8 Things You Forget To Consider While Apartment Hunting


The majority of people live in an apartment at some point in their life. Whether you are single and just want a low maintenance place to live, or you and your family are building a house and need a short term place to stay, or live in a big city and apartments are the best way to live in the city.

  No matter what your reason, you are going to come across a large amount of differently structured apartment complexes and it’s hard to know what to really think about when you see a bunch of places in a short amount of time.

  As a leasing consultant of an apartment complex I see a bunch of things that come into play when trying to get a prospect to choose our property. So I have decided to make a list of some of the things I have personally seen people fail to think about, whether they just didn’t take the time to, or whether they just didn’t know how much they valued certain things. These are things to think about when looking at apartments.


Apartment Amenities
What amenities would you like to have access to?

What amenities do they have? Do they have a pool? Garden area? Fitness Center? Or tanning beds? Some complexes are so state of the art it’s incredible! Take this into consideration though. When they give you all of these extra facilities… the price of the apartment is going to be higher. This can be good though. Whether it’s the gas you save from not driving the kiddos to the pool every day because you have one at your complex, or if you can cancel your fitness center membership or tanning cards! The costs cancel each other out. Just take it into consideration before turning up your nose at a price. Also think about the times that the amenities are open, is it 24 hours? Or do they close after 7? If the amenities are important to you, you want to make sure that they are open at times of your benefit so you can actually get some use out of them.


Apartment layouts
Do you like the bedrooms close together or on opposite ends?

How is the apartment laid out? Does it include all of the appropriate appliances? Are the bedrooms next to each other or far apart? Which do you prefer? What’s the square footage, and how did the architect utilize it? Is there sufficient storage? If it’s in the summer make sure to check out what kind of heat it has, and in the winter make sure it has an air-conditioner. Might not be the thing you are thinking about when it’s below zero out. All these things may slip your mind once you get into the apartment because the nice finishes and good views could distract you, but they are important to keep in mind. Also think about the lay out of the property, and where you want to be located on the property.

3. PETS 

Apartments that allow pets
Breed restrictions?

If you are a pet owner this is an obvious obstacle that you have probably faced before. However, there are things you need to think about besides the extra deposit and pet rent. If there is a courtyard at your complex, how strict are they about cleaning up after your pet? Some places will fine you if they catch you not cleaning up after Fido. Also ask about leash rules, what happens if your dog barks a lot, or what areas they are allowed to be in. Most importantly, the move out process. The goal of apartment living is obviously to get your entire deposit back. If you have a pet, that can be much harder. I can’t begin to explain the number of carpets we replace, even though the resident claims that her 3 Chihuahuas never peed in the house…once. They will have it cleaned professionally, and think that no one will know. Wrong. We will tear that carpet out so quickly and the crystallized urine will be all the evidence we need to lawfully make you pay for the carpet. No matter how hard you try to fight it. So just don’t even try… I promise you wont win that one.


Apartments and the parking they offer
Free parking?

What’s the parking situation? Because you will be touring the complex during the day when most people are at work, the parking lot looks empty and spacious, which might not be the case at 6 at night when everyone is home. Are there carports or garages? Does every apartment get a space or do you have to pay for numbered parking? Or is it just first come first serve free parking. Also remember to ask how many cars are allowed per apartment. That way you can factor in other costs if you have to find storage for extra vehicles. Be sure to ask if they tow, and under what circumstances do they tow. Also, if you decide to move in, make sure to give as much detailed information about your vehicle to the office. That way, if you are parked in a wrong spot, they can try to reach you before having to tow your car.


Apartments that have on-site staff
What are the perks of having an onsite staff?

You might not think that this is an important part of the process but it can be. In apartment complexes, you have your own staff. While they are there to do a lot of things, they are there to help you out. Locking yourself out of an apartment isn’t as big of a deal. They will keep your packages so they don’t sit on your doorstep while you are out-of-town. They know what’s going on at the complex, and quickly fix problems and sort out conflicts. Knowing who is all a part of the staff can be helpful. Also it can give you an idea of how the property is run. How many maintenance workers are there? And what hours are they available? Do they have 24-hour emergency maintenance available? You might not think of this as important until your pipes burst in the middle of the night and you can’t get ahold of anyone to help you.


Apartments and their lease laws
What does my state require to break a lease?

This is SO important. Every state has different laws. It’s very important to know yours. It helps you notice flaws in leases as well as gives you an idea of what your rights are, as well as what they aren’t. The biggest thing that I run into as a Leasing Consultant is when people try to break their leases. In Montana it is against the law to buy out or just forfeit the deposit. You are legally obligated to pay the full length of your lease unless you can find someone else to re-rent it or hand over the keys and hope that your property can re-rent it in a quickly manner. However, in some other states, you can just pay them an extra months rent and leave no problem.


Why shouldn’t I trust apartment reviews?

I absolutely use reviews for everything! But you need to be careful when looking at reviews for an apartment complex. From my experience, it’s pretty rare that people write good reviews for apartments just because. However, its extremely common for people to write bad reviews about them if something didn’t work out to their favor. Most reviews about apartments are submitted after something unfavorable has happened. And most of the time, it’s not the properties fault, and the person is just venting or trying to retaliate. However, if the property has hundreds of reviews that are all negative, its okay to make an assumption that something isn’t right. My advice is to just check it out your self, first, and talk to some of the residents that currently live there. Don’t let the reviews give you a biased opinion before you see it.


Apartment specials and incentives
What kind of specials can I take advantage of?

One thing that I never realized happened until I worked for an apartment complex was that the give specials and other concessions. So make sure to always ask about specials! Things that have been given out since I have worked at my job include things like 1 month free amortized for your lease, free X-box or PS4, mounted flat screen TVs, 99$ deposits, or even waived application fees. Anything is something! Chances are that the complex will advertise the specials and they should tell you about them when you tour the property, but just in case they don’t always remember to ask!

Obviously, some people aren’t going to care about the amenities, or don’t have pets. These things wont apply to everyone. But you should be thinking of at least some of them. My advice would be to make a wish list of things you want out of your apartment. Make it realistic. If it has to do with location in a popular area, be prepared to pay more. Also have a few things that you want, but can cross off if you have to.
Check what the market is like. Apartment complexes will change their prices as the market changes. So see what people are paying on average per square foot. This will make you set reasonable expectations for everything that you want in an apartment.
I tell my prospects to really start looking around 45 days before their move-in date. That way you can find the layout you want on the property you want. For example, my property will hold an apartment for 30 days if you’ve applied and been approved. Once we find a suitable apartment we’ll draw up the lease and once its signed we can hold the apartment so that you don’t have to pay until the day you move in. This is extremely helpful for people who are moving from out-of-state, or can’t afford double rent.

The chances of you finding an apartment that fits everything on your wish list is slim. But with enough knowledge you should be able to find one that you are proud to call home.

Big Sky Conference: Top 10 Male Athletes in Last 12 Years


Jared Allen and Damian Lillard Square OffImage Credit                                                          Image Credit

The Big Sky Conference has produced some incredible talent over the past 12 years. Take a look and see who made the list! Don’t agree with the list? Let me know in the comments who you think should be on it!

1. DAMIAN LILLARD, Weber State.

Damian LillardImage Credit

Lillard averaged 24.5 points his junior year at Weber, finishing the year as the 2nd leading scorer in the Nation. He was drafted as the 6th overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft, and won the NBA rookie of the year award during the 2012-2013 season. Although his talent in the realm of basketball is highly recognized, he is also quite the talented rapper and lyracist. Lillard created a #4barFriday community on Instagram, where others display their 4bar talent.

2. LOPEZ LOMONG, Northern Arizona.

lopez-usaImage Credit

Lomong ran track at the University of Northern Arizona, winning the NCAA 1500 meter outdoor championship and the 3000 meter indoor championship in 2007. He has gone on to be very successful in track, qualifying for the 2008 Summer Olympics in the 1500 meters. He was also chosen by the team to be the USA flag bearer for the 2008 Olympics.

3. JARED ALLEN, Idaho State.

Jared Allen with the VikingsImage Credit

Allen was a complete stud for Idaho State, winning the Buck Buchanan Award in 2003. He became an incredible player in the NFL as well, where he was drafting by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 4th round of the 2004 NFL draft. A 5 time Pro Bowl and 4 time All-Pro selection with a career total of 133.5 sacks, Allen has done quite well for himself, spending the majority of his career with the Minnesota Vikings.

4. MARC MARIANI, University of Montana.

Marc Mariani with the BearsImage Credit

Mariani was a walk on with the University of Montana in 2005. He now holds University of Montana records in career receiving yards, receiving touchdowns, and career all-purpose yards. Mariani was taken in the 7th round of the 2010 NFL Draft, and in 2011 he was selected to the NFL Pro Bowl as a return specialist. Mariani started his NFL career with the Tennessee Titans, and is now a part of the Chicago Bears Organization.

5. RODNEY STUCKEY, Eastern Washington University.

Rodney StuckeyImage Credit

Stuckey was an incredible basketball player for Eastern Washington, being ranked 7th in the Nation in scoring during his sophomore season with 24.6 points per game. He was drafted 15th overall in the 2007 NBA draft by the Detroit Pistons. Stuckey now plays for the Indiana Pacers, scoring over 12 points per game.

6. TRUMAINE JOHNSON, University of Montana.

Trumaine Johnson with the RamsImage Credit

Johnson played cornerback for the University of Montana, and was one of the top NFL prospects for that position. He was drafted 65th overall in the 2012 NBA draft by the St. Louis Rams. He saw significant playing time during the 2013 season, starting 12 of the 16 regular season games. His work ethic is going to take him beyond what anyone else expects.

7. JULIUS THOMAS, Portland State.

Julius Thomas scores a touchdown for DenverImage Credit

Thomas played both football and basketball for Portland State. His talents took him to NFL in 2011, where he was drafted in the 4th round by the Denver Broncos as a Tight End. In 2013 he caught 12 touchdown passes, the most by any Broncos tight end. He matched that number again in 2014.

8. JORDAN TRIPP, University of Montana.

Jordan TrippImage Credit

Tripp was a 3rd generation Montana Grizzly football player, and had an outstanding career at linebacker for the Griz. The Miami dolphins took him in the 5th round of the 2014 NFL draft. He received minimal playing time during his first season. However, in the next few years I predict that more people than just Montanan’s will know who this guy is. He is going to be good.

9. DENARIUS MCGHEE, Montana State University.

 Denarius McGheeImage Credit

McGhee played quarterback for MSU, where he became the winningest quarterback in school history. He is currently signed in the Canadian Football League with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. I am not quite sure where his football talent will take him, but definitely do not count him out of eventually making it to the NFL.



Image Credit

Which Big Sky Athlete do you think should have made the list that didn’t? Comment and let me know his name and University, as we may just put him in!


***Agree or Disagree?  Let me know in the comments, or share your love/hate of this list with your friends on social media!

11 Realistic Yet Completely Satisfying Spring Break Getaways

Spring break is right around the corner for us college students and have you thought of where your next adventure will be? Here are 11 realistic yet completely satisfying spring break getaways as told by college students just like yourself that have gone, will go or are dying to get to in 2015.

Let’s start with the more obvious choices that students end up going anyway…

1. Lake Havasu, AZ

Lake Havasu, AZWhether you enjoy the beach, paddle boarding or listening to great music Lake Havasu has been named a top attraction among many college students to spend their spring break. -“Nicole Orrantia- University of Montana”

2. Las Vegas, NV Las Vegas, NV

Another popular place to visit is the city that never sleeps, Las Vegas. Here people can go to clubs, lay by the pool or do some over priced shopping. -“Jayden Romero- Montana State University “

3. California

San DiegoSan Francisco, CA

Who could forget going to California? Not us! Expose your sophisticated side in San Francisco or enjoy a boat ride in San Diego. Either way there is no better place to enjoy some sun than in California. -“Bailey Harper- University of Montana & Kelsie McDowell- Boston University “

4. Panama City, FL

Panama City, FL

BEACHES BEACHES AND MORE BEACHES. Can’t get enough of them, right? Try another huge destination to experience music, major night clubs and that beautiful weather in Panama City. “Kyle Tevlin- Union College”

5. Grand Canyon, AZ


If you want to check out the outdoors early put on your hiking shoes and trek around the Grand Canyon. You’ll be amazed by the beautiful scenery and unexpected friendliness of other travelers. -“Heather Donnelly-University of Montana”

Now let’s look at some awesome places you might not think to visit…

6. Lake Chelan, WA

Lake Chelan, WA2

There is SO much to do in the main cities of Washington but what about the secret lakes in the area such as Lake Chelan? It’s perfect for family trips to camp, boat and jet ski which gives you the feeling of being at beach but without the crowds. “Ally Goodall- Central Washington University” 

7. Wrightsville Beach, NC

Wrightsville Beach, NC

Let’s go East now to another beach, Wrightsville, NC. This town is all about the active lifestyle from fishing, paddle boarding to surfing. They even have the friendliest locals! What could beat that?-“Connor Gustafson- University of Montana”

8. Charelston, SC

charleston, S.C.

Charelston, SC is the place to be to enjoy amazing scenery. Here you can take about a million and a half tourists walking trips, go out to sea for some fishing and even explore the cute downtown atmosphere.
“Ryanne Frazier- SCAD-University for Creative Careers”

9. Fernie, BC

Fernie, BC

Put on your best retro 80’s gear and get ready for the skiing time of your life as you celebrate Hot Dog Day in Fernie, BC with all the other dedicated skiing enthusiasts. All true skiers and snowboarders will be there so make sure not to miss out on this event!-“AJ Frisell- University of Montana”

10. Goldbug Hotsprings, ID

Goldbug Hot Springs, ID

What better way to start spring off with a little camping trip to a non-commercial hot springs like Goldbug, ID? Enjoy the fresh air, a little bit of wilderness and soak up that warm water before the big camping trips start! -“Lindsay Forman- University of Montana”

11. Back Home

Mary Miller, Family

As we are all college students one of the best get away places is making that trip back home to see your mom, dad and bless the siblings of your presence for a delightful week. “-Mary Miller- University of Montana”

If you are a student and want to share your spring break  adventure please send a picture and description to: cassandralflynn@gmail.com

Ski Report: Lolo Peak 11/15

Winter has arrived, and the Bitterroot Range is at its early stages of being ski friendly again. With about 6-8″ at ~6,000ft and 18-20″ in wind protected areas at ~8,000 we are well on our way to a solid year. For our tour, we took to the prestine and pretty easy to reach, Lolo Peak for a short 9 mile ~4,000 vertical ft tour. For more adventurous tours, to include Trapper Peak couloir, visit MontanaEscapades.com


Lolo Peak TH, on a crisp 5 degree morning
Those familiar, the shortcut has enough snow cover to save you time!
Atop Carlton Ridge with the beginnings of Mormon Peak to the right, and N. Lolo Peak center. The true summit of Lolo Peak lies just east behind it.

After a brisk skin up to Carlton Ridge we scanned the clearly wind spanked east face of N. Lolo Peak. There was hope though! Although the peak has zero ski tracks, we convinced ourselves there was a small path that might support Lolo Peak’s first decent of the year.

Mike making the last push to Lolo Peak, with Carlton Lake below.
The true summit, and vastly less visited portion of Lolo Peak.

We did a tour to Lolo Peak proper last year: http://www.montanaescapades.com/2013/11/lolo-peak-trifecta.html

Sweeney Peak looking dapper
2014-11-15 12.27.59
The skiing got better the lower we went, but going slow was the plan as there were plenty of underlying rocks.




2014-11-15 12.58.51






We are sitting pretty for a great year. Although there wasn’t much of a base layer on this tour, the warm weather over the weekend should be just enough to set up a great foundation. There is just one more weekend before one can make use of the Mormon road since it’ll be gated Dec. 1st until May 15th. Otherwise you’ll be stuck using the Mill Creek TH, which is quite the stretch of the legs.

FOR SALE: 10 Best Craiglist Ads

Probably the only coffee table that combines earthly treasures like laughter of a small child, and infidelity.


-The perfect scooter for your smug European baby.


– He seems nice…






Because selling expired condoms and door knobs in separate listings wouldn’t make sense.



-Nothing builds a relationship quite like going poo together.



-Seems like a solid deal.



-Bring your friends!



-Never own a bike that’s not manly enough.



-Perhaps manly bikes aren’t your thing…



-Golf: [doesn’t] relax the mind and body.