How to Make a Decent Profit as a New Landlord in California

Two men at doorway with keys and contractWe can all agree that California has that special something that stimulates people to pack their bags and catch the first flight to San Diego, San Francisco or Lo Angeles. What you may not know is that this sunny state occupies the first position in the Top 10 U.S. States Visted Each Year. According to recent statistics, California attracts more than 6 million visitors each year. Naturally, most of the individuals who get the chance to contemplate the gorgeous surroundings, explore quality entertainment options and enjoy the nice weather will inevitably consider renting or buying a piece of real estate in California. If you own a house in California’s most sought-after vacation destinations, you could always turn yourself into the perfect landlord to make some money. If this possibility appeals to you, here are a few tips on how to survive (and make a profit) as a first-time landlord in today’s market.

Set Realistic Goals. First of all, you should realize the fact that renting out your apartment is a viable strategy that you can implement to supplement your monthly income and cope with expenses. Don’t waste any time daydreaming about things that you want, can’t afford, yet wish to purchase using your rental income. That super expensive Caribbean cruise can wait.  In most cases, renting out a property may be labeled as a smart, profitable action, but only in the long term, after you manage to pay off your mortgage.

Factor in Your Expenses. As a first-time landlord, you could be taken by surprise by a great variety of unpredicted expenses that could kill your enthusiasm in no time. For example, you simply have to get an insurance policy to protect your goods and your Californian house or apartment. There are literally hundreds of worst-case scenarios revolving around fires, burglary attempts, floods and acts of vandalism that could wipe off the results of years of hard work and overbalance your already thin budget. Next, you should probably hire an attorney to receive all the information that you need on California’s legal requirements set for landlords, mediate potential disputes with tenants or get the best legal representation, if needed. Last but not least, do remember that you will also have to handle potential repairs and improvements on your own. Yes, you will actually have to pay for such adjustments out of your own pocket; not to mention the fact that you will be forced to take the time to address your tenants’ complaints day and night. The good news is that the Californian real estate market allows you to set rental rates pretty high and cover all your monthly expenses. If you live in an overcrowded, sought-after city like Los Angeles or San Francisco, you could easily ask $3,000 per month for your rental and find a plethora of candidates eager to sign your rental agreement. To avoid overpricing your property, get acquainted with the latest real estate trends and start monitoring the listings brought to you by California’s most renowned apartment finders.

Create a Checklist. As a new landlord, it’s your job to stay organized. Before shaking hands with your first tenant, make sure your house is in mint condition. Mask or correct visible signs of wear and tear, perform repairs if needed (nobody likes the idea of living in a house with leaky pipes and cracked walls), conduct a thorough home inspection and review all the items that could potentially lead to a disaster. Check the stove, fireplace, wires and pipes and also inspect all your appliances. Replace the ones that are no longer functioning properly to prevent hazards and ensure the highest level of comfort for the people who are willing to spend a lot of money to live in your house or apartment. Create and follow a checklist to get things done on time and on a budget.

Surf the Web to Download and Personalize Forms. When it comes to putting all their terms and conditions in writing, most new landlords seem to get stuck. To avoid misunderstandings and keep things clear, go online and download the forms that your tenants will have to fill out and sign. These days, you could easily find various types of sample contracts with a few clicks. Personalize your version of choice by adding as many details as possible. For instance, list your preferred payment methods and highlight some of the most important aspects of the contract that usually lead to misinterpretations and disputes, like late payments and penalty fees, for instance.

Screen Your Potential Tenants. Renting to relatives may not be such a smart move after all, considering the fact that you probably shouldn’t do business with family members. Nonetheless, when it comes to giving the keys to your apartment to complete strangers, you have to be very careful. Be curious and ask a lot of questions. Be picky. If you are the lucky owner of a beautiful property located in Southern California, you can actually afford to be very selective, considering the current relationship between supply and demand. Yes, numerous people are willing to move to California, but affordable, absolutely fantastic rentals are still in short supply. Therefore, ask questions related to your candidates’ rental history, job and income. Get in contact with their previous landlords and check their background. This is a simple, yet incredibly important step that could help you avoid various unpleasant surprises.

Avoid Risks and Reduce Your Expenses by Using an Apartment Finding Service. How could you possibly market your property in the most convenient manner? Naturally, you would like to use a channel that could guarantee the highest level of exposure, while also giving you the opportunity to maintain a deeper connection with the people who may be interested in your Californian house or apartment. If this is what you expect from a platform that could help you meet Mr. Perfect Tenant in no time, use the tools offered by Apartment Hunterz on a silver platter to increase the visibility of your listings, communicate with prospects in real time and submit paperwork online. Apartment Hunterz lets you do all this and more. By posting up to 12 photos of your property and a video tour, you could raise the interest of thousands of people who are actually looking for a new home resembling the property that you are eager to rent out. Count on California’s preferred apartment finding service to find the best tenant for your slice of real estate in less than a week and market your assets efficiently and inexpensively.

6 Signs Indicating That You Are About to Rent the Wrong House in California

iStock_000042382240_SmallAfter months and months of struggle, you’ve finally stumbled across a Californian rental that makes you happy and fulfills all your fantasies. This is the place where you would feel comfortable inviting your friends for dinner, organizing memorable BBQ parties and raising your kids. As a matter of fact, you think that finding this piece of real estate is the best thing that has happened to you in a while. What’s not to love about this story with a happy ending? The problem is that most prospects who are madly in love with the property that they’re about to rent end up neglecting certain major factors that could put their budget, welfare and comfort on the line in the long run. Here are six signs indicating that you may be making the same mistake in the near future.

  1. You Know Nothing about the Latest Californian Real Estate Trends. Only the people who take the time to monitor the local real estate market can actually anticipate and explore new trends and use the data to their best advantage to get the best deals before anyone else. Just think about it: you don’t have to go back to school and get a degree to be able to understand the mechanism of the Californian real estate market. A good apartment finder will bring all the info that you need at your fingertips, making it easier for you to spot the best neighborhoods compatible with your price point, identify great rentals and compare various candidates based on price, location, current condition, features and several other criteria. Lack of knowledge will always work against you; so if you’re targeting a property without getting the bigger picture, chances are that you’re unintentionally missing out on better deals as we speak.
  2. You Are Targeting a Property That Is Not the Best Match for You. While renting does offer you the highest level of flexibility and lets you avoid the responsibilities associated with ownership, this doesn’t mean that you should take the selection process very lightly. Proper research can save you time and thousands of dollars in the long run. There are a few common signs indicating that a certain rental may not be 100% compatible with your current needs and demands. For instance, a rental located too far away from your home and office may force you to cope with a long, stressful commuting route and the hectic Californian traffic. A cheap, small apartment located in a neighborhood with a relatively high crime rate may be a viable option for young adults, but they often fail to please families with children seeking a safer environment. Single-family homes that leave no room remodel work may not be the best pick for tenants who would like to make a few basic improvements with their landlords’ permission. The list of incompatibilities that could ruin the romance between you and your rental is virtually endless. This is precisely why you should set up and follow a series of objective selection criteria before signing a rental agreement.
  3. You Can’t Reach an Agreement with Your Landlord. Would you really be willing to collaborate with a person who ignores your calls and vanishes into thin air when you need him or her the most? Some landlords are professional naggers, while others are difficult to reach. Both categories of lessors can lower the overall quality of your apartment renting experience. Fortunately, you can screen your landlord rapidly and effortlessly, by using the tools brought to you by Apartment Hunterz. The iConnect feature makes it easier for you to get in touch with thousands of property managers and landlords and strike a deal with a true professional who is on the same page with you.
  4. You Are Emotionally Tied to a Property. You can’t and should not rent a property just because it speaks to you. Weigh its practical and aesthetic value very carefully before shaking hands with your landlord. At the end of the day, you wouldn’t want to be spending a lot of money on a slice of real estate that would constantly remind you just how much you love to buy things on impulse.
  5. You Are Ignoring Other Options. When it comes to organizing a house hunt in California, always keep your options open. The next best deal could be just around the corner. With help from Apartment Hunterz, California’s favorite apartment finder, you could stay one step ahead of all the other prospects and keep tabs on the local real estate market the easy way. Use the large pool of data delivered by this service to compare offers in your area of interest and become familiar with several free tools designed to facilitate and improve your communication with potential landlords.
  6. You’re Making a Considerable Financial Effort to Become a Tenant on Your Own Terms. You’ve found your dream house, but you’re worried that you may not be able to cope with the expenses that it involves. This is a common obstacle that many first-time tenants are forced to deal with at some point during their apartment search. Here’s the main rule that should guide your house hunt: choose an accommodation option that won’t eat up more than 30% of your monthly income. Avoid properties that are way out of your league. We are all daydreaming about lavishing Californian mansions with indoor pools and tennis courts, but at the end of the day, it is extremely important to learn to let go and get the keys to a decent house or apartment that you can actually afford.

Don’t want to stumble across many red flags during your apartment hunt? If that’s the case, take the easy way out by using the data and exceptional tools brought to you by Apartment Hunterz, the number one resource for both tenants and landlords who want to explore the best channels to achieve their real estate goals.

Jun 2015

How to Negotiate Rental Rates Like a Pro in California

iStock_000011739530_SmallYou have been the perfect tenant for many years in a row. You love your place, get along with all your neighbors and don’t plan on moving out in the near future. Even so, you can’t help but notice that you are spending a lot of money on rent on a monthly basis. The ugly truth is that the housing options chosen by your friends, relatives and neighborhoods in the same ZIP code are much cheaper than the one that you’ve sworn not to abandon too soon. What’s the best tactic that you can implement to lower your rental rates without opening a dispute with your landlord? Would it be possible to negotiate your rent? Could you express your desire to invest in repairs and/or remodeling work in exchange for a convenient rent reduction? Keep reading to discover the most accurate answers to all these questions, as well as a few tips that you may find useful during your first round of negotiations.

Reasons Why You Should Work on Your Negotiation Skills

First of all, when should you actually ask your lessor to lower your rent? Here are three plausible (and very common) scenarios that would justify this move:

  • You don’t make enough money. Believe it or not, many young adults who want to live the Californian dream juggle two or three jobs at the same time to be able to pay rent and cope with other expenses on a monthly basis. If you can’t find an easy (and perfectly legal) way to supplement your income and don’t want to bend over backwards to find a new roof over your head, consider discussing your situation with your landlord and presenting a form of bartering as a potential solution to your problem.
  • You want to redirect your resources towards a new project. Any kind of startup requires a significant amount of money, especially if you don’t want to work from home or from the nearest internet café. If you’re planning on investing most of your resources in a new work-related project, you may want to keep your most important expenses in check by striking a deal with your landlord.
  • You don’t think that the property that you’re occupying actually deserves that much money. Let’s face it: even if you don’t have any other plans that could involve a major financial investment, perhaps you hate the idea of spending around $3,000 on a nice apartment located in a neighborhood where most accommodation options are in the $1,800-$2,500 range. If that’s the case, schedule a meeting with your landlord and let him know that you’re targeting cheaper alternatives located in the same area.

Reduced Rental Rates in Exchange for Home Improvements: Does This Strategy Actually Work?

Regardless of the factors that stimulate you to go see your landlord and ask him to lower your rental rates, the main question that you should focus on remains the same: how could you turn the first round of negotiations into a smashing success? There is no foolproof trick that you can explore and apply to achieve this objective without taking any chances; however, there are quite a few tactics that you could employ to spend less on rent save some cash at the end of each month.

  • Contact your landlord and suggest that you are thinking about moving out because you can no longer afford to pay rent. Mention the fact that you’ve stumbled across similar rentals carrying smaller price tags. Fear of competition may be the decisive factor that could intimidate landlords and convince them to lower their rental rates.
  • State the fact that you are willing to sign a long-term lease. By indicating that you’re eager to occupy the same property for many more months in a row you could earn the trust and benevolence of your landlord and get him to lower your rent.
  • Mention the fact that you are willing to handle your own repairs without any fuss. This is a notable advantage that busy landlords will always appreciate, especially if they have to tend to the needs of multiple tenants.
  • Make a list of the home improvements that you would be willing to invest in, in exchange for a rent reduction.

All in all, the tactics detailed above should help you become a better negotiator and come to an agreement with your landlord.

What If You Can’t Lower Your Rent?

In all honesty, finding an incredibly cheap rental in the state of California can be quite tricky (and nearly impossible if you’re targeting prominent, overcrowded cities like San Francisco, for example). So assuming that you have to renew your lease and your landlord isn’t willing to offer you a discount, what’s the strategy that you should employ to save some cash without lowering your level of comfort? Here’s an idea worth exploring: monitor the local rental market on a regular basis. Sweet deals don’t last long on the California market, but you could definitely stay one step ahead of the rest of the people who are looking for an upgrade or a less costly rental by using the data provided by a reliable apartment finder. Knowledge is power and represents the key element that could help you gain a competitive advantage during your apartment search. Apartment Hunterz brings you thousands of quality, verified listings and also facilitates your communication with landlords who may just be on the same page with you in all aspects. Reach property managers and lessors who are eager to fill their vacancies, negotiate rental rates like a pro, discuss the terms of your lease and submit your paperwork online. Apartment Hunterz simplifies each home search and lets you save time and money while falling in love with the Californian rental that’s just perfect for you.

Jun 2015

How to Move Out of Your Old Apartment and Find a Great Californian Rental in Record Time

Couple at new homeYou’ve spent a few years in a nice apartment that still fulfills some of your basic requests. It’s clean, quite spacious and inexpensive. It is also located in a decent neighborhood where you can actually go grocery shopping after 7PM without feeling like you’re acting reckless. But even so, at this point you can no longer ignore your new needs and aspirations. You want to live closer to the stars, and this basically implies the fact that you are willing to conduct your first house hunt in California. If that’s the case, start by reading and digesting the following easy tips enabling you to move out of your old apartment the easy way and explore the plethora of appealing options that the Californian real estate market is putting at your disposal.

How to Ditch Your Old Apartment Rapidly and Stress Free

Naturally, you should start by saying goodbye to your old apartment. However, do keep in mind that this process can be quite lengthy and time-consuming, especially if you want to embrace the DIY alternative. In this case, you should create multiple checklists designed to help you pack your stuff in a more effective manner and clean the rental property to get your security deposit back and stay on good terms with your landlord. To minimize your stress levels when it comes to leaving the past behind, follow these basic steps:

  • Set specific goals for every single day of the week
  • Buy or rent and use organizational structures and supplies that could speed up the entire process, such as cardboard boxes, trays and white and black trash bags (white ones for the things that you’re planning on keeping, and black for the ones that will inevitably end up in the dumpster)
  • De-clutter the apartment, clean up your mess and don’t forget to reverse any damages that you may have caused
  • Pack one area/room at a time and make sure similar items stay together
  • Color code or label each box that you’re planning on shipping to your new address or leaving in a storage unit
  • Consider renting transportable storage units or leave several categories of valuable, yet rarely used personal belongings (old furniture, tools and equipment) in storage.

How to Find a Great Rental in the State of California

Now that your old apartment is about to become a thing of the past, you are probably interested in finding a premium for rent property in California in no time. How can you limit your waiting time and your expenses at the same time, while giving the green light to a successful house hunt? Here are a few ideas that you should consider before making a bold first step in this direction:

  1. Determine What You Want. Ask yourself the following question: what are the amenities that will make your life a whole lot easier and more enjoyable, especially during weekdays when you work extra long hours and online ordering is your best shot at filling your stomach? Maybe you’d be willing to pay a little extra for a rental with a fully furnished kitchen; or perhaps you can afford to spend some of your hard earned cash on a nice studio located in an apartment complex featuring a nice lounge, concierge service and an indoor pool? Choose what makes you happy, but do keep in mind that luxury additions usually carry a hefty price tag, especially on the West Coast, where apartment rents hit higher values quickly and steadily, due to an ever-growing demand correlated with a fairly limited supply.
  2. Figure out What You Can Afford. Now’s the time to be perfectly honest with yourself and answer the following question: how much cash can you realistically afford to shed on a new Californian rental? Based on this answer, you can refine your selection criteria, such as location, square footage and amenities. At the end of the day, you may not be wealthy enough to occupy a San Francisco-based apartment costing $5,000 per month, but this shouldn’t stop you from researching different appealing properties for rent available in Oakland, Mill Valley or Berkeley. Did you know that you could actually get the keys to a fabulous uptown apartment located on William St., Oakland, for less than $3,000 per month? The key is to figure out what you really want (and can’t live without) and find a rental compatible with your budget that will offer you unlimited access to all these essentials.
  3. Set up with Right Filters. Don’t judge a book (solely) by its covers. So what if an inexpensive for rent property doesn’t look exactly like your dream house? First impressions can be deceiving; this is precisely why you should factor in numerous aspects, such as location, current condition, features and price, before making a final call. Here’s one more thing that you should know: Apartment Hunterz, California’s favorite apartment finder, lets you use the iConnect feature to get in touch with property managers and landlords. Using this handy little extra, you could ask all the rental-related questions that may be on your mind, get instant feedback from landlords and schedule in-person meetings that will help you go beyond first impressions and evaluate the pros and cons of each option presented to you in a much more objective manner.
  4. Let an Apartment Finder Simplify Your Assignment. Fishing for a good deal can be tricky, especially when you don’t know a lot about the real estate market. Fortunately, you’re not alone in this. By using the data delivered by a good apartment scout you could compare recent listings, save your favorite picks, revisit them when time permits, reach landlords, exchange documents and information and build the foundation of a mutually beneficial collaboration. Start your fulfilling journey today by checking out listings brought to you by Apartment Hunterz and retrieve the most amazing Cali-based rentals in less than a week.