if you have travel pillow. A travel pillow can give you head and neck support on a long plane flight or a cross-country drive. They hold your head and neck in such a perfect ergonomic position for sleeping; they’re a great compliment to that uncomfortable hotel pillow. Continue reading