9 Tips on How to Rent an Apartment in a Hot Market

The blistering 2022 real estate market has extended to apartment shopping and how to rent an apartment has now become a test of research and will. Oh, and also your credit score and employment history.

Renting an apartment with all of the comforts and amenities you want, at a price you can afford, has become challenging, especially in the nation’s most popular urban areas.

Yes, the usual markets of New York, San Francisco, Chicago and Los Angeles remain pricey but joining the high rent district for a dream apartment are the Tampa Bay area and Jacksonville in Florida, plus Charlotte and Raleigh in North Carolina and San Antonio, Texas. House prices are soaring there along with the cost of a month’s rent.

People — and Renters — Are on the Move

More than a decade removed from the Great Recession, and two years into an historic life-altering pandemic, people are relocating at an astounding rate. Some are downsizing, some are moving out. Some are relocating for a particular job, and others are relocating because they can live anywhere they want and maintain their job remotely. And the monthly rent payment is moving, too. Mostly up.

Homes are selling fast and at top prices. That trend is then reflected in the popularity of apartments as many younger people find themselves priced out of the market for a house.

The competition for apartments in hot urban areas is the strongest it has ever been, and potential renters are paying the price in higher rent payments, plus possibly bigger deposits. They are paying more for every square inch and they are being required to jump on properties as soon as they become available in just about every apartment complex with openings.

Renters are also being required to sell themselves to landlords and the property management company.

9 Tips on How to Rent an Apartment in a Hot Market

Here are nine tips on how to rent an apartment by gathering as much information about your finances and your potential new apartment before you apply. To start, get those personal references ready along with contact information of previous landlords.

1. Know What You Can Afford for Monthly Rent

While you may get to haggle over some amenities, you are not likely going to be able to negotiate your monthly rent. (Before the pandemic, what you paid for a rental unit could be negotiated but that’s before the markets were so hot.) Landlords and the property management company likely know they can get what they are asking from someone and that someone does not need to be you.

Therefore, it is necessary to know what you are willing to spend in terms of rent payments. There are myriad online tools that can help you decide what you can afford in terms of the month’s rent and utilities. Consider any new expenses that will come as a result of your move, as well as any potential savings (transportation being tops on the list in either case). But know your rent budget so that you can enter the process with confidence.

2. Have Money on Hand for Security Deposit and More

You should not be fully dependent on your salary to pay rent, plus security deposit, plus moving expenses. You want to have enough cash on hand for the first month’s rent and beyond, as well as a month or two in security deposit, without stretching your budget. You don’t want to get into an argument with the property manager over when rent is due or being able to offer the deposit immediately.

You have expenses to consider (moving costs, new furniture, etc.) and you want to be able to make the move without extending your credit. In  layman’s terms, you need to have extra money to be attractive to landlords.

Two women go over their finances together.

3. Clean Up Your Credit

Landlords are going to check your credit history, and may go back as far as 10 years. They are looking for missed or late loan payments, credit card balances, and any other loans or financial obligations you have. They won’t so much look at the amounts as they will your consistency in paying your bills on time. Your credit score, specifically a low credit score, might come into play.

The three best-known credit reporting services — Experian, Equifax and Transunion — will work with you to eliminate incorrect information on your credit report and may remove old past-due information from your account. This will make your credit history look more appealing when it is time for the landlord or rental agency to consider you.

4. Have Your References Ready

In today’s apartment market, you are being interviewed for the position of tenant. As such, you are going to need to provide references. Your landlord is going to want to get references from you to determine what kind of tenant you are going to be. This can be a landlord from a previous apartment, or an employer if this is your first apartment. If you have a rental history that you are proud of, make sure to get references from your previous landlord for that time period. The management company may do both a background and credit check.

But this is a two-sided topic. You are going to want to know your landlord as well as possible. If you find a building or complex that you particularly like, there is nothing wrong with sitting outside on a bench near the building and asking current tenants if the landlord is responsive and fair.

5. Survey the Neighborhood

So, you know what you want in the space where you will live, but do you know where you want that space to be? An apartment search is in order but so is a look at the neighborhood surrounding the complex.

Often, in urban settings, any location will serve your needs in getting to your office if you happen to be working in one. Public transportation can get you from Point A to Point B. Therefore, you want to do some shopping for a neighborhood that offers the amenities you seek. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is there grocery shopping in the neighborhood?
  • Do you want a quiet neighborhood or an active one?
  • Do you require a park or other outside location from recreation?
  • Are you a walker or a biker?
  • Do you need a parking spot or maybe two? Depending on where you are, the parking spot could be an additional cost and the leasing office can help with this information.

You will likely need to have a couple of neighborhoods in mind to compare and contrast costs and apartment size against the amenities the neighborhoods offer.

6. Do Research Online

In order to find the apartment you want and be able to respond to sudden availability, you need to use online search platforms that update frequently. Many of the factors you are using to determine which apartments you want to look at can be input into the search parameters on these sites so you can whittle down your list.

Sites better known for home sales, such as Trulia and Zillow, also offer information on available apartments. Apartments.com is specifically structured for people who are shopping around for the best apartment deal. Craigslist is an option as well, although it has little in the way of oversight or verification and ads on that site need to be considered with a large grain of salt.

Check out our renter’s insurance guide to learn what is available and what you might need to protect your belongings.

7. Submitting an Advance Application

Unfortunately, the best apartments go quickly and there is a race between potential tenants to get their application in and approved ahead of others. One way to facilitate your hunting process for the ideal apartment is to apply in advance to an apartment complex manager or rental agency you are working with.

You are not applying for a specific apartment in this case; you are just allowing the agency to put your application through the credit check process in advance of finding the apartment in the ideal location. Then, when you find that perfect space, you will be preapproved and a  more likely choice for the landlord or agency to select.

A woman pets her dog on the balcony of her apartment.

8. Renting When You Have a Pet

If you are bringing a pet with you, that will certainly limit the apartment complexes or buildings you can choose from. But, you need to know that your pet is going to undergo a background check of sorts as well.

You need to ensure that your pet has all of its shots and treatments required to live in a building with others. Your veterinarian can tell you what shots rental agencies look for when they check pet medical records.

There will be details spelled out on the rental agreement.

9. Be Flexible

Someone else already has your perfect apartment, so you need to be flexible in terms of your needs and wants if it is your first apartment or you have already rented multiple apartments. You should prioritize what you want, but know that you may be required to make some hard choices about those amenities farther down on your list.

Is the fact that there’s no wash and dryer in the unit a deal breaker? Then move on if the complex doesn’t offer that. However, if the apartment is in a great location and the communal laundry facilities are clean and well-lit, you might want to sign on the dotted line.

This is also true about neighborhoods. It is likely the top two neighborhoods on your list are going to be pricey, and you should consider a third or fourth neighborhood that is not exactly what you want, but will perhaps offer you a larger living space in return for fewer shopping or recreational opportunities. You can always walk, bike or take public transportation to those other neighborhoods when you need to.

The Final Assessment

If you do this advance work, you will be able to snag that new apartment more easily than if you take your time to collect this information after you find the listing. Remember, there are plenty of people like you who want an apartment in the city center and within walking distance of work or your favorite coffee joint. They will be ready and so should you.

Kent McDill is a veteran journalist who has specialized in personal finance topics since 2013. He is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

TV Deals for Watching the NFL’s Bigggest Game

There is one time of the year that TV retailers know you are going to be watching your television and are in the market for the best TV deals.

Super Bowl Sunday — this year Feb. 13 — is the most official unofficial holiday on the calendar, and 100 million people watch that game annually. So it’s the perfect time to be looking for Super Bowl TV deals unless you’re one of the lucky people who’ve snagged a ticket to watch it in person.

Your TV monitor is never going to be more important than it will be on Super Bowl Sunday, which is why many sitcoms have tackled the big game for story fodder. Remember the King of Queens episode when Doug tried to cozy up to Carrie’s boss so they could watch the big game in hi-def on his big-screen TV?

Retailers want to provide you with the best possible TV screen so that your Super Bowl viewing is the best it can be. That’s why January is the best month to buy a new TV. Retailers are offering monitors at the lowest prices of the year because they know you are shopping right now.

Most TV monitors today are smart TVs, meaning that they connect to streaming services, which is how people watch the Super Bowl these days if they have cut their cable service.

Keep this in mind as you check out the TV deals: How will the big screen TV be delivered to your house? Do you have a vehicle big enough to transport it or will you need to pay for delivery of your new TV to watch the biggest football game of the year? You’ll have to factor that into the savings. And, will you need to pay for set up?

Here are 10 ways to watch live NFL games, including the championship game, if you've ditched cable service.

How Many of Us Watch Football’s Biggest Game?

Super Bowl LVI (No. 56 for the Roman numeral challenged) will be held on Feb. 13 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. SoFi Stadium is the state-of-the-art, gorgeous new home shared by the Los Angeles Chargers and Los Angeles Rams.

Last year’s Super Bowl attracted 96.4 million viewers, but that was the lowest TV audience for a Super Bowl since 2007. That number includes people who watch the game in bars and restaurants, which was likely affected by fewer people gathering because of the pandemic. There was growth, however, in streaming service viewership.

The NFL reports that nationally televised, regular-season games draw about 17 million viewers. How to account for the huge jump in viewership for the Super Bowl? The championship game is now combined with big parties and clever commercials that help drive more eyeballs to the game. Many people “watch” the game who never see another one all season.

The Best Super Bowl TV Deals

A new big screen TV will come in handy for the Winter Olympics from Beijing, Feb. 4-20, which are also being broadcast on NBC. There are other ways to watch the Winter Games.

Ready to shop? Here are some of the best bargains that we found on big screen TVs and a couple of smaller ones if you’ll be watching from your bedroom or the kitchen.

Walmart

According to Popular Mechanics, the best 4K LED TV is the Sony X85J 4K UHD Roku Smart TV. A 65” version is selling at Walmart for $1,098, reduced from $2,237.

UHD is the next step up from high definition, an improvement from a display resolution of 1,920 pixels to 2,160 pixels.

The 4K reference indicates the top level for movie viewing. While most top line television monitors today offer either 4K for movie viewing or UHD for live action viewing, this Samsung has both technologies.

Walmart is offering a 55” Samsung Class 4K Crystal UHD (Ultra High Definition) LED Smart TV with HDR for $478 plus tax, down from $569.

HDR stands for high definition range, which is the top current technology in color, contrast and clarity.

Not big enough for you? Try the Samsung 65” 4K Curved Crystal UHD LED Smart TV with HDR for $727 plus tax, reduced from $900.

Yes, curved crystal. The screen is curved, a significant upgrade for any live action viewing, such as the Super Bowl.

Best Buy

Best Buy has reduced the price of the LG 65” Class UP7000 Series LED 4K UHD Smart webOS TV from $620 to $500 which makes it a worthy Super Bowl TV deal.

WebOS is a smart TV operating system owned by LG. It allows for more advanced features and connected devices to operate the TV monitor remotely.

If you are brand loyal to LG, Best Buy is offering the LG 48” Class Ai Series OLED 4K UHD Smart webOS TV for $850, down $350 from the original selling price of $1,200. Or, you could save $300 and go big with the 77” LG Class C1 OLED 4k UHD Smart webOS TV for $3,000.

However, if you are a Sony person and you want the best TV possible, Sony has the 65” Class Bravia XR A8OJ Series OLED 4K UHD Smart Google TV for $2,200, a drop of $100, which may make you feel better but there are better TV deals out there .  This TV is rated best premium 4K TV by Popular Mechanics.

Amazon

If you search for TVs on Amazon, you will see several choices for “limited time” deals, although there is no explanation as to what “limited time’’ means specifically.

One of the limited time deals offered a savings of almost $200 on the Vizio 58” M7 Series Premium 4K UHD Quantum Color LED HDR Smart TV with Apple AirPlay 2 and Chromecast Built in. The price drop of $180, from $770 to $590, was one of the best deals on the site in terms of percentage of savings.

You can also save $200 on the Sony X80J 65” 4K UHD LED Smart Google TV With Dolby Vision HDR and Alexa Compatibility, with a price drop from $950 to $750.

Roku or Amazon Firestick? We've got the details to help you decide which one is right for you, but honestly, it's a coin toss.

Target

A huge TV — the 75” Westinghouse UHD Smart Roku TV — is selling for $660, down from $850, at Target. Westinghouse is a lesser known brand among TV manufacturers, and this TV is not LED or UHD.

A TV that does fit the 4K UHD model is the 65” Element 4K UHD Roku TV, selling at Target for $500, down from $630. Again, Element is a lesser-known brand of TV manufacturer.

Watching the Game in the Kitchen

If you have a tabletop TV in your kitchen, and you plan to watch the game while cooking for others or for yourself, a 24-inch monitor is your best bet. You should pay less than $200 for any of these, including the Vizio 24” D-Series Full HD 1080p Smart TV with Apple AirPlay and Chromecast Built-in at $158 on Amazon.

Best Buy offers the LG 24” Class LED HD TV for $160, and the step up LG 24” Class LED HD Smart webOS for $180.

If ever there was a time to shop around for Super Bowl TV deals, or to place your best internet shopping hound dog on the hunt, this is the time.

Kent McDill is a veteran journalist who has specialized in personal finance topics since 2013. He is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

Bank Overdraft Fee Changes Continue in 2022

Bank of America and Wells Fargo have jumped on the bandwagon to eliminate overdraft penalties, though they aren’t riding all of the way yet.

The nation’s No. 2 and 3 banks announced in January that they will give customers a break on high penalties for overdraft fees but unlike other U.S. Banks did in 2021, they aren’t eliminating them completely.

Bank of America is slashing overdraft fees from $35 to $10, making it the first of the Big Four U.S. banks (JPMorgan Chase, BofA, Wells Fargo and Citibank) to lower extremely high overdraft penalties. It also announced intentions to drop bounced check fees.

Wells Fargo followed suit, announcing that it will give customers 24 hours to make good on overdrafts and negative balance accounts before enforcing such fees. It is eliminating its $35 penalty for returned items because of non-sufficient funds but has not budged on the $35 overdraft penalty.

The Bank of America action is scheduled to begin in May. Wells Fargo’s new rules will be in effect by the third quarter of 2022.

Bank of America will also no longer let customers overdraw their accounts from ATMs and is eliminating the $12 penalty when they use overdraft protection that moves money from one account to another to avoid “bouncing a check.”

Check out our Bank of America review for a full run-down of the bank’s features and offerings.

While check-writing has steadily declined among consumers, automatic debits, such as those often required by utilities, can put an account into negative balance without the customer being aware it happened.

“This is the final step in the journey we’ve been on,’’ Holly O’Neill, president of retail banking at Bank of America, told the Associated Press. “We have good financial solutions for clients without them having to rely on overdraft, but we will still have overdraft if it is needed.”

Check out our Wells Fargo review for a full run-down of the bank’s features and offerings.

The changes are not likely coming out of the goodness of their banking hearts. During the pandemic, the banking industry has come under fire from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPC) and other regulators for the vast amounts of money it has made from penalty fees, especially from people who had lost jobs.

People walk past a Wells Fargo bank in St. Petersburg, Fla.

JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Bank of America, according to the CFPB, raked in 44% of the $15.47 billion in overdraft revenue collected in 2019.

The Trend to Cut Overdraft Penalties

Capital One, one of the top 10 banks in the U.S., eliminated overdraft fees in December 2021.

Overdrafts can still occur at Capital One, but customers will not be charged for doing so. Customers can also opt into an overdraft protection program at Capital One and will not be charged for the service.

Check out our Capital One review for a full run-down of the bank’s features and offerings.

In summer 2021, online banking giant Ally Bank made headlines for eliminating its overdraft fees, and Alliant Credit Union, another major financial institution, followed shortly after.

Capital One, Bank of America and Wells Fargo are different from Ally and Alliant, however, because of their sheer size.

Capital One is the nation’s sixth largest retail bank and for barely a month it was the only one in the top 10 to eliminate overdraft and non-sufficient funds fees. Then Bank of America and Well Fargo made their announcements.

The elimination of overdraft fees is just one of the banking trends to keep an eye on in 2022.

If you are considering switching banks, think about one that offers a cash bonus for new customers. We gather the best bank promotions each month. 

Banks and Credit Unions That Don’t Charge Overdraft Fees

These eight financial institutions — banks, credit unions and cash management services — do not levy overdraft fees:

*Fidelity’s account is a cash management account, which is slightly different from a traditional checking account and is built for those using Fidelity to invest. Betterment is also a cash management service which offers investing programs and a mobile-first checking account. 

**KeyBank’s overdraft protection for its Hassle-Free Account results in a declined transaction. No fees, but also declined payments for things like rent and utilities can still result in late fees for those struggling with finances.

Kent McDill is a veteran journalist who has specialized in personal finance topics since 2013. He is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder. Reporting from Penny Hoarder contributor Timothy Moore is included in this report.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

18 Great Jobs For Retirees for Flexibility and Extra Cash

Who even knows what “retired’’ means anymore?

You might have left the career you had in the 40-hour-a-week workforce. But now you don’t exactly want to be glued to your couch watching puppy videos. You want to be active, you want to work, and you want to make a little money to support your fun retirement plans.

While “retirement income’’ or “retirement job” might seem like oxymorons, they are a more reasonable pursuit today than in years past due to advancing life expectancies and improved health among older citizens.

Many people reach so-called retirement age and are in no way done with being productive. Many continue in freelance jobs and part-time gigs, whether in a brick-and mortar setting, from home, or even outdoors.

There are plenty of ways to bring in some extra money to augment pension, social security, or other retirement funds. We’ve rounded up 18 ideas for good jobs for retirees that offer part-time opportunities, flexible hours, or both.

18 Part-time Jobs for Retirees

Most of the examples here require your physical presence on-site, but there are remote jobs, too, such as virtual assistant and customer service work that can be done from the comfort of your home.

As you browse these possible jobs for retirees, keep in mind one warning: If you are collecting Social Security, you can only earn a certain amount each month before your benefits are reduced.

So let’s get to work, shall we?

1. Substitute Teaching

Substitute teachers have never been more valuable than today. Covid has increased the chances that a teacher might be out of the classroom either awaiting test results or recuperating. When that happens, their students need someone to teach — and that could be you.

Most school districts have lenient requirements for substitute teachers, often requiring just a bachelor’s degree with no teaching experience.

To be successful, you need to be ready to deal with a room full of 20 or so children of varying ages. But it could pay off. School districts in Chicago, for example, pay as much as $200 a day for a full day of work.

If you have an advance degree, you may also qualify to be an adjunct instructor at a community college or four-year university.

2. School Support

Most schools are always looking for crossing guards, recess supervisors and other positions. A call to your local elementary, middle or high school could lead you to a good retirement job that would fit your schedule. Even better is searching online for jobs at your school district. This will give you a range of what’s out there.

This is a classic retirement job that gets you out of the house, allows you to have contact with neighbors, and lets you provide security and safety with another set of adult eyes on the children.

3. Tutoring

There are hundreds of tutoring companies in the U.S. who work with kids of all ages to enhance their school education or prepare for college entrance exams. If you sign up with one, they’ll match you with work and you won’t need to market yourself as a tutor.

The hourly pay for these companies ranges from about $13 to $25. Requirements often are limited to a bachelor’s degree, although exam-prep work might require a recent ACT or SAT test score, or might require you to retake the exam for verbal or math instruction.

If you are interested in online tutoring, there are many good paying gigs out there. Match your skills to the openings.

A senior woman drives a school bus.

4. School Bus Driver

School bus drivers can earn up to $20 per hour. They have regular hours with the opportunity to earn extra for field trips or outings. Some states require a specific license (a Commercial Drivers License, or CDL, for example) or require you to pass a test to qualify.

Recent news reports indicate there are many job openings for school bus drivers.

The job is likely to include more than just driving, however. You may be asked to supervise students on the bus, and you may be called upon to discipline rowdy students or those who are making the trip unsafe. A tolerance for children of all ages is probably an important requirement.

5. Shuttle Bus Driver

There are dozens of different types of shuttle bus driver jobs. Most hotels have shuttles to and from airports. Senior citizen homes, churches and community centers often offer shuttles to shopping areas or grocery stores. Hourly pay for shuttle bus drivers can average above $13 per hour, and that’s not including tips from satisfied riders. Like school bus drivers, shuttle bus drivers have regular hours.

Depending on the particulars of the job, a commercial driver’s license might be required. Different states have different laws regarding licensing for shuttle bus drivers. A different license might be required if the bus holds a certain number of people or is a particular weight. Your state motor vehicle website will tell you what’s required in your state, and any potential employer will know, too.

6. Conducting Tours

Tour guide is one of those jobs that, when you see someone doing it, you think, “Well, I could do that too!”

Businesses, organizations and sites that host tours come in many shapes and sizes, from historical sites to museums, from outdoor walking tours to behind-the-scene workplace tours. They can be an everyday part of a business or scheduled by appointment. What they all have in common? A tour leader.

These jobs require knowledge about the subject and the ability to tell a good story — often while walking backwards.

Tour guides make an average base salary of $20 per hour. Plus, they are often offered tips by tour participants.

This could be a dream job for someone who knows the topic well and likes to retell stories about history, natural science or architecture (among many other possibilities).

If this appeals to you, don’t overlook a special area of knowledge you’ve developed during all those years in the workplace. Know a lot about the manufacturing industry? Maybe you’re just the person to lead tours at a cheese factory.

Want to work part-time from home? More and more companies are offering work from home opportunities.

7. Patient Advocate

The job of a patient advocate is to assist someone who is struggling to cope with the healthcare system. A patient advocate deals with paperwork and appointments, and communicates with healthcare providers to get information on diagnosis, treatment and followup procedures.

Advocates might also be asked to work with insurance companies to understand coverage and costs. Many are asked to help a client obtain assistance with financial or legal issues. The range of duties can be as varied as the patient’s needs.

Being a patient advocate does not require any particular educational degree, but it is possible to become certified in this role.

These positions can be part- or full-time, and they pay well. So if you plan to collect Social Security benefits, make sure to check how your wage impacts your benefits.

An elderly man babysits two girls. He plays guitar on the couch while the two of them listen to him play.

8. Child Care Provider

Child care might be a bit of a political football these days, but rarely has it been more necessary. Single parents or two-parent families that require or want two incomes are likely to need child care, and that could take the form of a nanny or frequent babysitter.

A babysitter sits in a home with a child or children. A nanny is responsible for getting children to day care or other activities; they are a substitute parent in many cases.

Craigslist or neighborhood job sites are great ways to search for these positions, but your best bet is to work with your personal network. Let people know that you would be willing to work as a nanny or frequent babysitter, and, with the proper recommendation, you could have a very gratifying retirement job.

There are no actual nanny or babysitter licenses or certifications in the United States, but many families require that nannies be bonded, which is a guarantee of service. It is a protection against someone failing to show up for work; one such failure forfeits the bond and that area of work is no longer available to that nanny.

Taking classes in CPR or other emergency response techniques, which offer certifications upon completion, can improve your chances of being hired.

Nannies are likely to make $15 an hour on average. Babysitter earnings vary widely by affluence of the neighborhood. Check out The Penny Hoarder’s tips on how to get paid up to $21 an hour babysitting.

Looking for a fun part-time side gig? Here’s how you can earn money visiting theme parks as a Disney nanny.

9. Virtual Assistant

Virtual assistants are independent contractors who offer business services virtually. Those services can include website management, website design, marketing assistance, social media postings, blog writing, email correspondence or any number of clerical duties that can be carried out with a computer and phone. This kind of work is often well-suited to flexible hours.

As of this writing, Ziprecruiter showed more than 34,000 virtual assistant jobs, suggesting that a virtual assistant could make up to $76,000 a year, depending on the work required.

You are more likely to work on an hourly wage determined by your experience and amount of work you are required to perform. There are also job firms that provide virtual assistants; you can sign on with them and accept work as it is offered to you.

Any task that can be done virtually via computer is likely to be requested by a virtual assistant. Firms would rather pay a freelancer than an employee to do the work.

10. Bookkeeper

You have a good head for numbers. You are in charge of your own finances, and you perhaps worked in an accounting role at a previous job.

Many small or civic organizations cannot afford, nor do they truly need, a full-time bookkeeper or accounting service. They are not in it for the money. Often, they are charitable or non-profit organizations. But they need occasional bookkeeping, often with an eye towards tax advantages.

A part-time bookkeeper job often requires simple financial recordkeeping or upkeep of other financial records. Part-time bookkeepers are usually former accountants or have experience as a bookkeeper. They may be asked to track invoices, but most companies use financial services for paychecks.

The average salary for a part-time bookkeeper is around $20 per hour.

11. Umpire and Referee

This is a perfect retirement job if you have a sports background and the ability to withstand criticism.

Competitive sports programs need officials for their games. Baseball, basketball, soccer and football all have leagues at various ages that need officiating. Depending on where you live, the work can be constant. If you get certified for multiple sports, you can work all weekend long and often during the week.

While high-level programs require officials to get licensed or certified, lower-level and youth group programs require just a basic knowledge of the rules. Look around your community for sports leagues in need of umpires or referees.

Pay is often dependent on the age of the players and the competitive level of the organization, but officials are likely to make at least $25 per game. At higher levels where certification is required, you can earn $100 per game.

A man walks a gaggle of dogs at his dog walking job.

12. Pet Sitter and Dog Walker

For between $10 and $15 an hour, you can earn money pet-sitting in a home or, if the pet happens to be a dog, you can walk the animal. Pet-sitting is a good job for retirees who want to work outdoors without a lot of physical requirements other than being able to walk while pulling or being pulled.

Pet sitter/walker is also a good line of work to get into because one job can lead to another. Pet owners tend to concentrate around each other, and they will give recommendations to other pet owners about a reliable person who can watch Fido or Fluffy while they are on vacation.

If you are going to house-sit the animal, you will likely get paid more for also keeping an eye on the property while the owner is away.

Another idea for animal lovers is pet transporting. If you’ve got a reliable set of wheels and like to drive, getting pets from here to there from owners, maybe be the side gig for you.

13. Freelance Writer

Although freelance writers no longer provide articles — it’s called content now — freelance writing is a gig that can offer the freedom to accept the assignments you want. There are firms that will connect freelance writers to people or companies in need of blogs, resumes, cover letters, marketing content and more.

According to Indeed, the average hourly pay for a freelance writer is a bit over $20, but you are often paid by assignment or by word, so the pay varies. If you have knowledge in certain topics like science and medicine, the pay can be higher.

Writing skills rarely diminish, but the requirements for writing change over time. A knowledge of search engine optimization (SEO) is going to open more doors. Many jobs that use job search websites like Indeed ask for candidates to take a writing test, but many of those are simple grammar or proofreading tests.

While there are occasional situations where someone needs a one-off writing assignment, freelance writer jobs often offer consistent, if sporadic, work. A retiree who can write could have a client for years. Check out this Penny Hoarder article on 18 places hiring freelance writers.

14. Call Center Worker

Just to be clear, we are talking about taking calls from customers, not making calls. A call center representative answers incoming calls from customers or potential customers and either answers questions or sends the caller to someone else who can answer.

As much as this is a remote job, it is definitely a people-person retirement job. You are likely to be talking to someone who is upset or unhappy, and you are the first line of communication for the company you are representing. You need to be capable of being friendly and helpful in the face of unpleasant conversation.

As such, typical hourly pay is $15 as a call center representative.

A senior citizen bartender holds up a pint of beer.

15. Freelance Bartender

Freelance bartending doesn’t require bartending school and can earn you good money working at large events or small, private parties. Hourly pay for freelance bartenders can be anywhere from $20 to $50 even before tips.

If you can memorize lots of cocktail recipes, if you have an outgoing personality and a steady hand, and if you’re willing to cut people off if needed, this could be a fit for you. Your best bet might be starting out tending bar for people you know and then building a network of referrals.

Plan on some up-front costs, such as a portable bar (if the host doesn’t have one) and basic bar tools. The host is expected to supply the alcohol and mixers. And to protect against possible liability you might want to consider an annual liability policy.

16. Personal Shopper

Is it the shopping or the buying that you enjoy? If it’s the shopping, then you might consider becoming someone’s personal shopper.

The job title describes the job. You are given a shopping list and the means to make the purchase, and you chase after the items.

Certainly, many people already have personal shoppers and don’t know it. When they contact a grocery store and provide an itemized list of goods they want, someone does the “shopping,” and the items are then delivered.

But true personal shoppers are more likely to purchase clothing and accessories than groceries. A personal shopper often finds items and then sends photos and descriptions to the person who hired them to get approval.

Some high-end clothing stores offer personal shopper services as well. These positions might be a little less “personal,” as they might be a one-day relationship. But the concept is the same.

To be a personal grocery shopper, you probably need only have been in a grocery store from time to time. To be a high-end personal shopper, a knowledge of the fashion industry and current fashions is going to get you better clients.

Personal shoppers who go after groceries or staples are likely to make typical hourly pay of $14 to $20. Those who work for a service are likely on a wage or salary determined by the service rather than by the client.

Got what it takes to be a mystery shopper? We’ve rounded up four companies that are hiring retail sleuths. 

17. Security Guard

A security guard who does not carry a weapon serves as a presence to discourage inappropriate behavior. While many large businesses like Target or Wal-Mart hire security personnel from a service, small employers such as charitable or service organizations are likely to hire someone who is reliable and gives the appearance of authority.

The responsibilities of a security guard depend on the needs of the company being guarded. There may be requirements that go beyond just being a presence, but the differences depend on the needs of the company.

Hourly pay for security guards without weapons training is likely to be between $10 and $17. Night-time security guards are likely to make more than daytime ones.

This is a good job for retirees who do not mind a bit of boredom.

Security guards who carry weapons require special training and weapons licensing, and is an entirely different job pursuit, perhaps not as well-suited to a retirement job.

18. Seasonal Worker

Remember when you had a summer job as a teenager or a part-time job during your winter break from college? The same logic can work when you’re thinking about some extra retirement income.

Many seasonal jobs are defined by the weather, which is defined by the time of year and the climate where you live. Seasonal jobs are popular, never go out of style (except when the season changes), and can actually be a fun job to look forward to.

Ski resorts in the winter and water parks in the summer are two great examples of places that require seasonal employees. It is not necessary to be a ski instructor or a lifeguard, either. These places require assistance in areas outside of their main purpose: security, transportation, customer service. Even the National Park Service hires seasonal temps.

Also included in seasonal work are holiday positions during the months of October-December. On-site customer service, truck unloading, shelving of new goods, and custodial services are among the positions for which big box stores are likely to need employees. For example in 2021, we tallied more than 1 million seasonal jobs at national retailers and delivery services.

Some stores hold hiring events in October to fill these positions, but they often continue searching for employees throughout the final three months of the year.

Pro Tip

The Penny Hoarder’s Work-From-Home Jobs Portal makes the remote-job hunt easy. Our journalists scour the web for the best gigs, vet the companies and aggregate the latest listings in one place.

Kent McDill is a veteran journalist who has specialized in personal finance topics since 2013. He is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

7 Real Estate Trends To Watch in 2022, Leftover from 2021

There have always been long-standing rules about real estate ownership, including the three most important ones: location, location, location.

But the one constant about real estate investing is that nothing ever stays the same. Even the location rule, because preferred locations change from year to year, and certainly from generation to generation.

The first two years of pandemic life saw the real estate market bend strongly in the seller’s direction, as available properties were few and interested buyers were plentiful. There is some belief that, in 2022, more real estate will become available as Millennials make long-term decisions about their homes that they deferred during the pandemic.

As we approach 2022, it’s time to consider what the experts expect from the real estate market in the new year.

2021 Trends We’ll Be Up Against

First, a little background.

Since the arrival of the coronavirus, the real estate market influence has leaned heavily toward the seller and sometimes people investing in real estate, both novice and veterans. Available properties were seemingly non-existent while many people were looking to relocate due to loss of employment or other Covid-19 factors.

Prices for available housing were extremely high, and buyers were often forced to make non-contingent offers that were10 percent or more higher than they might have offered two years earlier.

At the same time, some investors snapped up available properties for flipping houses, taking advantage of the high demand and very low supply.

According to the Freddie Mac Home Price Index (FMHPI), the cost of single-family homes rose 17 percent from May 2020 to May 2021, the highest rate of increase in the history of the FMHPI, dating back to 1975.

Against this background, here are seven trends being watched. Remember that outside forces play havoc on real estate market forecasts, and a new surge in coronavirus threats could change these predictions, but this is what the market indicates as we head into the holiday season.

1. 2022 Will Be Better For Buyers (But Not By Much)

The climate for home purchases is expected to shift in the buyer’s favor in 2022, although the market will still lean to an advantage for sellers.

The FMHPI prediction for 2022 is 4.4 percent, a significant decrease. This change is due to a return to full employment for many Millennials who are now ready to buy a house post-pandemic for a better work-from-home environment.

What that means is that 2022 will be a better market for buyers than 2020 or 2021 were, but inventory is still likely to remain low.

Either way it tips in 2022, here’s some helpful advice about a handling a buyer’s market vs. seller’s market.

2. It’s Easier to Shop for Mortgages Online

Back in the day, purchasing a house included several meetings, and at least one of them was uncomfortable: The meeting with a mortgage lender.

This meeting is typically the time when all your personal finances are exposed and your ability to pay back the mortgage funds you receive is predicted. It’s one of the most expensive decisions in your life, and you don’t really breath much through the process as you wait to see if you are approved and what the loan is going to cost you (and for how long).

Today this step looks different. It no longer needs to be an in-person discussion, and you can now hunt for the best mortgage rate online.

There are dozens of lenders, many of them very reputable, who will make you a mortgage loan offer online. You fill out forms just like you would in the past, but there is no one breathing down your neck as you do it.

The end result is the same, but the process is more impersonal, which in this case might be better.

The Federal Trade Commission offers guidelines for finding proper mortgage offers online and what to watch out for in terms of disreputable agents.

The online process also makes it easier to acquire multiple mortgage bids rather than needing to meet with three or more people in an office setting.

3. We’ll Invest in Unreal Real Estate

Back in the day, there was one reality related to the supply-and-demand engine of the real estate market: supply was never going to change.

While the amount of available real estate that is for sale could change, there is a finite amount of land to build on and dwell on, hence, a finite amount of real estate.

That is no longer true.

It is now possible to invest in virtual real estate, a cousin to investing in bitcoin and cryptocurrency. Virtual real estate investing is operated by the same blockchain technology that powers and supports cryptocurrency, but instead of non-existent coins, you get to own non-existent property.

And sell it! At a profit!!

That’s because more people are buying into this new form of society-building in virtual communities with names like Decentraland, Genesis City and The Sandbox.

These “metaverses’’ are digitals cities with homes, neighborhoods, shopping, and places where you and your new neighbors can gather (virtually, of course) to have the full social experience.

Each community has developed its own currency, which you must purchase in order to have a way to pay for your property.

It’s a way to invest in real estate without worrying about all of the things that investing in real estate deals with.

Virtual real estate is considered a non-fungible token (NFT), a form of cryptocurrency asset that offers ownership proof through blockchain technology, the same as any cryptocurrency. According to the company that created The Sandbox, $8.6 million was spent between April and June 2021 on properties there.

Is “there’’ even the correct word?

If your head isn’t spinning, check out our article about how to make money buying virtual real estate.

4. We’ll Invest in Real Estate Investment Trusts

Our spending habits have changed over the past two years. We are traveling less and saving more, and there are large populations of MIllennials and Gen Xers who have money to invest.

Real estate is always a safe investment if done properly, but this does not necessarily mean buying a home. It most likely means investing in a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), which is a mutual fund of real estate properties that is a very popular way to get into the real estate market.

Because of the pandemic, REITs are unusually attractive because there is so much commercial real estate on the market selling at low prices. Office buildings that used to be bustling centers of commerce now stand nearly abandoned as companies embrace virtual offices and remote work conditions.

Guess who else has an abundance of available commercial properties to sell? The federal government, that’s who. There is an entire division of the government that sells surplus federal property through online auctions.

5. We’ll Invest in AirBnB-Type Properties

Owning an apartment building is a complex investment, requiring endless repair and upkeep, constant attention to rent payments and payments in arrears, finding renters for your empty apartments, and handling to complaints from your tenants.

An easier way to make money by owning real estate is to rent our your home (or your second home) to travelers via AirBnB or similar services.

According to propertymanagement.com, there are 23,000 vacation rental companies in the United States, and in 2020 they accommodated more than 600,000 travelers.

If you live in an area that is popular with travelers, owning a second home for the purposes of renting it out is a good way to get into the real estate business. Rental homes are less expensive than hotel rooms, often more comfortable, and can offer a home away from home for weary travelers.

And, between visits, cleanup is much easier — no need to repair after a long-term renter who put holes in the wall to hang TV monitors, for instance.

6. Workplace Uncertainties = Home-Buying Uncertainties

The pandemic threw the real estate market for a loop for two reasons: people lost their jobs and needed to downsize, or people were told to work from home and needed to change their home dynamic.

The great Return to the Office that was predicted back in May 2021 has not happened.

Many companies keep putting off any sort of return to office habitation, including hybrids. Many workers keep getting notices that a return will happen in three months only to see the date pushed back.

Meanwhile, there has been a migration of workers from one major urban area to another, or to the suburbs, or to warmer climes. Some people may be changing homes in the same town or area.

But many are dangling as they await a “go back to the office” order some time in the future.

So, renters are still trying to decide whether they need to buy. And homeowners shopping for a house post-pandemic are asking themselves whether they need a place with two office spaces rather than one office and one kitchen table.

7. Natural Disasters Are Impacting Home Costs

Whether wildfire concerns in the west, hurricane damage in the south or flooding in many other parts of the country, insurance companies are responding to the increasing occurrence of natural disasters by increasing premiums for homeowner’s insurance or flood insurance.

In some places, it is getting impossible to get affordable flood insurance anymore, and the process of making claims for flood or wildfire insurance is long, painful and not always successful.

And as weather disasters have increased in number, the price of homes in disaster-prone areas has decreased significantly.

While home prices have skyrocketed on average throughout the country, the places where hurricanes and wildfires are dominant have seen average home prices drop in response to concerns over the long-term safety of the home.

In some areas, homeowner’s insurance might not cover water damage or might be unavailable to protect against other dangers.

Kent McDill is a veteran journalist who has specialized in personal finance topics since 2013. He is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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