9 Pitfalls to Avoid While Looking for the Perfect Apartment for Rent in California

hand holding mobile phone with house sale offerMoving out of your parents’ house was your New Year’s resolution at the end of 2010. Five years later, you are still struggling to accomplish the same goal. So what exactly are you intimidated by, aside from your limited financial possibilities and the overly competitive Californian real estate market that always seems to be full of surprises?

Can You Overcome the Obstacles That Are Standing in the Way of Your Upcoming House Hunt?

Well, first of all, you don’t know much about the latest real estate trends in California and you feel very insecure. Secondly, you can’t decide which sources of information you should monitor to get the expert insight that you require to compare different properties for rent and select the one that fits you like a glove. In all honesty, most first-time tenants face similar challenges. Here are 10 problems that you may experience along the road and the best ways to solve them in a satisfying manner.

  1. Not Doing Your Research. Would you buy a car without test driving it? Would you pick a school for your daughter without analyzing its history and graduation rate? You probably wouldn’t. Therefore, also do your homework when it comes to choosing a “for rent” apartment or house. Proper research will let you find the most convenient deals available in the best neighborhoods that you can afford to live in.
  2. Ignoring Online Channels That Can Save You Hundreds of Dollars. In today’s market, it is virtually impossible to identify real bargains by doing a door-to-door search or counting exclusively on word-of-mouth. The Internet has made the real estate market become so much more dynamic. This is why you shouldn’t hesitate to go online and use the best apartment finding service to analyze a plethora of listings in your area of choice. Such services also facilitate a better communication between tenants and landlords, making it easier for you to avoid scams and bad deals.
  3. Not Realizing that What You Like and What You Can Afford Are Not Always the Same Thing. When conducting a house hunt on a budget, it is imperative to separate the things that you fancy from the ones that you can’t and shouldn’t be able to live without. You may not be able to shed $3,500 on a San Francisco rental located right in the heart of the city, but this shouldn’t stop you from looking for nice spacious properties available for rent in the family-friendly suburbs. For instance, Walnut Creek, a suburb based in the East Bay area and Novato, situated in the North Bay area, represent excellent targets for young families with kids requiring above average public schools and convenient housing options.
  4. Not Getting the Bigger Picture. When it comes to researching properties, there are two categories of people who are doing it wrong: those who don’t bother to check online listings and those who think that they can evaluate and rent a house with just a few clicks. While apartment finding services have simplified the apartment search a great deal, you should still take some time to tour the property in person. This action will help you get the bigger picture by weighing the pros and cons of each option and getting to know your new potential landlord.
  5. Overspending. To avoid spending more than you can afford on your rental, you should follow two important steps: 1. Set up a realistic budget and stick to it, and 2. Use the data provided by a local apartment finder to compare different offers and save the listings that are in your price range.
  6. Enquiring about Properties Listed with Zero Photos. Listings featuring very short, general descriptions that are not accompanied by a set of photos or a video tour are not exactly the best choices that you can stumble across. This kind of evasiveness raises a lot of questions: are you dealing with a property that can be labeled as an eyesore or with a landlord lacking interest? Both scenarios raise a red flag and should determine you to focus on listings that do comprise virtual tours and/or photos.
  7. Not Being Able to Make a Compromise. In life, you simply can’t have it all. Deal with it! If you’re targeting rentals in Southern California, a region well-known for its ultra expensive pieces of real estate, chances are that you will have to compromise at some point. Perhaps you should broaden your horizons by pinpointing rentals available in less expensive neighborhoods or maybe you don’t need a third bedroom after all. Re-analyze your selection criteria and make the right adjustments to profit from a happy, successful house hunt.
  8. Not Realizing That a Potential Landlord Is Open to Negotiations. In difficult economic times, most things are perfectly negotiable. Rental rates are not an exception to this rule, especially in rural areas where good long-term tenants are more difficult to come by. Therefore, do not hesitate to negotiate your rental rates, especially if you’re extending the length of your lease. According to Lifehacker, in case such negotiations are out of the question, at least try to get other attractive perks, like an extra parking spot for example.
  9. Ignoring the Fact That You Can Always Count on a Reliable Apartment Finder in California. At the end of the day, you should remember the fact that you’re not alone in this. Whether you want to get an expert insight into the Californian real estate market, spot recent, verified listings or establish a deeper connection with landlords the easy way, Apartment Hunterz can address all these needs. Use the information provided by California’s most popular apartment finding service to turn your upcoming apartment search into a smashing success.

 

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May 2015
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5 Ways to Avoid Losing Your Security Deposit While Renting in California

Security depositYou take really good care of all your personal belongings. You clean the house every two or three days and invest time and energy in regular maintenance work to avoid costly repairs. You’re far from being lazy or sloppy, in all aspects of life. Does this mean that you shouldn’t worry about your relationship with your landlord and the ways in which it could impact your budget? Not exactly! Unfortunately, many landlords would invoke just about any reason to prevent their tenants from recovering their security deposit. This tactic is neither fair, nor legal. Unfortunately, recent statistics show that 36% of all tenants who did not get their deposit back did not receive a justification from their landlord. The good news is that you can avoid all this drama by simply applying the 5 easy tips listed below.

  1. Document the Condition of Your New Apartment Before You Move in. Are you worried that you may be held responsible for pre-existing damages? Create a move-in checklist and use your camera or smartphone to show what the apartment or house really looked like before you shook hands with the landlord and moved in.
  2. Take Pictures (or Video) Before You Move Out. You should also document how clean and faultless you left your Californian rental. Who knows? Five minutes after you’re gone your landlord could decide to throw an amazing party and you clearly wouldn’t want to be charged extra (or lose your security deposit) to cover damages that may be unjustly linked to your presence in the house.
  3. Analyze Your Lease. Your lease is the best source of information enabling you to stay in the safe zone and avoid potential disputes with your landlord. Just think about the fact that you could avoid so many stressful and costly confrontations by reading your lease twice. Check out the end date listed on your lease. If it doesn’t have an end date, this basically means that it automatically extends; in this case, you should give a written notice usually one month before moving out. In this phase, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to solicit a receipt from your landlord, which should state the fact that you have submitted your written notice on time.
  4. Work for It. Let’s face it: even people who are incredibly meticulous can make mistakes. Maybe you have done everything in your power to keep the place clean and inviting, but accidents do happen. Even if you didn’t stain the carpet or break the glass window, you may still have to make small adjustments to bring the rental back to its original conditions. Therefore, repaint the walls if needed, replace the dinnerware that you’ve damaged, patch holes that you made while trying to hang your paintings, fix the damages that you may have created during your stay and clean the oven, cabinets and refrigerator. If you want to go the extra mile to impress your landlord and eliminate all reasons that may stop you from recovering your security deposit, invest a little time and energy in carpet cleaning and dust and polish the furniture and the wooden floors.
  5. End This Chapter in a Gracious Manner. Schedule a walkthrough, print a checklist and ask your landlord to sign it, after the final inspection. If your busy schedule forces you to skip this step, mail the checklist to your landlord and ask him to sign it and return it. Provide a forwarding address. If you can’t collect your security deposit in person, let your landlord know that she or he can send the amount to your new address. Even if you’ve left the place in excellent condition, some landlords may still be tempted to stall or refuse to give you your money back for no apparent reason. In this situation, tell your landlord that you won’t hesitate to drag him or her to court. The mere threat of an upcoming legal action is an effective tactic enabling most tenants to get their deposit back in no time. As a last resort, you could employ the same strategy to put an end to a tiresome conflict with your landlord or property manager.

Extra Tip: Reduce Risks by Relying on a Good Apartment Finder

Renting an apartment or house in California can be a wonderful experience allowing you to live in one of the most beautiful and vibrant cities in the world, get a great job, start your own business and set up and reach bigger goals in your personal and professional life. Rentals involve a minimal level of commitment and let you profit from the highest level of flexibility. Even so, your balance could be easily disrupted by an unscrupulous landlord who would do just about anything it takes to prevent you from getting your security deposit back. Unfortunately, there is no foolproof way to avoid such risks. Nonetheless, you can minimize risks by establishing a deeper bond with potential landlords and property managers. A good apartment finder lets you get in touch with the people who own and manage some of the most attractive for rent properties in your area of choice; not to mention the fact that the expert insight it provides could maximize your odds of finding a decent property in a specific neighborhood and save more than a few dollars on rent each month. Want to get to know your landlord before landing on his porch? By using the iConnect feature brought to you by Apartment Hunterz you could reach landlords with a few clicks, schedule convenient in-person meetings and even submit your paperwork online. Before knocking on a lessor’s door, screen him properly with a little help from Apartment Hunterz to keep risks in check and make the most of a flawless house hunt.

Is Southern California the Best Place to Conduct a House Hunt in 2015?

iStock_000036261404_SmallFor many years in a row, you’ve made countless sacrifices to put some money aside. You have embraced a more modest lifestyle simply because you have always wanted to relocate to Southern California and buy a nice piece of real estate here. In 2015, you still hold on to your dream. But the question that you should ask yourself before making a bold move is this: would it be wise to pour solid cash in a property based in Southern California in today’s market? You can get the best answer to this question by simply taking a closer look at the latest real estate trends.

Supply Is No Longer an Issue

Real estate experts tell us that supply should no longer be seen as an issue. If you’re determined to buy a home, rest assured knowing that the local market provides numerous appealing choices that have what it takes to enchant the eyes of potential buyers. According to market watchers, more sellers are going to make new tempting offers, as prices stay relatively high. This is considered a big shift from previous years, when numerous sellers chose to take their properties off the market and bidders were competing against each other for extremely scarce well-priced listings.

More Sellers Need to Step up to Keep Prices in Check

According to LA Times, an improving economy and a decent supply of properties for sale are the key factors that should keep prices in check. The same source indicates the fact that the buyer interest is reaching higher values. Open house traffic and real estate searches conducted online show that more and more people are contemplating the idea of getting the keys to a house or apartment in Southern California. If this type of conduct were to be translated into a new round of sales, it would put some extra pressure on real estate pricing. However, in this area, affordability was always a key issue intimidating buyers and discouraging sellers at the same time. This market is currently ensuring a very tight supply of homes priced below $500,000. This may not sound like a lot, considering the fact that Southern California is the natural habitat of A-listers who shed millions of dollars on the most appealing slices of real estate; however, it goes without saying that apartments and homes carrying such price tags are not compatible with the allocated budget of prospects who live from paycheck to paycheck. Good homes in this price range usually sell very fast. Agents operating in Los Angeles County say that during this period they organize open houses and welcome up to 25 groups of potential buyers on a daily basis. They get multiple offers each day and affirm that many prospects don’t hesitate to offer thousands of dollars above the asking price. In this context, supply seems to be the main component that could succeed in keeping the housing market healthy. More sellers who are determined to part ways with their properties for the right amount of money could help prevent prices from rising very quickly. Several real estate experts have reached the conclusion that new developments may become the perfect solution to all problems associated with the short supply. In their opinion, approximately 100,000 new homes should be built and marketed each year in all coastal regions to reduce housing costs. Moreover, the housing market seems to be quite stable at this point and reflects a good balance between the needs and demands of buyers and sellers.

If You Can’t Afford to Own It, Rent It!

Recent real estate trends indicate that finding a decent piece of real estate in Southern California is not impossible. Nonetheless, all the data compiled and analyzed by market watchers points in the same direction, revealing that real bargains are scarce. If you can’t afford to spend more than $400,000 on a house or apartment, now would be a good time to turn your attention to less costly alternatives. In other words, if luxurious, pricy properties are way out of your league, focus on finding great deals on the local rental market. Expect to pay anywhere from $1,500 to $5,000 and up on a modern apartment or single-family house equipped with all the amenities that you could ever need to feel comfortable and safe in a new environment. If you’re pinching pennies at this time, you may also want to anticipate trends, compare prices and features and establish a deeper connection with potential landlords using an apartment finding service.

Discover a New Way to Get Good Deals on Rentals in California

It’s no secret that inexpensive rentals can also be very difficult to find, especially if you’re relying solely on offline channels and word-of-mouth to spot fantastic properties and reliable landlords. Fortunately, there is a simpler method to track down recent listings and weigh different options meeting your expectations in terms of location, price and features. Did you know that you could research various tempting alternatives online, with just a few clicks, while you’re at home or at the office? Apartment Hunterz delivers thousands of verified, updated listings each day and lets you discover, assess and save your favorite ones. It gets better. As an indispensable service designed to reduce the stress and eliminate the hassles experienced by both lessors and tenants, Apartment Hunterz gives users access to a long list of helpful tools. For example, landlords can post and edit listings in only a few minutes. They can add up to 12 photos and virtual tours to maximize the appeal of their ads. Furthermore, tenants can reach landlords using the modern iConnect feature. All the paperwork can be submitted online. Both property owners and potential clients can rely on the 24/7 assistance provided by a dedicated support center. This type of collaboration turns any house hunt into a wonderful experience. Give this apartment finding service a try and pinpoint the best rentals in the state of Cali in less than a week.

5 of the Most Expensive and Luxurious California-Based Celebrity Homes

House cube B1 deconstructionWhen you have plenty of money in your bank account, California seems like the perfect place where you could rent or buy a home, start a family and grow a successful business. Celebrities show us how it’s done, by investing in some of the most lavishing properties that you could ever dare to picture. Money may not buy happiness, but in all honesty, being rich helps a lot, especially when a multimillion dollar slice of real estate is at the center of your definition of happiness. Without any further ado, here are 5 of the most sought-after California-based celebrity homes that could convince you to work harder to finance your relocation process.

  1. Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Mansion. Did you know that Hugh Hefner is the proud owner of a super stunning mansion comprising no less than 22 rooms, tennis court, zoo, a game room and a wine cellar? With this kind of amenities at your disposal, you could also throw some of the most memorable and decadent parties with minimal effort.
  2. Oprah’s Ultra Expensive Mansion. Oprah decided to pour no less than 55 million dollars in a superb mansion located in Montecito, California. Due to its extraordinary features and the superior level of comfort that it ensures, this corner of paradise is also known as “The Promised Land.” Stretching on 42 acres, this fabulous home is appreciated for its stunning mountain and ocean views.
  3. Simon Cowell’s Overwhelmingly Beautiful and Pricy Estate. You simply can’t list some of the most desirable slices of real estate based in Beverly Hills without mentioning the one owned by Simon Cowell. The house constructed on the lot purchased by this mogul for 8 million dollars was demolished to create enough room for a high-end residential property counting 5 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms, a gorgeous spa and an onsite gym that will take your breath away.
  4. Portia de Rossi and Ellen DeGeneres’ Crib. These two lovely ladies have invested a lot of money in on-point renovations meant to breathe new life into a luxurious ranch located in Hidden Valley, California. The place has a rustic décor revolving around wooden floors and rugged furniture; not to mention the fact that it sends out a warm, welcoming vibe. Need another reason to love it? This piece of real estate is evaluated at approximately 10 million dollars.
  5. Reese Witherspoon’s Breathtaking Fortress. Reese Witherspoon has great style and we all know it. What you may not know is that this popular actress owns a superb property resembling a medieval castle. The house located in Ojai, California, is worth more than 7 million dollars and is more rustic and cozy than glamorous. If you are very fond of unpretentious settings, chances are that you’ll adore its minimalist kitchen with white cabinets and a large island, paired with red and brown wooden chairs and a round wooden table.

What Should You Realistically Expect from a High-End Californian Rental Property?

If you can afford to spend a little bit more on a rental property, you are probably wondering how you could find the most attractive deals on the local real estate market. While most upscale rentals vary a great deal in terms of price, amenities and size, most of them display a perfect mix of key features, including the following ones:

  1. Great Location
  2. A Killer View
  3. Fabulous Amenities (game rooms, private lounges, gyms and wellness centers are usually a part of the deal)
  4. Additional Services (pet grooming services ensured by onsite salons, concierge service and so on)

Assuming that you simply can’t afford to embrace the luxurious celebrity-inspired lifestyle, should you just let yourself sink into a pool of frustration and disappointment or should you try to see the glass half full? If optimism is one of your innate components, then you will most likely start to look for the best alternatives matching your expectations and budget. For instance, if you couldn’t possibly get near a property located right in the heart of Los Angeles, perhaps you could still get the keys to a nice little apartment located in nearby areas or certain neighborhoods that are considered less desirable, such as Cypress Park, El Segundo, Historic Filipinotown or Little Armenia. With a little bit of research, you could spot great deals on the local real estate market and move in a new neighborhood allowing you to spend less money on rent on a monthly basis.

Can’t shed thousands or millions of dollars on a property resembling the one owned by Oprah? Keep the location and ask for less in terms of square footage and amenities. Using the data delivered by a reliable apartment finder you could compare different rentals available in Montecito, California. Vacation rentals available in this area are usually in the $250 range (per night). You should also know that there are quite a few upscale homes for rent in this area, carrying price tags starting from $4,000 per month.

There’s a Simpler Way to Uncover the Secrets of the Californian Real Estate Market

These days, you don’t have to drive around town and visit various neighborhoods to spot a good for rent or for sale property matching your criteria. At the same time, a real estate agent shouldn’t be seen as your strongest ally in your quest to find a decent rental. As a matter of fact, now you can count on the expert insight and massive amount of data brought to you by a good apartment finding service. The listings delivered by Apartment Hunterz help you save time and money that you would otherwise have to invest in a lengthy, stressful house hunt. Identify and save the listings that interest you the most, contact landlords and property managers online, schedule property tours and submit your paperwork over the Internet. This system lets you experience the highest level of convenience when it comes to renting a house or an apartment in California and eliminates some of the most common challenges that both tenants and landlords have to face in today’s market.

5 Things You Should Know about Santa Clarita before Buying or Renting a House Here

Businesswoman holding housees in handsEver since you can remember, you have always wanted to live in Los Angeles. This city fits you like a glove and matches your preferences and lifestyle choices. You love the general vibe, the clubs, the restaurants, the people and even the obnoxious traffic. Nonetheless, there is one small impediment standing in the way of your future goals: you couldn’t possibly afford to rent or buy a house here. Assuming that you don’t want to get a loan or a third job to support your plan, what path should you follow to get closer to your dream? Here’s an option worth considering: move to Santa Clarita. We give you 5 good reasons why you’d love it here.

  1. Santa Clarita Residents Benefit from a High Quality of Life. Here’s one of the most important things that you should know about Santa Clarita: this city has what it takes to keep its residents happy. In an article published by Money magazine in 2006, Santa Clarita occupied the 18th position on the list of the 100 best places to live in the U.S.
  2. Santa Clarita Offers You the Best in Terms of Greenery, Scenic Surroundings and Recreation. Perhaps you have always wanted to live in an environment that lets you live the big city life without losing your balance. Could you actually find a place combining the commotion that you are addicted to with the beauty and tranquility associated with a natural paradise? If you were to move to Santa Clarita, you would be able to get the best of both worlds. Located approximately 35 miles of downtown L.A., Santa Clarita represents the third biggest city comprised by Los Angeles County. Home to 176,320 people, according to the data provided by the 2010 census, Santa Clarita is also a city that treats recreational programs and facilities as a top priority. If you want to find a nice home for you and your family in a decent neighborhood with a low crime rate and give your children the chance to profit from a superior education and avoid safety and security risks, then Santa Clarita would be a good pick for you, simply because it has already implemented various youth-friendly diversions and activities designed to discourage gang activity and crimes. A recreation center based in Canyon Country features a gorgeous aquatic park. The biggest park located in this area, known as Central Park, is a haven for locals and tourists who wish to relax and take a breath of fresh air. There are 17 parks scattered throughout Santa Clarita. Most of them are equipped with a wide range of amenities, such as soccer and baseball fields, tennis courts, pools and biking/skating trails. All in all, Santa Clarita counts numerous off-street trails stretching on 32 miles, as well as 3,000 acres of inviting open space.
  3. Santa Clarita Has Recently Experienced a Significant Home Growth. Are you tired of living with your parents? Would you give just about anything to be able to spread your wings and draw your own path in life? In this case, you should know that Santa Clarita offers you the perfect accommodation options for young adults seeking a new roof over your head. Moreover, in this particular situation, you wouldn’t have to settle for old houses or apartments requiring extensive renovations or remodeling work. Santa Clarita has recently experienced a major home growth due to the ambitious plans implemented by influent builders, such as Lennar or K. Hovnanian Homes. Therefore, you can rest assured knowing that, for the right price, you could get the keys to a new, shiny house or apartment that is ready to reflect your decorating skills and personality.
  4. Santa Clarita’s Real Estate Market Provides Amazing Opportunities. OK, so you can’t afford to spend $3,000 per month on a condo located in Los Angeles. If that’s the case, turn your attention to cheaper alternatives based in Santa Clarita. For example, a nice 1-bedroom apartment comprised by a modern complex can cost you anywhere from $1,530 to $2,000 per month. Keep in mind that new properties carrying relatively small price tags let you profit from a generous selection of modern amenities designed to boost your comfort and satisfaction. According to the data provided by Zillow, the median rent price estimated for Santa Clarita is $1,905, less than the value calculated for the Los Angeles Metro area ($2,200). The difference is not exactly colossal, but a cheaper Santa Clarita rental would still allow you to save around $300 per month and redirect this amount towards your everyday priorities. Therefore, don’t hesitate to compare different listings and find the best slices of real estate that match your budget, lifestyle and specific requirements in terms of location, features and square footage.
  5. You Can Simplify Your House Search by Relying on an Apartment Finding Service. If you have a small budget for your relocation, maybe you don’t really want to spend your money on the services provided by a local realtor. The good news is that you can avoid such expenses and still get the extra support that you need to conduct a rapid, stress-free home hunt. Here’s an idea: why don’t you just take a glance at the most recent listings brought to you by Apartment Hunterz? One quick look will help you realize that the insight provided by California’s favorite apartment finder is all you require to find great properties and dependable landlords in only a few days. Check out the large database that Apartment Hunterz puts at your disposal, save your favorite listings and revisit them if needed; contact landlords and property managers online and submit your applications with a few clicks. All in all, a tenant and landlord-oriented apartment finding service represents the key to turning a rental search into a rewarding experience.