Tips for a Small Downtown Bedroom

bigstock-Very-modern-bed-in-urban-apart-48712124Los Angeles is known for small apartments with big rental prices. It isn’t about the space in California; it is about the location. When you are downtown, you are in the heart of everything and you can’t put a price on that. Unfortunately these small apartments have even smaller bedroom spaces and while you might not spend all day in you room, you want some space in your personal sanctuary. There are some ways you can decorate and give a little life to your small bedroom without risking your security deposit in the process.

Use Patterns

Keep the bedroom simple, because too much can make a room feel cramped and small. Add a single splash of pattern, such as a colorful headboard, a wall with temporary wallpaper or a patterned rug. Avoid layers of patterns if you can.

Use Shelves and Minimize Your Belongings

Sometimes you just have to decide what you need and what you don’t. Get rid of the items you can live without — such as excess clothing. Use bookshelves or wall shelving for additional storage. Because California is prone to earthquakes, make sure your bookshelves and wall shelves are anchored appropriately so they don’t come crashing down.

Paint – If You’re Allowed To

Sometimes property owners let their renters paint. If yours is allowing it, use neutral colors that still give your room some personality aside from boring weight. Beige, light green or even grey colors can help add a touch of style to a room. Paint just a single accent wall to give the room the illusion it is longer.

Invest in a Quality Bed

You spend 6 to 8 hours a night in your bed, so you should invest in one that will make that enjoyable. Get a bed that isn’t too big for your bedroom, but still fits your needs. If you have a sleeping partner, you both need enough space to roll around, but also you need space to walk around. Murphy beds are popular in smaller apartments, especially if a queen or full-size bed literally takes up the entire room.

Add Light

When a room is dark it looks a lot smaller than it is. Add lights where you can and keep the blinds open during the day to give the room the illusion of more space.

Focus on Other Areas

Sometimes a room is just a room. You won’t be in there all day, but you want it comfortable enough when you are there. Focus on other rooms of the house that do have space, such as the living room. If you have the funds, get a two bedroom apartment so you can turn the second room into an office, reading room or craft area.

The more ways you can personalize your space, the easier it is to adjust to a smaller living space. Hopefully you’ll spend most of your time walking the boardwalks, hitting the sand and browsing the downtown area, but for the times you are home, make it your own.

Feb 2014

Tips for Creating an Attractive Rental Ad

bigstock-Couple-4843660The competition is fierce for rental properties. If your advertisement doesn’t stick out in the crowd, your vacancies could stand open for months. It’s important to feature the best things about your rental property – including all pertinent information. While you cannot include everything, you need to include the information that makes prospective renters interested in seeing the property in person.

Enhance Your Description

You could use a general description, but doing so leaves out a lot of information about your property. Include the details that aren’t in a normal description, especially those features that people are looking for, such as:

  • A spacious garage or parking stall
  • Great views
  • A private yard or community park

Give directions to your property and include any key landmarks or amenities you’re close to. These include things tenants are looking for, such as access to public transportation or being within walking distance to local colleges, coffee shops and malls.

Take a Lot of Photos

You might be limited on the number of photos you can include in your advertisement. If so, make sure to at least cover the main areas your tenants are concerned about, including the kitchen, living room, main bedroom, and bathroom. If there is additional space after that include other amenities like parking stalls, pools, community rooms and floor plans.

You want your prospective tenants to picture themselves living in your rental property. The pictures and spaces should be clean, clutter-free and have plenty of natural light. Take the picture during the day and never use the flash feature on your camera — this makes the site too artificial. Get pictures from different angles and if you have it in the budget, include a virtual tour.

Include the Price

Even if your rent isn’t your selling point, you need to include it. Properties that don’t have a rental rate listed are automatically skipped over. Tenants don’t have time to follow up on simple questions like how much the rent will be. So, include the desired rental amount, security deposit and lease term in your description.

Don’t Copy Other Ads

Even if you have your ads listed on multiple sites, you need each one to be unique. Even more so, if you have multiple units or properties, don’t just copy and paste your advertisement from one site to the other. The more unique your advertisement is, the more it will stand out to prospective tenants.

Sell With Incentives

People are always looking for ways to save. If you have specials or incentives going for that month, include them in your ad. While you don’t have to list any terms to the incentives, do be truthful. Don’t use an incentive on false pretenses. This is not only poor ethics, but it could potentially open the door for liability issues in the future.

Review your ads from time to time and change them up if they aren’t giving you much traffic. The goal of your ad is to fill your vacancy, so continue to edit and adjust until it does just that.

Feb 2014

Tips for Keeping Your Current Renters in Place

bigstock-signing-a-lease-40050160There are more consumers switching to renting than buying. To meet the demands, more apartment and rental communities are popping up, which means the competition is becoming fierce. To stay thriving in today’s economy, your property needs to stand out among the rest not only to new renters, but also to the renters you already have. Renters who aren’t satisfied or aren’t enticed to stay for another lease term know there are plenty of communities out there to choose from. Because it is cheaper to keep the residents you have, it’s time to put aside some funds in the budget to keep your current tenants signing on for another term.

Offer Cash Off Rent

There is nothing more enticing to a renter than a cheaper rental rate. You don’t have to discount their entire lease term, but offering a free month of rent for renewing a year-long lease could certainly encourage them to renew their lease rather than move on to another property. Even offering 50 percent or 20 percent off rent will still be cheaper than the cost of having a vacant unit that needs to be filled.

Give a Cash Reward

Cash rewards, which give tenants the choice of how they want to spend their money, are also good incentives for keeping tenants put. Your cash reward can be a certain amount based on the lease renewal. For example, $100 for a year-long lease or $50 for a six month lease. Offering cash means the tenant gets paid for renewing their lease – and cash is always a powerful incentive.

Offer Appliances or Gadgets

If you don’t want to offer cash or rental discounts, you can give gifts to your tenants. Consider upgrading an appliance to a new one in a tenant’s unit for renewing their lease – such as a new range, microwave or washer and dryer. Gadgets like an iPod or television could also be good incentives for long-term lease renewals. While you might spend $200 on a gift, you would certainly spend more trying to fill a vacant unit.

Consider Your Tenants’ Age

The age of your tenants should dictate the type of incentive you use. Not all age ranges enjoy the latest gadgets or appreciate a discount on the rent. If you cater mostly to younger renters, cash or gadgets are more likely to influence a renewal than a discount on rent or a new appliance. If your tenants are more middle-age an appliance might seem better than a gadget.

To keep everyone satisfied, consider giving tenants a choice in which incentive they receive. Such as $300 off rent or a new appliance upgrade for a long-term lease renewal. Regardless of what you offer, make sure you offer something. By giving tenants a reason to renew their lease they are more likely to stay at your property than look and see what the competition has to offer.

Feb 2014

Are You Offering the Best Incentives? The Best Ways to Keep Tenants

78253604These days, more consumers are opting to rent rather than buy, which is why multi-family construction is booming. Because there are more multi-family buildings in communities, renters have more options when it comes time to renew or find a new place. Property managers need to make their property appealing enough to keep their current tenants, because retaining current tenants is much more cost-effective than finding new ones.

There are certain incentives a property manager can offer that are more attractive to tenants than others. It is important to use these incentives at the right time, because even the best incentives can go unnoticed when tenants are already looking for a new place to live.

When to Offer Incentives

There are two key times you can offer an incentive that keeps tenants interested in staying long-term. The first is offering it right when a tenant signs their lease. You can let them know that if they renew later down the road, they will receive a particular incentive. The second time is offering incentives right before a tenant’s lease expires. Try to offer it just a month or two before the lease expires. Offering it too early could result in the tenant forgetting about the incentive.

What Is the Best Incentive?

Financial incentives offer the biggest motivation to current tenants. A recent study has shown that 52 percent of tenants are more swayed by cash or rewards they can spend. Most tenants prefer a discount on their rent for staying another lease term. In fact, 58 percent of survey respondents preferred a rental discount above all other monetary incentives. Another 28 percent preferred cash as their incentive. The rest preferred a rebate on their security deposit or a gift card.

Age group is a factor when it comes to cash incentives. Therefore you need to consider the average age of your property’s tenants before offering a discount on rent. The recent study showed that the 25 to 34 year range preferred the discount the most, while 35-44 preferred it the least.

When it came to cash instead of a rental discount, the 35-44 age range preferred cash the most, with the 18-25 range in a close second.

What About Other Incentives?

Other incentives, such as a household appliance, television, furniture or computer are preferred by some tenants — but this is secondary to cash incentives. Gender also plays a role when it comes to these types of incentives. Men preferred a household good more than women.

Picking the right incentive to keep your tenants in place is important. Even if you are offering a cash incentive to your tenants, you’re saving yourself the money you would have spent on finding new tenants. It costs more to have a property sit vacant and it costs an extensive amount to advertise versus just offering your current tenants a reason to stay.

If you feel you’re losing tenants at the end of their lease, ask yourself what reasons you are giving them to stay. The rental community is extremely competitive and without incentives you won’t have much of an edge over the various other properties in the area.

Feb 2014