How to Become a Happy First-Time Tenant in California in 5 Easy Steps

iStock_000024616341_SmallFor some reason or another, you have always felt drawn to big cities. You love the noisy crowds, the diversity and sometimes even the horrible traffic that gives you the opportunity to take a break and put your thoughts in order. You also have a passion for picturesque surroundings, love the breeze of the ocean and can’t get enough of sunbaths, fruity cocktails enjoyed on a beach chair and quality time spent with your best friends in classy restaurants and clubs.

What Challenges Could You Be Forced to Face as a First-Time Tenant?

These are only a few reasons why you’re so addicted to California and the exuberant lifestyle that this state encourages you to embrace. If you’re determined to spend more than a few months in the most populous and vibrant U.S. state, you may want to start looking for the best deals on the local housing market. Taking into consideration the fact that some of the most appealing Cali-based properties that will catch your eye at a first glance most likely carry astronomical price tags, it’s safe to say that exploring your options as a first-time tenant is no easy task.  As this wouldn’t be enough, prospects who are not familiar with the mechanism of the rental market may also be exposed to scams and other pitfalls, revolving around shady tactics employed by unscrupulous landlords. To avoid all these nightmares, you could always research different properties using the data delivered by a Californian apartment finder, instead of just settling for the first cheap place for rent that you may find on Craigslist. Here are a few steps that could guarantee your success as a first-time tenant.

5 Steps Leading to an Enjoyable House Hunt

  1. Set up a Realistic Budget Based on the City/Neighborhood That You’re Targeting. You can’t and shouldn’t dream about renting a place in downtown Los Angeles, when you could barely afford to pay rent in Fresno. In order to prevent frustration and deceptions, you have to put pen to paper and evaluate your financial situation in an objective manner. Find out how much money you can realistically afford to pour into your rental of choice. Location is an extremely important criterion that should be factored in. Keep in mind that the price tags carried by most properties also vary a great deal based on the neighborhood where they are located. For instance, according to LA Weekly, Boyle Heights, El Sereno and Elysian Valley are listed among ten of the best neighborhoods in Los Angeles where you could rent a beautiful single-family home without getting covered in debt. Even so, the concept of affordability may be interpreted differently by people looking for a new roof over their head. For instance, if you think that a property that costs more than $1,500 per month is way out of your league, don’t even bother looking for apartments or houses for rent located in the budget-friendly El Sereno, as the median rent in this area is estimated at $1,953.
  2. Take the Little Extras into Consideration. Even if you’ve managed to lower your landlord’s asking price and score a good deal, analyze all the aspects before signing on the dotted line. Would you also be able to cope with the bills that will be piling up month after month? Here’s a simple tip that may offer you the best answer to this question: call the utility providers, give them your address and find out how much the previous tenant spent on cable, heat and electricity.
  3. Prove That You Are the Ideal Tenant. Whether you like it or not, most landlords screen their potential tenants thoroughly to avoid security risks, damages and financial losses. As a first-time tenant, you won’t be able to rely on referrals from your previous landlord to make an awesome first impression. On the other hand, you have other paths that you can explore to connect with a landlord or property manager on a higher level. Tell the landlord that you are ready to pay the security deposit and get your checkbook ready. Also, you can let him know that you are willing to pay a month’s rent in advance, to prove that you match the profile of the perfect tenant.
  4. Tour the Property in Person. Don’t sign anything before inspecting the property in person. While photos and virtual tours can offer you the most important details that you usually weigh before renting or buying a place, do not skip the property tour that will help you feel the vibe of the place and spot potential structural flaws, obvious signs of wear and tear and other problems that may make a property become less desirable in the eyes of new tenants.
  5. Explore Other Options Using the Data Delivered by a Respectable Apartment Finder. Last but not least, conduct your first house hunt by relying on the information delivered by Apartment Hunterz, California’s best-loved apartment finding service. By following this path, you could check out and compare different listings in real time, save your searches so that you could revisit your favorites at any given point in time, filter different properties based on the things that matter to you the most (city, neighborhood, current condition, type of accommodation option, price, amenities and so on) and submit your paperwork online. Using the same service, you can also reach landlords and property managers with just a few clicks and get pertinent answers to all your questions in no time.

As a first-time tenant who is determined to make the most of bargains spotted on the local housing market, you clearly need a helping hand when it comes to inventorying and analyzing your options. Instead of wandering in the dark or taking chances, choose to take the easy (and safe) way out: put the insight offered by Apartment Hunterz to good use to turn your first house hunt into a major victory.

May 2015

Short-Term Vs. Long-Term Rental Agreements: Which Is the Best Option for You?

Hispanic couple outside home for rentThere are millions of compelling reasons why you should build a new life in California. The friendly weather, great career opportunities, fancy clubs and restaurants and awesome sandy beaches are only a few of the decisive factors that always make you pack up your bags and get the first plane to Cali. However, when it comes to renting a place in America’s most densely populated state, things tend to get a little more complicated. For starters, you would have to answer pressing questions such as: should I go for a short-term rental or a long-term rental? Does a long-term rental involve the kind of commitment and responsibilities that I may not be ready for at this point? Do short-term rentals involve greater risks than long term ones? Each and every answer to these questions will bring you closer to finding the perfect rental for you. To make a smart final call, you should start by carefully analyzing the pros and cons of both short and long-term rentals.

Discover the Pros of Short-Term Rentals

Short term rentals are well-liked by many tenants for a number of reasons. First of all, they ensure the highest level of flexibility that a prospect could ever hope to experience. One day, you could rent a house on the beach; the a few months later, you could get the keys to a gorgeous Napa Valley villa that could become the perfect home away from home for the next ten months or so. For those who love to travel extensively and don’t wish to put down roots in a specific area, short-term rentals are a clever solution stimulating tenants to broaden their horizons and maintain an active, nomadic lifestyle.  Also, for businesses seeking new properties for rent, short-term rental agreements may work best simply because they ensure an easy way out. If your new business idea were to fail, this type of lease would give you the opportunity to cut your losses and close this chapter without getting covered in debt; on the other hand, long-term rentals leave business owners on the hook for their delayed rent payments. This advantage is quite significant, considering the fact that 8 out of 10 companies close their gates within one year and a half of opening, according to recent statistics quoted by Huffington Post. Short-term rentals may not offer you the stability that long-term contracts usually provide, but they do ensure a safety net that you may appreciate when it comes to developing new business or travelling frequently.

Short-Term Rentals Also Have their Disadvantages

Lack of stability leading to frustration, a never-ending stressful and time-consuming house hunt and increased housing costs, is by far the most important drawback that tenants should take into consideration before renting a house or apartment for a short period of time.

Weigh the Pros of Long-Term Rentals

Predictability. Long-term rentals are the perfect alternative at hand for people who would like to settle down in California, but can’t actually afford to buy their own place here. In other words, long-term rentals lead to a sense of security. They help tenants discover the thrills of a predictable existence. Moreover, companies that sign short-term rental agreements could witness an increase in their real estate costs every single year. On the other hand, long-term contracts enable tenants to prevent such risks and make the most of their rental properties without spending more than they can actually afford to on rent.

Stability. Tenants who don’t really like to move around much appreciate the stability associated with a long-term rental. Unlike short-term rental agreements, long-term ones protect you from a number of unpleasant situations, like being forced out of the property that you are currently occupying, very unexpectedly and for no apparent reason. Long-term leases are perfect for people who want to turn the house that they live in into a home and prevent the stress associated with endless relocations.

Concessions. Let’s face it: long-term rentals allow you to build a solider relationship with landlords and property managers. This type of bond could help you unlock various benefits, such as rent deduction or improvement allowances. Sometimes, short-term rental agreements can offer similar advantages; however, in most cases you would have to put your negotiation skills to the test to benefit from major tenant improvements that will enhance your level of comfort and satisfaction.

Find out why Long-Term Rentals May Not Be the Best Option for You

For those who don’t really like serious commitments and hate the idea of putting down roots in one place, long-term rentals may not be the best alternative at hand.

Bottom line: both short-term and long-term rentals are options that may work for you, as a newcomer determined to upgrade your personal and/or professional life in California. At the end of the day, you should go in favor of the option that is fully compatible with your lifestyle, necessities and financial possibilities.

Identify the Most Tempting Listings with Apartment Hunterz

Now that you are familiar with the advantages and disadvantages of both short-term and long-term rentals, perhaps you feel ready to move into a new house or apartment. In this case, choose to find the most amazing Californian properties with just a little help from Apartment Hunterz. Using this premium apartment finding service you can check out thousands of regularly updated listings, compare different options in terms of location, features and price, narrow down your search by targeting houses or apartments available in your favorite neighborhoods, get in touch with property managers and landlords online, with just a few clicks, submit your applications over the Internet and schedule in-person meetings with the people who hold the key to the place that you could call your new home.

How to Select the Perfect Waterfront Property in California in a Few Easy Steps

beautiful houses downtown at the waterfront Miami southPeople who live in California have all the reasons in the world to wake up with a big smile on their faces. After all, they count on beautiful weather year-round, have some of the most amazing entertainment options worldwide and can easily choose from luxurious pieces of real estate that are hunted down by a plethora of wealthy international buyers. Assuming that you have enough money in the bank to get the keys to a lavishing oceanfront property for an indefinite period of time, what are the main aspects that you should consider when it comes to selecting the perfect house for you and your loved ones? Here are six essential elements that you could use as selection criteria to simplify your search for the perfect piece of waterfront Californian real estate.

  1. Purpose. How do you plan to use the high-end property in the first place? Would you like to own it or rent it for a few weeks, months or years in a row? Moreover, would you use it as your primary residence or as a home away from home? Last but not least, would you buy the place for yourself or would you be eager to rent out the waterfront house to supplement your income? Do keep in mind that a bit home remodeling may be required before actually embarking on a quest to find the perfect tenants. Also, depending on how often you are planning on using the property, you can afford to be more or less picky when weighing different options. For example, you shouldn’t be in a hurry to purchase an expensive Californian property that is not 100% compatible with your needs and wishes; ownership involves a higher level of commitment, plus it may be difficult for you to sell your house at a profit in today’s market. On the other hand, a Californian rental that satisfies your basic needs in terms of comfort might do for a very limited period of time.
  2. Hobbies. Waterfront properties are perfect for people who embrace an active lifestyle and have more than a few beach-related hobbies. In this case, the key is to go for a property that will make it easier for you to enjoy your pastimes. For instance, enthusiastic fishermen will appreciate pieces of real estate ensuring easy access to the ocean. Those who are very fond of boating will most likely direct their attention towards spacious properties enabling them to store their boats in excellent conditions. At the same time, those who think that canoeing and kayaking are among the most relaxing sports known to man will definitely value privacy a great deal and go for secluded pieces of real estate that keep them close to the water, but far from the madding crowd. For this category of homebuyers or tenants, busy waters counting dozens of ski jets are not the most welcoming environment that they could imagine. On the contrary, they are constantly looking for more isolated corners of paradise that could reinforce their connection with Mother Nature.
  3. Square Footage. When it comes to selecting the perfect waterfront property, size matters a great deal for two main reasons: costs and comfort. First of all, you wouldn’t want to overspend on a property that is too big or too small for you. Also, a house that is too spacious for your current needs will most likely lead to greater maintenance costs and utility bills that you may not be ready to deal with. Comfort is an equally important aspect. An apartment or house that can’t accommodate all your relatives and/or guests may not represent such a good deal after all, in the long term. Nobody likes to share the room with other family members or sleep on inflatable mattresses for more than a weekend.
  4. Location and Price Tag. California has more than a few gorgeous cities where prospects could spot a fair share of beachfront properties designed to satisfy any fantasy. The thing is that such rentals vary a great deal in price based on their specific location. For instance, in Huntington Beach you could find modern apartments for rent in the $1,750 – $3,050 range. Forbes reveals that Santa Monica, Santa Barbara and La Jolla are listed among the most popular vacation destinations with the most expensive beachfront property markets. According to the same source, even the most modest bungalow located in these areas could cost you more than $1.6 million. In this context, even renting a vacation home in such locations may be off-limits, so weigh all valid options in an objective manner before making any phone calls.
  5. Feel free to select and rate different Californian vacation rentals based on the amenities that they offer. If you count on a big budget, you can target some of the most sought-after upscale details, such as rooftop terraces with fire pits, indoor and outdoor heated pools, game rooms and onsite gyms and wellness centers. On the other hand, if money is tight, you may want to put the amenities with the highest practical value above the ones that only satisfy your caprices and take a lot of money from your wallet. For instance, instead of hunting down rentals with onsite fitness centers and pet spas, you may want to settle for a nice, clean and welcoming waterfront house or apartment with a fully furnished kitchen and in-unit washer and dryer.
  6. Pet Policy. When you own a place, you never have to worry about the ways in which your beloved four-legged friend could damage your property and/or personal belongings. On the other hand, when you’re renting a house, you’re dealing with a completely different story. This is precisely why you should analyze the owner’s pet policy very carefully before signing on the dotted line. If you can’t imagine your summer vacation without your Fido and your landlord is determined to stick to his no-pets policy, then you will definitely have to focus on finding another house or apartment that is pet-friendly and meets the rest of your conditions.

If you don’t want to complicate your existence and wish to find the perfect waterfront property in less than a week, count on the support offered by Apartment Hunterz. California’s largest apartment finder will bring you the freshest listings and provide the expert guidance that you may require to narrow down your search make a smart decision in no time.