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8 Warning Signs When Renting a Furnished Apartment in Cary

Wednesday, March 31st, 2021

Moving to a new area can be stressful. There are so many things that need to be done but #1 on that list is secure a place to live. There are plenty of options to consider but one of the very best is renting a furnished apartment for a short period of time.

A furnished apartment is the middle ground when it comes to living in a place other than your home. If its done well, it will be the closest thing to a home away from home.

Unlike hotels which are highly transient and can be cold in nature and decor, or an Airbnb host’s guest room above the garage, a fully furnished apartment will have all the creature comforts of a living space you can call home.

If you think this is a great alternative to living in a hotel for 60 days you are right! Keep reading to find out 8 warning signs when renting a furnished apartment in 2021 and what to look out for before signing on the signature line.

1 – NOT CLEAN

Beware of spaces that are not clean. Every furnished apartment I own gets cleaned by professionals after a guest moves out to prepare for the next guest moving in. The cleaning professionals are wearing gloves and masks throughout the entire cleaning process which is necessary during a pandemic now more than ever.

Keeping a clean furnished space is more than hiring a cleaning crew to come in for a couple hours. Norton Property Services makes sure to wash all the sheets, towels and linens with detergent. We even wash all the plates, utensils, pots and pans. NPS makes sure you have peace of mind during your stay and that means cleaning out the drawers for crumbs, dusting the blinds, cleaning inside the appliances, emptying the dryer lint trap and cleaning the inside of the dryer lint trap. We restock the cleaning supplies and paper products like paper towels, bath tissue and hand soap. You will even find hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes in your furnished apartment home.

After all, cleanliness is next to Godliness.

2 – NO LEASE

Earlier I spoke of the signature line… having a lease in place is a good business practice. Many people think a lease ties them into a contract they don’t understand but a lease is just a written agreement between the renter and landlord.

Leases are great because they present the entire agreement in written form so there is no confusion about the terms of the agreement. You will know the monthly rent, due date, what is allowed, what isn’t and consequences of breaking the lease. This goes for both sides.

Not having a lease is a surefire sign you’re not dealing with a professional and you may possibly be dealing with a crook. A lease is there to protect you and the landlord in case of a misunderstanding or disagreement.

You always want to read the lease in its entirety and its a good idea to have your attorney review it on your behalf as well though not necessary.

3 – NO TAXES

Everyone has heard the old cliche about taxes, right? That the only 2 things guaranteed in life are death and taxes. Well, unfortunately it applies to furnished rentals and short term leases too — at least it does here in NC.

Here in NC, a short term lease under 90 days subjects the renter to pay taxes and the landlord to collect them. That is why when you stay at a hotel you see taxes collected and I think Airbnb has started collecting taxes on behalf of its hosts because no one wants to get in trouble with the government — not even a billion dollar company.

This does not apply to situations when you’re staying with a friend or family member because that is not a business. And it also doesn’t apply to stays 3 months or longer.

I mention this because if you’re renting a place from a short term rental operator and they are not collecting taxes then the the law is being broken. I don’t know about you but I love my business and I want to stay in compliance and I think my guests would agree.

4 – BAD REVIEWS

Let’s address another bad sign when searching for a furnished apartment to stay for a few months. Bad reviews should be a warning sign for anyone researching any product or service online. While reading reviews shouldn’t be your only means for determining the quality of the company or service, you can get a good idea on issues like:

Customer service
Customer satisfaction
Product quality
Responsiveness
Staff friendliness and professionalism and more…

Reading reviews should be 1 tool in your belt to analyze a company and its product or service and obviously, 1 or 2 bad reviews shouldn’t deter you from patronizing a business but instead, look for patterns that concern you. For instance, do all the reviews mention poor service or a dirty place?

Read my reviews on Google here.

5 – NOT IN SAFE OR CONVENIENT LOCATIONS

Part of making your stay feel as close to home as possible is feeling safe where you live. If you cannot feel safe walking to the store or going from your car to your front door then likely you may want to reconsider the neighborhood.

There are some people who will not feel safe on the first floor. While I can understand this, if you are in an overall safe environment then this should be less of an issue. Another good thing about 1st floor access is that in case of an emergency or fire you don’t have to use the stairs or elevators to get out. Or worse, the windows.

Norton Property Services considers locations carefully when furnishing a new home. Not only the geographical location close to shopping, business centers, hospitals, restaurants and entertainment but also the location within the building itself.

NPS wants to make it as convenient as possible to get to your home so we consider items like proximity to entrances/exits, elevators, stairs and other amenities. We try to secure great views but sometimes a serene background with a wooded view is perfect.

Convenient and safe locations should be considered carefully. How would you like to be 30 minutes from a grocery store? Or even in the heart of downtown? Whatever your preference, make this a factor in your decision process because you will be here for several months and it just might make or break your experience.

6 – MOVE OUT DATE

Many don’t think the move out date is a big deal but it can be HUGE. If you are in town for a temporary work assignment that gets extended or you are looking for a home to purchase and its taking longer than expected you probably want to stay in your furnished apartment until you know your next move, right?

People have come to NPS from Airbnb and said they had to move 2 or 3 times because the hosts had booked people a couple days after they were scheduled to leave.

Norton Property Services allows you to keep your home for as long as you like. We will never book a guest right behind you because we know your plans can change at any moment and its our aim to remove the hassle from your search for a place to rest your head.

Make sure to ask if you can extend your stay if needed.

7 – NOT FULLY FURNISHED

Apartments that are advertised as furnished but really its nothing more than a bed and used sofa is the sign of a less than quality operation. I’m sure there is a market for places that are sparsely furnished, but it defeats the purpose of living in a place for 3 months or longer when you have to bring half of the items needed to live comfortably.

If you have to bring the TV, silverware, pots and pans, towels, sheets, microwave and other appliances not to mention set up your utilities then what are you paying extra for? You could rent an unfurnished place and bring those items for much less rent per month.

Staying at a fully furnished place is like most other things. You get what you pay for. In an upscale furnished apartment operated by a professional company you will get a home that is fully furnished and ready to go from day 1. It will be a complete solution from linens to appliances to cleaning supplies to adequate furniture to paper products to great amenities to utilities already set up.

All you have to do is bring you clothes and devices… at least that’s how NPS does it for you.

8 – UTILITIES NOT INCLUDED

Some corporate housing companies charge separately for utilities while others include that in the rent. I think the best practice here is transparency. Make sure you know what you are responsible for before signing a lease. Norton Property Services includes utilities in the monthly rent because we want to make you stay as comfortable as possible.  We think sending you a bill 1 month after you move out is well, BS.

If utilities are not included the landlord might hold a utility deposit upfront (separate from a security deposit) or they can bill you afterwards once their bill arrives. Wouldn’t a better experience be to include utilities in the monthly rent? That way there is one payment and when you move out you’re done.

Those are a few of the warning signs to look for when searching for temporary furnished apartments in 2021. It will help you to ask the right questions when talking with an owner or manager. It will also help you avoid a terrible experience or property not suited for your needs, no matter how temporary.

If you’re considering an upscale furnished apartment in 2021 think of Norton Property Services here in Cary, NC.

We would love to have you!

5 Benefits of Furnished Apartments Over Hotels and Airbnb

Friday, March 19th, 2021

The pandemic has changed the way many people and businesses do business and short term furnished apartments are no different. Before Spring 2020, hotels and sites like airbnb, vrbo and others were top of mind when it comes to travelers looking for a furnished place to stay for a few days, weeks or months.

All that has changed.

1. Short Term Apartments are Less Transient

What I’ve found running a corporate housing company that provides furnished apartments on short term (and mid term) lease in Cary, NC is that many of my guests prefer staying in a furnished rental because of the less transient nature of a short term apartment.

First, what is a short term rental? There are several definitions but I focus on the definition by the State of North Carolina and Wake county where I operate all of my furnished apartments.

North Carolina and Wake county define a short term rental as less than 90 days. This is for tax purposes of course which is why hotels, airbnb, actual bed & breakfasts and Norton Property Services collect tax on all stays under 90 days.

This definition excludes staying with a friend or relative who isn’t conducting regular business. 

Another common definition is a stay of no more than 30 days. This aligns closely with vacation rentals that in North Carolina are defined as short term rentals where a guest plans to return to a permanent residence in another city or state.

Many of Norton Property Services’ guests have already sold their home out of state and are moving to the Cary area and looking to purchase a home.

So, short term apartments being less transient has been a major benefit for guests and travelers since they don’t want to stay in a cold hotel or someone’s basement apartment… especially during these times. Sometimes hotels and Airbnbs can have 2-3 guests move in and move out during the same week.

The optics are bad for hotels.

2. Furnished Apartments Are A Better Value

We are in times where the average person is more informed than any other time in history. The internet has shrank the world and opened access to information to everyone with an internet connection.

This means people are more knowledgeable, confident and they tend to know a good deal when one presents itself.

When looking at the cost of a comparable hotel, typically, you will pay for what you get. It is possible to spend $300+ per night to stay in the most prestigious hotels and locations. You could also secure not much more than a bed and 4 walls for $40 per night but I’m sure you know what you’ll get for that.

Furnished apartments are a better value because you get the same high quality finishes without breaking the bank. Norton Property Services’ apartments are upscale and provide guests with a full kitchen — That’s a kitchen with an oven, microwave, full size refrigerator and completely stocked with silverware, dinnerware, utensils etc.

This far outperforms the hotel sink and hotplate that is commonly found in many hotel chains.

3. Furnished Apartments Are More Comfortable

Let’s face it, this isn’t your home and it shouldn’t be but while you’re here it may as well be comfortable. Comfort comes in different flavors from a full kitchen to cook in to the softness of luxury linens even to the mattress and bed.

Our mattresses are comfortable. They are mattresses we have in our homes. They aren’t built for the hotels who expect a lot of wear and tear. Hotels tend to build things for durability instead of comfort.

Have you walked into a hotel bathroom and its completely tiled? The walls, floors and tub not top mention the sink and toilet are probably porcelain. This is cold in nature and cold in temperature.

Our baths may have tile but we take the time to put down a bath rug so your feet don’t get cold during a midnight trip to the bathroom. This is the type of creature comforts you can expect to find at Norton Property Services.

4. Furnished Apartments Have Better Amenities

Sure many hotels have a pool and business center but do they have a rooftop lounge? How about an outdoor grilling station or a dog park? What about being right on the lakeside of an actual lake and plenty of walking and bike trails?

Short term rental providers select apartments with better amenities. Many of the guests at one of our furnished apartments have access to more than just a pool and business center.

Amenities like:

  • Rooftop lounge
  • Outdoor grilling stations
  • Dog runs
  • Lakes and trails
  • Fitness centers
  • Exterior storage large enough for a car
  • Car washing stations
  • Parking garage
  • Billiards

Plus guests staying in short term apartments are actual residents for all intents and purposes. So when the community has events you are able to attend. When the community brings in specialty food trucks, you are able to participate. When the community hands out holiday gifts they will be your holiday gifts.

When was the last time your Airbnb host or hotel left a bag of treats for the holidays?

5. Short Term Furnished Apartment Providers May Offer Customized Solutions

A great benefit to staying with a short term rental is the owner may offer a custom solution for your specific needs.

Norton Property Services has provided guests with desks, rollaway beds, curtains, specialty coffee makers, shopping carts and other items that will make your stay more enjoyable. 

Do not hesitate to request such items but understand short term rentals are a business and should aim to make a profit. Typically, you will have a better chance with a special request if your stay is 90 days or longer since this helps with vacancy and turnover costs.

The next time you’re traveling and need an extended stay consider short term furnished rentals and apartments instead of hotels. You may find it to be the perfect solution for you!

Are Your Clients In Between Homes?

Friday, March 19th, 2021

Do they face any of these problems?

  • Their current home is under contract but they’re still searching for a home to purchase?
  • They are moving to Cary or Raleigh and considering a hotel or Airbnb before they buy a permanent home?
  • They are building a home but it won’t be finished for months and they need a place to live now?
  • They are living with family or friends and they can’t take it anymore lol…

This is their biggest problem which means its your biggest problem!

Be the real estate agent that solves this for them.

Recommend Norton Property Services, a local provider of upscale fully furnished rentals in Cary, NC and we make them available on short term lease so your clients don’t have to choose between staying in a hotel for 3 months or signing a long term lease.

And don’t get me started on Airbnb (scary music plays)…

At Norton Property Services — all of our apartment homes are tastefully furnished, all utilities paid, high speed internet with streaming services — all included in the monthly rent.

Norton Property Services provides a complete solution so your clients don’t have to worry about their living arrangements. We provide comfort and convenience while eliminating stress and hassle. Read how we are trying to make guests as comfortable as possible in times of COVID-19.

And because this is a residence, your clients will enjoy a full sized kitchen, washer/dryer in the unit, patio or balcony, better amenities, privacy and a comfort level not found at a hotel.

Look at our properties. Send me an email for more info. Or just have your clients get in touch. Be the agent that saves the day.

I can’t wait to hear from you!

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