9 winter preparation tips you should know

Winter Guide: 9 Tips You Should Know

As the temperatures get more frigid and the snow falls, it is important to keep a couple of things in mind when preparing for the season.

Change your furnace filter

Furnace filters should be changed on a monthly or bi-monthly basis especially if you live in a newer home. If you’re furnace filter gets dirty, it will not heat your unit properly. For instructions on how to change your furnace filter, visit our FAQs page.

Clear snow from garage door area

It is important to keep your garage door area clear of snow and ice. If snow or ice is present, it could cause your garage door to stick and stop it from opening. If you garage door does freeze to the ground, it could ruin the rubber weather stripping that is along the bottom of your garage door.

Shovel 2 feet out from your garage door

If you live at a property that includes snow removal, be sure to shovel the 2 feet in front of your garage door. The snow removers will not clear this area as it could cause damage to the building or your garage door.

Make sure all windows are closed tightly and correctly

Keep all the heat inside your home by making sure all your windows are closed. Check for other gaps, specifically under your entry doors, that could let in cold air around your apartment and seal those with a towel or door sweep.

Park your car in the garage

In order for snow plows to clear snow from the lots and parking spots, park your car in your garage as frequently as possible. This is important especially after a large snow fall.

Keep your heat on when you leave

Keep your heat on when you leave for a weekend or for vacation. If your heat is turned off, it could cause a pipe to freeze and potentially burst. If you do leave and want to drop the temperature, set it between 60-68 degrees, it will still save you money and will prevent frozen pipes.

Use sand instead of salt

If you live at a property that was built in the last year or two, it is important that you use sand instead of salt on your driveway and walkways. Salt could cause the new concrete to weaken and cause damage.

Store patio furniture

Put all of your patio furniture away so that they don’t get damaged.

Insulate electrical outlets

Surprisingly, electrical outlets can let in cold air. To prevent them from doing so, purchase foam outlet insulators for each outlet.


Visit our FAQs page or our YouTube channel for more tips and tricks.

If you have any questions or are in need of maintenance, fill out a maintenance request or call our office at 701-356-3085. If you are in need of maintenance and it is an emergency, please call 866-955-2337.


11 things to know as a first time renter

11 things to know as a first time renter

Moving into your first apartment is exciting. You have a new sense of freedom, but also a lot more responsibility. When you are looking for your first apartment, there are a lot of pieces to consider. You will have to look at neighborhood, budget, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, utilities, and amenities.  If it is your first time renting, do some research and see what is going to be the best fit for you. To start, we have put together a guide of 11 things you should know and do as a first time renter.


Before looking at apartments, budget how much you are willing to spend and understand that more expenses are involved than just the monthly rental rate. Other expenses include utilities (electric, heat, water, sewer, garbage), cable/internet, pet rent or deposits, application fees, and rental deposits. Some of these items may be included in your monthly rent, while others may not. You may also want to budget for furniture, kitchenware, and decorations.

It is important to set a budget so that you never get yourself into a situation where you can’t pay rent. If you are unable to pay rent, you may be evicted, which can hurt your chances of renting at certain properties in the future.


As mentioned previously, some utilities may be included in your monthly rent, while others may not. When you are apartment shopping, ask about what is included. This will hep you figure out what is in your budget.

Additionally, you will want to set up the utilities you are responsible for in your name before moving in. If you are unsure which company to reach out to, contact your property manager or leasing agent.

Tour the Community

Before signing your lease, it is a good idea to schedule a tour to get a better sense of what the property and community is like. When you go on a tour, you can get a better feel for what the dimensions of the space are, plan out what furniture you want where, and scope out the amenities.

Application Process

Usually the application process involves a check of your background, credit, and rental history. Many rental agencies will have qualifications you have to meet regarding these areas in order to rent from them. There may be a fee that goes along with the application, so ask what the requirements are before applying and then determine whether it is worth it to apply or not.

Mailing Address

While you are setting up the big move, update your mailing address. You can do this by stopping at a postal office or by filling out an online application.


When you sign your lease, your property manager may require a security deposit in case the lease is broken or damage is done to the property.  To get your security deposit back, pay attention to the rules and be sure not to damage your apartment or the property. To read through our ten tips for receiving your deposit back, click here.

Read your Lease

Before signing your lease, read through it carefully. It is legally binding, so you want to be sure you understand what is and is not allowed.

Know the Rules

Read and follow the rules for the community. The rules could include information regarding where guests can park, where you can park, if there are quiet hours, whether smoking is allowed, and what the pet policy is.

Purchase Renter’s Insurance

Renter’s insurance can save you in the event your apartment gets broken into, a fire occurs, a pipe bursts, or something similar happens. Many rental companies will require you to have renter’s insurance, but even if they don’t, it is a good idea to purchase it, as it could save you in the long run.

For more information on renter’s insurance, read our blog post about it here.


There is a lot of benefit to having a roommate, including always having someone around to chat, watch movies with, and share the rent with. But sometimes things go awry and one or both of you ends up feeling upset, mad, or annoyed. To avoid this, it is important to be careful when picking who you live with and making sure you communicate expectations prior to moving in together. If you choose to move in with a roommate or significant other, communicate early and often about who is responsible for what so that you can avoid dramatic situations. Here is our guide to solving roommate drama.

Document Everything

While you are moving in, document the state of your apartment. Take photos and videos of what appears to be in bad condition. This will help you make sure that you get your full deposit back since you have proof of what the conditions were. As you are moving out, take additional photos and videos to show what conditions were like on the day you moved out.

If you have any questions about the rental process, our team of qualified experts would be happy to help you through the rental process.

Ask These Questions Before Renting Your Next Apartment

Ask These Questions Before Renting Your Next Apartment

Looking for your new apartment is an exciting time, but it is also a big decision and you want to be sure you know all the facts before entering into a lease. Other than the standard credit requirements and application fees, it is important to note a couple of things before making your decision. Before you sign your lease, ask your agent these questions:

What utilities are included with rent?

Some properties will include heat, water, sewer, garbage, electric, lawn care, snow removal, or internet with rent while others may not offer anything. It is important to know what your monthly and annual expenses will be in addition to your monthly rent.

How does maintenance get done? What sort of maintenance am I responsible for?

Management companies may require you to do small maintenance tasks such as changing your furnace filters, switching the batteries on the smoke detector, and changing reachable light bulbs. If the maintenance team has to fix these things, you may be charged a small fee, so it is important for you to know what you are responsible for.

If you are unsure how to change your furnace filter, change the batteries on your smoke detector, or reset a GFCI electrical outlet, or any similar task, check out our Resident FAQs page or YouTube channel.

What are the policies I should be aware of?

Most companies will have pet, smoking, guest, parking, grill, pool, and/or noise policies in place.

What happens if I have to terminate my lease early?

In case you need to get out of your lease early, you will want to know what the consequences are. Depending on what the company’s policy is, they may take your deposit and/or require you to pay rent for the unit until a new lessee is found or until the lease ends.

Am I allowed to sublet?

Some property management companies will not allow you to sublet or rent out your apartment on site likes Airbnb. If you are considering subletting, be sure to talk with your manager or landlord beforehand to see if it is against the rental policy.

Where do I pay rent? What are the late fees?

You never want to miss paying rent, so be sure you know where you have to pay. Can you pay online? Do you have to pay with a check? Are there processing fees? You will also want to be aware of late fees in the event that you don’t get your rent in on time.

What happens when my lease ends?

Your lease may end up going month to month or the company will require you to sign another lease to extend your stay.

What sorts of things will keep me from getting my rental deposit back?

It is important for you to know what could keep you from getting your rental deposit back so that you can be aware of those items during your time at the property.

Can I make changes to the apartment?

In some instances, you may be allowed to make changes, but other times you may not. Don’t start a project on your apartment before knowing the rules.

If you are looking for your new home, contact us and we will happily answer all of your rental questions!

Tips & Tricks for Keeping Your Home Fresh

Tips & Tricks for Keeping Your Home Fresh

Sometimes your home needs a deep clean. Spring cleaning is here so we’re helping by giving you some of our best tips and tricks on how to keep your living spaces looking clean and smelling fresh!

Glass Stove Top

The glass stove top can be a tricky one to keep clean, especially if the residue has been sitting on the glass for long periods of time. To prevent any damage to the stove top, it is best to remove any residue as soon as possible. One way to clean the surface is to evenly mix hydrogen peroxide, dawn dish soap, and baking soda. Use a brush with bristles to gently scrub the areas needing attention.

Washing Machine

To keep your clothes smelling fresh and your washing machines clean all you need to do is let the top load washer fill with water as high and hot as possible, add a quart of white vinegar. Let the washer agitate for about a minute, then let it sit for an hour. While you’re waiting you can use a toothbrush or similar item to scrub the creases and rims of the washer to make sure all parts are being cleaned. Once you feel the vinegar has set for a long enough time, you can let the cycle finish through. Lastly, run another wash with one cup of baking soda to neutralize! You may need to wipe down the sides after the process is complete. Enjoy your fresh top load washing machine.


Get the stuck on food in your microwave to wipe off with no scrubbing! Take lemon slices and put them in a microwave safe bowl filled with water. Add a splash of vinegar. Place the bowl in the microwave and cook for 5 minutes, then let it sit for a couple minutes after cooked. Use a damp cloth the wipe out the stuck on grim and it will come off easily!

Marks on the Floor

If you have a clean tennis ball you can remove the marks and scuffs left on the hardwood flooring! Just rub the ball over the spots until they disappear.

These tips are just a few of the tricks you can use to make sure your home is feeling clean & fresh!

Your top 4 renters insurance questions answered

Your top 4 renters insurance questions answered

When you are looking at apartments or townhouses, you are thinking about what the rent is, how much the utilities will cost, and what you will need for a down payment. Renters insurance is often forgotten about, but it is extremely important and necessary. That is why we have broken down the renters insurance basics and answered your top 4 questions.

Why do I need renters insurance?

Unfortunately, disasters happen.  If a pipe bursts, your apartment gets broken into, or a fire occurs, it is important that you have insurance to protect what you own. Insurance can end up saving you huge! If you don’t have renters insurance, you could be at risk of losing thousands of dollars. Many may think that they don’t need renters insurance or that the management company will assume responsibility. However, only the building itself is covered by the landlord. Your personal property is not included, and that is why some companies, such as Prairie Property Management, will require you to have renters insurance as a part of the lease agreement.

What does it cover?

Renters insurance covers your personal belongings as well as your liability in the event that someone is injured on the property. There a couple of different coverage methods insurance companies will use. They will either cover the cash value of your belongings (what they would be sold for today) or they will cover to completely replace the item. Often times policies that will completely replace an item are a higher cost since the pay out is higher.

As with any type of insurance, there is a deductible. Which means that you are responsible for the cost up to a certain amount. Say your deductible is $1,000, then you’d be responsible for everything up to $1,000 in damage. Depending on what plan you pick, there are limits to what insurance can cover and some items are excluded from coverage, such as jewelry.

The coverage may also cover additional expenses, such as if something happens at your apartment and you need to stay in a hotel for a couple of nights, it will be covered by insurance.

What does it cost?

Unlike homeowner’s insurance, renters insurance is very reasonably priced, with an average cost of around $16 per month according to PolicyGenius. The total cost per month is primarily based on how much your possessions are worth and what sort of deductible you want. Other factors include: if you are a dog owner, what security systems are in place, and your location.

Where can I purchase renters insurance?

There are a lot of companies that sell renters insurance and a good starting point would be checking to see if your car insurance company also offers renters insurance. Otherwise, a quick Google search will pull up several companies that will give you quotes online without ever having to talk to an agent, unless you want to. When you are looking for a provider, shop around a bit and get multiple quotes. That way you will be sure you are getting the exact coverage you need at the best price. The whole process could take you as little as 10 to 15 minutes but could end up saving you thousands.

Conclusion: Purchasing renters insurance is quick, easy, and totally worth it.