How to Share Your Rented Apartment with a Roommate without Losing Your Mind

shutterstock_289979564Ever since you were a teenager, you have always wanted to move to California, share an apartment with your best friends, live on $1 fast-food menus, change jobs and houses at a fast pace and live a life of adventure.

At this point, as a responsible adult, you have other goals and expectations and wish to make the most of every single opportunity that California can offer you to grow on a personal and professional level. So here you are, trying to find an affordable property for rent that you could call home for a long period of time.

Should You Share Your Space with a Friend or a Stranger?

Since your modest income doesn’t really allow you to be very selective and want to find and rent a decent place where you wouldn’t be embarrassed to host a party or let a friend sleep on your couch, you are considering the idea of getting one or more roommates.

Nonetheless, the thought of sharing your living space with a total stranger can be quite daunting. At the same time, sharing your rented apartment with a friend may cause frustration and disappointment, and possibly even ruin the one great relationship that has lasted more than a week. The good news is that your situation isn’t as bad as it may seem. The way we see it, you have two options at hand: you could either use the insight offered by Apartment Hunterz to start looking for a smaller apartment that you could afford; or you could follow plan B and start interviewing potential roommates. If you’d rather explore the latter option, here are a few tips that you could apply to avoid turning your flatmate into a frenemy.

  1. Rely on Social Media to “Read” All Your Candidates. Let’s get one thing straight: first impressions can be quite deceiving, especially when people are motivated to portray themselves in the best light. Think about it this way: finding a great roommate (like yourself), who holds the key to an affordable, awesome-looking apartment located in one of the best neighborhoods in the city is no easy task.

This is why most candidates interested in becoming your bedfellows won’t hesitate to lie about their guilty pleasures and bad habits (like stealing your snacks from your cabinet drawer, partying every night until 5 am or having uninvited guests overnight without asking for your permission). Luckily, a little bit of social media research will allow you to identify potential red flags in no time and separate the weirdos from the people who are reliable, friendly and decent enough to become your roommates.

  1. Divide the Costs in a Transparent Manner. While you and your roommates know just how much money you have to spend on rent each month, utility bills can catch you by surprise and tear a hole in your budget. This is why you should plan ahead and avoid being the one and only account holder, to prevent unpleasant surprises, like the unexpected departure of your flatmate who “forgot” to pay his share.

Therefore, you should probably set up the Internet, electric and gas accounts as soon as you move into your new apartment and find a bunkmate whom you can trust. Fewer individual hassles lead to a superior long-term insurance. For instance, you could write the rent check, while your roommates take care of utility bills. You can always pay each other back using a great variety of tools, such as Venmo or PayPal, or in cash. Share the costs in a transparent manner; leave the bills on the fridge or on the table, do the math and make a footnote to highlight how much money each flatmate owes.

  1. Set Specific Ground Rules. Furthermore, keep in mind the fact that there will always be certain differences between you and your roommates, in terms of preferences, habits, likes and dislikes. After all, you have different personalities, backgrounds, passions and interests. You can prevent crises fueled by these discrepancies by setting up a series of ground rules. Are you allergic to cats? Let your bunkmate know. Are you an obsessive-compulsive organizer who hates to see piles of dirty dishes in the sink? Again, share this secret with the people who live inside your house. Great communication is the key to a drama-free, enjoyable apartment sharing experience.
  2. Share the Chores in an Equitable Manner. Assign cleaning and maintenance tasks to each roommate to keep your apartment spotless and prevent conflicts and misunderstandings. If you don’t want to be the only one who washes the dishes or brushes toilets, make a chore wheel and turn the house cleaning process into a fun, friendly competition. With so many free templates available online, you could retrieve, download and personalize your favorite design in less than half an hour. At the end of each week, encourage your roommates to spin the chore chart and get to work.
  3. Always Count on a Backup Plan. OK, so sharing an apartment with friends or total strangers is not as easy as you tend to think. An apartment sharing experience is not always similar to the one that you’ve envisioned after watching a few “Friends” episodes. People change. They break the rules. They get tired of sharing their territory with other people. All these worst case scenarios force you to come up with a good backup plan. Our advice is to start using the listings provided by Apartment Hunterz to find a great Californian rental apartment that you could afford on your own. This way, you wouldn’t have to worry about living under the same roof with people whom you hardly know or trust. Let Apartment Hunterz simplify your selection and discover the most attractive deals on the Californian real estate market in only a few days.

 

5 Reasons Why You Should Start Your Californian Apartment Search Online

shutterstock_257094796A few years ago, finding the perfect property for rent in a city or neighborhood that you knew nothing about was a complicated, time-consuming and potentially risky business. Basically, you had to spend a few hours daily touring different parts of the city, looking for “for rent” signs, meeting property managers and talking to existing tenants behind their landlord’ back.

People looking for a new roof over their heads in California can still embrace this old-school approach to conducting an apartment hunt, or they can choose to take an alternative route and surf the Internet to spot the most attractive options in terms of price, features, amenities and location.

5 Reasons Why You Should Start Using an Online Apartment Finding Service

If you can’t figure out which search method would work best for you, keep reading to uncover the 5 main reasons why you should start using a world-class apartment finding service right away.

  1. Everybody Else Is Doing It. At work, you are a leader, not a part of the herd. You make decisions based on your knowledge and expertise; when in doubt, you trust your instincts. This is why you don’t like to do things in a certain way, just because everybody else is following the same course of action. However, when it comes to looking for a new home in California, you have to make an exception and explore every path and every single tactic that all the rest of the apartment seekers are relying on to achieve their goals.

Here’s why: first of all, in today’s market, it is almost impossible to stumble across properties for rent that you could describe as a total steal. Secondly, the demand is high and the housing inventory is low. Think of what motivates you to put down roots in Cali, including its awesome year-round weather, great jobs, cool beaches and even cooler people, and you’ll soon realize why so many other individuals are striving to get the best deals on the local real estate market. Not convinced? If so, take a look at the hard numbers unveiled by Realtor.com. These recent stats indicate that 9 in 10 house hunters see the internet as their primary research source, while 56% of all respondents turn to the Internet during the first step of their apartment search. Hopefully, these numbers will ensure a better understanding of the digitalization of apartment searches and convince you to start looking for rentals in California online.

  1. An Online Search Implied Less Effort. Here’s the problem with traditional house hunting techniques: they are time-consuming and boring. They require your presence in different parts of the city and force you to leave your home and office just when you’re starting to feel productive and don’t have time or energy for any type of distractions. On the other hand, online searches return the best results in your own environment, making it easier for you to separate the awe-inspiring listings from the yawn-inspiring ones without having to tour them in person.
  2. An Online Apartment Search Helps You Save Time and Money. Each hour spent outside your office building can make you lose time and money associated with new or ongoing projects. Fortunately, now you can eliminate this disadvantage by looking for properties online, from the comfort of your home or office. For instance, Apartment Hunterz delivers a generous collection of listings and also offers a great variety of search tools that make it easier for you to retrieve attractive rentals with a few clicks. Moreover, you can save your searches and revisit your favorite options whenever, wherever.
  3. Apartment Locators Offer You State-of-the-Art Tools Ensuring a Simpler House Hunt. From tools designed to facilitate an instant, uninterrupted communication between landlords and tenants to support centers for both parties, modern apartment finding services provide all the assistance one could ever require to find, filter and save listings, schedule convenient in-person meetings with property managers and upload or download the necessary forms.
  4. A Great Apartment Finding Service Will Help You Keep Your Options Open. When it comes to renting a place in a city that you know nothing about, the real challenge is to target the areas providing the highest number of for rent properties matching your specific criteria, including monthly rates, layout, number of bedrooms and bathrooms and available amenities. Luckily, advanced apartment finding services help you broaden your horizons, by offering you detailed listings available in different Californian cities and neighborhoods where you could actually afford to rent a house or an apartment. You would just have to do your homework to research various ZIP codes and let the search engine guide you towards the available rentals in your area of choice.

How to Profit from a Flawless Online Apartment Finding Experience

Now that you have uncovered some of the secrets of the leasing industry, you are probably thinking about using an apartment finding service to spot the best rentals in a certain Californian city of neighborhood. Before going any further, evaluate your needs, demand and possibilities in an objective manner. Create a budget for your big move and stick to it.

If you think that you could get the keys to a two-bedroom apartment in downtown Los Angeles with in-unit washer and dryer, floor-to-ceiling windows and hardwood floors for less than $1,000 per month you are probably wasting your time and energy. Always identify and compare median rent prices before setting your heart on a particular ZIP code and use the insight provided by Apartment Hunterz to refine your search using various filters, communicate with landlords and schedule in-person property tours that could lead to a faultless apartment renting experience.

 

06
Oct 2015
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Things That You Should Factor in Before Deciding to Monetize Your Californian Apartment

shutterstock_231320299For many months in a row, you have struggled to supplement your income the rapid, easy and perfectly legal way. You’ve worked overtime and spent many nights awake, thinking about new, ingenious business ideas that you could pursue to make more money. However, none of these approaches to getting rich have returned the desirable results, so now you are turning your attention to the most valuable asset that you could use to add a significant amount of money to your savings on a monthly basis: your California-based apartment.

Should You Rent Out Your Home to a Complete Stranger?

Since you already have a roof over your head, you can afford the luxury to rent out your property. In this context, the question that you need to answer is this: what kind of strategies should you employ to monetize your slice of real estate in the most effective way? After giving some thought to this matter, you realize that you would very much like to turn your apartment into an attractive short-term rental that could offer you the opportunity to interact with more people, establish fruitful tenant-landlord relationships, offset the costs associated with your property (such as mortgage payments and home improvement expenses) and maybe even set some money aside for a rainy day.

Nonetheless, your decision to do business with complete strangers may pose several risks. To begin with, how would you be able to handle potential complaints made by neighbors, deal with repair/improvement requests, collect rent and manage other responsibilities that experience landlords usually balance with ease? Moreover, what happens if your tenant destroys your property and refuses to cover the losses that he or she has caused? How could you evict a problematic tenant without breaking the law and exposing yourself to further complications?

These are just a few of the most important questions that you should answer before turning yourself into a so-called “accidental” landlord.

3 Key Aspects That You Should Analyze Very Carefully Before Deciding to Rent Out Your Apartment

To get the bigger picture here and make an informed decision in what your future as a potential lessor is concerned, keep reading to analyze the main aspects related to a stress-free apartment leasing experience.

  1. The Advantages of Turning Your Californian Property into a Cash Cow. Start by listing the main factors that could convince you to become a first-time landlord. More specifically, why would you be inclined to turn your Californian apartment into a short-term rental? Go beyond the obvious monetary advantages, and you’ll realize the fact that you could unlock a series of additional benefits by renting out your property, including flexibility, social connections and a special form of empowerment.

As a landlord who owns a superb piece of real estate in one of the most desirable tenant-friendly Californian cities, you can afford to be flexible when choosing the dates when you would like to rent out your accommodation option. For instance, you could try to find a tenant that could occupy your home while you’re on vacation. This way, you would manage to cover your utility costs, make some extra money and prevent security risks while you’re far away from home.

Furthermore, by meeting many people and allowing them to sleep on your couch or rent your apartment for a short while, you could expand your circle of friends and establish mutually beneficial relationships in the long run. Last but not least, Californian rentals always empower their landlords, by enabling them the opportunity to fulfill their dreams and satisfy a certain need. For example, a landlord could use the income generated by his or her apartment to prevent foreclosure, get out of debt or travel extensively, while another one could use the extra cash to make a down payment for a new house or a car.

  1. The Risks of Monetizing Your Apartment. After listing all these benefits, it is extremely important to acknowledge the risks associated with your decision to rent out your apartment to a bunch of strangers. We have already discussed the main potential threats; most of them revolve around theft, property damage and financial losses. The good news is that you can always keep risk factors in check by investing in a home insurance policy; also, it wouldn’t hurt to implement a few extra measures of precaution, especially since prevention is better than cure. For example, you could use the info provided by a great local apartment finding service to screen tenants the easy way. Apartment Hunterz lets you communicate with rental seekers in real time, while downloading and uploading forms to simplify the entire transaction. Make the most of this type of support to separate scammers and unreliable candidates with prospects with serious intentions, whom you could never perceive as a potential threat.
  2. The Simplest Ways to Convert Your Property into a Lovely Short-Term Rental. Now that you can evaluate both the risks and advantages of renting out your house or apartment in California, you are probably wondering: what’s the simplest, safest and most convenient way to find a great tenant for my short-term rental? In other words, how could you promote your home to reduce your costs and effort and maximize your satisfaction?

Here’s an idea worth exploring: instead of relying on traditional media and word-of-mouth to keep your estate in the public eye, make the most of the ever-growing popularity and influence of online channels to reach your target. Start by advertising your listings via Apartment Hunterz and use a great variety of tools especially designed for landlords to improve the visibility of your ad, get in touch with prospects, screen all candidates with ease and find the perfect tenant in only a few days. This type of service has revolutionized the way in which people rent out their properties in California, so if you’re striving to monetize one of your slices of real estate, give it a try to strike gold as a first-time landlord.

Key Aspects to Consider When Touring Apartments for Rent in California

shutterstock_126452231Finding the ideal apartment for rent in California can be a complicated, time-consuming mission, especially if you don’t want to settle for less than what you need and deserve. You want to spend the right amount of money on the ideal property that meets all your expectations in terms of location and amenities. As a matter of fact, at this point in your life, you feel ready to settle down and consider the idea of signing a one-year lease to occupy a gorgeous apartment or house that you could actually call home.

Nonetheless, this type of commitment that you are willing to make compels you to research your options very well and proceed with caution; after all, you wouldn’t want to get stuck with a rental that puts your safety and/or comfort and well-being on the line.

In this situation, it becomes obvious that you should set up certain filters to separate the most desirable for rent properties that you can afford from the ones that you wouldn’t dare to recommend to your worst enemies. To make things easier for enthusiastic home seekers looking for a new roof over their heads in California, we have compiled a list of aspects that any potential tenant should consider while touring and rating rental properties.

Service. Assuming that you love the shared apartment that your landlord has allowed you to inspect very closely, try to get the bigger picture here. Is the staff service attentive and effective? You can answer this question on your own, by simply checking out the surroundings. Are the grounds properly maintained? Do you see trash all over the patio or in the pool? Are the trees and the lawn perfectly manicured or does the outdoor area require an urgent extreme makeover to recover its natural beauty? If you can identify such flaws during your first visit, consider crossing this property off your list or at least ask a few additional questions related to the activity of the designated service staff and maintenance staff. If the staff members have a 9-to-5 schedule during the week and don’t work nights, weekends and holidays, this could become an issue if you break your keys inside the lock or realize that your air conditioner isn’t working in the middle of the night.

The Surroundings. Outdoor areas can tell you many things about various other aspects, including the safety of your neighborhood and the habits and attitude of the neighbors that you could be dealing with from now on. Homes with broken windows and junk on the streets are never a good sign; moreover, lawns in a terrible shape, dirty stairs and poorly maintained amenities may indicate that your potential landlord is sloppy and not very good at addressing the complaints and repair/maintenance/improvement requests of his current tenants. Bottom line: if you don’t like the outdoors and get the feeling that the entire neighborhood is about to crumble, keep looking. Even if you’re on a tight budget and feel obligated to target only certain areas that provide the highest number of inexpensive rentals that you could afford to rent, dare to be selective and only consider the properties that could make you feel safe and comfortable in the long run. Using the info provided by Apartment Hunterz, California’s 1st class apartment finding service, you could perform a simple and effective targeted search and look for cute, decently-priced rentals using your filters of choice, such as square footage, number of rooms, exact location or rental rates.

Costs. On the Californian real estate market, if an ad sounds way too good to be true, then it probably isn’t. Real bargains don’t last for more than a few moments on the market, simply because of the low inventory and high demand. Therefore, don’t expect to find a 2-bedroom spacious, modern apartment in San Francisco for less than $600 per month, when the current median rent in this city has already reached the $4,225 milestone.

Set up realistic goals and expectations to avoid wasting time during your house hunt. At the same time, before getting ready for your first tour, prepare a set of questions related to the costs that you may have to incur as a tenant. Are utilities included? If the answer is no, then keep in mind that you will have to spend a significant amount of money on electricity, Internet, cable, gas, water and garbage removal on a monthly basis. While these expenses may not be overwhelming, they can easily add up, especially if you don’t always manage to pay your bills on time. Also, consider gathering additional info on additional fees, such as late fee, renters insurance, pet fee deposit, parking fees (if any) and so on. Cover all these aspects to figure out whether or not you could actually afford to occupy the rental properties that you like best. Also, solid numbers will lead to a better understanding of your rights and obligations as a tenant, while giving you the opportunity to create and stick to a budget each month to avoid getting into debt.

Appliances. If you wish to go for a fully-furnished apartment, make sure your rental features all the appliances that you need on a daily basis, such as stove/oven, refrigerator, dishwasher and microwave. Next, ask yourself the following question: how much money would you be willing to pay to benefit from an available/working washer and dryer placed inside your closet or garage? If the costs associated with different additions that you need in your life exceed your allocated budget, perhaps it would be wiser to start looking for a rental with a more generous array of features and amenities, available at no extra cost.

Finding the perfect for rent apartment in California should be a fun experience, not a dreadful challenge. If you want to simplify the entire process by identifying and comparing offers the easy way, choose to take a closer look at the listings promoted by Apartment Hunterz. Save your searches with a click, contact landlords over the Internet and discover a whole world of attractive possibilities during your very first apartment search.

7 Key Tips on How to Find the Perfect Home Away from Home in California

Small wooden house with umbrella beach - concept imageyuhCalifornian hotels offer you all the features and amenities that you could ever need to create wonderful memories in picturesque places. However, tourists who want to relax on vacation without actually breaking their routine and abandoning their daily habits will most likely try to rent a home away from home, instead of booking a hotel room.

7 Steps to Take to Find the Ideal Vacation Rental in California

If you also love your privacy more than anything else and would very much like to spend a weekend, a week or a month on a superb property that you could call home, keep reading to find out how you could select the ideal vacation rental in California rapidly and absolutely stress-free.

  1. Opt for a Property That Turns Every Day Spend inside the House into a Small Vacation. When you own a vacation home, you seldom get to enjoy the first week of the season simply because you are too busy doing repairs and improving the looks of your indoors and outdoors. A house is not a hotel room; it requires constant supervision and regular maintenance work. On the other hand, a vacation rental can offer you the privacy, comfort and homey ambiance that a hotel could never provide, in spite of its good name, privileged location and luxurious amenities. Research your options and go in favor of a vacation rental with great scenery, large, airy rooms, plenty of storage space, basic amenities and a fully furnished kitchen. These are the key attributes of a practical and appealing home away from home that never disappoints.
  2. Start Early. Most people start planning their summer vacation during the cold season, right after New Year’s Eve. You should also know that some of the most popular vacation destinations in California, like Napa Valley for instance, attract a large number of loyalists- people who have been spending their holidays in the same place for years or decades in a row. These clients usually book the same apartment or house and profit from significant discounts for early booking. You could follow in their footsteps to benefit from an additional discount. At the end of the day, planning in advance could be the key to staying organized and saving money before, during and after your vacation.
  3. Don’t Hesitate to Play the Waiting Game. Some families don’t like to make long-term plans simply because they can’t foresee the future and are worried that a series of unpredicted events could interfere with their vacation plans. If this sounds like one of your biggest concerns, don’t worry. Even if you don’t want to book a vacation rental in advance, you could still get a considerable discount by searching for attractive last-minute deals. In some of the most popular vacation destinations supply usually outweighs demand. As we get closer to the high season, landlords and agents boost their efforts to fill vacancies. Some choose to cut down costs, while others agree to add certain perks to make the overall package seem more desirable. If you can afford to be flexible and spontaneous, keep your options open when it comes to selecting the best vacation rental. Use its location as filter and perform a targeted search with Apartment Hunterz. The online platform offering the best tools and means of communication for landlords will help you identify and compare the hottest new listings in a timely fashion, without having to leave your home or office to tour, rate and rent different properties. Searching for last-minute offers is a reward versus risks kind of game, so take your chance, start looking for affordable Californian rentals a few days or weeks before your trip and don’t get your mind and heart set on a particular slice of real estate; by staying emotionally detached you could evaluate the pros and cons of different accommodation options in a more objective manner and go for the offer that makes more sense to you from a practical and financial standpoint.
  4. Select a Great Property Based on Your Goals and Actual Necessities. Will you be travelling with your four-legged companion? In this case, you may want to narrow down your search by targeting only the properties offering pet-friendly accommodation options. If you’re planning a fun, relaxing vacation with your youngsters, make sure the rooms that you wish to book will give you access to a great variety of kid-friendly sites and attractions, including playgrounds and parks. If you’ll be travelling with small children, you may want to reserve a house or apartment that has already been baby-proofed. Even the simplest additions, like baby gates for stairs can help you attain peace of mind, knowing that your new environment won’t expose your youngest family members to considerable safety risks.
  5. Get All the Details Before Signing on the Dotted Line. Always read the fine print and ask for additional information on key aspects that may be on your mind, such as cancellation policy, repair and cleaning services, furnishings, property insurance, deposits, physical layout, financial arrangements and so on. At the end of the day, it is extremely important to communicate with your landlord in an effective manner, to understand the rights and obligations that you have as a tenant and keep your side of the bargain. If you have the distinctive impression that you could be forced to change your vacation plans in the near future, remember that renting an apartment is not like reserving a hotel room. When renting someone else’s house, binding contract compels you to cancel your reservation within a week or even one month to benefit from a full refund.
  6. Use All The Information Provided by Vacation Rental Websites. These days, you can spot a good deal on the local real estate market without driving around town and knocking on other people’s doors. At the same time, you can use different tools and platforms to find out what previous tenants are saying about certain landlords and properties that might interest you. Use their feedback to simplify your selection and remember to consult multiple sources before making a final call.
  7. Use the Data Provided by California’s Premier Apartment Finding Service. As soon as you figure out where you would like to spend your vacation, start looking for stunning vacation rentals in your price range. Rely on Apartment Hunterz to compare and save different listings, get in touch with homeowners who are renting out their places and select the accommodation option that meets all your expectations.