If you're renting a home or an apartment, you'll be well served to check out our huge roundup of the best tips for renters. But once you've moved in, there's always a few upgrades and customizations that can turn a rental into "your home"...even if it's not really yours. Here are a few tips for utilizing add-on technologies which will extend the comfort of your home while still honoring your rental agreement...
Convince Your Landlord To Pony Up For Upgrades
Whether you pony up for a cool Nest Learning Thermostat or a more traditional model, installing a programmable thermostat in an older rental is a simple way to upgrade heating and cooling to better efficiency. Most landlords will understand the value of upgrades to their rental properties and can be surprisingly open to longterm upgrades like this. Try to make a deal with the landlord to pay for the thermostat if you offer to install it for them for free.
It's a nice win-win situation, where the landlord can advertise an energy efficient programmable thermostat, and you get to take advantage for just a little bit of labor. If the landlord won't agree to any such crazy ideas, then go ahead and buy and install a new thermostat yourself, it will be just as easy to remove and replace with the original model when you move out and you can take it with you to your next place.
Invest In Wireless Technology
Chances are the receptacles for telephone, TV, and network aren't going to be where you really want them. It's inevitable that the coax plug is on the wrong wall wherever you move. If it were your house or apartment, moving it might be a pain in the butt, but then again you're in it for the long haul and care about the value of the home.
So as a renter you're stuck dealing with wires running across the floor. If you're moving around a lot from rental to rental, we suggest skipping the hassle of hiding wiring entirely and investing in quality wireless technology. Spend a little money on wireless video and just take it with you place to place without worrying about each location's unique setup. Powerline network adapters are also an affordable way to bring internet connections throughout the house without tearing into any walls or messing with the electrical.
Ditch the Land Line Telephone
More and more folks are giving up their landlines or thinking about it. Forget setting up a new telephone service and getting a new number whenever you move by establishing a Google Voice number. You can even keep your old number if you switch, and now your number is forever portable - you can keep the same number with you every time you move.
Another option is pairing Google Voice with a cheap VOIP telephone service such as Magic Jack, if you still want the convenience of physical phones scattered around the home. Plus, you still get to use that outdated fax machine. Better yet, get yourself a DECT phone, which allows you to use the same handset to make and receive calls from your cell phone too.
More Renter Solutions
Be sure to check out our massive roundup of renter solutions and tips for tons of ways to make your renter's lifestyle more comfortable and happy.