Fires, Thieves and Foam Parties – The “ins and outs” of Tenant Insurance

You never know when disaster can strike. The old, “it won’t happen to me” is a common sentiment until Murphy’s Law kicks in. Theft, fire and damage to apartments happen more than you would guess and you should be prepared, it won’t cost you much and you’ll worry less. Check out this neat Infographic resource from one of Canada’s top property managers, they’ve seen it all.

Capreit Tenant Insurance Infographic

What does the monthly Tenant Insurance cost cover?

  • damage to or loss of your possessions if you rent or lease your apartment or home
  • personal property stolen from your vehicle
  • injury caused to visitors (ex. slip and fall on the driveway)
  • Accidental damage you cause to any part of the apartment building or home you are renting. If the bathtub overflows and floods your apartment, or you’re having a foam party (you’ll want to ask about coverage for this one before sending invites, parties probably won’t qualify as accidents). Tenant insurance can pay for the damage caused to your apartment, the building or neighbouring units.

I don’t have any expensive stuff!

Replacing one or two sweaters is no biggie but imagine having to dish out for 4 or 5 new pairs of shoes, not to mention a new laptop, TV or even a new bed! Are you adding this up? My rough count is up to about $4000 on these few items alone and we’re just scratching the surface. You get the point here; what’s a few hundred bucks a year for a piece of mind? If this sounds like scare tactics to you, you’re catching my drift.

flood

Will my insurance cover the full value of my lost/damaged possessions?

There are two standard types of reimbursement and it’s important to understand the difference between the two; it can impact your premiums and affect how the insurance company assesses your claim. When shopping around for home, condominium or tenant insurance, make sure you find out if the quotes you receive are based on actual cash value or replacement value because premiums for replacement coverage will be higher than for cash value.

  • Cash value coverage reimburses you for the value of personal belongings at the time of a claim. If your 3-year-old mountain bike is stolen, you’d receive the value less depreciation. If the original cost was $2,000, you might only receive $1,000, minus the deductible.
  • Replacement cost coverage reimburses you for the full value of an item. If you’d have to pay $2,500 to buy that same mountain bike today, that’s what you’d receive, less the deductible.

Do Students need Insurance?

Starting at college or university comes with brain clutter like exams, parties, co-ops and friends but one thing that rarely comes to mind is insurance, and for good reason. If you’re a student you’ve probably never had the need for your own insurance; living at your parent’s house and driving their car means you’re insured under their policy. Depending on where you stay while attending school, you might need your own.

  • If you’re living at your parent’s home or residence, you’re covered by their insurance
  • There is usually a cap or limit to how much coverage a student can claim from their parent’s plan, make sure to inquire about the limitations.
  • Students living off campus in an apartment, condo or house should definitely get coverage, especially if you’re living with roomates!
  • Best of all, once you have insurance you can now host a raging foam party (I recommend attending rather than hosting, from personal experience)

Moving Out & Tight On Cash? How to Set Up a Home on a Budget

Whether you’re moving out on your own for the first time, setting up a home with roommates, or settling down after globe trotting, setting up a home sure adds up! While you may have dreams of magazine and pinterest worthy interiors, if you’re on a budget you’ll probably need to hold off on the décor until you’ve bought and paid for all the basics.

When you’re starting from nothing, your shopping list will be gargantuan, covering everything from furniture to trash cans to toilet paper, as well as filling up an empty pantry. But even though it’s a big job, getting yourself sorted doesn’t have to break the bank. If you have a budget to stick to, here are some ideas to help you save.
How to Decorate a Home on a Budget
The essentials
Working out what you need rather than what you want will help you cut down on your initial set-up costs. The best way to do this is make a list of all the items you think you’ll need for every room in the house. For example:

Living Room:
Couch
Coffee table
TV
Lamps
Once you know what you want in each room, go through the list and circle only what you’ll absolutely need on day one – things like the fridge , couch, bed, etc. These are the items you’ll want to buy first. Everything else on the list – like cushions, side tables, etc. – can be acquired slowly over time. By prioritizing your essentials you’ll significantly reduce your initial set up costs, allowing you to slowly save up your money for the rest. If you have time to save up and search for the perfect piece, you are more likely to find fabulous statement pieces that really add to the character of the room, as well as more time to hold out for a great deal.

Where to start?
When you’re just starting out, the first things you buy don’t have to be the best; they just need to get you through while you’re finding your feet. One way to stick to your budget is to get as much as you can second hand:

Friends and family: Friends and family love to help, so don’t be afraid to ask. You’d be amazed by how many couches, TVs and other items are just sitting around unused in people’s garages (that they’re probably glad to get rid of!) Sure, cast-offs from family are unlikely to be the hottest new style, but beggars can’t be choosers, right? You will have plenty of time to save up for a leather couch or a flat screen wall mounted TV once you have a good idea of how your monthly budget balances.

Social media: Don’t underestimate the power of your social networks. Let people know what you need and you never know who might be looking to unload a few items for very cheap or for free to a friend.

Kijiji: Of course, for anything you don’t find from friends and family, you’ll always be able to find great second hand deals on Kijiji! There are lots of free items posted daily, which you can jump on easily if you have the time to check often and the means to pick things up quickly (access to a pick up truck comes in handy when moving large furniture items). Set up an alert for items you hope to buy a little way down the line, so you will be notified when one is posted within your price range.

Setting up a new home can be costly, but there are ways you can cut down on costs. By focusing on the essentials and getting as much as you can second hand, you can probably get set up for much less. So take your time, ask around and graciously accept any items you’re offered. It may not look like the house of your dreams in the beginning, but you can always redecorate a bit further down the track.

Car Pool and Ride Share Safety Tips

Setting up a ride share or a car pool is a great way to save money, and go a little easier on the environment. The cost of splitting gas between 3 or 4 people is nearly always cheaper than taking a bus, train, plane, or a car alone, and a whole lot more sociable. We’ve heard from Kijiji users who have made great friends and had great adventures through ride shares.

Going for a drive with strangers has different risks than buying or selling items. As always, go into a transaction looking out for your own safety, and don’t do anything that seems unsafe. Here are some tips to having a safe and pleasant ride share experience.

Ride Share Safety Tips

  • If you can, meet the other people involved in the ride share before hand. If this is not possible, ask for their Facebook profile ahead of time, and the contact info of others participating in the ride share. Take a look at their social networks, google their name if you like, and make sure they seem like someone you would be comfortable on a long drive with.
  • Get references. Preferably from someone who has ride shared with them in the past. Ask questions that verify that they are who they have presented themselves as to you. If there are any inconsistencies, consider it a red flag.
  • Take a picture of driver’s license and the license plate and email to a friend before you leave. If you feel uncomfortable asking for this information, say something along the lines of “I have a mother who is always worrying about me, she feels much better if she knows who I am with.”
    Make sure someone you trust knows when you will be leaving, and arriving.
  • Agree on rules for the road. Music preferences, whether food, coffee, smoking, or perfume will be permitted, who will be sitting where – it will cause less tension on the ride if everyone has agreed ahead of time on what is and is not permitted.
  • Don’t give too much information about yourself in your ad. Keep it minimal, listing only the need to know details such as when and where you are going, if there is room for cargo (or you have cargo that needs to be transported), that you are bringing your dog with you, and other trip oriented details that might be make or break for the other parties. Details like your gender and age you can disclose later.
  • Ask questions about driver, car. Agree on details like cost, payment, and whether any side trips will be permitted beforehand.
  • Exchange important numbers. Get the main contact details as well as emergency contact numbers beforehand with all who will be travelling with you. You never know when a medical emergency will strike, or if you will need to alter plans at the last minute.
  • Make sure your phone is fully charged before you leave.
  • Go with your gut. If the other person says something that makes you uncomfortable, don’t go with them. If they put you on edge before you even get in the car, you will likely be in for an unpleasant ride!

Do It Yourself: Fixing up an Old Chair

There are some amazing deals on wooden chairs on Kijiji, but often they may be in need of a little TLC to really look their best. How can you restore them to their former glory on a budget?

DIY: Fixing Up an Old Chair on a Budget

Prepare Your Gear

Make sure to get all the tools, materials, and plans that you need before you begin. Write a checklist of all the items required so you don’t forget anything important, and don’t forget about a drop cloth or old newspapers so you don’t damage the floors around your work area.

Repaint Your Old Chair

Repainting old, vintage or retro chair is one of the simplest ways to get a new chair for low cost. Paint stripper, or a fine grade sandpaper can be used to remove old paint to get an even surface before applying new colours. Use masking tape to cover and protect certain areas that you do not wish to paint, or get creative with stencils and designs with some painter’s tape. After you apply the paint or stain, apply thin layer of sealant, wax, or lacquer to protect your new chair from chipping, and really make the piece stand out.

Strip Old Paint

Maybe the ill-conceived paint job from days gone by is what is cramping the style of your chair. There are several ways to go about removing undesired paint from wood. Chemical stripper, sanding, scraping, and paint thinner are all options, depending on the amount of paint. If you choose a chemical method, be sure to use proper protection and work in a well ventilated area.

Bring out the Natural Beauty of Wood

Maybe the oak chair doesn’t match your walnut furniture – no problem! Strip any stain and start over with whatever colour works for your space. Wood stains come in many different colours and finishes, so you can definitely find something that works and updates the look of the wood. If the wood is just a little faded, try oiling the wood with some danish oil or teak oil (for teak furniture specifically). It might be that a bit of oil brings your chair to life in a way you didn’t think possible!

Replace Dated Fabric

If your chair has outdated, damaged, or just less than cool fabric, you can remove the old cover and replace it with a print more suited to your decor. The fabric needs to be stapled to the bottom of the cushion, so remember to get a heavy-duty stapler ahead of time. Alternate the staples between one side and the opposite to prevent wrinkles in the fabric. Have a selection of mismatched chairs? Using the same fabric is a great way to create a cohesive look and bring your room together when dealing with disparate styles.

Re-upholster Your Chair

If your chair needs more than just a new piece of fabric, you might replace older cushioning with a high-density foam to make your chair more comfortable, add more springs if you like a more bouncy seat, replace cushion on the arms, add a sewn-on pillow, or do any number of other adjustments. Once you have decided on the new structure, you can wrap it in a new fabric to give yourself a completely new chair.

Transform Your Chair into Something Else

Maybe that broken leg or structurally unsound back rest isn’t worth your time to fix. However, for a DIY project, with a bit of cutting here and there, sometimes you can turn that old chair into a completely different piece of furniture. By removing the chair’s back, then fixing the cushion or adding a hardwood top, you can transform your chair into a new picnic or dining stool. With bigger chairs, you remove the back and put on new fabric to create an ottoman, or put on a hardwood top for small side or coffee table.

Sell Your Chair and Get a New One

If you really want a totally different chair, or the DIY route seems like too much work for your liking, your best options may be to sell your old ones and replace them with new ones. You can always find tons of cool-looking chairs to give your area new pizzazz. To get the most for you old chairs, it is best if you can fix them up a bit before selling them to increase their value. With a little colour, touch-up, or repair, your chair will have new life and can be sold for a higher price.

Getting a new chair does not have to be expensive. With a little creativity and some simple reupholstering or re-texturing, you can have totally fresh new furniture.

Want to Save Big on Electronics? 8 Ways to Stay Safe Buying Used Technology

Looking for a new cell phone, laptop or tablet? There are tonnes on Kijiji, and a secondhand model is a great way of getting the device you have been lusting after, at a budget friendly price. Staying safe is particularly important when dealing with small, high value items, so here are our tips on how to have a great transaction.

Meet face to face. Never send a seller money from your bank account before inspecting the item in person, and don’t send payment via money transfer services.

Ask for a receipt. Get the seller to sign and write his/her name and address on the back of a receipt.

Take a screenshot. Have a copy of the Kijiji ad so you have it as a reference for the transaction.

Be suspicious of a nearly-new phone being sold without packaging or accessories. If the seller can’t produce a receipt or even a charger, it could be a stolen phone. Here is how to check whether a smartphone is legal for sale.

Establish the condition of the phone. Use the phone, open a few apps, and try to find out what state the battery life is in if you can.

Don’t accept a phone laptop or device in a sealed box. As great as sealed boxes may seem, you need to be able to inspect the item. It is not hard to fake a seal on a box, so if the seller won’t allow you to take the item out of the box to test it, it could be faulty or even a fake.

Be careful of malware and viruses on a used device. If possible start with a clean slate by reinstalling the operating system or wiping the phone.

Take your time, and don’t rush into any decisions. If you see an iPhone or similar expensive device advertised at a very significant discount (even if it’s not the most recent model), then it’s probably too good to be true. Don’t pay until you have the device in your hands, and if in doubt, just walk away.