5 Steps to Becoming a Risk-Free Landlord in California

home from dollarWhether we like it or not, rents in California are constantly shooting up. Recent statistics indicate that rental rate in Los Angeles are exceeding the pre-recession value. The recession has impacted apartment developments in the worst way; meanwhile, reduced rental stocks and sky-high housing prices have become two pressing problems that any potential tenant seeking a new roof over his head in Cali is now forced to deal with. Even so, a report published by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University indicates that Los Angeles takes pride in the biggest percentage of renters in the United States.

Now’s the Best Time to Become a Success-Oriented Landlord

According to this source, 52% of the people living in Los Angeles were renters three years ago, compared to only 35% on a national scale. While fewer and fewer people choose to start a new chapter in their lives as homeowners, some of the individuals who own one or more attractive pieces of real estate choose to try their luck as landlords. Nonetheless, to become a successful landlord you don’t really need luck; what you do require to reach your goal is a mix of determination, research, great marketing skills and even better measures of precaution. Yes, as a landlord you have to cover your back and pay special attention to the potential threats that could impact your financial situation and overall balance. We give you not one, but five excellent tips that you can and should apply to match the low-risk landlord profile.

  1. Get the Right Type of Coverage for Your Property. First of all, think about the fact that your rental is one of your most valuable assets, which requires the highest level of protection to preserve its value and help you attain peace of mind. Buy coverage based on your needs and the most pressing and probable emergency situations that you have in mind (flood, fire, acts of vandalism, expensive stolen goods and so on). When shopping around for insurance, focus on these three essential components to keep some of the most common risks in check:
  • Rent insurance (a policy that covers losses associated with a tenant’s actions or a natural disaster)
  • Personal liability insurance (covers fair housing law violations, as well as the damages suffered by others on your property)
  • Property insurance (covers physical and structural damages affecting the looks, functionality and end value of your property)
  1. Screen All Potential Tenants. Take the time to meet all candidates in person and research your options very carefully before handing the keys to your place to a complete stranger. Keep in mind that you should never reject a potential tenant based on discriminatory reasons (sexual orientation, race, religion and so on), deny or hide the availability of available rental space, or create and embrace different standards for different categories of tenants. These actions are fairly common mistakes representing clear violations of the Fair Housing Act. If necessary, reject certain individuals based on legitimate motives, such as bad credit, negative reports from previous landlords and/or insufficient income.
  2. Turn Your Home into a Habitable, 100% Safe Environment. Next, take a closer look at the space that your new tenants would have to call home. Does it really resemble a home? Is your property attractive, practical and safe at the same time? If you still can’t provide an affirmative answer to this question, work harder to address obstacles that lower your rental’s levels of safety and comfort. Make sure your roof is structurally safe and that your tenants will have access to electricity and clean water at all times. Check the heating, gas and plumbing systems. Inspect lighting systems; replace or repair structures that could expose tenants to considerable risks (such as broken stairs or defective electrical wiring) and go the extra mile to accommodate the special needs of various categories of tenants. For instance, to boost your odds of filling your vacancies, you may want to implement a few additions, including accessible parking spaces, to accommodate disabled tenants.
  3. Address Environmental Hazards As Soon as Possible. Avoid a costly lawsuit by identifying and eliminating the most common environmental hazards that could put your tenants’ health on the line. Hazardous materials such as radon, mold, carbon monoxide, lead-based paint and asbestos can become serious threats, so you should conduct regular inspections to comply with current state laws and prevent potential damages and injuries.
  4. Hire Only Qualified Help. If you feel that some of the most importance tasks related to regular maintenance and your relationship with existing tenants would take away too much of your spare time, consider hiring a property manager who could preserve or even increase the value of your property, while keeping your residents satisfied. When looking for contractors, choose to work with experienced professionals who carry their own liability insurance.

Use the Tools Provided by Apartment Hunterz to Become a Better Landlord

Beginnings are always hard, we get it. As a first-time landlord, there are many things that you should focus on, including tenant screening, promotional strategies, maintenance work and complaint management tactics. All these aspects require time, energy and money. Wouldn’t it be easier to rely on a convenient solution designed to lift a part of this weight off your shoulders? Apartment Hunterz makes it easier for you to thrive as a landlord, by offering you a great variety of tools and features created to help you communicate with potential tenants, download and upload forms, schedule in-person meetings and promote your rental without lifting a finger to find the right clients. Give this great apartment finding service a try and reach a dependable team of experts to find out how you could shake hands with the perfect tenant in a matter of days.

5 Elements to Consider When It Comes to Renting a Kid-Friendly Apartment in California

Happy family on  floor near  empty  wall in the apartment bought on mortgageFinding a new home in California can be quite a challenge, especially when you have zero connections and just a few dollars in your bank account. When you have kids, things tend to get even more complicated. Obviously, as a caring parent, you have to put their necessities first. Their safety and wellbeing become your number one priority.

This is why you end up spending weeks or months researching different neighborhoods and comparing slices of real estate based on factors that single adults may not find that important, like proximity to schools and playgrounds for example.

5 Elements That Families with Kids Always Factor in Before Renting a House or an Apartment

Wondering how you could simplify the selection process without ignoring any details that might make a difference in your kids’ lives? We’ve compiled a list of five key elements that you should take into consideration before visiting any new neighborhoods and touring any for rent properties.

  1. Potential Risk Factors. Start by inventorying and addressing all the risk factors that could put your child’s comfort and safety on the line. For instance, check all banisters and railings when visiting a new property. These items have to be secure and should never wobble when you put a little bit of pressure on them. Railings should be sturdy and high, with little space between its parapets. Moreover, keep in mind that low windows could be a real hazard. It is always best to install child locks, as an extra measure of precaution. In case the windows don’t have locks or the locks are broken, don’t hesitate to discuss this issue with the landlord before you decide to move in. In addition, remember that hardwood stairs could also be dangerous, especially if you have one or two young children running around the house at all times. Opt for a property with carpeted, wide stairs or add a roll runner for extra protection.
  2. Amenities. Some amenities can make your life a whole lot easier when you have kids. For instance, an in-unit washer and dryer will help you keep your kids’ clothes clean at all times. A fenced yard will allow you to achieve peace of mind, even when you’re busy cleaning or cooking and don’t have time to supervise their kids. A nice playground improvised in your garden will give you the opportunity to spend more time with your loved ones and organize the best parties for kids at home. While comparing different pieces of real estate based on the amenities that they offer, you should start by separating your must-haves from the add-ons that could add value to your rental. For example, while you don’t really need a secured pool inside your apartment complex to create the perfect environment for your children, you may need bigger, airier rooms and an in-house washer and dryer in your life to ensure a higher level of comfort for your youngsters.
  3. Upgrades. Next, focus on upgrades that you can’t and shouldn’t live without. Think of the new elements that you have to implement to turn a rental into a safer, more inviting place. Also, you should probably stick to additions implying minor décor changes that are perfectly reversible. For instance, while baby-proofing your new home, start looking for modern, user-friendly products that could be easily installed and removed without damaging the setting. If you can afford to buy new furniture, consider investing in multifunctional pieces that could turn your house or apartment into a more spacious environment. Beds and desks providing clever storage solutions are excellent choices, especially when you have kids and feel compelled to make the most of every millimeter of available space.
  4. Available Space. Speaking of space, it’s no secret that kids can make even a 5-bedroom property seem crowded and cluttered at all times. Sometimes, you don’t need to start looking for a bigger slice of real estate to live a comfortable life as a parent of 3; you just have to come up with better organizational tactics and more effective storage options. Usually, some of the best rentals for families with kids are the ones that comprise a secure play area and plenty of storage space for clothes, accessories, toys and other everyday essentials.
  5. Proximity. Proximity to schools and local attractions (malls, parks, recreational centers) is another important selection criterion. A rental property that is fairly close to the best schools in your city, a library and a mall is a great asset. Don’t forget to tour all these places before agreeing to sign on the dotted line.

Discover the Simplest Way to Select and Rent a Wonderful Kid-Friendly Apartment in Cali

Browsing through a long list of ads can be extremely tiresome, especially when you have dozens of things on your agenda and very little patience and energy to conduct an extensive house hunt. During this phase, most people would give just about anything to simplify their search. Inspired by this pressing need, Apartment Hunterz has introduced its effective concierge service, designed to help its clients save time and energy while looking for the perfect apartment.

Here’s how it works: a concierge will perform a free personalized search and send you a notification via email or text message, giving you the chance to spot the properties matching your unique criteria before anyone else. Relocating to California can be quite a hassle, especially when you have kids.

Choose to make things a whole lot easier for your entire family by relying on the professional apartment finding services offered by Apartment Hunterz. Analyze an ample collection of recent listings, select and save the ones that you like best, reach landlords in a matter of seconds using the iConnect feature and rent a fabulous, affordable kid-friendly rental property in only a few days.

25
Aug 2015
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6 Things That Tenants Interested in Luxury Real Estate in California Should Actually Obsess Over

Beauty interior in contemporary designWhen you think about luxurious California-based pieces of real estate, you automatically start daydreaming about huge tennis courts, heated swimming pools, sophisticated fire pits and breathtaking rooftops enabling you to contemplate gorgeous surroundings.

If you have a lot of money in your bank account and can spend your resources as you see fit, you have the liberty to select a high-end for rent property based solely on your preferences and your gut instincts. But even in this situation, you should probably ask yourself the following question: how are these upscale amenities actually influencing my overall quality of life and level of comfort?  While some of the features displayed by your favorite Californian rentals may be truly useful and awesome-looking, the rest could have a low practical value.

Furthermore, you should also factor in that the most expensive elements comprised by a pricy slice of real estate trigger inflated utility bills and significant maintenance costs. Think about it this way: to resurface your tennis court, you would have to spend anywhere from $4,000 to $8,000. At the same time, a pool could cost you around $3,000 per year, including installation, potential repairs and maintenance work. You just have to do the math to realize that premium amenities and features can make you spend thousands of dollars yearly, mostly on services and improvements that don’t really make a difference in your life. In this context, it is mandatory to separate the desirable extras from the add-ons that can add real value to your Californian rental without digging holes in your monthly budget. Here are six key elements that you should obsess over, as a tenant seeking a high-end piece of real estate.

  1. Architectural Uniqueness. Trends come and go in fashion and architecture. However, a practical dress with a clean cut and a house with solid bones are timeless pieces that will preserve and maybe even increase their value in time. This is why you should get acquainted with the works of some of the most prominent local architects and start looking for homes representing their most successful projects. Rate each property as a whole, based on its foundation, the quality of its materials, creative vision, practicality and overall sense of style.
  2. The Height of the Ceiling. Instead of evaluating luxury rentals based on square footage, choose to compare them in terms of cubic footage. An apartment with a higher ceiling will always stun you with its airy, bright rooms and superior comfort; not to mention the fact that each moment spent in a room with a 14 foot ceiling will make you feel like the distinguished member of a royal family.
  3. In-Unit Washer and Dryer. Laundry machines placed in the basement are a must-have that should be encompassed by each luxury property available for rent. Convenient and practical, this type of in-unit laundry helps you save space inside the house. If you’d rather opt for professional dry cleaning services on a regular basis, note that you could always turn the room occupied by your washer and dryer into additional closet space.
  4. Well-Done Renovations. Over the course of time, sellers and landlords have learned a very valuable lesson: investing in expensive remodeling projects is risky, especially when you’re transforming your indoor and outdoor spaces based solely on your unique creative vision. Extensive customization is not always a smart move, especially when you’re planning on renting or selling your house or apartment.

Just think about it: you may be madly in love with the discrete glow of new, shiny stainless steel appliances and the subtle charm of an industrial, minimalist style, but your prospects could be fond of opulent décors and baroque furniture pieces. In this situation, it would be best to avoid remodeling projects with low or zero practical value and focus on improvements that could actually benefit you tenants. Well-done, necessary renovations revolving around key elements such as finishes and fixtures usually capture the attention of potential clients without interfering with their very own creative ideas.

  1. A Practical Layout. If you can spend a little more money on a giant property carrying a big price tag, choose one with a practical layout. Go for a rental with airy rooms, which enables you to maintain a separation between private and social areas. After all, you wouldn’t want your guests to knock on your bedroom door and invade your privacy every single time they need to use the bathroom. Also, you may want to avoid constructions comprising space-wasting structures, such as staircases, large hallways or rooms with a complicated architecture and reduced functionality.
  2. Clever, Glamorous Storage Solutions. If you can shed a significant amount of money on a rental worth thousands or even millions of dollars, then you may want to add a new filter to separate the good candidates from the truly amazing ones. Judge every single option based on the storage solutions that it offers. Extra storage room available in the basement and bright, glamorous custom closets with a multifaceted design are among the top amenities that always manage to create an excellent first impression.

What If You Can’t Actually Afford to Rent a Luxury Apartment in California?

California is well-known for its insanely expensive slices of real estate. You are free to picture the rest of your life on a superb oceanfront property in Malibu, but what if you can’t actually afford to spend thousands of dollars on rentals listed in this category? To turn your boldest dreams into reality, start by exploring an online platform that establishes and maintains deeper connections between tenants and landlords who share an interest in the diverse Californian real estate market.

Apartment Hunterz gives prospects the opportunity to check out thousands of listings, save their searches and reach lessors rapidly and easily. If you’re looking for the ideal rental, choose to conduct a time-effective online search through this service and get the key to a decently priced, comfortable and welcoming house or apartment in less than a week.

 

20
Aug 2015
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How to Downsize Your Californian Home in 5 Easy Steps without Going Crazy

Businessman Moving Out With Cardboard BoxTrading a luxurious castle for a modest condo doesn’t sound like a smart thing to do, especially when you’re determined to maintain a comfortable lifestyle without making any major compromises. And still, many people who are dealing with a certain degree of financial hardship choose to downsize their homes to reduce your expenses.

If you want to avoid huge utility bills, spend less time and money on maintenance work or simply find a smaller, more elegant and welcoming for rent or for sale Californian property that is nicer and easier to clean, start by checking out the fresh listings promoted by Apartment Hunterz and identify the ones that match your criteria.

Make Your Transition Period More Enjoyable in 5 Simple Steps

During this phase, you may also want to apply the following tips to say goodbye to your old place without any regrets, organize your personal effects rapidly and effortlessly and adapt to your new life and environment in less than a week. Here are five simple steps that you should take to facilitate your transition.

  1. Sort and Prioritize Your Belongings. Start by inventorying your goods. To simplify this process, make three lists: one comprising your must-haves, a second one for the things that you could definitely part with in the future and a third one featuring all the items that have ended up gathering dust in your home, for one reason or another. Obviously, you have to pack your essentials and ship them to your new address as soon as possible. The goods mentioned on your second list don’t necessarily have to go (unless lack of space becomes a serious concern); note that you can always organize a profitable yard sale to turn some of your unwanted possessions into solid cash, or you could rent a self storage unit and turn it into a great temporary home for some of the possessions.
  2. Store, Sell, Toss or Donate the Items That You Can Live without. Be ruthless when it comes to dealing with objects that have very little or no financial and sentimental value. Also, you may want to replace old, outdated gadgets and appliances that wouldn’t be a good match for your new home (think about your ancient, wall-hogging TV or the massive 3D framed wall art that no longer matches your style and aesthetic aspirations). Always focus on square footage and storage options before making a purchase. For instance, instead of going for a huge leather couch that is extremely beautiful but fairly unpractical, you may want to turn your attention to modern, versatile space-saving furniture pieces that will impress you with their multifaceted design.
  3. Invest in Smart and Convenient Storage Options. A smaller home doesn’t have to be a chaotic, cluttered, unwelcoming one. To keep your property nice and tidy, it is imperative to design and implement clever storage solutions. Start by buying and adding wall-mounted shelves and large storage boxes that could go under the beds. Tour your local container store and find the products that could maximize the appeal and spaciousness of your home. If you have gathered boxes containing items you don’t necessarily need at this point, but can’t or don’t want to toss, sell or donate, note that you could always send them to the nearest self storage facility to keep your indoors and outdoors clean and clutter-free.
  4. Be Selective when It Comes to Spending Your Money on New Household Items. In order to avoid clutter, you have to have full control over your buying habits at all times. Before planning a new shopping spree, ask yourself the following questions: Do I really need this new item? Would it fit in my new home, or would it force me to find and use a new storage solution?
  5. List the Main Benefits of Downsizing into a Smaller Home (and Go Beyond Financial Savings). It is very important to prep yourself for the process of downsizing into a smaller home. Make a list of all the advantages that this change would allow you to unlock, and go beyond the dollar bills that a smaller Californian rental may help you save. For example, think about the fact that you will have less work to do around your house; this will give you plenty of time to discover a new hobby, get a second job to supplement your monthly income, meet old friends or go on a trip. Moreover, you could opt for a condominium and delegate some of the most important, costly or labor-intensive assignments to your maintenance guy.

What If You Want a Cheaper Rental, and Not Necessarily a Smaller One?

Perhaps you are contemplating the idea of moving into a smaller Californian house or apartment only because you are intimidated by huge rental rates associated with 3 or 4-bedroom properties. This is perfectly understandable! However, you should realize the fact that you could always stumble across more affordable rentals located in areas with a cooler housing market.

In other words, just because you have to cross insanely expensive San Francisco-based rentals off your list (the median rent for a modest 1-bedroom apartment located in this sought-after city hit the $3,400 milestone in January) this doesn’t mean that you should put an end to your house hunt without exploring all your options.

While a 1-bedroom property based in San Francisco is approximately $1,000 more expensive than a 2-bedroom house or apartment located in New York, one could definitely spot several attractive, budget-friendly properties located in nearby cities. Apartment Hunterz offers you all the support that you may need to discover amazing Californian rentals and choose the one that actually makes sense to you. Go through the vast collection of listings offered by California’s top-rated apartment finding service, select your favorites, connect with landlords the easy way and organize a successful house hunt on a budget.

7 Steps to Follow to Ensure a More Enjoyable Tenancy

iStock_000014915526_SmallFinding the perfect tenants who pay rent on time, don’t cause or make any complaints, mind their own business and send you gifts during the holiday season can be quite complicated and time-consuming. This is why landlords should do their best to work on their relationships with existing tenants and employ different strategies to keep their residents happy and completely satisfied in the long term.

7 Steps to Take to Guarantee a Flawless Tenancy Experience

If you’re willing to go the extra mile to stimulate your tenants to renew their leases or speak highly of you and recommend your Californian rental in their circles, start by following the seven key steps that guarantee a more enjoyable tenancy.

  1. Meet Your Tenants in Person. The very best Californian apartment finding service offers you all the tools and services that you may need to reach tenants and help them discover the best features of your property without actually touring it in person. You can even upload forms and encourage potential tenants to fill them out and send them back to you. However, this doesn’t mean that virtual interactions should replace face-to-face ones. Take the time to meet all candidates in person before signing on the dotted line. This way, you will manage to complete your screening process and shake hands with the people who meet your criteria and send you the best vibes.
  2. Be Present (and Helpful) During Move in Day. A landlord who is present and active on move-in day manages to highlight his reliability and commitment. Moreover, by following this path you could also anticipate and address potential problems that your new tenants could encounter on your premises.
  3. Be Available and Stimulate Your Tenants to Provide Feedback. Most first-time landlords have a hard time trying to stay on top of things. Their tasks become even more complicated and time consuming when they have to manage multiple buy-to-let properties. If you are currently dealing with similar challenges, consider spending the right amount of money on property management services. If this option is out of the question for one reason or another, at least try to break down your daily assignments into smaller, simpler ones that are more manageable. Keep the lessor-tenant relationship warm and cordial by returning texts and phone calls promptly. Respond to repair, improvement or replacement requests as soon as possible and don’t forget to ask your tenants to rate your work. Feedback from tenants is an invaluable element that could help you evaluate (and improve) your performance in record time.
  4. Be Proactive. A proactive attitude will always work to your best advantage by helping you keep your expenses in check. Why wait for that pipe to burst when you can replace it today and prevent significant repair costs? Regular maintenance will ensure a higher level of comfort for your tenants, while also enabling you to avoid bigger and more expensive home improvement projects.
  5. Keep All Your Promises. Procrastination can deteriorate your relationship with your current tenants and lower your odds of finding new ones in the long run. As you can imagine, more than a few people who are Internet savvy and particularly active on social media platforms are inclined to share their experiences with the whole world; tenants who fit this description won’t hesitate to complain about your lack of commitment/involvement/interest, putting your reputation on the line. Therefore, treat all your tenants with the uttermost respect and honor their repair requests in a timely fashion. Keep your promise to replace old, rusty appliances or fix leaky pipes. The simplest changes related to the looks, feel and functionality of your Californian rental will help you better your relationship with the people who live under your roof.
  6. Find the Perfect Gifts for Your Landlords to Reward Their Loyalty. Every once in a while you should consider surprising your tenants with small, inexpensive gifts ideas that underline your good intentions. Remember that great tenants are hard to come by, especially on markets where high rental rates keep intimidating budget-conscious prospects who are constantly looking for bargains. Holidays offer you the perfect opportunity to consolidate your bond with your tenants.

Why is it so important to target the perfect gift idea? Presents, regardless of their value, stimulate mediocre tenants to adjust their attitude and implement positive changes (pay rent on time, renew their lease, keep your house clean and clutter-free and even send you small gifts in return). At the same time, presents encourage ideal tenants to keep up the good work. So what should you actually get them? Keep in mind that you shouldn’t break the bank to keep your tenants happy. By taking a certain amount off next month’s rent you could come up with the perfect holiday gift for your tenants. If you’d rather stick to more conventional presents, consider opting for gift baskets, iTunes gift cards, movie/concert tickets or practical gift cards. Looking for the gift that could benefit both landlords and tenants? If that’s the case, choose to make a small investment that will boost the appeal and/or functionality of your Californian rental. Appliance upgrades, house cleaning services and simple, cost-effective additions (like that gorgeous set of patio furniture that all your tenants have been dreaming about for so long) will make your residents happy, while also turning your property into a more comfortable and welcoming environment.

  1. Use an Apartment Finding Service to Become a Better Landlord. Landlordship involves a series of responsibilities that you may not be ready or willing to handle at this point. If you are determined to squeeze more value from your Californian rental and wish to create the perfect foundation for a mutually advantageous tenant-landlord relationship, consider using the tools and expert support provided by Apartment Hunterz. California’s favorite apartment finding service makes it easier for landlords to identify the perfect tenants and maintain an excellent connection with the people who may be interested in renting their houses or apartments. Set up your landlord account today, start using the cool tools and features offered by Apartment Hunterz and fill your vacancies rapidly, easily and stress-free.
13
Aug 2015
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