Having and Mantaining a Good Credit Score

Many years ago, my young bride and I went to rent an apartment.  The landlord told us, “You look like a nice young couple,” and that was all we needed to be in order to sign a lease and move in.  Today, renting an apartment is a little more complicated, and a credit score check is often part of the process.  Landlords know that a renter with a good credit score is more likely to pay their rent on time, than one with a lower score

When my son was young, I knew some day he’d be going to college and moving out and starting his own life.  So, as dutiful parents, we began planning for his future.  We did obvious things, like start a college savings account for him. But we did something else, too. We helped him establish a credit history, and taught him how to build a good credit score.

If you’re over thirty, or even over 25, you probably have a credit score, whether or realize it or not.  But what about young people just starting out in life.  Not too many teen agers are making monthly payments on credit cards or utilities.  But they can, and should be doing this in order to help establish a credit rating for themselves.

For example, when my son was a teenager, we put his cell phone in his name.  I paid the monthly bill, but cell phone companies report to the major credit bureaus, and that’s how a credit history is created.  Another thing a parent can do is to help a teen procure a credit card, say with a limit of $500.  In order for this to be actually in the teen’s name, you may have to secure the card by putting $500 in a savings account with the issuing bank.  Have the teen use the card for small personal purchases, and make sure at least the minimum payment is made every month.

When my son went to college and lived in an apartment community, again, we put the lease in his name, even though we paid his rent.  I co-signed on one vehicle he financed. After that, he was able to buy a car entirely with his own credit history.

So, the first goal is to establish credit.  You do this step by step.  If you can get a bank credit card, even with a small credit limit, and you use it and pay it off on time, the bank will start to raise your credit limit, and this is good for your credit score.

The exact method the big three credit reporting companies actually figure your credit score is not shared with the public, but some things are known.  The biggest one is just paying your bills on time.  But that’s not enough.  Having credit cards helps, but running your balance up to your credit limit seems to hurt your credit score.  Opening too many credit accounts also seems to hurt your score.  Even closing out a credit card can lower your score because it reduces the amount of potential credit you have.

While there is no quick fix to raising your credit score, doing these three things will help you over the long haul:

  1. Pay your bills on time
  2. Don’t keep your credit card balances too close to your credit limits
  3. Don’t apply for a lot of credit.  Every time you do, your credit score will drop a little.

 

House Warming Gifts for First Time Apartment Dwellers

Where's Mom book

Do you know a family member or friend who is just about to move in to Willow Creek Crossing Apartments? What’s an appropriate house-warming gift for someone moving into their first apartment?

One of the great things about living in an apartment is not having to worry about major repairs, like you have to with a house.   Just call maintenance.  But what about the small things, like one of your own appliances, or minor repairs on your car. For these occasional projects, you need basic tools, like a hammer, or allen wrenches.  The Apollo Precision Tools DT9706P 39-Piece Pink General Tool Set on Amazon.com provides all of the basic tools for only $25.00.

One of the best and most used presents I ever received was a big book showing how to fix basic things around the home. Where’s Dad Now That I Need Him?: Surviving Away from Home is a self help book that anyone just starting out on their own needs to have. Again, available from Amazon.com for $16.95. By the way, there’s a companion book, Where’s Mom Now That I Need Her?: Surviving Away from Home , also available.  Buy them both!

You don’t think about having to replace a button until you’re in a hurry to get to some important event, and have nothing else to wear.  The Singer 35 Piece Sewing Kit In Storage Box from toolking.com is a gift for under $8 that will be highly appreciated by anyone living in their first apartment.

A good flashlight is important for when the power goes off, but it’s quite useful to use when trying to plug cables into the back of your TV, sound system or computer, and you need more light.l. The INOVA X5 Dual-Mode UV LED Flashlight with its Titanium body is so cool, you cab just leave it out on the coffee table as a decoration or art piece. Sure, at $36, it’s a little pricey for a flashlight. But it’s way cooler than the $2.99 plastic flashlights you can get at Lowes. Available from Swissknifeshop.com, which also has a lot of other cool items.

Here’s a gift you should give to any family member or friend about to move into Willow Creek Crossing Apartments, and you should give them this right now. It’s the Medique 40061 61 Piece First Aid Kit. This is a gift that could save a life, or just seem like a life saver when they’re looking for an aspirin early one morning. $12.99 at Northern Tool.

Don’t worry if you’re the one who’s receiving house-warming gifts because you just moved into Willow Creek Crossing.  Our apartments include a great deal of extra storage room.

 

 

Finding Extra Storage in an Apartment

storage-wars-3 (2)

Although our apartments here at Willow Creek Crossing are large and offer plenty of storage room, it is still common for people living in an apartment to need extra storage space.  The easiest solution is to rent an off site storage unit.   Most of these are clean, secured and well lit at night.  Here are a few things you should think about before jumping in.

 

First, check the cost. Obtain written cost estimates from at least three facilities. Most will insist on inspecting your items before offering an estimate; if a facility gives a phone estimate, look elsewhere. Costs to consider include the monthly rental fee (usually there are a minimum monthly storage charge and a minimum number of month’s storage); storage preparation, padding, packing or transportation fees; and fees for extra options (electricity, pest control, insurance) you may choose. Ask how the fees are to be paid and by what date.

Size. What size storage units are available? Is there a maximum weight limit for unit contents? Can you jam-pack the entire unit from floor to ceiling?

Climate. Moisture can be a problem. It can damage your items and cause mold and mildew to grow. Consider the general climate and whether your belongings might be subject to mold or water damage. If so, you may want to consider an environmentally-controlled unit.  If you rent a heated and cooled unit, check to make sure everything’s working correctly.

Insurance. Make sure your items are insured from theft, fire or other damage. The facility may provide basic insurance or you can choose to purchase insurance from an alternate source. Some homeowners’ policies cover self-storage.

Safety. You will need a heavy-duty, secure lock protecting your storage unit. . Find an all-weather pad lock that has a short arm to make it difficult for someone to use a bolt cutter on it.Ask if the facility has surveillance cameras on the property and if a system is in place to restrict access by strangers. Ask for contact information to reach someone at the facility in case of an emergency.

Contract. Get everything in writing – the size and location of the unit; options (such as climate-control) that you have selected; termination regulations; insurance coverage and payment terms.

Access. What are the hours and related charges for accessing your unit? Is there adequate room for parking and is the distance from your car/truck to the rental unit acceptable?

Keep your items off the floor. It might sound silly, but before renting your unit, there’s no way to promise that the melting snow won’t come under the door, or the adjacent unit won’t have a spill.
Wrap What You Can : in industrial plastic wrap. That way, you’ll know things are sealed and won’t collect dust or insects.

Label Everything: Even though you know exactly what you’re putting in your storage unit at the time you open it, you probably won’t remember in 6 months when you need back in. Label everything. The hidden, the obvious, and you can even go as far as to make a checklist that hangs inside the door telling you where something might be.

Plan ahead for temperature changes within your unit: This is Indiana, so it will be very hot and it will be very cold, and there are a few things that don’t like the cold or the heat and should either be double wrapped or well insulated or not stored at all, especially electronics, vinyl records, and old photos.

Protect The Space: While we’re concerned about protecting what we put in the unit, protecting the unit itself is also important — there can be heavy fines for damaging the unit during your tenancy. Take care of your unit and avoid any fines when you move out.

 

 

Must Haves for you College Apartment

Small Computers can still be powerful while saving valuable space

With Willow Creek Crossing’s large apartments and quick easy access to I-69, we always have a lot of college students living here.   If this is your first year living away from home, consider putting some of these items on your back to school shopping list.

 

Of course you need a computer, but you may not find a lot room left over for that big tower computer with the giant monitor once you get your books home from the bookstore.  Fortunately, today’s small computers, and laptops are very powerful, and can still power your games while keeping a low space profile.  A laptop can be moved around and even shared with visitors or roommates.

Next, consider is a central charging station for you cell phones, laptops, and tablets.  You won’t last long without recharging  your essential electronic devices, and a central station will save room and let you know quickly where your devices are hiding, while insuring they are always charged.

Another great space creator for any apartment is an e-book reader.  One compactl reader can store tons of books you would otherwise have to store.  Replace bulky bookshelves with an e-reader.

Now two low tech items every good college apartment should have in the kitchen, a toaster oven and a crock pot.  A toaster oven is faster and easier to use to make a frozen dinner or snack, while a crock pot is essential for making easy, healthy meals.  Put a few ingredients into the crock pot in the morning, let is slow cook all day, and have a terrific meal every night. The great food aromas from the crock pot might even cover up the fact you haven’t done the laundry in a while as well.

Now, you tell us.  What items do you think are essential for your college apartment?

 

Sport Bikes being Stolen in Fort Wayne

yoshimura-kawasaki-zx-10r-06-07-TRC-CARBON

If you own a sport bike, also widely known as crotch rockets, made by Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki or Yamaha, make sure it’s fully secured at all times.  Fort Wayne Police are investigating a series of thefts of these types of bikes from both residential neighborhoods and apartment communities.

Victims also are telling police that at the time of the theft, fork locks or other locking devices were in place. These thefts are happening overnight, and police believe these units are being lifted or loaded into a vehicle or trailer. Police said no suspect information exists, though it is believed that the majority of these incidents are related.

Police advise owners to park their motorcycles in secure garages or in well-lit areas. And to buy a chain lock and secure your motorcycle to a fixed object or invest in an alarm system.

Anyone with information about this recent rash of motorcycle thefts is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at (260) 436-7867 (STOP) where a cash reward is possible for information received.  These incidents remain under investigation with the City of Fort Wayne Police Department and the Allen County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

 

Lower your Loan Rates by Simply Paying your Rent

Credit scores

Why is is important to build and keep a high credit score?  Because sooner or later, you’re going to want a car loan, or new credit card.  Or, you might want to take advantage of an offer for no payments for six months or a year on a major purchase.  Whether or not you’ll get the loan and how low the interest rate might be, depends on your credit score, the higher the better.

Earlier this year, One of the nation’s largest credit reporting companies, Experian, announced it would begin including rental payments in its credit score formula.

This means that paying your rent on time can help boost your credit score. On the other hand, paying late, may hurt your credit score. With credit scores, the higher the better.

Even some auto insurance companies base your rates on your credit score, and now, some employers have been using them when assessing job applicants, although this is getting the attention of government agencies..

In response to Experian’s decision, various websites have started up to help consumers make the most of their rental payment from a credit score angle. Williampaid.com, for example, will not only pay your rent for you automatically-it deducts your payment from your bank account for a $1.75 monthly fee-it will also report your rental payment to FICO, the main credit-monitoring firm, for $2.50 per month.

There’s also a new Website called RentReporters.com that says it can verify residential rental payments of 100 millionU.S.renters and transfer that information to consumer credit reports, thus helping them to boost their credit scores. (Estimate your credit score for free.)

At any rate, it pays to have a good credit score, and now the simple act of paying your rent on time can help you earn one.  One good way to do that is to use our online pay option.  It’s really easy, so give it try.

 

Spring Cleaning at Willow Creek Crossing Apartments

Willow Creek Crossing Management takes pride in the appearance of the community.  As we begin seasonal maintenance on the property, we would like to remind residents of their personal obligation regarding care and cleanliness in and around their apartments…
Patios and Balconies
It’s time to spruce up your patios and balconies.  Only seasonal items that are meant for outdoor use, and are in a good state of repair should be kept on your patio or balcony.  Items like garbage cans, gas cans, coolers, indoor furniture, refuse, or animal cages are not allowed–either by your lease agreement or by the City’s Neighborhood Code Enforcement.
Common Areas
Safety Measures: Common areas (entrances and stairwells) must always be clear of personal items that may block the passage of residents to and from their apartments.  Flammable items may not be stored under the stairway.  In addition, items may not block access to mailboxes or fire extinguishers.  Absolutely nothing should be left on stair steps.
Sanitary Measures:
Residents may not keep, for any period of time, items of refuse, diapers, recyclables, tires, building materials or pet food outside their doors or anywhere in common areas.
Willow Creek Crossing Management will actively enforce these policies, not only for the health and safety of our residents, but for the appearance of the property.

Thanks for your cooperation!

Expand your Living in an Apartment

A Captain's Bed is a great way to add storage


The old saying goes, “Bigger isn’t always better.”  More and more people are choosing to live in smaller apartments,  whether it’s finances, reducing your energy consumption or simply wanting to start fresh, downsizing into a smaller apartment home is a great way to give your new lifestyle a kickstart.

Some of the benefits include smaller heating and cooling bills, less clutter and less to take care of overall.

Of course, there are a few challenges to moving into a smaller home, particularly space. Pack rats or those with large furniture may have a harder time adjusting to the smaller space, but this can be overcome with creative methods of storage.

Making the Most of the Downsizing

There are several ways to maximize your space and your moving adventure when downsizing to a smaller apartment.

– Storage may obviously be the biggest hassle. Get creative with it. If you have any nooks or crannies in your new, smaller apartment, consider adding shelving or other storage units within the crannies. Captain’s beds also make great storage when you’re low on space.

– Put multiple light sources in every room — windows count — to create an illusion of a bigger space. More light will also open up the space visually.

– Clean, minimalist furniture will maximize your space and create a clean living area.

– Art is another thing to keep minimal. Having lots of wall decor can clutter the space and make your apartment seem even smaller. Keep it simple with one large print or piece of art. If you have collections consider grouping them together to form one large art piece or keeping them in different areas so the wall spaces are kept as clean as possible.

– Go through your possessions before you move so that you don’t have to deal with doing it in your smaller space. One way to do this is to ask yourself if you’ve used/worn/enjoyed a possession within the past year. If you haven’t, get rid of it!

Overall, many people thoroughly enjoy living in a smaller space for various reasons, although it can take some getting used to.

To get an idea of how much room you can have with an apartment, tour the furnished models at Willow Creek Crossing Apartments.  You can see floorplans, or watch apartment tour videos, or come by and visit us on Lower Huntington Road in Southwest Fort Wayne, near Waynedale and Fort Wayne Internatinal Airport.


Willow Creek Crossing Apartments Online Easter Egg Hunt!

Fort Wayne Apartments Online Easter Egg Hunt

Willow Creek Crossing Apartments is having an Online Easter Egg Hunt!

Visit our website at www.WillowCreekCrossingApartments.com starting Monday, April 2nd at 1pm to Thursday, April 5th at 1pm and look for our hidden Easter egg!

The Easter egg could be hidden anywhere, on any page including in a photo or video! Once you find the Easter egg, click on it and you’ll be taken to a form. Fill out the form for your chance to win our Easter basket filled with goodies!

A winner will be drawn from all entries on Thursday, April 5th and posted on our Facebook by 3pm.

One entry per person please. Online egg hunt is open to residents & non-residents. The winner will need to pick up the Easter basket at the leasing office, we can not ship the basket.

Good Luck!

Fort Wayne Apartments Online Easter Egg Hunt

Facebook BINGO stars Oct. 31st!

Willow Creek Crossing Apartments Facebook Bingo

Willow Creek Crossing Apartments Facebook Bingo

Have fun and win prizes with facebook BINGO!

  1. Pick up a Bingo card at the Willow Creek Crossing Apartments leasing office. Bingo Cards were delivered to residents along with newsletter. Non-residents can pick up a Bingo card at our leasing office at 7501 Lakeridge Drive in Fort Wayne.
  2. Starting Monday, October 31st we will announce 1 bingo number per day (monday-friday) on the wall of our facebook page. Make sure to like us on facebook to play! www.facebook.com/willowcreekcrossingapartments
  3. The first person to post “BINGO” to our wall and then bring their correctly completed bingo card showing 5 in a row (straight line or diagonal) to our office will WIN! Even after someone has announced BINGO we will continue to give out numbers until they bring their card to our office and we verify that they have won. So keep playing until we announce a winner!

Once we announce a winner, a new game will start the last business day of the month with a different colored bingo card that can be picked up in the office.


One card per apartment/household. The bingo number will ONLY be available on facebook and on the door of the clubhouse, it will NOT be given out by phone. The first person to show 5 in a row wins (straight line and digonal). We will announce the winner just as we do the bingo number.
This game is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with, Facebook.