Thursday, October 25, 2012

Jon Pastor, CEO, 40 Under 40 Winner!

Who's that handsome guy who wins all the awards with a chiseled smile? Why it's CEO, co-founder, man-at-arms, apartment-guru,pugilist, father, Jon Pastor!
Entrepreneur Jon Pastor, who’s worked for McKinsey & Co. and Microsoft, turned down a six-figure job at Google's California site to launch tech startups here. “It was close to my family in Cleveland,” he explains, “and I also saw potential for growth here.” In 2009, Pastor launched Rent Jungle, a search engine for house and apartment rentals. It’s grown to $1 million annual revenue with 20 employees, enabling him to launch a second startup. “Community Elf is a social-media marketing brand that builds on the same technology platform,” he explains, “but aggregates data to help people find social-media content.” It’s a nontraditional, time-saving PR model of the future, Pastor says. His clients include 200-plus regional companies, and the Elf is branching out nationwide. Pittsburgh has everything a new company needs, says Pastor — including space, infrastructure, eager college graduates and low costs — and as his ventures expand, he’s adding jobs to the region. “My wife and I are personally committed to Pittsburgh now,” he says, “and best way for me to have an impact here is to employ a lot of people.”

Click to Read More

Monday, August 20, 2012

How To Change What Your Pad Says About You

Whether you like it or not, you are what surrounds you. Your apartment can tell people a lot about you, and if you are planning on bringing dates or friends home, you might want to consider what image you are putting across. Here are five ways to help change your apartment and, in the long run, alter the reputation you earn through what's in your home.

5. Tidy? Untidy? Or Filthy?
Go check your bathroom right now, I'll wait. Are there any spent toilette paper rolls lying around? How about giant soap stains in the sink? Hair-clogged drains? Overflowing trash? A cluttered mess of cleaning supplies on every surface? This will tell your guests one thing: run! A little bit of a disheveled bathroom tells your guests you are human, but an insanely messy one will tell them you're unhygienic. Keep it clean.

4. Hoarder vs Purger
The only thing worse than having nothing in an apartment (no food, furniture, etc) is having too much (piles of newspapers, birthday cakes from 3 years ago, every computer you've owned since 1992...). If your guests can barely walk through your apartment due to the amount of junk you have, they will get the impression that you need psychiatric help. If there is nothing in the apartment at all, they'll think you never learned how to live on your own and are in serious need of help. This is not to say that living a minimalist lifestyle, but rather that you need to have all the things necessary to survive, not less.

3. Pictures of Family
Showcasing pictures of family and friends lets your guests know you can keep good and consistent relationships, and that you have a stable backup system. It also says that you are responsible enough to keep up with relationships, and shows your value of people in your inner-circle.

2. Books and Art
Some people find a lack of a bookcase a red flag. Others see a lack of art (paintings, decorations, statues, glassware  etc) a sign that you are uncultured. The contents of your bookcase will let your guests know what you're into, and the art style speaks to what you find interesting and beautiful. Take some time to develop both!

1. Age Appropriate Decor 
If you are 22 and have every video game system ever made in your living room, you will be a hero. If you are 45 and have the same, your guests might think you never grew up. There's nothing wrong with having a a consistent hobby, but you must also realize that people might get the impression that you have too much time on your hands. The opposite goes for a 22 year old with middle-aged apartment decor: guest might wonder if you've ever let loose enough to have fun.

No matter how you look at it, your guests will judge you based on the content of your apartment. Take some time to make your apartment yours, and know that a little effort goes a long way. The most important thing is to be true to yourself, and try to give a fair image of who you are, and what you value.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Congratulations, Jon!

Jon Pastor, humble CEO of Rent Jungle and Community Elf, recently received an award from 40 Under 40! The awards are given out annually to local business professionals who have done amazing things before the age of 40 in the city.

Selected from a nomination pool of more than 220 candidates, this year’s honorees were chosen by an independent panel of judges, comprised of former winners, business professionals and civic leaders. Winners were chosen based on their passion, commitment, visibility, diversity and overall impact on the region.

Congrats, Jon! Now stop monkeying around and get back to work!

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Scariest Apartments Ever

There's nothing like starting off the week with a little bit of apartment-horror to add some perspective to your life. Take a look at our top five scary apartments/apartment features ever!

1. Bathroom of Terror
Yikes. And yes, that is a real mine shaft extending down into the abyss.

2. Anywhere Here
Luckily this mess of apartments has been "removed," but it still haunts me. I've heard there was only one bathroom down there...

3. Every Apartment Storage Area
These plywood nightmares always give me the creeps. Who knows what they'll find among these cluttered cages of neglect. My money is they'll find at least one Blair Witch. 

4. Every Rental Home Basement
This basement comes into play in every horror movie shortly after the protagonist says "split up, we'll cover more ground!" and the teenage couple leaves to make whoopi in the backseat of a car.

5. Hoarders Delight
You've seen the TV show, now see the reality: hoarders are everywhere, and they could be in the house right now! I guess this renter is going to have one heck of a moving party...

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

What's The Deal With Renters Insurance?

Renters insurance (or tenant insurance) is exactly what it sounds like: insurance a tenant can have to cover the costs of broken, stolen, or damaged items in the apartment. But is it for you? Do you really need it? Let's take a look at 5 convincing facts about renters insurance that are hard to ignore.

1. Renters Insurance Protects Valuables
Depending on the type of renters insurance you get, your household items (and those of your guests) can be covered in case of accidents or theft. Someone brings over a MacBook Pro and you step on it? Not a problem. Drop your tv down a flight of stairs? Don't worry about it!

2. It's Cheap. Really Cheap
Most renters insurance policies are around $10 a month, but of course you get out what you pay in. A higher cost tends to lead to better coverage, but the basic packages are generally pretty low.

3. It Protects Things You Take Out Of The Apartment
If you take your laptop to work, school, or a coffee shop, it can still be covered by your renters insurance. That's a lot better than extending the warranty on your two year old HP, and it still has all the other benefits attached as well.

4. It May Help You Relocate
Depending on your coverage, renters insurance can help you relocate to another apartment if yours happens to become unlivable. So instead of a fire leaving you out on the streets, your provider may be able to help set you up with a new pad, and even help pay for it over the next year. Not to shabby.

5. It Might Help You Relax
Think about it, if you are uninsured and the victim of theft, you simply lose your valuables. If you are insured you can easily replace them. The peace of mind is worth it alone, in my opinion.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

To Theme or Not to Theme

Some people love the idea of having a single theme running throughout their apartment, either showing off a favorite hobby or television show, or just something important to the resident. Let's take a look at some of the more thorough designers out there to see how this idea works in the real world.

1. The "Oh My, You Like Football..." Theme

Is there a way to tell your family and friends you appreciate your local football team better than decking out one of your rooms in an epileptic's nightmare of team colors and logos? If so, I can't think of it. 

2. The Incredible Trekkie Theme

I'm all for sporting your love for arguably the best sci-fi television franchise to date, but even most trekkies have their limits. How are your guest supposed to figure out the holodeck with such a foreign interface? Also, I imagine the replicator doesn't really function....

3. The Steam Punk Paradise 

Nothing like taking weekly tetanus shots for the sake of  art in the apartment. This design might confuse your friends into thinking you're a themed restaurant, but I bet they'll never get bored of coming over.

4. O Captain! My Captain! 
Do you think this designer sleeps in a flight suit?

5. Red and White

One color away from being a patriot's dream home. The color theme makes a lot of sense given it can be a lot easier to add/subtract furniture, but it still must be incredible limiting.

So theme on, but know that your friends might think you're weird and you might have a lot of trouble keeping up with the design. You also might get bored of looking at the same colors/design. Then again, your apartment could be the best thing in your life. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

How To Throw A Moving Party

Welcome to moving season 2012! If you're planning a move this summer, do it in style and comfort by following these proven tips. 

1. Make a Plan Before you move, figure out all the logistic and purchase all the items you'll need during the move. Get boxes, tape, bags, scissors, markers, keys, and double check on your moving truck. This will help make the move as seamless as possible.

2. Call In Help Call in some favors from friends. Remind people of how great it was when you moved them in, and how they can recreate that memory. Tell them there will be free drinks, pizza, and awesome people.

3. Execute Flawlessly There's nothing worse than when you go to help someone move into a new apartment and there is nothing but chaos running the show. To avoid this, clearly mark your boxes with their contents and the location (i.e. second floor bedroom, kitchen, living room, etc). Be on top today, and know where all your stuff is going.

4. Party On You probably just saved a few hundred dollars by using friends in lieu of movers, so toss a few bucks to a decent meal for your friends. Order pizza or start up the bbq: everyone who has helped deserves a big meal.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tenant Rights and Safety

A lot of people want to know what rights tenants have, how they can use them, and when it is appropriate to do so. This is specifically important when safety is involved, and it is important for tenants to know just how safe they are in their apartment.FireWaterMold up in Seattle came up with a quick reference guide to check out to make sure your apartment living will keep you happy and healthy. Take a look.

Fire and Water Damage Remediation SeattleFire Water Mold Seattle

Monday, July 2, 2012

Apartment Safety Tips

Sometimes you hear about a friend, relative, or neighbor who has been victimized by theft, and it makes you want to reevaluate your own safety situation. You can never be to careful when it comes to making your home a safe place, so here are some tips to help keep your apartment safe and happy.

1. Always Lock Up
Whether you are just stepping out to give the dog a walk, or coming home to go to bed, lock the door. It's best if you have a chain lock in addition to your deadbolt, but if not try to attach some sort of second latch. Also fasten the windows in place.

2. Keep a Light On
A lot of people keep a small light on in the kitchen for two reasons. First, it works as a deterrent to any roaming thieves looking for an easy apartment to get into. Second, when you wake up at 2 A.M. looking for a cold cup of water, you won't stub your toe on the kitchen table.

3. Know Your Neighbors and Neighborhood 
Sometimes the best theft deterrent is the people living around you. If you get to know your neighbors, they might help keep an eye on your place while you're out. Since they know who lives with you, anyone entering or exiting the house that they haven't met will be a red flag. Just be sure to let them know about any house-sitters before you go on vacation!

4. Make Sure Common Areas Are Well Lit
If you live in an apartment complex, make sure management keeps common areas bright. This includes the mail area, laundry rooms, foyers, and parking garages. If you live in a rental house, try to keep the front of the building well lit as well.

Monday, June 25, 2012

A Quick Furniture Guide

This weekend I wanted to spend some time redecorating the ol' apartment, and I eventually found myself at a community art fair. As I meandered through endless rows of pottery, glass works, paintings, clothing and woodwork, I found  booth that stood out. Among the painting frames and homemade objects stood a table made of a door from an old looking door. It was sturdy and even had those old styled nails with square heads. I offered $50 for it and now have an incredible coffee table and conversation piece in my living room. Moral of the story: apartment furniture doesn't have to be expensive to be awesome.
(not the same table, but close enough!)

Here are some other great places to find new furniture to fill out your pad:

1. Garage sales
I know what you're thinking, but you can find some serious gems at garage sales. Plus you might find an old NES or that vintage record you need to complete your collection.

(Look at all that bargaining!)

2. Craigslist
Craigslist can be a gamble, but again you can find some amazing items for a fraction of their reglar price. I recommend searching for well known brands while on Craigslist to ensure you know what you're buying (think Ikea and the like).

3. Local furniture stores
There is a great little furniture shop in my neighborhood that has unique items for a very reasonable price. Unlike a traditional furniture store that has a guaranteed number of specific items, these local stores often rotate depending on which items they just happen to have procured that week. This is also a great way to support the local community while simultaneously finding interesting furniture for the apartment.

4. Thrift stores
The beauty of thrift stores is all in the system. If you are afraid of using Craigslist or of perusing garage sales due to the possibility of getting "unreliable" furniture, try a thrift store. They check everything they sell to make sure it is clean, functional, and safe.

(Now who's a crafty consumer?)

5.  The internet
If you have a specific piece of furniture in mind, use the internet to find the best price. Google around until for a few weeks until the best opportunity becomes available. Don't rush it, but take your time and wait for the best price. Sometimes a huge furniture warehouse will have a sale and drop the price by half, and they even ship!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Apartment Living Throughout the Years

Check out this cool infographic following apartments throughout the years. I always thought apartment living was a modern lifestyle, but I guess not!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Tips to a Better Apartment

We all want to be that guy who has the most interesting apartment around, who always throws the best parties, and has the perfect furniture for every occasion. Basically, we all want something like this:

After looking the price tag, a lot of time it turns out to look like this:

It's maybe not the best way to impress your SO, but it's functional, right? Wrong. A good apartment is a place you can proudly call home. A proud home is one you can invite people over to without going into panic attacks about the stains, clothes, and lack of furniture throughout the house.

The good news is that you can make your place great without having to throw away all your money. There are some cheap ways to get your apartment to look respectable, something like this: 

Here are some tips on how to get  there.

1. Less is More
The only thing worse than an apartment with too little furniture is one with too much. If you're on a tight budget, err on the side of having less. Most people over look the rug, but it can do a lot to bring the room together, especially if you are going for fewer items.

2. Be A Crafty Consumer
You don't need to buy everything at once, you have at least a year to fill out the apartment. Find the furniture you want and Google them until you find them at a better price. Buy the items one at a time, and try to make the colors match as much as possible. 

3. Don't Be Above the Bargain Bin
If you see a couch on craigslist that would be perfect for the apartment, go check it out. Sure there are dangers involved with this type of purchase, but there's no sales tax, the prices are way better, and you might find that you can fill your apartment much quicker and better than through traditional purchases. 

Good luck and happy hunting!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

It's Warm Out. So What?

The summer heat is here, and it is seeping its way into your house as we speak! If you are not to keen on letting those power bills rise month after month, there are a few ways to stay cool without killing your wallet.

1. Ceiling Fans
If your ceiling fans were in reverse for the winter (an excellent idea), switch them back to their normal setting where air is pushed directly downward. For some magical reason, it's better to alternate your fans for each major season. During the summer heat, the downward flow tricks your body into thinking it's cooler than it is.

A fan making someone cooler? Go figure.

2. Close Your Curtains
Not only will keeping your curtains shut protect your privacy from any neighborhood creepos, but it will also effectively block out a lot of sunlight and heat. This is better done around noon, but if you have a full time day just pull the blinds before you leave for work.

3. It's... Coming From Inside The House!
A lot of heat is generated from your electronics and lights. When you leave the house, turn off your tv, computer, lights, dvd players, stereos, electric toothbrushes, ice-cream makers, and any other electronics you may have. When you're home, keep as many of these items off as possible.

4. Be Cool
Wear less. Don't worry, your curtains are closed still, right? Eat Popsicles, have cold drinks, take cold showers, be a little more shiftless. It's not winter, go ahead and shave your beard!

Monday, May 7, 2012

New Places, New Faces

Remember those days when Rent Jungle only had 2 employees? Then 5? Then 10, crammed into a tiny room? Me too. Now we have 17 humans and two fantastic offices. Time sure does fly.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Rent Jungle Moves! (again)

We had a lot of fun in our last office, but as more and more people joined our ranks we knew we had to upgrade. So we moved! Just downstairs a few floors, but the new room is roughly twice the size as the last one, plus Jon gets his own office finally.

The last tenant saw fit to leave behind a cluster of fully inflated orange balls, of which we now own about 20. They're actually pretty fun in bulk, and make for a great stress reliever. 

Boom: Panorama!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Back Online, Back on Track

Thank you for your support while we shut down the site in protest of the SOPA and PIPA bills that were milling about congress. We're happy to see that congress listened to the internet and decided to put those nasty bills under the carpet for a while. Hopefully we'll be able to keep that sort of legislation at bay in the future.

Speaking of the future, we got a new intern to help Rent Jungle achieve some of our goals for 2012 . Introducing Monis Khan, intern extraordinaire!

Yep, that's Monis alright. Welcome aboard! 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

SOPA Blackout

Dear Friends and Family,

If you haven't heard, there are a few bills passing around congress that could significantly disrupt the internet as we know it today. The bills, PIPA and SOPA, wold basically make it impossible for Rent Jungle to exist in the way we understand it today, so we have decided to join the growing movement of websites dedicated to getting rid of it. Tomorrow Rent Jungle will be blacked out to show an example of how these bills will censor the internet and change change the internet as we know it today by censoring it.

We strongly urge you to contact your congressional representatives and let them know that you demand a free internet. Thank you for your support, we'll see you on the 19th!

-Rent Jungle Team

Click here to see a list of other anti-SOPA supporters.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New Year's Resolutions for Apartment Hunters

January is commonly known as the best month to make a fresh start. January marks the full rotation of the earth around the sun, it's when the weather hits coldest (at least in Pennsylvania), and it lands shortly after the holiday euphoria. So why not take on something new and find ways to improve your life? If you're in an apartment that hasn't been nice to you over the last year, perhaps its time to make a change. Here are some important things to keep in mind as you make the switch in 2012.

1. Kitchen's Are Important, So Get A Good One
Kitchens are often the most popular hangout areas in apartments. Not only do they grant easy access to food and beverages, but in modern architecture the kitchen is generally the center of the home. People love the smell of cooking food and like hanging out with chefs. Don't skimp on the kitchen.

2. Pay Attention to Your Feet: Flooring 
So it may just be me, but I think hardwood floors make all the difference. You don't have to deal with cat/dog/human hair everywhere, spills don't matter as much, and you have plenty of areas to place your unique Afghan rug.

3. Choose Yards or Outdoor Areas
Ever want a dog? Then get an apartment or rental home with outdoor areas. If you are lucky you can find apartment complexes with a dedicated common yard, and if you're luckier you can find a rental home with its own space out back. Having an outdoor area is not only good for your pets, its good for your soul. No one wants to stay inside 24/7. Go have a BBQ once in a while!

4. Location, Location, Vocation
There are two types of ideal locations for your apartment: the one that's close to where you work, and the one that's 20 subway stations away. A good rule of thumb is to decide which you want. If you want to stay away from work, you have a wider area to choose apartments from, but a longer commute. If you want to be able to ride your bike to work, you generally need to be within the 3 mile radius, on the same side of the river, and with a commute that is walkable. The beauty of living close to your work is that when the weather is nice you can walk or bike, and when its bad you can simply drive or take a bus. Plus who wants to wait in traffic for 45 minutes every morning anyway?

5. Be Near... Things
Do you really want to trek out a few miles to go to the grocery store because you forgot to pick up some green onions? Me either. Try to triangulate your apartment between places you know you will frequent in the future. This includes restaurants, coffee shops, bars, clubs, or whatever else you like to do. This may mean that you will be in the middle of the city, but that doesn't have to be a bad thing. Walking around the neighborhood is good for you, let's you meet neighbors you otherwise would bump into, and is a great way to tone those abs. Plus you never know what adventures lie just outside your door until you open it and step out into the world.