West Columbia SC Apartments Blog


Reasons to Rent an Apartment: A Surprisingly Long List! – West Columbia, SC

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Renting comes with a lot of under-talked-about benefits; probably because we are always hearing the constant chatter of financial experts telling you it’s the right time to buy.

As a result, buying a home should be a carefully considered decision, with all the pros and cons of both buying and renting evaluated against your own priorities and finances. Don’t get pressured into something that won’t work for you!

The benefits of renting include:

Financial flexibility.  Think of a ocean liner and a speedboat. The first represents your mortgage, the second is your lease agreement. If you get into financial trouble and need to reduce your living expenses, it’s much easier to make changes to your life if you rent.

Financial stability.  A renter’s finances are very predictable. There are few “unexpected expenses,” like an appliance breaking or a roof leaking that you’ll need to take care of on your own. There’s also less risk of uncovering an unforeseen problem (think “termites” or “airport corridor”) because you can just move.

Career flexibility.  As many unemployed home owners will attest to these days, when you rent you’re not locked into your location if the job market or economy shift, or your career preferences change.

Low maintenance costs. If nearly anything inside or outside your house breaks, it’s your landlord’s responsibility to fix it. That includes the cost, but also the time required. It’s also their responsibility to maintain the yard, paint, keep up common areas, etc.

No market risk. When you buy a home, you take on the risk (and potential reward) of the home’s value changing. This puts the capital you “invested” in your home via the down payment and subsequent mortgage payments at risk, and influences your ability to change course.

You don’t pay taxes or insurance directly. Your landlord is still asked to pay property taxes and insurance, and presumably rolls that into your rental price, but you’ll never be asked to write a check for these on your own, or get hit with a surprise bill if they increase abruptly.

No cash outlay required. There’s a tremendous amount of money required to close on a house, including the down payment and closing costs. Many people feel like it’s money they’ll never see again (if they sell the house, it will roll into the next one they buy). When you rent, no one will ever ask you for $20K out of pocket.

Some bills are included in the rental price. Many communities include things like water, trash collection, and even cable in their base rent price. While it’s probably priced into the rent, it still saves time every month not having to deal with extra bills.

Communities often offer “bonuses” for moving in. What was the last time you got a “bonus” for buying a house? It’s not unheard of to get a month of free rent or bonus amenities just for moving into a rental.

Decreased stress. Owning a home leads to greater stress as you have to deal with your home’s problems.

You can’t be foreclosed on. You will be kicked out when you don’t pay your rent, but in the grand scheme of things, that’s probably a better alternative to the fairly damaging process of foreclosure.

Less area to clean. Most people who move into a home will upgrade the size of their living space, not the other way around. There’s also the new 2-car garage, and the front and back yards. You’re going to spend a lot more time cleaning, my friends.

You can change your neighbors. A large factor in the quality of life as a renter is the kinds of neighbors you have. The good thing is that neighbors move, and when they don’t–you can. Would you move out of the house you bought because of bad neighbors? That’s a much tougher decision.

Make sure your living situation is complimentary to the lifestyle YOU want! For more information on apartments in West Columbia, SC, contact Abberly Village.



Reasons Renting an Apartment in West Columbia, SC is a Great Idea

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Conventional wisdom supports the notion that owning a house is a goal that everyone should have. But renting has many advantages over homeownership, and deciding whether to buy or rent is not a decision to be taken lightly. Here are a few thoughts on the upside of renting.


When you own a home, moving can be difficult if not impossible. To go somewhere else, you have to either sell your place or rent it to someone else. Worst case scenario, you have to sell at a steep loss. When you rent, you can pack up and go at any time. Worst case scenario, you lose your deposit.

Less upfront expense

Rent payments can cost more than a monthly mortgage in some parts of the country. However, it will typically cost a lot less to get into a rental than to buy a place. Renters just have to come up with a security deposit and first month's rent, whereas homebuyers need to have enough cash for a down payment and closing costs.

The cash that you save on a down payment can be invested, or used to buy a great home theater system. (Don't take that as financial advice.)

Lower maintenance costs and headaches

When you rent a place and something breaks, you call and complain to your landlord. When you own your place and something breaks, you complain about the size of the handyman's bill.

The best managed apartments even have on-site maintenance that can handle repairs while you're at work and be done before you come home. When you own your place you may have to miss work to coordinate with repairmen and their notorious four-hour scheduling windows.

Lower insurance costs

Renters insurance is basically free. Homeowners insurance is not.

Easier tax preparation

Renters have less recordkeeping and shorter forms to fill out when it comes time to prepare their income taxes. That's because they can't claim a mortgage interest deduction and other tax goodies.

For more information on apartments in West Columbia, SC contact Abberly Village.


Should Retirees Rent or Buy? - West Columbia, SC

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, April 28, 2016

Retirement housing choices have some retirees considering renting their home instead of buying.

Is that a good idea?

For many it is as it increases their disposable income to enjoy life now.

MSN Money notes that for some retirees, "renting has emerged as a viable option because it allows retirees to have more money to fund other retirement expenses."

Robert Johnson, president of the American College of Financial Services said, “For many retirees, renting is a preferred alternative, and selling a home frees up equity that can be used.”

Some of the other advantages for the renter is that the owner is responsible for property taxes, insurance, maintenance and usually any HOA fees.

Renting Affordability

Since 2000, the number of people age 55 who have chosen to rent has risen by 6%.

If you rent, you don't feel stuck or trapped. They are looking at this to make a change in lifestyle and one that has less maintenance involved.

Renting is more affordable, because consumers do not have to shell out money toward property taxes, insurance, maintenance and HOA fees.

Some retirees also chose not to renovate their home and found the supply of new construction shrinking or exceeded their price range.

Some people were forced to rent, because they could not find anything new where they wanted to live and decided they would rent in the meantime.

In many major metro areas, renting remains cheaper than buying a home. While the price of renting has risen 4% each year during the past six years, exceeding inflation, the prices are predicted to “moderate going forward” as more new construction occurs and the increase in supply will bring down price appreciation and the number of people renting.

For more information on apartments in West Columbia, SC contact Abberly Village.

MSN/ nationalledger

Benefits of Renting an Apartment in West Columbia, SC

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, April 21, 2016

You just got a new job and you have the cash to get a new place. You may even have a small family to support and you need a bigger place to let them grow in. So you start looking at the housing market.

There are a lot of houses available for sale, but you’ve heard the rumors; you know that it’s a risky business -- especially in this economy -- to purchase a home. Who knows what could happen?

So you start looking at rental properties. It’s a vicious cycle of either ending up dissatisfied or risking everything for a home you may or may not stay in.

Don’t worry, though. Here are some reasons to rent that may help you to decide.

Pros of renting

In recent trends, homeowners have leaned toward renting rather than buying -- especially because of the fairly recent housing market crash. Here are some of the advantages of renting a home.

1. No maintenance is required

OK, sometimes your home will need maintenance. But if you rent, getting those things fixed is as easy as calling your landlord and having someone fix it for you. It’s a no-hassle way of taking care of the upkeep of your home.

2. Moving is simpler

Since your family is still growing, at one point you will outgrow your home. If you are renting, it’s a lot easier to switch to a month-to-month lease so that you can relocate than it is to sell a home.

3. There are fewer design decisions

Let’s face it. Choosing a floor plan or building your own home can come with its own stresses and problems. When you rent, you don’t have to worry about choosing carpet or paint colors or the stone that will go on your countertops. You have access to viewing the floor plans, so you know exactly what you are getting in the apartment.

For more information on renting apartments in West Columbia, SC contact Abberly Village.

Daily Herald

Reasons Students Live Off-Campus – West Columbia, SC

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The housing process is known to be one of the more stressful times for students. Despite often guaranteed housing by colleges, students are still left scrambling, conspiring with friends, and searching to find backup plans to their backup plans. While most students are stressing over room draw, a few select students decide to skip all the drama and take advantage of off-campus apartments.

The students who choose this option will be thrust into an environment similar to the one they will face after college.  They will have to learn to cook for themselves and figure out transportation to and from campus. So, with housing on campus guaranteed and off campus apartments conveniently located, why do these students elect to live off campus?

Leigh Mathieu ’16 is one of the students who chose to live off-campus this year. She currently lives with two of her friends in an apartment.  When asked why she initially chose to live off campus, she said, “I wanted to live with two other people, and there aren’t many options for triples on campus. I also really wanted an apartment after coming back from abroad, where I lived on my own.”

For students like Mathieu, an off-campus apartment is both cost-efficient, and a great way to try and live with friends without relying on getting a senior apartment or a good room draw pick.

While living off-campus acts as a substitute for the dorms, it can also provide underclassmen with the opportunity to live in an apartment. “I just want a kitchen,” Grant Alenson ’18 said.

Living in an off-campus apartment has many benefits. In addition to being cost-efficient, off-campus housing also allows students the opportunity to escape from campus each night. At a college students can often feel trapped. Getting away from campus each night allows for a nice decompression period. According to Mathieu, this was one of the things she enjoyed most this past year. “It’s [been] really nice to get away from the bubble and feel like a real person. I’ve become so much more self-sufficient—I can cook, maintain a house, clean, etc. There’s also so much more space: not only do I have a spacious bedroom, but we also have a living room and dining room. Logistically you save a lot of money and avoid the burdens of living on campus,” she said.

The challenges off-campus students face are not endless.  In fact, the issues are simply something every student will have to face after graduation.  Though it may not be for everyone, off-campus housing is a great transition into the real world and students like Mathieu have nothing but good things to say about it. When asked if she would recommend off-campus housing to other students, Mathieu said, “Do it! So many people I’ve talked to want to be able to cook, and let’s face it, not everyone gets apartments. It’s a great way to better prepare yourself for post-grad life while also enjoying college.”

For more information on apartments in West Columbia, SC, contact Abberly Village.


Millennials Are Still Choosing to Rent Apartments in West Columbia, SC

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, April 06, 2016

The first thing many young 20-something’s want to do is buy a home and get a mortgage.

But times have changed. More people around the country are signing rental leases, even as lenders also report an uptick in home mortgage activity.

The drive toward renting isn't just about funds — it's also part of a generational shift as younger people choose to rent as a lifestyle choice and a wide variety of other reasons.

The reasons vary, from whether it's a desire for flexibility, an aversion to big-ticket repair costs or fears left from owning an unsalable home during the housing crisis. Residential rental vacancies are at their lowest since 1985, and apartment managers are hard-pressed to deal with demand even as rents continue to rise.

The home-ownership rate for those under age 35 is slightly more than half the national average and trending downward about 1 percentage point per year.

At the same time, apartments have steadily grown larger, and they only stay vacant at most just a few weeks or months before being snapped up. Apartment occupancy rates are higher than average, and have risen in the past year, which is a significant shift in the industry. It will be "several years" before there are concerns about oversupply.

Rents have risen here between 3.5 percent and 4 percent in the past year, which looks good compared with double digit increases of the past.

The good news is that job growth is the top factor that drives occupancy and rents. An improving job market should eventually raise wages.

Renters as a percentage of household units are growing, as is their cost burden, and home ownership may be at a 20-year low.

You can certainly buy a house cheaper than you can rent one in some states. But a financial toll is still evident, as most of those who do buy rely on the federal government to back their mortgages. Before the mortgage crisis, more than 80 percent of home-purchase mortgages were conventional — those not backed by the government. That number was halved during the recession, and although conventional mortgages have rebounded to about 55 percent of market share, the FHA loans account for nearly a quarter of mortgages (up from about 10 percent), and loans backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the U.S. Department of Agriculture remain near all-time highs of 12 percent and 9 percent, respectively.

As the economy improves and interest rates rise, mortgages will become less attractive, meaning that financial strain of buying is likely to remain for renters.

For more information on apartments in West Columbia, SC, contact Abberly Village.

Knoxville News Sentinel

Retirees: Rent or Own? - Apartments in West Columbia, SC

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Rent or own? It’s a question many young adults face as they try to find the right balance between their housing needs and financial situations.

These days, many older homeowners are grappling with it, too.

Home-sales data and anecdotal evidence suggest that more baby boomers are putting for-sale signs on their homes this year, seeking to unlock the equity they have regained since the housing downturn.

The median age of home sellers has risen to 54 from 46 since 2009, an indication that empty nesters who were waiting for a housing-market recovery are starting to list their properties.

Of course, planting a for-sale sign in the yard raises the question, “Where to next?” And for baby boomers—especially those with oversize houses and inadequate savings—it is a decision that could have a major impact on how they fare financially in retirement.

Unlocking equity

Although investors have been told for years not to think of their primary homes as investments, having a healthy chunk of home equity can make a big difference when it comes to planning retirement finances.

If retirement savings present the risk of a shortfall, one of the best things you can do is liquidate real-estate assets. That’s more palatable than hearing you need to keep working until you’re 72.

It is important for older consumers to consider their needs not just for the next few decades, but for the final one-third of retirement.

We know that the boomers haven’t saved enough for retirement. What they do have is equity in their homes; but do they know how to spend it? Most of them haven’t thought about the last five to seven years of their retirement, which will be the most expensive.

Asset or albatross?

Renting has advantages for older consumers. On the plus side, renters typically enjoy a wider range of housing options, flexibility (a one-year lease is a short-term commitment) and the fact that building managers handle repairs, landscaping and snow shoveling.

If a rental starts out at 30% to 40% below the prior mortgage payment, it may be worth considering. But seniors not spend more than 15% of their annual retirement income on housing—rented or owned—because as the years progress, medical expenses typically rise. (Other financial planners say seniors should spend no more than 25% on housing, and less if they own a home outright.)

The goal is to find a home that is simpler. They want a home that gives them more freedom—maybe it has no yard, or a smaller footprint.

For more information on renting an apartment in West Columbia, SC contact Abberly Village.

Wall Street Journal

Signs That You Are Not Ready to Buy a Home - West Columbia, SC

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, March 24, 2016

Owning a home can be cheaper than renting in many parts of the country, and there a many long-term financial benefits and other perks. However, owning a home isn't for everyone. Here are five signs you aren't ready to buy your first house -- yet.

You don't want to worry about maintenance, repairs, and other uncertain costs

When you rent a home, the rent payment tends to increase steadily over time, but this is the only uncertain cost you have to worry about.

When you own a home, you have to do your own maintenance, or pay someone else to do it for you. You'll have to cut your own grass, fix your own toilets, paint the outside of the house, etc. Plus, there are the big-ticket items that need to be replaced every once in a while.

As a general rule, many experts suggest that you set aside 1% of the home's value each year to cover maintenance expenses, but this can vary considerably.

In addition, homeowners have to deal with property taxes, homeowners' insurance, and HOA fees. These costs tend to change over time, and usually not in the homeowner's favor. While it's true that a fixed-rate mortgage payment will remain constant for the duration of the loan, the other costs of homeownership will not, so make sure you're fully aware of this before you buy.

You don't have a large down payment

To be fair, it's certainly possible to buy a home without a big down payment. You can obtain an FHA mortgage with 3.5% down, and conventional financing is even available with as little as 3% down. If you qualify for a VA loan or have excellent credit, it can be possible to buy a home with no money upfront whatsoever.

However, just because you can do something doesn't mean that you should. Buying a home with little or no money down affects you in two possible ways.

First, most mortgages (with the main exception of VA loans) require mortgage insurance with a down payment of less than 20%. The price of mortgage insurance can vary depending on several factors, but it can cost in the ballpark of 1% of your loan amount each year. So, on a $300,000 conventional mortgage with a 3% down payment, plan on an additional $3,000 per year for mortgage insurance until your loan-to-value ratio reaches 80%.
Second, the more obvious effect of putting less money down is that you'll end up borrowing more, which results in a higher principal and interest payment each month, in addition to any mortgage insurance cost.

You don't know what your life will be like in a few years

One of the best reasons not to buy a home is if you're unsure about where you'll be in a few years. Maybe your job isn't stable. Maybe you're single, and there's a possibility that you'll get married and have children in a few years. Or, maybe you just like a change of scenery every so often.

Buying a home is generally not worth it unless you're going to be there for at least five years.

You have shaky credit

Similarly to the down payment discussion earlier, you can buy a home with less than perfect credit, but that doesn't make it a good idea. The traditional go-to option for shaky credit is an FHA loan, but these have high mortgage premiums -- both upfront and ongoing -- that you can't drop for the entire life of the loan.

If your FICO score is greater than 620, you should be able to get a conventional mortgage, but your interest rate isn't likely to be great. If your credit is bad, you're probably better off waiting and working on improving your score.

Your other debt is too high

When determining how much of a mortgage you can qualify for, lenders take two main pieces of information into consideration -- your income and your other debts.

Most lenders these days limit your mortgage payment plus your other debt obligations to 45% of your total income, and that's only if your credit and employment situation is good. Traditionally, the maximum debt-to-income ratio lenders like to see is 36%. Well, if your other debts eat up, say, one third of what you make, this doesn't leave much to pay a mortgage.

And, unless you live in a high-cost area, 45% of your income is a lot to commit to debt repayment. Maxing out your budget is rarely a good idea, as it leaves little discretionary income to pay for other things and to save and invest.

Buy or rent? It's not that simple

Homeownership is not for everyone. If now isn't the right time, don't rush it.

For more information on renting an apartment in West Columbia, SC, contact Abberly Village.

Motley Fool

Food Truck Court in West Columbia, SC for the Best Food in the Midlands

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, March 16, 2016

If you live in an apartment in West Columbia, SC get ready to eat well! A new food truck court in West Columbia, SC will showcase some of the best food the Midlands has to offer.

"I said 'oh a vacant lot, why not?'" says Christina Suvarna, owner of the HEMI Food Truck Court.

The one acre property that sits on the corner of Meeting and Cromwell Streets in West Columbia will soon be the a home to dozens of food trucks around the Midlands.

"There's so many people who work downtown who don't have time to sit and wait in line somewhere else or try to find parking," says Suvarna. "So we offer abundant parking and variety."

The HEMI Food Truck Court will be open during the week for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

At any given time the court can hold up to 10 food trucks. Truck owners are excited to get a chance to come out on a daily basis.

"We have fish and shrimp, philly cheese steaks, cheese burgers, hot dog baskets," says the manager for Carol and Lorraine's Grill on Wheels. "Back a couple years ago I had a seafood market over here and then when I was able to go mobile I thought that was the best opportunity."

"What Christina is doing here is an awesome concept that most people wouldn't even try to put together," says the owner of Brainfreeze Italian Ice.

It took nearly a year for Suvarna's idea to come to life after push back from city council and struggling to get the permits necessary to make the HEMI Food Truck Court a reality, but now she says they are ready to open.

"We're here to serve," says Suvarna.

The food truck court will have a ribbon cutting on Monday morning, and will officially open next Saturday, March 19th.


Want a Shorter Commute? Rent Apartments in West Columbia, SC

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, March 08, 2016

As the U.S. unemployment rate edges lower, it’s taking American’s longer to get to work.

Since 2009, commute times nationwide have been on the rise. Some of this increase is due to more people commuting, but also some may be due to a shift in where people live.

Between 2006 and 2014 the percentage of Americans renting has jumped 5 percentage points as a result of switching from homeownership to renting. As such, we wanted to explore whether the big shift towards renting over the past 10 years has led to shifts in commuting.

We found renters are far more likely to live closer to work, take public transportation and have shorter commute times than their home-owning counterparts. In fact, renters have shorter commutes in 43 of 50 major metros, spending an average of one-and-a-half minutes less a day commuting than homeowners in those cities. While this may seem small, it adds up to more than 116 million workdays lost nationally or a full 8-hour workday, 8.7 hours, that the average renter saves in annual time commuting compared to an average homeowner.

The analysis of commuting habits found:

  • Commute times in the 50 biggest U.S. metro areas have risen steadily, jumping to an average of 27.2 minutes in 2014 from 26.4 minutes in 2009.
  • Americans ranked short commute times to work or proximity to public transportation second only to crime rate when it came to determining where to rent or buy a home.
  • Even so, only 15.9% of Americans said short commutes or proximity to public transportation were among their top criteria in picking where to live.
  • Working millennials who are renters valued short commute times or proximity to public transportation more so than low crime rates.

Who’s Winning The Commute-Time Race?

In 43 of the 50 major metros studied, renters had shorter commute times than homeowners, though commute times for both groups have been rising annually since 2009. What happened? The 2008 financial crisis caused a sharp spike in unemployment, which explains the sudden dip in commute times from 2008 to 2009.

How Important is Living Close to Work?

With commute times getting longer each year, it’s no surprise that most people would like to live closer to work. When asked about their neighborhood preferences, 15.9% of working Americans picked either a “short commute to work” or “nearby public transportation” as the most important quality for their next neighborhood they would call home.

For more information on apartments in West Columbia, SC, contact Abberly Village.


Business Insider