What Autonomous Vehicles Will Mean for You

future car 300x225The future is here! Or at least almost here. It does seem likely that one day soon, we’ll finally be able to text and drive with impunity because the car will be able to drive itself. And the implications of this new technology will change more than just when we text. This tech will impact even the experience of renting a home, so let’s peak into the future.

First, let’s dispense with the idiocy that none of us are going to own cars. The “experts” believe that we’re all going to subscribe to a ride sharing service and we’ll hail autonomous cars from our smart phones when wheels are needed. This might make sense in a dense urban environment like New York City, but for the rest of the world, you’re still going to want to own your own car, for lots of reasons. Continue reading

Renting More Affordable Than Buying?

catalina crossing apartments high view 300x225Is there an echo in here? We’ve been saying for a long time that home ownership is a wonderful consumer purchase, but as an investment, not so great. See Is Home Ownership The Worst Investment Ever?The Worst Investment that You Will Every Make, and Rent or Own?

Now the Wall Street Journal is chiming in with agreement. In the 10/17/2018 WSJ, the paper reports that 78% of people say that renting is more affordable than owning according to Freddie Mac, the mortgage company.

This report reflects marketplace reality. Between high constructions costs, labor shortages and municipal barriers to development, it has been difficult to supply the market with new construction of single-family homes. A lack of new construction supply has resulted in increased demand and higher prices for existing homes. Throw an increase in interest rates into the mix and single-family home ownership just loses its economic luster.

In the meantime, our apartments continue to shine, offering more square footage and better amenities like walk-in showers, walk-in pantries, walk-in closets three car garages and massive square footage, not to mention granite counter tops and stainless-steel appliances. At least that’s what you at the Catalina Crossing Apartments where townhouses range in size up to 1775 square feet. The wannabees and the also-rans don’t have walk-in showers yet or three car garages, but someday they will. Until then, call text or email to Josh at 608-575-4377 or josh@davidjdecker.com to learn more about the Catalina Crossing Apartments in Madison.

How Not to be One of the Worst Six Kinds of Tenants

nightmare 300x240Our friends at Rentalutions recently published an article, “6 Types of Nightmare Tenants and How to Avoid Them.” It got me thinking about how not to become one of those tenants:

Nightmare 1: Tenants that don’t pay. Obviously, don’t be one of these. If you run into a problem, communicate early. Be transparent, don’t hide. Maybe the only solution is for you to move out of an apartment that you can no longer afford. But maybe the landlord has a tenant already waiting for your apartment. Or maybe it’s not as bad as you think. You won’t know until you talk to your landlord.

Nightmare 2: Tenants that damage the property. If the party got out of hand and stuff got wrecked, that won’t be a secret for long. One rule for life: don’t burn ex-spouses, ex-girlfriends/boyfriends, employers, landlords and friends. Word gets around. People, particularly landlords, check references. There’s an adage that applies here: you break it, you bought it. If you can’t afford immediate repayment, make a payment agreement with your landlord. It beats getting dragged into court later.

Nightmare 3: Tenants that argue with everything you say. It’s not just landlords. Try to get along with people in general. Landlords make mistakes too, but hear them out, listen carefully, and see if maybe the landlord is sharing truth.

Nightmare 4: Tenants that never move out. If you’ve given notice to vacate and your plans have changed, better communicate that to the landlord right away. Your apartment may already be rented to someone else. Possession might be nine tenths of the law, but not in rental housing. Staying past your vacate date might subject you to double damages payable to the landlord.

Nightmare 5: Tenants that become ghosts. Some tenant just move without notice and even leave their stuff behind. Don’t let that be you. This will come back to haunt you. The landlord will throw your stuff away and charge you for the privilege. Plus rental charges will continue to accrue. You may get a surprise bill or a surprise judgment and corresponding hit to your credit score.

Nightmare 6: Tenant that take the landlord to court. We already said that sometimes landlords make mistakes. Should that happen to you, try working things out with the landlord first. You can always go to court later, but once you do, the court case becomes a permanent record easily accessible online. In other words, your next prospective landlord may discover that you’ve been a plaintiff against another landlord and decide to rent to a less combative prospect.

Our careful tenant screening creates great apartment communities like Willow Grove Apartments in Pewaukee, or Georgetown Square Apartments in Racine. Call (262) 785-0840 to start your brand new dream!

Moving in Together for the First Time

two men struggling over a money bag 300x195Congratulations newlywed! So you’re ready to move in together, now what? You have to prepare for the new shared space and experiences, but with the right planning, your move should be a smooth transition into a new lifestyle. There are several things to think about when moving:

Should I Keep, Sell, or Buy?

Since you are combining two lifestyles, you are going to have double the items. Often apartments don’t have enough storage space to accommodate duplicate pieces, so you’ll have to sort through and find opportunities for each item. If you have two couches, but one is newer and comfier than the other, try listing items on easy online selling platforms like Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist to make some money back to aid with moving costs. You may also find that both of you are lacking in items like a dining room table, or chairs. Use extra money as an opportunity to shop for new and durable furniture items you’ve both been eyeing, like these pieces here. Exploring websites and stores with your husband or wife will be a fun memory and allow you to merge your style interests to pick the perfect items for your spot. Parting with furniture can be tough, however, especially if you’ve had it for years; but starting a new life together suggests some new furniture to complement a space shared by two people ready to start a life as a married couple. It’s also important that you never give away sentimental items like picture books or memory boxes; sometimes you must find space under beds or in closets to keep the things that aren’t always looked at, but you’re not ready to let go of. This will prevent any later regrets if you want to recall memories.

Overall you can’t go wrong with a new couch or keeping the items you already own — there’s always time to change your lifestyle, and that includes waiting for the right financial time for you and your counterpart.

Inviting Friends

Although you may want the move to be an intimate effort between the two of you, that’s nearly impossible unless you have a moving crew to carry the larger items, especially if you must take the stairs in an apartment building. Use this occasion to invite your friends and family to help. This is a great way for your loved ones to mingle, while also getting the strength you need on a stressful day. It’s nice to include your friends and family during the move because they’re able to contribute to whatever you may need that is missing. Items they’ve been looking to give away may be something you need to complete your new space. If you want to vamp up the day, order some pizzas and offer coffee and water throughout for anyone who needs some energy to help finish the move.

Open Communication

You and your spouse will be presented with many communication challenges throughout a move, but it is important to be open and honest with one another. You are looking to go from living in separate locations to merging lifestyles which can be stressful and uncomfortable at times. Have a system of communication where you can voice your opinions and problems in a relaxing way. Take a few days a week to spend a meal with your partner where you go over any thoughts you have about moving or even some ideas about items you need. It boils down to being able to have time to reflect and work together as a couple to make this time the happiest in your life.

Insanity in Seattle – An Update

crazy scrabble tiles 300x200The insanity in Seattle is leaving us sleepless. OK, the movie Sleepless in Seattle was 25 years ago (1993)! Terrible having to explain these jokes.

But courts in Washington State aren’t finding it funny that the City of Seattle tried to implement some whacky housing ordinances.

Seattle wanted to require landlord to give chronological priority to applicants applying for apartments. This would require landlords to bypass a better applicant in favor of one that applied sooner. Score a win for the unemployed with time on their hands to look for apartments while busy people like you get stuck. And never mind the bureaucratic morass for landlords of keeping track of who applied first.

Fortunately, the courts see it differently and kicked this bad idea to the curb.

Similarly, Seattle would like to prohibit landlords from considering an applicant’s criminal history unless they have a legitimate business reason for doing so. The wording of the statutes is vague – who’s to say what is a “legitimate business reason?” Sounds like a plaintiff’s lawyers’ delight.

Fortunately, this ill-advised housing ordinance idea looks like it’s headed for the trash heap of the unconstitutional as well.

Car Theft Quiz

bentley continental gt 300x225Here’s a fun little quiz to help you put the brakes on car theft:

1. What months are highest for car thefts?
A. December and January – Got to pay for Christmas somehow!
B. July and August – beat the heat in the five-finger discount ride.
C. April and May – Spring into summer in a fresh set of somebody else’s wheels.
D. October and November – Bring a new dimension to trick or treat.

The correct answer is B, July and August. Continue reading

Still Shining After All These Years

flower bedIt’s cool to be the new kid on the block and get all the attention. It’s great if the property is the latest and greatest in new construction. But hey, that costs money! There’s nothing wrong with having been around for a while if you’re still looking good.

And that’s the case at the Rivercourt Apartments at 5100 N. Lovers Lane Road on the northwest side of Milwaukee. These apartments were built in the 1960s, but pay that no mind. These units feature new kitchens, baths, flooring, windows, boilers and more. They look like new construction, but they’re affordable like no other. Continue reading

Energy Savings Tips

energystar money isnt all youre saving 300x184Before you get an energy bill that looks like it was inspired by the national debt, better consider these ideas:

1. Move to an apartment like Rivercourt in Milwaukee, Mayfair in Waupun, Skyview in Little Chute, the new Wilson Heights in Hartford, Madison Square in Waupun, Diversey Manor in Whitefish Bay, Jarvis Street in Shorewood, 827 Phoenix in Delavan, or 1450 Coachlight in New Berlin where Decker Properties provides the heat.

2. Move to an apartment like Willow Grove in Pewaukee, Riverdale in Little Chute, Rensway in Waupun, Washington Heights and Washington Manor in Horicon, the new City Center in Fond du Lac, Georgetown Square in Racine, or Country Village in Waupun, where the energy efficiency upgrades include new windows, added insulation and maintenance to caulking and weather stripping to make sure your well-maintained home is also energy efficient.

3. Use LED bulbs. They last forever and use little power.
Continue reading

Super Bowl Sunday!

i don t even know how i got back to my crib last night 226x300Hey it’s Super Bowl Sunday, let’s have a party.

Ok, so the Super Bowl was weeks ago, hope your team won. But that doesn’t mean we can’t still take a fresh look at how to have a good time without annoying your neighbors – or getting arrested.

If it’s time to kick your heels up a bit and have an apartment party, give this list a moment of thought to help you stay on good terms with everyone around you:

1. Think guest list. Maybe, based on past experience, it would be better not to invite Booze Hound Bob.
2. Think entertainment. Getting together for the big game? Or is it movie night? Try to have a purpose to your gathering so that it doesn’t degrade into a contest of who can pound down the most beer bongs.
3. Think courtesy. Let the neighbors know you’re having a little gathering. Ask them to call you if it’s getting a little loud and give them your number. Better yet, invite them too.
4. Think clean up. Make sure your party doesn’t spill out onto the lawn or the common hallways that don’t belong exclusively to you. Or if they do, make sure you clean up promptly. It will be as if you and your 500 friends were never even there.
5. Think menu. You don’t have to serve only beer and alcohol. Have other non-impairing refreshments available. And serve food. You know what your mother told you about drinking on an empty stomach.

Heed these warnings and you won’t have your apartment party crashed by men in blue.

You can live a chic urban party lifestyle at the new City Center Lofts, where you can walk to everything that’s happening in Fond du Lac. Or, you can enjoy golf course views and all the good life has to offer, and host a party at The Fairways Apartments also in Fond du Lac. Call (262) 785-0840 and let’s get this party started!

Why You Won’t Get Rich Flipping Houses

white house under reconstruction 300x200So you’ve just moved into your new digs at Catalina Crossing and you’re kicking back and seeing what’s on the flat screen. Why not tune in to one of those house flipper shows?

After all, while you may be living large, a little extra coin can never hurt. What about a house flipping side hustle?

Recently, an article in the Washington Post outlined why this might be harder than it looks. In other words, don’t try this at home. Here’s a summary: Continue reading