Tips for Living with Roommates

RoomMates 300x200 Tips for Living with RoommatesCollege is a time for new and incredible experiences. One of the most nerve-wracking new experiences can be living with a roommate for the first time. However, with open communication, a bit of tidiness, and respect, living with a roommate can be one of those college memories that you’ll cherish forever.

TALK TO YOUR ROOMMATE

It seems simple, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to rant to your mom, significant other, or best friend about all your roommate’s annoying habits and never address the problem with the one person who can actually fix it.

Set expectations early

Some issues can be avoided if you set expectations with your roommate from the get-go. We all have certain quirks and things around the house we really care about. Does it drive you crazy when people’s clutter is left in a common area? Tell your roommate right off the bat. Are you really cold-natured and need the thermostat to stay above a certain temperature? If your roommate knows from the beginning, it shouldn’t be an issue.
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4 Great Wedding Venues in Auburn and Opelika

wedding venues AuburnThe first hint of autumn is appearing on the leaves, and for many people that means getting ready for the winter ahead. For newly-weds-to-be though this is peak marriage season, and that means getting everything organized as quickly as possible, including your wedding venue of choice. Now, some people plan their marriage months in advance, but not everyone is so lucky. So, you can use this guide as either a blueprint for getting hitched in 2017, or planning your last minute wedding over the next few precious weeks.
Here are four of the best wedding venues in the Auburn/Opelika area:

Marriott Grand National

Sometimes it makes perfect sense to go for a traditional choice of wedding venue, so although the Marriott Grand National might not be quirky and unique, it can deliver a wedding experience you're not likely to forget in a hurry. Part of the Marriott wedding experience is that you get access to your own fully trained Marriott wedding planner who will walk you through each step of planning your big day - including helping you work within a fixed budget. The Marriott Grand National offers a number of wedding reception packages, and their Grand Ballroom can comfortably accommodate up to 500 guests.
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Uber is Returning to Auburn

Uber in AuburnThe growth of Uber has been one of the surprise business success stories of the last decade. Nobody could ever have predicted just how much Uber would change the taxi industry when it first launched way back in 2009, expanding from its home in San Francisco to become a worldwide phenomena worth almost $100 billion.

Uber hasn't always been welcome everywhere it went, especially by taxi drivers who felt that this level of private competition was unfair to their business. In 2015 city officials in Auburn created ordinance which required Uber drivers to have commercial insurance, pay licensing fees, for drivers to have background checks, and also to clearly display signage, as was required by every other taxi driver in the city.

In a surprise move Uber announced they would no longer operate in Auburn, leaving the city behind because of what they felt were regulations which flew in the face of their particular business model, making it impossible for the company, and its crowd sourced drivers, to comply with the city's requirements.

There's good news on the horizon though because Uber is returning to Auburn in the very near future now that Auburn City Council has passed new ordinance to make this possible. The new regulations identify the key differences between a traditional taxi company and a ride-sharing company like Uber, so both can now operate independently of each other, but within strict guidelines set out by city officials.

The regulations which made it impossible for Uber to operate in Auburn included commercial licensing, which has now been replaced by a requirement for Uber drivers to have primary automobile liability insurance, Uber can conduct their own background checks, but which are subject to bi-annual audits by the city, and individual signage and licensing is replaced by Uber paying a single licensing fee of $5,000 each year.

Overall the availability of Uber is good news for the citizens of Auburn for a number of reasons, including the availability of alternative forms of transport, and the simple fact that Uber can provide dozens of families in the city with a flexible, part-time way of earning extra money to cover their bills each month.

Another fringe benefit, which is often overlooked, is that Uber can also have a direct impact on the number of DUIs in any area they operate. Surveys have shown that drivers would prefer to use Uber to get themselves home after a night at the bar, rather than run the risk of getting a DUI. Auburn itself had in excess of 300 DUI arrests in 2015, with 20% of those drivers involved in a serious accident.

Are you looking forward to Uber’s return to Auburn? Let us know by posting a comment below.

Auburn City Council Makes Big Plans to Expand Recreation and Culture

Auburn AlabamaAuburn is one of the fastest growing cities in the United States, experiencing an increase in population of around 6% each year. That growth is placing a growing strain on existing amenities within the city and its environments simply because there are more people living in the city than ever before.

One of the key elements of catering to a growing population is ensuring there are enough green spaces, trails and similar amenities for everyone to enjoy. Cities are judged on the quality of life enjoyed by their residents, and Auburn is no different in that regard. Although the city doesn't feel like it has a shortage of parks or green spaces at the moment, long-term forecasts on the city's population growth indicate there will be a need for far more parks and walking trails than are currently in place.

Expanding Auburn Education:

Auburn also has one of the fastest growing student populations anywhere in the United States, so there's also a requirement for more schools in the area both now and in the future. $72 million in funding for the construction of a brand new high school has already been approved, with the goal of having it completed for the 2017/2018 academic year.

Long-Term Strategy for Auburn's Growth:

The Auburn City Council are now looking past the short term goals they've set in the past, and instead developing a long-term strategy for the city over the next 10 - 15 years. So, between now and 2030 you can expect to see major developments in and around Auburn, which is all part of the Auburn Parks, Recreation and Culture Master Plan. The overall planning for this project has been outsourced to the Foresite Group because of the scope and complexity of the work involved.

In 2015 a needs assessment for the city's park and recreation was completed, as part of the overall strategy for the expansion of both passive green spaces, and walking trails for Auburn. 2016 will see a similar needs assessment performed on the library facilities for the residents of Auburn, aligning with the construction of the new high school in the provision of additional education and cultural facilities.

The City Council is asking for as much input from the public on the Auburn Parks, Recreation and Culture Master Plan as is possible. This project is set to benefit everyone in the city, so your feedback is critical to the overall success of this plan.

It's worth noting here that the current population growth in Auburn is a sure sign of the city's economic growth, making it one of the very few cities in the United States currently experiencing real and visible prosperity. Auburn has gone from strength to strength, even during the worst years of the recent recession, and that trend doesn't seem set to change.

Upcoming Barbasol Championship At Auburn/Opelika’s Spectacular Golf Course

Auburn golfIf you're a golf fan, and just so happen to be living in Auburn or Opelika, then you're in for a real treat when the Barbasol Championship returns between July 11th - 17th this year. After a very successful debut in 2015, this event is now enjoying its second year, with lots for golfing fans to look forward to. The course itself is 36-holes designed for professional golfers, with an 18-hole short course also available, all making for a spectacular few days of golfing fun.

Some of the biggest names in PGA golf will be showing off their skills on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Grand National. Pro players you can look forward to seeing include Angel "El Pato" Cabrera, Lucas Glover, David Toms and possibly even Trevor Immelman. This is just a small selection of the 130+ golfers who'll be competing in the 2016 Barbasol Championship for prizes totaling US$3.5 million. This championship is attracting competitors from all corners of the globe, including players from Europe, and as far away as Japan.

Attendance last year was a staggering 50,000 people, but that figure is expected to rise to at least 100,000 visitors for 2016. This is despite the fact that July temperatures in Auburn/Opelika often hit 100 degrees on a typical day, which made walking and standing for hours uncomfortable for some. To remedy this the event organizers have catered for the growth in attendance by ensuring that more concession stands are available for people wanting to cool down, rest and rehydrate. So, you can come out to enjoy the event without putting too much wear and tear on your body.

While the main sponsor is obviously Barbasol, the #1 shaving foam, this event has also been sponsored by the Opelika City Council to the tune of $130,000, ensuring that everyone attending enjoys a golfing experience they won't forget in a hurry.

Although the Barbasol Championship officially starts on July 11th, when the media center opens, the first round of play doesn't take place until July 14th from 3pm to 6pm, and then between 3pm and 6pm each day after that. With that being said you can still enjoy the Pro-Am day on Wednesday July 13th, building the excitement towards the first round of play the following day.

In addition to being a world-class golfing event the Barbasol Championship is now also part of the FedEx Cup Competition, expected to contribute somewhere in the region of US$25 million to the local economy. This event is also the first PGA Tour event to ever take place in the State of Alabama, adding to the prestige and pride involved in our city hosting this event.

For those of you who want to get as close to the action as possible, the event organizers are looking for as many volunteers as they can get their hands on. You can get more information on volunteering for this event here:  www.barbasolchampionship.com.

You can book daily tickets, and upgraded packages, online now. This is one of the biggest sporting events to be hosted in Auburn/Opelika in 2016, so it’s something you can’t afford to miss.

Sound Wall - A New Creative Space Coming to Auburn/Opelika

Auburn artsWhenever we're asked for reasons to relocate to Auburn or Opelika, we usually wind up listing so many benefits that people eventually cave in after 15 minutes, and just move here instead. Okay, we're kidding, but we do tend to gush about just how great it is to live here - residents of Auburn and Opelika tend to be its biggest fans.

Old Opelika House Converted Into Studio:

But with the announcement of the new 'Sound Wall' creative space, serving the Auburn-Opelika metropolitan area, we now have something entirely new to brag about. Local musicians Rob and Jen Slocumb, of 'Martha's Trouble', have purchased a Victorian house, with the goal of converting it into a creative space for local and visiting artists.

When they originally came up with the idea of creating this type of workspace for artists, they investigated dozens of different locations in the area, including warehouses. It was only when they discovered this aged Victorian gem, built in 1910, that they realized they'd found the home for their collective muse. Unlike a sterile warehouse, this property feels like part of the city, and that it is a location artists could identify with, while also feeling comfortable there. You can never hope to infuse character into a musty warehouse, but the Victorian home they selected has as much character as you could hope for.

Growing Musical Arts in the Area:

'Sound Wall' will feature two recording studios, suitable for everything from laying down a few demo tracks, all the way through to video shoots, and professional recording. The really neat thing here is that because Rob and Jen are world-class musicians they know exactly what belongs in a recording studio, and what doesn't. This is in direct contrast to many recording studios, where the owners might lack any real-world experience, or real passion for what they do.

In addition to the recording studios 'Sound Wall' will also have a fully-featured kitchen, so visiting artists can enjoy professionally prepared meals. This creative space will also include a single bedroom, perfect for the artists who never wants to be too far away from their work. Or if you're suffering from a creative "block", and badly need some inspiration, then this room might be just what you need to bring your muse out of hiding, and back to sitting on your shoulder, guiding your creative spirit.

Opening The Arts:

Anyone living in Auburn and Opelika knows there's something very special about our cities, and now this new creative space offers artists the ability to soak up some of that magic, too. The arts are an integral part of our lives, and having 'Sound Wall' as part of that can only help boost the profile of arts locally, and on a national level too.

This new hub for artists is expected to open for business by September 2016, and is an exciting development for artists of all kinds living in the area. We love seeing clever people doing creative things, and 'Sound Wall' is a perfect example of what can happen when you're determined to make your dreams become a reality.

Where To Get Your Coffee Fix in Auburn

Auburn coffeeIf you're reading this then you're one of the tens of millions of Americans who can't get their work or college day off to a positive start without a great cup of coffee. It's all about the ritual of heading to your favorite coffee shop, savoring the sounds and smells of your favorite coffee brewing away in the background, and the enjoying that first mouthful, best done with your eyes closed.

Coffee lovers living in Auburn or Opelika can rejoice in the knowledge that our area is home to some of the best coffee shops in the state. We're going to take a quick run through our personal favorites in this blog post, but be sure to let us know if we've missed any.

Ross House Coffee

Located on Ross Street across from Auburn’s municipal complex, the historic home sits with its wrap-around porch and blue door nestled between 160 Ross and other old homes along the street. Ross House Coffee opened for business on July 31, 2017.


Owner, Toni Holt saw an opportunity and reached out to owner Stephen Benson, whose mother used to live in the house, and told him her idea of opening a coffee shop that would serve the city of Auburn with a place for fellowship while enjoying gourmet coffee. Check out this unique coffee shop.

Prevail Union

Some of the friendliest and most knowledgeable baristas in Auburn can be found at Prevail Union, formerly known as 'Wake Up Coffee'. For the team behind Prevail Union coffee isn't just a business to them - it's a way of life, and it shows in not just their coffee, but how friendly and helpful every single person working there is.

You get to choose from an amazing range of coffees, but if highly-caffeinated drinks aren't your cup of tea then you...well you can have a chai latté instead. Prevail Union also serves a full range of snacks, and their baristas are more than happy to answer any questions you might have on how they work their caffeine-based magic.

Auburn coffee

Coffee Cat

Even with all the other great coffee shops in Auburn and Opelika, there's always room for one more. In this case it's the laid-back, artsy coffee emporium that is Coffee Cat. The fact that this coffee shop is slightly off the beaten track adds to the feeling that you've found a hidden gem, and the welcoming atmosphere and fantastic beverages reinforce that belief after your first visit.

If you're looking for something special then we can heartily recommend their Kenyan coffees. The staff here are so friendly they'll even make coffees or teas based on your suggestions. Coffee Cat will quickly become one of your favorite places to hang out in Auburn.

The Bean Coffee Shop

One of the very first things you'll notice when you walk through the front door of this fine establishment is the quirky, retro seating and decor. There's a real hipster vibe to The Bean Coffee Shop, but minus all the hipsters, which is probably a good thing. There's a social conscience behind what goes on here because you'll only ever drink coffee purchased from Fair Trade roasters. So, you can enjoy your coffee, safe in the knowledge that most of what you've paid for it goes directly back to the farmers who grew and then harvested it.

Don't fancy a coffee? Well, how about a tasty tea, some gelato, a pie or even some fudge? We can recommend the homemade cinnamon rolls by the way - they're to die for!

There you have it - some of the best coffee shops in Auburn, but this isn't an exhaustive list. There are other coffee shops which deserve a mention too, including Mama Mocha's and The Overall Company.

Now, go forth and drink coffee. You'll be glad you did.

What to Know Before Moving into Your Auburn Apartment

Liverpool1It's difficult to explain just how exciting moving into your first apartment can be without experiencing it yourself. This is your first real taste of freedom, where you can live whatever way you wish. But we do understand that taking ownership of your living space can be a daunting experience, and not something you're quite prepared for. Most students won't be moving into their Auburn apartments until August, so we wanted to help you prepare for when that day comes. Planning is key.

Remember Apartment Deposits:

You'll need to have the money to pay for your deposit, which is typically your first and last month's rent. Having the exact amount you need for your deposit is fine, but we always recommend allowing an extra 10% in your budget for any unforeseen emergencies or contractual changes. The last thing you want is to be temporarily homeless because you're short $100.

Don’t Forget Your Lease Terms:

The lease for your apartment might seem like something you can scan, sign and then forget about. The issue is that a lease is a legally binding document, and not something you should sign without reading it thoroughly, and seeking professional advice on any parts of it that you're unsure of. Key things to check are the duration of your lease, when your rent is expected, and how it should be paid. You should also check what rights your landlord has under your lease agreement, and your own rights as a tenant. Do also check what notice period you have to give in case things don't work out for you.

Go For A Property Inspection:

You should take a closer look at your apartment before signing the lease, and any reluctance on your future landlord's part to allow an inspection should set off alarm bells. Check that the light, heat and plumbing all work properly. This includes the shower, toilet, sinks, bulbs, electrical outlets, and the HVAC system, too. Look for any existing damage to paintwork, furniture, windows, woodwork, or anything else, and note them.

Also, check that any existing electrical appliances work properly, such as the washing machine and tumble dryer. Also make a note of every piece of furniture present in the apartment during your inspection.

The Shopping List:

In an ideal world everything you need would already be in your apartment, but we don't live in that world. That means doing some shopping for your apartment before it's ready for you to move in. The first item on your shopping list is bedding, which should include a duvet, pillows, and fitted sheets, and some new towels.

You'll also need to stock up on cleaning products to keep your apartment neat and tidy. It's also a good idea to stock up on some "emergency" foods like Ramen noodles, Mac'n'Cheese, bottled water, granola bars, ketchup, mustard, crackers, cheese and bread. Always bring a few personal items from home, these help to make an apartment feel more like home and less like a hotel room. They're also a great way to curb any feelings of homesickness.

Yes or No to Pets:

Most students don't have any pets, even though they're a great way of relieving stress, and will also make your apartment feel like your home. So, check your lease to see if pets of any kind are permitted. You'll be surprised to see just how many landlords will stop tenants from keeping any pets at all, even fish.

Unpacking At a Steady Pace:

The overpowering urge will be to unpack everything you own, all at once. But what you'll wind up with is a muddled mess of clothing, and other personal items, that will take you weeks to sort through. Unpack one room at a time, focusing on the rooms you'll most need during your first night or two i.e. your bedroom and the bathroom.

Once you have somewhere to sleep, and somewhere to wash then focus on getting your kitchen ready for use. Yes, we know you'd like to set up your Xbox/PC first, but unless you can sleep on or in them we'd recommend taking care of your sleeping arrangements before doing anything else.

Don't Rush:

Moving into an apartment isn't a race. Take your time, organize, unpack in a sensible way, and do your best to take the time to enjoy the fact that you now have someplace you can call your own.

Auburn, Opelika Populations Continue to Spike

Auburn rentalsThe latest data is in and it shows that Auburn and Opelika are continuing to grow at impressive rates. In fact, the Auburn-Opelika area is one of the three fastest growing metro areas in the state of Alabama.

What’s driving growth in Auburn and Opelika? Let’s take a closer look at our spiking population.

Lee County is the Third Fastest Growing County in Alabama

The latest census data from 2015 shows that Lee County is one of three counties in Alabama driving the majority of growth in our state.

Baldwin County along the Gulf, Madison County on the Tennessee border, and Lee County accounted for 49% of residential growth in Alabama between 2010 and 2015.

Lee County has added thousands of new residents in the past few years. In 2015 alone, the county gained a net total of 2,567 residents – behind only Baldwin and Madison Counties in terms of net population growth.

The next 22 counties in Alabama combined only added up to 50.9% of the state’s population growth.

The majority of that growth occurred around Lee County’s two largest cities, Auburn and Opelika.

Why are so many thousands of people coming to Auburn and Opelika? You’ll find a few reasons below.

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How To Select the Right Retail Space for Your Business

Auburn rentalsLocation, location, location. You're probably tired of hearing inexperienced realtors repeating this every single time you ask them about which retail business lots they have available.

The truth is that choosing the right retail space for your business is far more complex than simply choosing what seems like the best fit for your budget.

Here are some of the key considerations you need to take into account before signing a lease:

Pricing of Retail Space:

We've seen it countless times—most new business owners base their choice of location on the costs. In the real world, excessively low pricing for a retail space can be a major warning sign that all is not right - there's a reason why the rent is so low.

Conversely, there’s a very good reason why more expensive space you've been avoiding might be the best choice for you. Perhaps, that spot is a prime business location for you. Don’t choose your new place because it’s cheaper than everywhere else. You’ll regret that decision in a few months.

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