Disaster Safety for the Apartment Renter

Home can feel like one of the safest places in the world, but dangerous and even deadly disasters such as earthquakes, floods and storms can threaten that safety.

When disaster strikes, being prepared is crucial to your survival. For apartment-dwellers, it’s critical that they understand how their apartment could be at risk during common disasters and what they or the community’s management should do to prepare.


Apartment living doesn’t make one safe from the threat of floods and the damage that they do. Often, flooding is caused by leaks, such as those from malfunctioning appliances or faulty pipes, but it can also be caused by natural causes, such as hurricanes and prolonged rain.

Water from flooding can damage both personal belongings, such as furniture and electronics, and the apartment itself. Mold and structural damage to flooring and walls are some of the common problems that come from flooding.

To protect your valuables, get flood insurance in addition to renters insurance. This type of insurance will cover damage caused by flooding, where renters insurance alone may not.

Another important step in protecting your valuables is to place items that can be destroyed by water in a location that’s high enough to be out of the way of rising water in the event of a flood. These types of items should be moved off the ground and away from areas, such as bathrooms that may flood accidentally.

Residents living in flood zones should ask apartment management about sandbags during heavy rainfall, which can prevent outside water from reaching ground-level apartments. Unplug electrical items if the apartment begins to flood during a storm, and if possible, vacate the premises.



In a hurricane, people living in an apartment face damage from heavy rain and winds that can be as strong as 155 mph. This may result in windows breaking and damage to the apartment’s roof. Flooding from rain creates another concern during hurricanes.

To protect the apartment, bring in any patio/balcony furniture that high winds may toss against windows. Board up windows and sliding doors, and ask the apartment management if they’ll provide the necessary materials.

People who live on upper floors should shelter in apartments at lower levels when possible. Regardless of where the unit is located, stay toward the center in a room with no windows. Closets and bathrooms are good spots within an apartment to seek shelter. Keep a battery-operated radio on, and evacuate if instructed to do so.

Renters, particularly those who live in hurricane zones, should also verify that they’re covered with hurricane insurance.



Tornadoes are highly destructive, with winds that reach as high as 300 m.p.h. This can lift objects like trees from the ground and the roof off of a building. Damage to an apartment may include harm to walls and windows from outside projectiles and roof damage that ranges from mild to ripped off entirely.

The first step of protecting your apartment and yourself is to purchase an insurance policy that covers tornado damage. This is crucial for individuals living in areas that are at high risk for tornadoes.

To reduce the risk of projectiles, remove furniture from the patio or balcony. Speak with management about securing or removing items that can be lifted by high winds. The management should also trim branches in the complex that may break and fly through the air. Individuals living in high-risk areas should also talk with the management about the installation of storm shutters.

During a tornado, apartment residents generally don’t have a basement to shelter in. Instead, they should avoid windows and go to an apartment or room on the lowest floor, if possible. The room you choose to take shelter in should be near the center of the apartment. If staying in a bathroom, get into the bathtub. Wherever you go, covering your head and neck or wearing a helmet can help to prevent injury.



When the violent shaking of an earthquake hits, it can cause more than just serious injury — it may also damage the structural integrity of an apartment. This could include cracks in walls, the ceiling or the foundation itself, should it shift during the quake. Earthquakes may also shatter or crack windows in the apartment.

Steps that you can take beforehand include anchoring heavy or breakable items that may fall or be flung around, such as mirrors, TVs and heavy and tall furniture like bookshelves. These items should be anchored to the floor or the wall.

Breakable or heavy items that can’t be anchored should be kept on lower shelves and never stacked. You should also check your renters insurance policy to ensure you’re covered for earthquake damage.

During an earthquake, renters should move away from mirrors or windows that may shatter and cut them. Ideally, they should find a sturdy desk or table to seek shelter under. Once under shelter, covering the back of the head and neck with one’s arms can help prevent serious injury.

If there are no objects to duck under, crouch against a wall inside of the apartment, protecting the head and neck. Stay indoors and under shelter until the shaking stops completely. Avoid going down apartment stairs during the quake and avoid elevators.


Emergency preparedness

Before a crisis strikes, create an evacuation plan for when leaving the home is advised. Everyone living in the home should know what the plan is and have practiced it.

When creating an evacuation plan, families should have locations in mind where they can stay. Often, evacuated people will stay in a public shelter, or one can make plans to stay at the home of a friend or family member if the need arises.

Hotels and motels are options, but if evacuating with a pet, be sure to find out where pet-friendly hotels are located. Because families must also have a way to contact each other, every family member should have a list of phone numbers that are kept in a wallet or purse, including the number of an out-of-town friend.

Putting together an emergency supply kit is another universal and necessary step when preparing for potential disasters. An effective supply kit contains items that are crucial to a person or family’s survival following a disaster like a first aid kit, batteries, a flashlight and a battery-powered radio.

The emergency kit should also include enough nonperishable food for at least three days and a gallon of water per person per day. Also, pack important documents and an extra supply of medications in a waterproof bag.

Additional resources

  • Tornado Safety Tips for Apartments
  • Hurricane Preparedness for Apartment Dwellers
  • Tornado Safety Checklist (PDF)
  • Tornado Safety
  • What to Do During a Tornado Event
  • Where Is the Safest Place in a High-Rise Apartment During a Tornado?
  • Get Ready for a Major Earthquake. What to Do Before and During a Big One
  • Tips for Tenants
  • Here’s What to Keep at Home in an Emergency Supply Kit
  • Emergency Preparedness: Make a Plan
  • Family, Health, and Safety Preparation
  • Putting Together Your Emergency Supply Kit
  • Disaster Preparedness Guide for Seniors and Caregivers
  • Emergency Preparedness Checklist (PDF)
  • Build Your Own Pet Emergency Kit
  • Disaster Preparedness: A Checklist (PDF)
  • These Are the Best Foods to Stockpile for an Emergency
  • Checklist for Disaster Preparedness (PDF)
  • Preparedness Guide for Disasters and Emergencies: Personal Preparedness (PDF)
  • Floods and Flash Floods
  • How to Prepare for Hurricane Season
  • Seven Tips for Hurricane Preparedness
  • Hurricane Preparedness Tip

The post Disaster Safety for the Apartment Renter appeared first on Apartment Living Tips – Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.

Source: apartmentguide.com

The ABCs of Multifamily Cash Flow

You hear the term all the time. After all, it’s an essential concept for apartment investors because it not only reflects the viability of your investment but also its value. 

But what really is cash flow? How do you compute it, and more importantly, how can you increase the cash flow of your multifamily property?

Cash flow is simply the money that moves in and out of your business. For apartments, the cash coming in is in the form of rent, and the cash flowing out is in the form of expenditures like property taxes and utilities. 

Cash flow – or lack of it — is one of the primary reasons businesses, or real estate investments,  fail. Without sufficient cash flow, you’ll run out of money. That’s why it’s essential that you have sufficient capital to not only purchase an apartment property but also sustain it in the event that cash flow fails to be what you projected – for example, if units turn over more often than you expect or rents decline. 

Here are some ways you can improve the cash flow of your apartment investment:

  • Increase rents. This is perhaps the fastest and easiest way to improve cash flow. Consider repositioning the property – investing some capital to improve the units and then bumping rents.
  • Reduce utility costs. Fix leaky shower heads and faucets, which waste water. Install energy-efficient appliances and lighting fixtures. 
  • Decrease expenses. Renegotiate your property management contract, or put it out to bid at the end of the term. Use free rental property listing sites rather than paying a broker to rent apartments.
  • Encourage residents to stay. Moveouts are expensive, so when tenants renew their leases you’ll save time and money on prepping the unit.
  • Add additional streams of revenue, such as pet deposits and rent, garage rentals, vending machines or valet trash. 

The post The ABCs of Multifamily Cash Flow first appeared on Century 21®.

Source: century21.com

Moving to Omaha: Everything You Need to Know

You may have a preconception about moving to Omaha. But once you’re in the city, it exceeds expectations and is a place you don’t want to leave.

Omahans enjoy outstanding attractions, such as the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, considered one of the top zoos in the world. With nearly 130 acres of indoor and outdoor exhibits, the zoo claims to have the world’s largest indoor desert dome and the top indoor rain forest in North America. The African Grasslands and Asian Highlands feature animals in natural settings.

The Durham Museum showcases Omaha’s history, such as its early days as a railroad center and the site of the 1898 World’s Fair, a.k.a. Trans-Mississippi Expedition. Outdoor attractions include Fontenelle Forest, with more than 15 miles of natural trails among the bluffs overlooking the Missouri River, as well as the downtown riverfront, which is home to the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge, one of the longest bridges connecting two states as Nebraska and Iowa meet in the middle of the river.

Omaha’s culinary scene rivals that of many bigger cities in the U.S. With several James Beard Foundation-nominated chefs, you’ll find restaurants featuring fresh handmade dishes from around the world. Farm-to-table dining is popular, with restaurants like The Grey Plume, Dante and Au Courant leading the way. It’s hard to taste better Italian dishes than you’ll find at Lo Sole Mio or Malara’s. South Omaha is ripe with authentic Mexican eateries.

While the city doesn’t have any major league sport, it’s an amateur sports mecca. From the College World Series in June to hosting multiple U.S. Olympics trials, including swimming and curling events, Omaha attracts hundreds of thousands of fans to the area. Omaha is also home to the Storm Chasers, the top minor league baseball team for the Kansas City Royals.

Keep on reading to see if moving to Omaha is a fit, and why you’ll love to live there and strive to keep it “America’s best-kept secret.”

omaha ne

Omaha overview

Omaha is home to four of Forbes Top 500 companies, led by Berkshire-Hathaway. With local billionaire Warren Buffett at the helm, Berkshire-Hathaway is among the top five companies by Forbes. Other top Forbes companies include Union Pacific (No. 141), Mutual of Omaha (337) and Kiewit Corp. (339).

While enjoying major economic success, Omaha maintains a Midwestern small-town feel, where it’s common for people to say hi as they see you on the street and hold the door for you when entering buildings.

While experiencing growth and development in neighborhoods across the city, the Omaha cost of living continues to remain strong, along with steady job growth.

  • Population: 478,192
  • Population density (People per square mile): 3,217.9
  • Median income: $59,266
  • Studio average rent: $864
  • One-bedroom average rent: $946
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,173
  • Cost of Living index: 93.4

omaha ne park

Popular neighborhoods in Omaha

Moving to Omaha offers you a chance to explore the city’s history, culture and diversity. While west and southwest Omaha offers the feel of suburbia, Omaha’s most popular neighborhoods remain the oldest and most upscale.

From the riverfront to midtown, you’ll find a mix of older and contemporary apartments and condominiums to call home, while also enjoying easy access to culture, parks, vintage shops and a fun nightlife scene, featuring outstanding eateries and bars.

  • Old Market: Old Market is the heartbeat of Omaha. The nine-block area hosts one of the Midwest’s longest-running farmers markets each summer and fall. The entertainment district is family-friendly during the day, with restaurants, shops and galleries open, before becoming an adult-centric neighborhood at night, as couples dine out and then hit bars and clubs, creating a fun, party atmosphere.
  • Benson: One of Omaha’s oldest neighborhoods, Benson is an eclectic mix of art galleries, coffee shops, craft breweries and restaurants. Toss in vintage and unique clothing shops, and you’ve found the city’s “Hipster” area. During “First Fridays,” galleries and other businesses stay open later on the first Friday of each month, along with entertainment and even food trucks lining the streets.
  • Midtown: Popular with young professionals moving to Omaha, Midtown is a mix of contemporary apartments and condos with older homes. The Midtown Crossing entertainment district is home to some of the best restaurants in Omaha, as well as unique retail outlets. Midtown is the site of the Jazz on the Green festival each summer.
  • Dundee: Considered Omaha’s first suburb, Dundee is home to classic apartments, as well as modern outlets. With fantastic local eateries, such as Ahmad’s Persian Café, Saddle Creek Breakfast Club and J. Coco, calling the area home, it’s one of the city’s best dining areas. It’s also home to Warren Buffett, whose house in Happy Hollow borders the neighborhood.
  • Blackstone: Nestled between Midtown and Dundee, Blackstone is one of Omaha’s newest entertainment districts. Heavy on restaurants and bars, such as Noli’s Pizzeria and Butterfish, it also offers excellent spots to relax and enjoy a treat or coffee at Coneflower Creamery and Archetype Coffee.

The pros of moving to Omaha

Omaha offers people excellent attractions, restaurants, outdoor activities and a sports scene that makes other cities jealous. With plans to expand the riverfront, downtown Omaha will rank as one of the most beautiful and fun areas in the Midwest. Here are three reasons why you’ll enjoy moving to Omaha.

omaha downtown

Excellent employment opportunities

With one of the lowest unemployment rates in the United States at less than 5 percent, Omaha is home to major leaders in healthcare, transportation, agriculture and insurance. Several people moving to Omaha are with companies, such as Union Pacific, Pacific Life and Aflac.

Tech companies are finding their way to Omaha, with the city earning the nickname “Silicon Prairie,” as Facebook and Google are among companies opening data centers in the area.

Enjoy the commute

Nicknamed the “15-minute City,” Omaha is easy to get around. The commute is actually about 20 minutes, as the city grows and expands its boundary westward. Regardless, the main thoroughfares, such as Dodge, Maple, Pacific and Center streets, run east-west, while the interstate system continues to add lanes to ease morning and afternoon commute issues.

The cost of living is a huge plus

With a cost of living index rating of 93.4, among the best in the United States, moving to Omaha benefits you financially. Everything tends to cost less here than in other cities of similar size, such as groceries, utilities, rent and gasoline. You can enjoy an evening out on the town without worrying about mortgaging the farm.

omaha winter

The cons of moving to Omaha

While Omaha enjoys economic success, the city faces challenges to keep its young professionals in the area, among other issues. Here are three areas of concern when considering moving to Omaha.

Lack of diversity

Whites make up about 66 percent of the population, while the African American community is the largest ethnic minority, accounting for about 12 percent of the city’s population. Hispanics make up about 11 percent, while Asian Americans and Native Americans account for about four percent.

While Omaha hasn’t experienced racial tensions like other cities, people have targeted minorities as a way of gaining political power, including focusing on undocumented workers or perceived high crime rates. Minority residents have protested unfair treatment by law enforcement and the court system.

Public transportation is a challenge

Omaha is a car city. Without a vehicle, you’ll be challenged to easily get around town. While Uber and Lyft are successful in Omaha, the city’s public transportation system is lacking for many residents.

With bus routes that run east-west, focusing on stops toward downtown, the Metro Transit system doesn’t run 24/7, which impacts people who prefer using public transportation. The new ORBT route runs from the Westroads Mall to downtown, but again, it’s not designed for 24/7 service.

Winter can be severe

Winters in Omaha are hit-or-miss — it may snow a lot or just a few inches. However, when it gets cold and snowy, traffic comes to a standstill. Literally. You’ll find parking lots on some of the main routes, because, as people joke, “two inches of snow shuts down the city.” Snow removal is an annual challenge, as well as the potholes that come with the winter season.

How to get started on your move to Omaha

Omaha’s attractions, culinary scene, sports community and commute are winning factors to consider when it comes to moving to Omaha. Regardless of the neighborhood you choose to call home, you’ll only be minutes from most major attractions, parks and restaurants.

To assist with your move as you pack up to head to the Big O, visit our Moving Center to get free quotes and more information about planning your move.

Rent prices are based on a rolling weighted average from Apartment Guide and Rent.com’s multifamily rental property inventory of one-bedroom apartments. Data was pulled in December 2020 and goes back for one year. We use a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each individual unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets.
Population and income numbers are from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Cost of living data comes from the Council for Community and Economic Research.
The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.

The post Moving to Omaha: Everything You Need to Know appeared first on Rent Blog.

Source: rent.com