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.

What Kind of Compromises Should You Be Willing to Make as a Californian Tenant?

Young realtor is with keys in an apartmentIf you could afford to move to any other city or state, you would probably be tempted to rent or buy a place in California. Maybe you’d do it to fulfill a childhood fantasy, get the job of your dreams or profit from amazing weather and some of the most spectacular beaches in the United States. Either way, you should know that buying a place in California is a serious matter that involves a high level of commitment and a significant amount of money.

Should You Rent or Buy a Place in Southern California?

In 2015, the housing market in Southern California is gradually awakening from a nap, as its home prices are rising after remaining flat for almost one year. As LA Times points out, the short supply and the improving economy are two of the main factors responsible for this growth. Moreover, according to the same source, job growth is another element that is giving people courage to discover the perks of homeownership in Southern California. In this context, it becomes obvious that the competition for affordable slices of real estate in this part of the country is fierce.

If you can’t afford to contract a loan and make a down payment, or simply feel that owning a house would limit your options and stand in the way of your future plans, you may want to try your luck as a tenant in California. While contemplating your options, you might be wondering:  from this perspective, what kind of compromises should you make to ensure your happiness? First of all, you should probably learn and assimilate the most effective lease negotiation tactics and master the art of communicating and compromising.

This will help you profit from move-in-ready space, minimize your expenses and even get flexible lease terms that could come in handy in a number of situations. For instance, at some point you may want to cut down costs by downsizing; in which case you may need your landlord’s permission to sublease. At the same time, landlords have all the reasons in the world to stay on the same page with tenants with good credit, who pay rent on time, do not complain about other tenants or housing in general and do not demand extravagant improvements. In most cases, an honest discussion with your landlord will help you set realistic expectations and negotiate an equitable lease. Once you’ve managed to reduce your rent or obtain other advantages, should you hope (and ask) for more or should you settle with the rental property that you have already chosen?

5 Compromises That You Should Consider Making as a Tenant in California

Even if affordable rentals are in high demand in California, and real bargains don’t last for more than a few seconds on local real estate markets, you should always research your options very carefully before signing on the dotted line. If you want to play all your cards right to reduce your costs and maximize your satisfaction, you should know that you can make other compromises on four key aspects related to your apartment renting experience: remodeling work, location, improvements and amenities. Here are a few suggestions that you may find helpful during this process.

Avoid the Headache of Costly, Unnecessary Remodeling Work. Every for rent property is a blank canvas that you can color and personalize as you see fit. But since you don’t own the place and you’re probably not going to spend more than a few months or years in the same spot, try to curb your own enthusiasm and do the math twice before pouring money in any type of remodeling work. Unfortunately, even the smallest adjustments can exceed your allocated budget, leave you high and dry and make you put more important projects on hold. For instance, a kitchen transformation implying basic upgrades could trigger costs ranging from $5,000 to $15,000, according to a Forbes article; so keep this price tag in mind before choosing new fixtures, paint and countertops for your rental. Moreover, do keep in mind that you will always need to get your landlord’s approval for any major changes that you may have in mind before giving the green light to an extreme makeover.

Remember That Location Is a Key Factor That Could Up Your Costs. While you can alter the appearance and vibe your house in countless different ways, you can’t actually change its location. Therefore, establish your priorities before making a final call. If you want to avoid long commutes and shady neighborhoods, consider spending a bit more on a rental that is located in an area with a low crime rate, in the proximity of your home and/or office.

Focus on Necessary Tenant Improvements. How much should you compromise when it comes to bringing tenant improvements into discussion? Here’s how it works: landlords will always try to minimize the positive changes that must be implemented to improve a living space. At the same time, the tenant will highlight the most impactful potential adjustments and suggest cost-effective ways in which these modifications can be made. You can employ a similar strategy to present these aspects to your landlord as a part of an ampler and more complex lease negotiation plan. Just make sure you develop realistic expectations and find the best way to let your landlord know why you (and other tenants) need and want these changes.

Evaluate the Available Amenities. Should you really judge a rental based on the amenities that it offers? Yes and no. Yes, you should probably avoid cheap rental properties that do not come with the basic amenities that guarantee your safety and comfort, but at the same time, you shouldn’t overspend on rent, especially if the apartment that you’re daydreaming about offers features and amenities that you don’t actually need and wouldn’t get to use very often. An onsite gym is nice, but how often do you actually work out? An indoor pool sounds like our version of heaven on earth, but it if you’re always at the office and never have time for a swim, this luxurious amenity will only inflate your monthly bills, without actually improving your quality of life in any way.

If you don’t feel ready to compromise, then maybe you just haven’t found the right place for you yet. In this case, choose to continue your apartment search and use the listings offered by Apartment Hunterz to find the most appealing rentals matching your location, preferences and budget. Choose wisely, master the art of compromising and discover the ideal for rent property in only a few days with California’s number one apartment finding service.

 

17
Sep 2015
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POSTED IN Market
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