How to Spend Less on Rent as a College Student in California

The girl draws marker piggy bankMoving out of your parents’ house to go to college is a big step that will inevitably bring you a great deal of satisfaction. However, this change also brings along a bunch of new responsibilities that you may find a bit overwhelming at first. For starters, renting an apartment in California may force you to manage your money more wisely and become more aware of the impact that your daily decisions inevitably have on your financial situation. Is there a way to reduce rental costs without making any regrettable compromises? Could you actually spend less on rent without having to live in a shoebox apartment located in a shady neighborhood? Should you live on campus to keep your expenses in check? To make the most of an ideal apartment renting experience in California, you should start by getting the most accurate answers to all these key questions.

Why Should You Even Consider Living Off-Campus?

To begin with, you are probably wondering: is living off-campus a feasible option, from a financial standpoint? Believe it or not, recent studies indicate that living off-campus is the most convenient and cost-effective alternative explored by most students in the United States. As a matter of fact, an infographic published by Visually indicates that room and board costs on average $11,571, while commuters spend around $9,669. Do the math, and you’ll realize that students living on campus pay $2238 more than their peers who live off-campus.

5 Tips on How to Find the Perfect Budget-Friendly Accommodation Option in California

Moreover, living off-campus is a great choice simply because it helps you avoid gaining “the freshman fifteen” and embrace healthier eating, while also giving you the opportunity to build credit, gain control over who your roommate is and eliminate potential distractions standing in the way of your academic achievements. If you want to start this new chapter of your life in a rental apartment in California, choose to apply the five following tips to reduce your costs and maximize your satisfaction.

  1. Target Neighborhoods and Properties That You Can Actually Afford. First of all, you should do your homework to identify some of the most affordable neighborhoods in your Californian city of choice. You should know that even San Francisco and its surroundings, representing one of the most desirable urban areas in California with rentals priced at around $4,000 per month, can surprise you with a plethora of less expensive accommodation options, as long as you know where to look for cheap housing. For instance, if you are determined to move to San Francisco and spend less on rent, you could target the foggy Richmond District, Central Sunset or Oceanview. All three alternatives ensure great rentals priced at around $2,000 per month.
  2. Manage Day-to-Day Bills and Monitor Your Expenses. Most college students end up experiencing a certain level of financial hardship simply because they are unable to prioritize their needs and take control of their expenses. Some of them buy clothes that they never get to wear, throw a lot of money on school supplies that they could live without and spend even more on parties and other leisure activities.

If you would very much like to make better choices and discover the simplest way to cut down expenses and set some money aside for a rainy day, start by creating a budget and list your monthly expenses, including food, utilities and rent. Next, you can track your spending using one of the many free budgeting apps available at this point, such as Mint, Level Money or Budget Ease.

  1. Remember That Flashy Details Aren’t Everything Don’t Get Carried Away. As a college student seeking cheap housing in California, you’ll soon learn a very valuable lesson about the perks of minimalist living and reach the conclusion that sometimes, less is more. Sure, an apartment complex with a lavishing rooftop pool or an onsite gym is everything that you could ever ask for, but could you really afford to pay for all these cool additions out of your own pocket without working 3 jobs? Instead of selecting rentals based on the number of flashy appliances and other extras that they have, refine your selection criteria and go for accommodation options that match your realistic needs in terms of square footage, location and basic features.
  2. Stay Organized and Avoid Clutter. Staying organized at all times doesn’t have to be a challenge, even if you can’t really buy new furniture or remodel your indoors to respond to your requirements in terms of space and comfort. The solution to your problem is simple and convenient: use clever storage options to maximize your space, while also giving a personal touch to your interior space. Under-bed storage, mirror frames with doors, custom-made banquette seating offering more than enough under-seat storage space and exposed rafters and beams represent excellent choices allowing you to feel at home even in the tiniest shared apartment.

Put your creativity at work to come up with new, out-of-the-box storage ideas to stay organized and settle for a smaller space that will automatically involve reduced expenses. If you find it hard to fit all your textbooks, clothes and accessories in an apartment that is clearly too small for you, consider renting self storage space provided by a facility located near your school. Self storage carries a relatively small price tag (you can get a good unit for less than $20 per month) and offers you a practical method to deposit and organize the items that you do not actually use on a daily basis.

  1. Find a Cheap Rental Fast Using California’s Top Apartment Finding Service. It’s not always easy to find an affordable apartment for rent in California, especially if you don’t understand the new realities of its real estate market, aren’t familiar with your new environment or don’t have time to circle newspaper ads, make hundreds of phone calls and tour dozens of properties on a daily basis.

Even so, you should know that there is a simpler, more practical way to track down inexpensive rentals in Cali before actually landing in this sunny state. Use an apartment finding service offering you access to the freshest, most tempting listings, conduct a personalized search based on your filters of choice (exact location, square footage, number of rooms, price and so on), contact landlords and property managers at a touch of a button, download and upload forms the easy way and identify gorgeous for rent properties in your price range. Work closely with Apartment Hunterz to uncover actual gems on the real estate market in California and reduce your monthly expenses without sacrificing your comfort and overall wellbeing.

 

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.

 

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Sep 2015
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How to Make the Best of the Californian Rental You’re Currently Occupying

new apartment plansConducting a house hunt in California is not always easy, especially when all you can realistically afford is a small studio located in a shady neighborhood. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to settle for the cheapest, most unattractive place that you can find on the local rental market.

10 Tips on How to Upgrade Your Rental without Upsetting Your Landlord

Even if your small budget is forcing you to target shoebox apartments that don’t meet any of your expectations, keep in mind that you can still make a few changes to turn an average house into a home. Here are a few easy tips that you can apply to upgrade any apartment in less than a week.

  1. Focus on Lighting. If you’re not pleased with the overhead lighting, rely on practical floor lighting to beautify your space. Lamps with a cool design could become the wow factor of your bedroom, so try to select pieces that light up the room and command attention.
  2. Upgrade the Paint Job. If you have your landlord’s permission to improve the looks and vibe of your place, consider repainting the walls. If possible, choose a neural color that will never go out of style. Aside from being timelessly elegant, subtle shades of gray, white, ivory or beige will also make your rooms seem airier and more welcoming. Assuming that you want to go for a more creative look and don’t really want to put many hours into this home improvement project, choose to add a touch of color to an accent wall to make a bold fashion statement. Intense hues like Tiffany blue, ruby red or cotton candy pink will brighten up your indoors and have a positive effect on your mood.
  3. Dress Up Your Walls. In case you can’t get your landlord’s approval for a new paint job, remember that there are plenty of other ways to personalize and restyle your walls. For instance, you could add a set of curtains to enhance your space. Monochrome designs tend to go better with a minimalist style, while colorful, abstract prints, floral motifs or geometric patterns are a great match for youthful home decors. If you don’t want to add curtains, perhaps you could try to beautify your walls using wallpaper. Don’t let your landlord stand in the way of your creative vision; instead of gluing wallpaper to your walls, you could always frame a few sheets to create a one-of-a-kind collage that could add depth and definition to your space.
  4. Rely on Elegant Storage Solutions. Most storage solutions fit in one of the following categories: some are practical and virtually invisible, while others are incredibly useful but far from being aesthetically pleasing. Luckily, you can come up with new storage options that actually reflect your style, personality and décor theme. Buy and use fabulous, customizable items like old, vintage trunks, metallic shopping baskets, and handmade boxes made of unconventional materials. These are the kind of cool factors that can always be stuffed with off-season clothes, jewelry that you no longer wear very often and all the little pieces that you can never find or organize inside your home.
  5. Conceal Old Appliances. Let’s face it: most old appliances that occupy a lot of space are a real eyesore and always interfere with your creative home makeover ideas. Here’s what you can do to solve this problem once and for old, without throwing the ancient appliances out the window. Improvise! Repaint an old fridge, store smaller devices inside kitchen cabinets and count on clever camouflaging tactics to restore the beauty of your interior décor. For example, you could use special covers to conceal old, rusty radiators. Cool-looking radiator covers are an extremely valuable asset, considering that, once installed, you could use these elements as a shelf for your framed art, photos or books.
  6. Enhance Your Space Using Mirrors. Mirrors can make your small apartment seem brighter and much more spacious; not to mention that they come in handy when you have to do your makeup in the morning or try on the new dress that you’ve just bought. To add a personal touch to your mirrors, buy massive art deco frames from flea markets or customize brand-new items using spray paint and/or stickers.
  7. Come Up with Stunning DIY Artworks. If you can’t afford to buy art signed by some of the most reputable contemporary artists, this doesn’t mean that you should abandon the idea of styling your walls using touches of color. These days, you can find thousands of talented artists online in a matter of a few minutes. For instance, artnet is only one of the most popular platforms that manage to gather more than 300,000 talented artists. One of these gifted users could sign the superb work of art that you may decide to frame and hang on your walls, so don’t hesitate to go online and get in touch with local artists who share your vision and agree to work within your tight budget.
  8. Invest in Timeless Statement Pieces. Again, redecorate with your needs and personal preferences in mind and upgrade your Californian rental by adding statement pieces that are portable and extremely versatile. Flexibility is one of the main advantages of renting in California. One year you could rent a studio in downtown Los Angeles; the next year, if everything goes according to plan, you could live in a beach house in Malibu; this is precisely why you should only invest in decorative pieces that can blend in well with any style/theme that you may like in the future and preferably go for the ones that you could move around with ease.
  9. Put Your Keepsakes on Full Display. We all have a happy corner where we seek refuge after a stressful day at the office. Choose to reinvent yours by adding things with a high sentimental value: a painting, framed pictures, posters or small artworks.
  10. Use Room Dividers to Enhance the Functionality of Your Living Space. Room dividers offer you the simplest way to delimitate your space and create sections based on your needs and daily habits. For instance, a room divider could separate your work area from the rest of the house; or could help you protect your privacy in a shared apartment.

Last but not least, keep your options open and keep telling yourself that you can’t and shouldn’t grow old inside an apartment that makes you feel claustrophobic, or simply fails to reflect your taste, preferences and lifestyle choices. In this situation, you can always count on the listings promoted by Apartment Hunterz to start looking for a new home, contact landlords and property managers, check out photos and video tours and find a Californian rental that will make your heart skip a beat.

 

How to Find the Most Affordable Rentals in the San Francisco Bay Area

San Francisco Downtown in the nightYou don’t have to know everything about the Californian real estate market to realize that discovering an affordable rental in the San Francisco Bay Area is like finding a needle in a giant, ever-growing haystack. As the local job markets keep attracting thousands of newcomers, prices will most stay high, discouraging budget-conscious families looking for a new roof over their heads. In 2014, buying a home in the Bay Area was 6% more expensive than renting one.

Target the Best Tenant-Friendly Cities in the Bay Area

Since prestigious companies continue to recruit new talents and market their tempting job openings, each year more individuals start digging deeper for affordable housing in this area. In 2013, San Jose welcomed 17,000 new individuals, while San Francisco gathered more than 10,000 new residents. In this context, you are probably wondering: Would it be a smart move to relocate to San Francisco or find a relatively inexpensive rental in the Bay Area? It all depends on your short and long-term goals. Nonetheless, if you are concerned about the short supply of accommodation options, correlated with the high demand and the hefty price tags, you should know that getting the keys to a nice, affordable for rent property is (still) an achievable goal.

For starters, you should check out the listings available in tenant-friendly cities located in the Bay Area. Palo Alto, Cupertino, San Jose, Los Gatos, Burlingame and Sunnyvale are only a few options that you should consider if you are determined to move to a nice city where housing won’t burn holes in your pockets. In January, renting an apartment was 27 times cheaper than buying one in Burlingame; at the same time, Cupertino had a high rental vacancy rate (4.9%), while San Jose residents spent only 28% of their monthly income estimated at $122,476 on rent. If you want to discover and rate the most appealing tenant-friendly cities and neighborhoods in California, use the insight offered by Apartment Hunterz to make your own list of favorites.

5 Tips on How to Lower Your Rent in Any Californian City

On second thought, maybe you want to skip this step because you have already chosen a city where you would like to put down roots, raise your kids and build a new career. Perhaps you love the new environment, but can’t help but notice that some of the most amazing rentals that you would like to occupy are way out of your league. In this case, you may want to apply the five following tips to reduce your rental rates, while establishing a stronger connection with your landlord.

  1. Ask Your Landlord for a for a Rent Reduction. Many people miss out on various opportunities on a regular basis simply because they’re too shy to ask for the things that they would like to get from their friends, relatives, business partners or employers. If you want to spend less money on rent each month, ask your landlord for a reduction. This simple strategy may return the desirable results, especially on a niche with an oversupply, where potential tenants are in the position to negotiate, make deals and influence the market.
  2. Come up with an Ingenious a Game Plan. Unfortunately, if you’re tackling some of the most desirable cities and neighborhoods in the Bay Area, plan A may turn out to be ineffective. In this situation, switch to plan B and start to research your options. Get familiar with market prices and do a bit of digging into your landlord’s background. Find out how he is currently marketing his units and what he is offering to tenants who are contemplating the idea of renewing their leases. If your landlord is experiencing financial hardship associated with vacancies or any other factors, he may be more inclined to cut you a deal.
  3. Learn to Sell Yourself. Finding a reliable tenant is no easy task, even in some of the most sought-after areas where prospects would be willing to shed thousands of dollars on for rent properties. This is why landlords sometimes offer incentives to good old tenants who are getting ready to negotiate their new lease. Highlight the aspects that make you a great candidate, including your financial situation, attitude and reliability to prep the field for a mutually advantageous partnership.
  4. Put Your Bartering Skills to the Test. As a last resort, you may rely on a certain form of trade to strike a deal with your landlord. Maybe the owner of the property that you are currently occupying is in desperate need of your services. Who knows? Maybe he is interested in professional landscaping services that would enhance the curb appeal of his rental and your expertise qualifies you as the best candidate for this job; or maybe your landlord would appreciate a helping hand from a dependable onsite property manager. Offer your services to lower your rent and establish a deeper connection with your landlord.
  5. Use a Great Apartment Finding Service. OK, so maybe the first round of negotiations with your landlord failed to deliver the results that you were expecting. What now? Instead of overspending on a rental that you are not 100% satisfied with, keep your options open and monitor the local real estate market to identify the hottest offers before anyone else. You don’t need to spend hours on different websites to follow this plan; instead, you could use the concierge service created by Apartment Hunterz. California’s preferred apartment finding service discovers and filters the most attractive listings that are compatible with your selection criteria; as soon as it finds the best matches for you, it will notify you through an email or text message. Rapid, reliable and affordable, this handy platform has revolutionized the way in which people conduct an apartment hunt. Start using it today and discover the benefits of a cost-effective, simplified targeted search.

5 Key Benefits of Californian Corporate Housing Options

iStock_000072524403_SmallRegardless of their profile, profit margins, size or employee count, all companies employ certain strategies to maximize their productivity while reducing their costs. However, while some expenses linked to new projects, such as acquisitions or job openings, could be avoided, it can be pretty difficult to cut down costs associated with frequent travels, especially when you’re managing a company with multiple headquarters.

Why Inexpensive California-Based Housing Options Are a Gold Mine for Savvy Businessmen

Even if you’re not actually responsible for the growth of an enterprise with several business locations, you may still have to go (or send your employees) on regular trips to establish new contacts with potential clients or partners or address the needs and demands of existing ones. Regardless of your future business-related goals, you should acknowledge the fact that investing in affordable California-based corporate housing options is always a good call, for a number of reasons.

  1. Corporate Housing Rentals Help Businesses Save Money. First of all, corporate housing is a money-saving option that most businessmen take into consideration, especially when they realize that the ascension of their enterprise depends on regular business trips. Recent statistics indicate that the average domestic travel costs are in the $111.7 billion range every single year. Moreover, according to the same source, the average cost of a hotel is $155 (domestic, per night) or $275 (international, per night). As CNBC points out, the expenses associated with a domestic business trip in the U.S. are estimated at $990. However, costs vary a great deal depending on your destination.

A day spent in the affluent, cosmopolitan San Francisco can make you take $440 out of your pockets, while European cities such as Paris or London can force you to spend more than $500 per day on extravagant hotel rooms and fine wining and dining experiences. The good news is that you can save money by avoiding expensive accommodation options without sacrificing comfort. Using the data delivered by Apartment Hunterz, you can track, visualize and rent some of the hottest and least expensive corporate housing rentals in your Californian city of choice.

  1. Corporate Housing Options Can Make Your Employee’s Trips Much More Enjoyable. Think about it this way: regular business trips tend to be quite tiresome, especially when they are linked to long, stressful flights, even longer working hours and impersonal hotel rooms. You may not be able to control the flight duration, but you can certainly improve your employees’ wellbeing by letting them stay in a comfortable, fully furnished, elegant apartment offering a superior “home away from home” experience. Choose a rental featuring all the key amenities that your people may require during their stay, including an in-house washer and dryer, air conditioning, TV and a spacious kitchen where they could prepare their own food. By giving your staff members the chance to plan and cook their own meals, you encourage them to save more money and maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet.
  2. Corporate Housing Contributes to More Productive Meetings. It goes without saying that happy employees make happy customers. If you want to boost your profits, start by ensuring the best conditions for your most valuable assets, inside and outside the office. By offering them the chance to spend a few nights in a comfortable corporate housing rental you could elevate their productivity and motivation and give them a new reason to top their own performances and help you reach your most ambitious business goals.
  3. Corporate Housings Provide the Space That You May Need to Host Regular Executive Meetings. Assuming that you have to host or attend regular executive meetings on a regular basis, you should know that some of the best corporate housing rentals provide enough space to help you organize the most productive brainstorming sessions while using a great variety of tools, services and equipment (phone, fax, Internet connection, computers) to stay connected at all times. Multifunctional interiors enable you to convert a living room into a flawless conference room in a matter of a few minutes.
  4. You Can Always Rent the Place Out to Other People. Corporate housing represents a great investment for a number of reasons. First of all, you can use the extra space to avoid costs associated with fancy hotels and meals. Secondly, these options are great for people who go on business trips very often, simply because they ensure that homey ambiance that most individuals need to feel at ease and stay focused on what needs to be done. Last but not least, a great rental can also help you make a profit, by allowing you to find the perfect tenants for it. Keep in mind that instead of keeping your property vacant, you could always choose to rent it to other businessmen for a short period of time. Inventing in this category of real estate slices is a safe bet today, considering the fact that most business owners are striving to reduce travel costs, while creating the best conditions for their most valuable in-house talents.

Can You Actually Find a Great Corporate Housing Rental in a Matter of a Few Days?

Finding a fully furnished corporate housing rental in one of California’s most overcrowded urban areas seems to be an intangible goal, especially for businessmen whose options are extremely limited by a thin budget. If you would very much like to rent a space that you could use to accommodate your staff members during their regular business trips, use to host your meetings or rent out to other people to supplement your income, start by using the world class apartment finding service introduced by Apartment Hunterz. This Californian real estate expert brings you the finest, freshest listings available in some of the most desirable cities and gives you the opportunity to rent a great place in a few days, the effortless way.