Smoothies and rental tips

So, in my effort to be a little bit more healthy, I’ve started making a morning smoothie to try and get a little more nutrients into my diet.  The smoothie I’ve been making for the last few weeks is a variation on this one:

IMAG0113

Which is about a cup and a half of mixed frozen fruit and berries, a big handful of baby spinach (for some of that much needed iron), lactose free yogurt, grapefruit juice, almond milk and some vegan protein powder.  I think it’s a pretty standard smoothie combo, except for the lactose free stuff because I’m lactose intolerant, and it really tastes amazing 🙂 I’ve been making them using the NutriBullet Ninja and trust me, that is the blender for you if you don’t want to have to clean stuff.  The drink container is the blender, and all you have to do is take the blade off and replace it with a cap and then clean it, which is so much better than having to wash a blender 🙂

Also, because of my recent rental experience, I thought I’d share a few rental tips I’ve picked up for finding places.  I’m no expert, by any means, but I did find a place out of province and I found a place that is really exactly what I needed in a day (which I freely admit was mostly luck) so I figure I might have few tips for students that might be handy.

1) Know what you’re looking for. One bedroom, room, two bedroom, etc. Know where you’re willing to live as well.  I always google map every apartment so I can check it against walking distances and bus routes (this is less important if you have a car, but still handy).

2) Know your range for rent and what kind of lease you are comfortable signing. If you are only going to be in a place for the two semesters and they want a one year lease, subletting might be a option for that remaining time, but it can be an added headache.  Also, in the rent range, make sure you consider if apartments are POU – pay your own utilities – or if they include tv or internet. A place might seem affordable, but those extras could put it out of your budget.

4) Some other considerations: can you live without onsite laundry? How many roommates would you feel comfortable with, and would you feel alright with roommates not your own gender? How many bathrooms in a house if you plan to have roommates?  Don’t pay your rent in cash, do cheque or some other means that has a record.  Are you going to be responsible for snow clearing or lawn mowing, and if it’s an apartment building are there perks like a fitness room? If you have pets or smoke you will have to look for places that are ok with that, and they are less common than ones that are not.

5) Online classifieds are your friend. kijiji.ca is fantastic if you are Canadian and I recommend it as your first look.  You can look by specific geographic area, bedroom number, price range or key words, and plenty of people post pictures there.  You can also post wanted adds looking for apartments, but I’d suggest being more proactive then that and looking for the things that are posted, not hoping someone will come to you.

6) Ask for pictures if there aren’t any posted.  This is especially important if you are trying to find an apartment out of province or sight unseen.  This will save you time and money on visiting apartments locally as well that aren’t what you are looking for.

7) If you are offered a viewing on an apartment you really are interested in, try to go as soon as possible. You want to be the first person they show, because they’re going to likely compare everyone to the first person, so it’s easier to be the standard than try to compete with the standard.

8) Make a good impression.  Landlords want drama free tenants, so in your first inquiry email or call be an appealing candidate.  If you’re a med student, you’ve got a gold card for being a good tenant, because you’re likely to be older, studious, quiet and not into trashing a place or partying. If you’re an undergrad you’re a bit impaired by your age and the stereotype of college kids wanting to just party, but try to disprove that stereotype. If you’re an undergrad reading my blog you’re probably a pre-med or considering med, so mention that you are responsible, quiet, a focussed student who just wants a quiet place (being pet free and smoke free are also benefits).

9) Be respectful and professional in all correspondents with possible landlords. No text speak, proper grammar – email like you’re emailing a professor.  Make sure the prospective landlord/lords know how to contact you, and that if they are considering you what the timeframe is for that.  If it’s a house ask about what kind of roommates they take or already have, and if you aren’t being shown by the landlord offer to meet them.  Make sure you would have a way to contact a landlord at any place you are looking at. Many live on site (or there is a super), but if you’re renting a room they might not, so make sure if you’ve got a problem you’d be able to contact them.

10) If you go to a place and you really like it, take it if it’s offered to you.  Yeah, maybe something better will show up tomorrow, but chances are it won’t, and you don’t want to be that person who starts the semester settling because you missed a great apartment. On the flip side, if you see a place and really don’t like it, don’t feel obligated. You probably are trying to rent in a university town, and trust me that person will find someone else fast.

11) Remember that if you are trying to transition from a dorm or a furnished room to an apartment, you will also have to pay for the cost of furnishing that apartment, so budget for that. Unless you find or look for furnished apartments of course, though they are not offered as much.

Those are all the tips that come to my mind in regards to renting.    At the end of the day, you want a place that works for you, because you’re the one who has to live there.  Where you live can have a big affect on your mind and mental health, so chose wisely and get a place you can feel like you’re home in, because that’s what you’re really looking for; not just a place to hang your hat, but a home 🙂

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