4 Hidden Costs Triggered by Home Ownership (and Why Renting in California Is a Good Call)

Five dollar cottages isolated over whiteOwning a house is a major accomplishment at any age. Home buyers benefit from a long list of advantages, including the highest level of stability, comfort and the chance to explore the widest range of personalization options (after all, no landlord is going to nag them for driving nails into a wall to hang their favorite artwork). So there you have it: the property that you may actually afford to buy could easily become your personal temple of relaxation.

Identifying 4 Additional Expenses Linked to Home Ownership 

On the other hand, it’s no secret that for sale pieces of real estate available in California are usually extremely expensive and bargains on this market are hard to come by. What’s even worse is that most prospects seeking a new roof over their heads often ignore less obvious expenses linked to home ownership. Here are four such examples that you may want to factor in before contracting a loan and attending your first open house.

  1. Necessary Improvements. As an owner, you want to feel proud every single time you invite a new guest to tour your home. Naturally, in order to feed your vanity, you choose to conduct ample remodeling work and invest in a series of improvements designed to add value to your home, from an aesthetic and functional standpoint. The problem is that even the smallest positive changes cost a lot of money. Even the simplest Pinterest-inspired makeover plans involve the usage of basic materials (paint, brushes, wood, PVC and composite boards and so on), which could easily overbalance your monthly budget.
  2. Repairs. As a tenant, when your toilet stops working properly, you call the super and let him handle this problem. As an owner, you have to deal with such unpleasant issues on your own. According to MyDomaine, in order to cope with these unpredicted expenses, owners should try to save anywhere from 1% to 3% of the overall value of their property on an annual basis. This measure of precaution would ensure easy access to a fund especially designed to cover damages such as leaky roofs, clogged toilets and defective heaters.
  3. Maintenance Work. When you rent in California, you can afford to be a little bit lazy or sloppy. You can clean up your apartment each Saturday, right before calling your friends and inviting them over for dinner. On the other side of the coin, ownership dictates new responsibilities and forces you to take maintenance work very seriously. Here’s why: by neglecting the things that you have around the house, such as small appliances, you are basically reducing their lifespan. Just think about it: as a tenant, when you discover that your washer and dryer are no longer working, you just have to contact your landlord and ask him to repair or replace your appliances. When you own a house, you have to pay for repairs or replacements out of your own pocket; this is a drawback that will help you combat your own sloppiness and invest more time, energy and money in regular maintenance.
  4. Home Decorating. Ownership gives you the perfect excuse to go back to your hoarding habits and spend more than a few dollars on a daily basis on things that you consider necessary around the house. The sad truth that no homeowner likes to hear is that even the most fervent bargain hunters can end up pouring a small fortune into so-called “everyday essentials” ranging from bedding, vintage market finds, kitchen appliances and bathroom decorations. These items may not sound like the most expensive, high-end products on the planet, but the small expenses that they involve can easily add up.

Why Is Renting in California Such a Smart Decision After All?

As you may already imagine, rentals require minimal levels of commitment. Basically, an affordable rental would allow you to keep your expenses in check and avoid additional costs linked to new impulse purchases, home improvement work, upkeep and repairs. Moreover, rentals enable you to build and maintain a beneficial relationship with your landlord, which could save you a lot of trouble in the long run. For instance, you wouldn’t have to fix or replace leaky pipes on your own or buy a new toaster when the old one stops running. Furthermore, renting in California has gotten a whole lot easier, due to the new technology that both landlords and tenants can put to good use to interact with people who are looking for a good deal on the local real estate market.

Discover the List of Benefits Ensured by a Respectable Apartment Finding Service

Apartment finding services give prospects the opportunity to get familiar with average rental prices in different areas of interest. Moreover, the same type of services grants access to a large database containing thousands of verified, recent listings. Using this insight, potential tenants can compare different pieces of real estate in terms of costs, location, amenities and features and make an informed decision. It gets better! Using the same handy helper, landlords and property managers can market their listings in a time and cost-effective fashion. By writing a compelling descriptions and posting up to 12 high-resolution photos (and video tours, if needed), people who are determined to rent out their Californian houses or apartments can get a few steps closer to the perfect tenant. As a platform that incorporates the finest technology to consolidate the bond between thousands of lessors and tenants, Apartment Hunterz is considered one of the most reputable providers of fresh, appealing listings. If you’re also looking forward to renting a budget-friendly property in Cali, instead of hiring a realtor, give this service a try and find out how it could help you sign your rental agreement in less than a week.

6 Things That Nobody Told You about the Californian Real Estate Market

iStock_000018777492_SmallIf you were to follow your strongest desire blindly, you would probably hop on a plane, leave your state and move to Los Angeles for good. As a matter of fact, you would gladly relocate to San Bernardino, San Francisco, San Diego or any other Californian city that is fully compatible with your bold goals and luxurious aspirations.

6 Things That You Should Know about the Real Estate Market before Moving to California 

We get it: you are craving for an upgrade. You want the very best in terms of housing and you want it now. However, before making any changes that would inevitably impact your lifestyle, you should start by getting familiar with the Californian real estate market. Here are six key aspects that you should grasp and analyze before your big move.

  1. The Real Estate Market Is Currently Gaining Extra Strength. According to a recent report made public by PropertyRadar, condominium and single-family home sales have recorded a 31% increase in March, compared to the numbers revealed in February. This appears to be the most significant spring increase reported in the last three years.
  2. The Number of Home Sales Is Rising. According to the same source, the median home prices revealed a substantial growth in no less than 17 the biggest and most prominent Californian counties. All these numbers indicate the fact that the Californian real estate market is gradually recovering its strength, as more individuals seem determined to buy or rent a new roof over their heads in this state.
  3. The California Drought Isn’t Putting Buyers and Tenants on the Run. Tempting interest rates and mild, friendly winter weather are only two of the reasons why more and more prospects are interested in for rent or for sale pieces of real estate based in Cali. As Housingwire points out, the feared California drought that has dominated headlines for quite some time now isn’t perceived as a major threat by people who are interested in what the Californian real estate market has to offer. As a matter of fact, according to the same source, it appears that the draught hasn’t affected the market in any way so far. There are millions of other aspects that usually influence the buying/renting decision, and this sunny state definitely manages to qualify as a main target for home seekers due to its mix of unique attributes, including plenty of attractive job opportunities, great views, multiple climates, quality entertainment and the mirage of the Californian dream.
  4. Renting Is Still the Best Solution for Those Who Are Intimidated by Prohibitive Price Tags. Can’t afford to buy a new home in Cali? This is perfectly understandable. Lots of other people can relate to your situation, especially considering the fact that some of the most sought-after cities aren’t exactly listed as the most welcoming environments for non-millionaires. So if you don’t have enough money in your bank account, don’t want to deal with mortgage payments or prefer the flexibility and convenience offered by a rental, should you start a new chapter in Cali as a first-time tenant? The final choice is all yours, but do keep in mind that renting is a cost-effective option for most candidates interested in a fresh start in this state. Recent statistics presented by Zillow highlight the fact that the median rent price in Cali is estimated at $2,000 per month, while the median home value exceeds $441,000. Naturally, densely populated cities offer pricy accommodation options that may be way out of your league. For instance, the median rent price in San Francisco has recently reached a new record value after climbing to $4,225 per month. This doesn’t mean that only the insanely rich people can afford to become tenants in Cali. One could easily find plenty of decently priced accommodation options in less crowded cities. For example, the median rental rate is in the $760 in Fresno. Keep these differences in mind before creating a list of cities where you would like to live. Do the math, set your priorities straight, analyze your short and long-term goals and find the real estate deals that make more sense to you and your family.
  5. Buying a Home in California’s Best-Loved Coastal Areas Is Still a Challenge. Here’s an important aspect that you shouldn’t neglect during your home hunt: the recent surge in sales has also pushed home prices considerably higher, especially in coastal areas where the competition for pricy slices of real estate was already fierce. Median income buyers can no longer hope to get their hands on the keys to a median priced Californian home located in these regions. Again, this new reality compels prospects to explore the many benefits of renting a house in California.
  6. You Can Always Score a Good Deal by Counting on the Insight of a Californian Apartment Finder. Assuming that you can’t afford to invest millions in a nice oceanfront property, ask yourself the following question: would you be able to rent one and fulfill your dream without going bankrupt? You can discover the most accurate answer to this question by checking out listings delivered by a trusted apartment finder.

Use a World-Class Apartment Finding Service to Simplify Your Upcoming House Hunt

Looking for a small, inexpensive apartment or a lavishing mansion in California? Now you can identify, compare and rent your favorite real estate slices the easy way while counting on the unconditional support of California’s top-rated apartment finding service. Apartment Hunterz ensures a flawless connection between tenants and landlords and enables prospects to monitor, assess and save the listings that match their selection criteria. By guaranteeing access to a wide range of user-friendly tools, Apartment Hunterz simplifies the work of any home seeker and turns the renting process into a wonderful, hassle-free success story. Put this service to the test and find out how it could help you find the ideal home in less than a week.


Most Affordable Places in California That Are Perfect for Young Tenants

Family between boxesNumerous people who are in their 30s don’t want to have anything to do with the stress and the tremendous pressure associated with mortgage payments. Moreover, many married couples with children are looking for a nice, inexpensive rental offering them the highest level of flexibility and stability at the same time. Assuming that you can relate to this situation, could you actually afford to rent a place in Southern California, an area that is worldwide famous for its pricy slices of real estate? Truth be told, certain cities and neighborhoods based in this region also welcome non-millionaires and represent an excellent environment for young families with kids. If you’re contemplating the idea of putting down roots in Cali without spending a fortune on your first rental, keep reading to discover the simplest ways in which you could conduct an effective house hunt.

Key Elements That You Should Analyze Before Selecting a City

Where would you like to live? If your choice is not tied to a new tempting job offer, a work-related relocation or any other factor that could influence your final call, then you should feel free to evaluate each candidate based on certain criteria, such as the number (and reputation) of public and private schools available in your area, crime rates and local economy. Let’s start with the beginning: if you want to target neighborhoods with excellent schools, remember that you could use several online tools (such as GreatSchools) to measure the academic performance of each institution. Next, you should assess the compatibility between your financial situation and the overall cost of living. Again, rely on online calculators to compare the values linked to different cities. By analyzing indicators such as local purchasing power, housing, restaurants index and groceries index you could make a smart decision on your own in no time.

5 Places That You Might Love at a First Sight

Now that you know how to evaluate and rate the candidates matching your demands and realistic needs, start your house hunt by taking a closer look at the following neighborhoods, which happen to be some of the most inspired choices for young, budget-conscious families with kids.

  1. Winnetka. This neighborhood is located in the west-central part of San Fernando Valley and encompasses four private and six public schools. The median household income was estimated at $62,435. During the same timeframe, 48.3% of the local housing stock was occupied by renters. This area provides plenty of inexpensive rentals, considering that an average 2-bedroom house could cost you less than 2,900 dollars per month.
  2. Lakewood. The data provided by Zillow indicates that the median home value in this area is in the $295,100 range. This means that the odds of finding a fairly inexpensive for sale property in Lakewood are pretty high. If you’d rather stick to cheap rentals, you should also know that Lakewood has no shortage of budget-friendly options. The same source reveals that the median rent price here is $1,400 (less than the current Denver Metro median value, estimated at $1,650).
  3. Valley Village. Stretching on 2.09-square miles, Valley Village is a beautiful neighborhood suitable for young families. Approximately 68.7% of its housing units are represented by occupied rental units. This neighborhood takes pride in a recreation center featuring tennis courts, an outdoor pool, handball and basketball courts, picnic tables and an auditorium. The average price/square foot is $442, while the average two-bedroom rental unit is priced at $2,632 per month.
  4. Palms. Known as a prominent primarily residential area with great potential, Palms represents a good choice for newcomers who are interested in a Cali-based, densely populated community that does a great job at illustrating the concept of diversity. Palms counts more than a few notable points of interest, including religious sites, Pakistani and Indian businesses and restaurants, and shops and clubs targeting the well-represented Brazilian community. Need one more reason to pack your bags, spend a few days in Palms and become familiar with its long list of wonders? In this case, you should probably consider the fact that a small studio located in this area could cost you less than $1,200 per month. This is the place where spacious, family-friendly 2-bedroom houses can be found under $3,000 per month, so do keep an eye on the local real estate market and compare the solid numbers unveiled by Apartment Hunterz to make the right call.
  5. Encino. Home to no less than 3,800 powerful businesses that employ approximately 27,000 people, Encino is seen as an affluent, sought-after neighborhood with a high median income (reaching $78,529 in 2008). Encino’s thriving economy provides plenty of appealing jobs in professional services (legal, real estate and accounting), social services and healthcare. Well-liked for its gorgeous parks and recreation areas, including The Sepulveda Dam Recreation Area and Los Encinos State Historic Park, Encino also comprises the popular Balboa Sports Complex, which features an indoor gym, tennis courts, a soccer field and a playground, among other amenities that are usually appreciated by families with children.

Ways to Organize a Fun, Convenient House Hunt

To avoid complications and save time and energy during your house hunt, you should consider getting professional assistance. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should hire a real estate agent. Now you can start looking for a decent, affordable Californian rental on your own, with just a little bit of help from the team behind a trustworthy apartment finding service. Use the insight provided by Apartment Hunterz to identify and compare a broad selection of for rent properties, test the tools ensuring a close contact with landlords and property managers and schedule face-to-face meetings. The process is as simple and convenient as it gets. Give this apartment finding service a try and share your success stories with people in your circle who are also looking for affordable, tenant-friendly slices of real estate.

Jun 2015

How to Maximize the Space of Your Rental the Easy Way

iStock_000057768698_SmallAfter sleeping on your friend’s couch for a few months in a row, you have finally decided to regain your independence and find a nice Californian rental that you could call home for the next few months, years or decades. Here’s the problem that stands in the way of your plan and bothers you the most: money. The truth is that you couldn’t possibly afford to spend more than $2,000 on rent. This means that big 3-bedroom apartments, especially the ones located in densely populated, sought-after cities like San Francisco, are out of the question. Could you survive in a small apartment for more than a week? As a matter of fact, you shouldn’t avoid small-scale rentals during your apartment hunt. These candidates offer multiple benefits; not to mention the fact that they could be easily transformed into spacious, stylish environments.

3 Reasons Why You Should Probably Settle for a Smaller Apartment

Why should you ignore luxurious properties that are as spacious as a palace and start to target humbler housing options? We give you not one, but three reasons why a small, modest apartment may be more convenient that a larger one.

  1. It’s Cheaper. As you may already imagine, a 1-bedroom apartment can be much cheaper than a 2 or 3-bedroom one. By using the data provided by an apartment finder, you could compare the price tags carried by similar properties available for rent in your area of choice. Why go for a 3-bedroom apartment when you could save $400 or $500 per month by settling for a smaller unit? The difference stays in your pocket.
  2. It Involves Reduced Utility Costs. Smaller properties trigger smaller utility bills. If you are determined to cut down costs, a small studio could be the perfect choice for you. To identify the one displaying a perfect balance between its price and features, monitor the listings brought to you by Apartment Hunterz and spot a great deal in less than a week.
  3. It Implies Less Complicated and Costly Maintenance Work. We all know just how frustrating it really is to clean and work on spaces with a complicated architecture. Sometimes, you get the distinctive impression that larger properties fuel your compulsive hoarding disorder. If you don’t want to put a lot of time and energy in regular upkeep, go for a smaller home and you won’t regret your choice.

6 Ways to Make Your Californian Rental Look More Spacious and Airy 

In case you already feel the need to improve the look and feel of your rental by creating the illusion of extra space, here are a few tactics that can support your mission:

  1. Define Your Zones. First of all, think about how you are going to use every single inch of space. For instance, you will definitely need a dining area, a small office and a lounge area. Carefully define your most important zones where you eat, sleep, work and relax and delimitate them using the most subtle demarcations that are 100% compatible with the style and décor of your living space. For example, you could implement a decorative screen or a curtained bed to separate the area where you sleep and unwind from the rest of your bedroom, which can be turned into a small office.
  2. Avoid Clutter at All Costs. If you live in a small apartment, your number one duty is to stay organized 24/7. Work on your organizational skills and invest in smart, modern furniture pieces and additional features enabling you to keep your apartment tidy. Whether you’re a big fan of minimalist beds with storage or love those rattan-like storage boxes, do remember that there are more than a few ingenious design solutions that could enhance the appeal and functionality of your space. Mix and match them based on your taste, need and budget and put them to good use to boost the spaciousness of your home.
  3. Invest in Sleek, Multifunctional Elements. Why spend a fortune on an item that only serves one purpose when you could pay less for a multifunctional product that will make your space seem more organized and welcoming? For instance, instead of shedding hundreds of dollars on a high-end nightstand that you don’t really need, buy a coffee table that is also a super convenient all-in-one storage solution.
  4. Use Shelves. Using shelves, you can stack books and other lightweight personal belongings. Opt for a neutral color matching the shade of your walls and let open shelving breathe new life into your boring indoors.
  5. Create Optical Illusions Using Popular Decorative Pieces. OK, so maybe you can’t always find multifunctional furniture pieces that match your unique taste and don’t actually cost a fortune; or perhaps you just don’t like the idea of separating your living space into different zones using various demarcations. In this case, what’s the next best strategy that you could employ to turn your tiny apartment into an inviting corner of paradise? Explore the power of optical illusions to create the idea of extra space. You can achieve this goal by installing strategically placed, large mirrors and transparent furnishings, or by adding floor-to-ceiling, thick curtains and larger windows. All these simple tactics will enable you to make your rooms seem more airy and sophisticated.
  6. Choose Your Furniture Wisely. Last but not least, remember that you have to select your furniture very carefully. Don’t just go for disparate pieces that catch your eye at a first glance. Don’t buy things that you don’t really need, simply because they are incredibly gorgeous. Try to resist the temptation and judge every single furniture piece based on two distinctive elements: its practical value and its aesthetic value. While in most cases it is advisable to purchase multifaceted furnishings that can be used in different ways, sometimes it is better to opt for separate pieces that occupy less space and don’t block traffic around the house. Remember your vintage wood table that you still see as one of the most dangerous knee knockers ever known to mankind? Choose to replace it with two smaller tables. Tiny, round tables look spectacular and ensure a better traffic flow.

What If You Don’t Actually Want to Transform Your Old Californian Rental?

Truth be told, there are many changes that you could implement to improve the appearance and functionality of your Californian apartment. You could buy new furniture, explore different optical illusions, add shelves or try a combination of all these practical options. But what if you don’t want to deal with the extra expenses and the hassle implied by this new home improvement project? If that’s the case, you may want to start looking for a new, more spacious house or apartment in your neighborhood of choice. To simplify your selection and save time and money during this process, let a good apartment finding service guide your search. Analyze thousands of verified listings promoted by Apartment Hunterz to rent the perfect house or apartment in California in less than a week.


Jun 2015

5 Foolproof Tactic Enabling Landlords to Manage Your Relationship with Problematic Tenants

iStock_000015752174_Small (1)Dealing with problematic tenants can be challenging, to say the least. As a matter of fact, very few people who decide to rent out their California-based apartment realize the fact that they could encounter more than a few delicate problems as first-time landlords.

Some of your tenants may always “forget” to pay rent on time. Others may refuse to comply with your written policies and start disputes with your property manager and/or other tenants. How could you possibly handle all these hypothetical situations and what’s the most convenient exit strategy that you could employ to avoid further complications? Here are a few alternative routes that you can explore to keep risks in check.

  1. Hire a Property Manager. Sometimes, you need a middleman to close a good deal. In this case, you may require an intermediary to avoid potential conflicts with tenants, keep your property in excellent condition, handle repair requests and potential complaints and give yourself some time to breathe.
  2. Screen All Tenants. Be Thorough. Run background checks. Check their references. Get in touch with all the previous landlords listed by candidates. Run a credit check and verify the income declared by your potential tenants. Last but not least, go with your gut. If some of the people whom you have interviewed look or sound like trouble, then they probably are! Don’t be afraid to wait for the ideal tenant. Recent research published by LA Times indicate that we are currently witnessing an ever-growing demand for Californian housing units, also coming from former owners who have lost their homes to foreclosure. The mortgage crisis and the advantages that rentals are currently offering represent the two prominent factors that have contributed to the decline of homeownership rates in the L.A. Metro Area. Therefore, do not despair. Screen your tenants without skipping any steps and simplify the whole process using the data and handy tools offered by an apartment finding service.
  3. Apply Penalties. Here’s the first lesson that you’ll learn as a first-time landlord (usually, the hard way): sweet talk won’t get you very far. Master the skills of a private detective in your spare time to avoid surprises. At the same time, don’t let your enthusiasm and goodwill stand in the way of your future goals. At some point, you will probably realize the fact that property owners who are overly flexible aren’t necessarily the happiest and most successful ones. Yes, flexibility can help you maintain a healthy relationship with good tenants, but it can also affect the one that you have with problematic occupants. How do you address this issue without implementing any radical changes? Here’s an idea that may work for you: start applying penalties. Be very strict to make sure that your rules are being followed. For instance, you could require your tenants to pay rent on the first day of the month. To prove that you are an understanding landlord, you could offer a limited grace period (a 5 day period is more than enough and represents a decent option that most tenants will appreciate). At the end of the grace period, if no rent is paid, you can intimidate tenants with an arsenal of effective weapons including substantial late fees and a pay or vacate notice taped to the door. These extra measures of precaution will enable you to prevent your tenants from getting behind on rent and manage your relationship with troublesome residents before it becomes a real problem.
  4. Explore the Radical, Yet 100% Effective “Cash for Keys” Technique. Can’t find a solution to a pressing problem created by a tenant who refuses to play by the book? Instead of working even harder to achieve the impossible, take the easy (and stress-free) way out. Get rid of the people who ignore your rules and make your life as a landlord a living hell. If you don’t want to evict the tenant (we all know that this process takes time and can be quite costly), employ the effective so-called cash-for-keys tactic. In other words, pay problematic tenants to leave your property with grace and what’s left of their dignity. This solution may not be perfect, but it spares you of the drama and high costs that an eviction usually involves. On the other hand, if an eviction is truly necessary, get the best legal representation that you can afford and don’t hesitate to go all the way to get rid of residents who have caused you nothing but trouble for months in a row. Hire an experienced, qualified lawyer who could help you deal with this problem without getting in trouble. No matter how you choose to handle this unpleasant situation, keep in mind the fact that vacancies are seldom a long-term problem in California, where decently priced rentals are always tracked down by tenants looking for a new roof over their heads.
  5. Remember That the Perfect Tenant May Be Just a Few Clicks Away. Do you really have to interview total strangers to avoid risks factors that could cost you a lot of time and money? We understand your hesitation and we totally get it: screening tenants can be boring and time-consuming. You have very little desire to get acquainted with people who would like to find a new place to stay in California. Maybe you have poor social skills and don’t really want to waste too much time meeting potential candidates and hearing every detail about their life story. In this context, what’s the best thing that you could do to facilitate your interaction with tenants, separate the reliable candidates from the ones who will definitely give you headaches, and handle the paperwork rapidly and stress-free?

Apartment Hunterz brings you the simplest solution to your problem. California’s top-rated apartment finding service gives you access to various tools that you can use to reach people who may be interested in your property, screen all candidates and submit paperwork online, at a touch of a button. This type of service ensures a flawless communication between tenants and lessors and turns apartment renting into a wonderful experience for both parties. Give it a try and find out how Apartment Hunterz has changed the lives of thousands of people who have a keen interest in the Californian real estate market.


Jun 2015