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.

Californian Rental Deal Breakers That You Shouldn’t Ignore

Successful business man looking away with cityWhen you’re conducting a first house hunt on a tight budget, you are usually inclined to ignore all warning signs indicating that a certain property may jeopardize your safety, comfort or financial situation. You know what they say: on a highly competitive market with a short housing supply and a high demand for cheap accommodation options, when something seems too good to be true, it probably isn’t.

What Are The Things That You Should Give Up to Spend Less on Rent?

This being said, what kind of compromises should you agree to make to get the keys to a somewhat attractive house or apartment that you could actually afford in the long run? At the end of the day, only you can draw the line between determination and pure desperation while comparing various alternatives in your preferred ZIP codes.

Some may agree to get roommates and split the costs with their cohabitants; others may opt for a small, unfurnished apartment to keep costs in check. Some may choose to avoid for rent properties located in some of the most desirable neighborhoods and settle for decent places situated in an area with a low crime rate. All these strategies can be quite effective, especially if you make a final call based on the insight provided by Apartment Hunterz, California’s favorite apartment finding service. Take a look at recent listings to identify the best cities/ZIP codes where the odds of finding a place within your budget are relatively high.

5 Bad Signs Indicating That a Californian Rental Is Clearly Not “The One”

While making small compromises is the key to a successful apartment hunt, remember that you should never ignore red flags indicating that your property of choice is inhabitable and/or potentially dangerous or simply not the best fit for you. Here are five such drawbacks that you should take into consideration during the apartment search phase.

  1. Safety Threats. To being with, you should know that drawbacks associated with a piece of real estate fall into three categories: those that put your safety/life on the line, those that lower your level of comfort and the ones that annoy you to death. By far, safety threats are the number one concern that should never become your problem as a tenant. To avoid such risk factors, always check reports available online to identify and compare crime rates in different neighborhoods before renting. Also, tour the property during the day and at night to figure out whether or not you feel safe in this new environment. After completing this step, extend your investigation by visiting the places that you would normally go to on a regular basis: the park, a supermarket and so on. Do you feel safe and comfortable walking alone from point A to point B? Choose to filter your search results based on your answer.
  2. Major Issues with the Basic Systems of Your Building. Ideally, any dependable landlord should invest time and money in its rental to make sure that all its basic systems are running like new. However, problems may arise at any given point in time, so you should do your homework and conduct an ample inspection to discover potential hazards before they become an actual issue. An odd or shoddy electrical box or circuit breaker could be seen as a warning sign; the same goes for an old, poorly maintained furnace that may very well cause a carbon monoxide leak. Don’t leave the house without inspecting the plumbing system. Flush the toilers and pressure test the shower. Go inside the kitchen and turn on the oven. If you get a distinctive smell of gas, run for your life and never look back. The same goes for non-lethal threats that may be bothering you during your first house tour (like walls with peeling paint, cracks in the walls/floors or rusty, defective appliances), especially if you may have to spend money out of your pockets to replace them or if you get fishy reassurances (“Yes, this can be easily fixed. I just need to find the time/right kind of help to do it. Maybe one of these days..”) from a potential landlord.
  3. Foul Odors. We know what you may say: foul odors are not the worst problem that you can think of, and they could never stop you from renting a cheap apartment that is much more affordable than similar options located on the same street. While we appreciate your determination, note that some odors can signal a more complicated issue, like a mold contamination, for example. Moreover, heavy smells (of smoke, urine and so on) can be difficult to eliminate, especially if they are already impregnated in carpets, upholstery and carpet pads.
  4. Pest Problems. Pest problems represent a deal breaker because they are very unpleasant and costly. Moreover, while dealing with this issue, you may have to take this matter into your own hands and incur the costs of a potential decontamination (cleaning, sanitizing and restoration of indoor spaces), especially if your landlord fails to respond to your complaint/request in a prompt manner. Because you wouldn’t want to share your slice of cake or pillow with a colony of ants, trust us when we say that you will call a team of decontaminators as soon as you identify the problem.
  5. Disrupting Factors That Make You Feel Uncomfortable in Your Own Apartment. People who are constantly yelling are annoying. Yes, you could always call the police, but would your intervention put an end to this type of unpleasant stories for good? Probably not! While you can’t choose your family, you can definitely choose your landlord and neighbors and this is great privilege that you should never give up.

The truth is that even in this market, you can still afford to be a demanding tenant in the state of California. Use the insight provided by Apartment Hunterz to compare thousands of listings and choose the one that speaks to you. The whole selection process is simple, painless and convenient. Test the effectiveness of this apartment finding service and simplify your future house hunts using the very best tips and tools designed by true Californian real estate experts.

How to Choose an Exceptional Vacation Rental in California

Beach HomesVacation rentals are constantly gaining popularity among families and independent travelers, due to their affordability, welcoming ambiance and overall versatility. Just because you want to leave your worries behind and explore another city or town for a few days or weeks, this doesn’t mean that you have to forfeit the comfort of your home.

Find the Best Vacation Rental in 6 Easy Steps

As a matter of fact, by choosing the right type of rental you could up the level of relaxation, fun and rest associated with your usual trips. Here are a few tips on how to choose your Californian property for rent wisely to benefit from a wonderful home away from home experience.

  1. Book Early. Book your rental of choice as soon as possible. This will help you avoid the stress associated with last-minute decisions and may also enable you to make the most of significant discounts.
  2. Opt for Lesser-Known Vacation Destinations. You may want to target properties that are farther away from the most sought-after tourist attractions for two reasons. First of all, in case you just want to break the monotony and recharge your batteries in a tranquil area, booking a rental in an overcrowded region visited by hordes of tourists would defy the whole purpose of your trip.

Secondly, proximity to popular local attractions usually comes with a larger price tag; if you feel that you need some peace and quiet and want to save a few dollars while vacationing in California, opt for a vacation rental that is located farther away from tourist hotspots. Also, you may want to book an apartment or a house in a city or town representing a lesser-known vacation destination. For instance, if you want to avoid the crowds that usually set camp around Lake Tahoe, you could always choose to visit Fallen Leaf Lake, a beautiful lake bordered by rolling mountains and lush forests. This corner of heaven is the ideal choice for a nice getaway that will give you plenty of opportunities to enjoy romantic walks, fill your lungs with fresh air and profit from all the first-hand amenities that a home away from home could ever offer.

  1. Find Out What’s Available Out There and What Actually Suits You. When people think about vacation rentals, they immediately tend to associate this concept with luxurious beach houses allowing them to spend as much time on the beach as possible, bury their feet in the sand and listen to the sound of the waves as they crash into the rocks. While this idyllic picture may stimulate you to spend an exorbitant amount of money on a Malibu rental, keep your options open at all times and remember that beach houses are only a tiny segment of the ever-growing, incredibly diverse Californian real estate market. From modern condos to extravagant oceanfront properties and rustic treehouses, all these lodging options are available online and can bring you closer to the ideal vacation experience that you have in mind. No matter how exotic your rental of choice may sound, rest assured that you’ll find it in California online, with a few clicks.
  2. Book with a Trustworthy Website with a Generous Inventory. Now that you know just how diverse the real estate market actually is, choose to analyze the offers brought to you by one big apartment finding service. By collaborating with a respectable player in this sector you could unlock a generous selection of premium accommodation options that you might not be able to find anywhere else.
  3. Keep an Eye out for Last-Minute Deals. People can be divided into two distinctive categories, based on the way in which they organize their vacation: some like to profit from the advantages that early booking brings along, while others like to take time to research different options and uncover hot last-minute deals that could help them spend less money than they’ve initially planned. If the latter alternative describes your own modus operandi, don’t hesitate to land on different websites regularly to identify and compare the latest offers.

Or better yet, instead of wasting time on various sites, choose to keep tabs on the freshest listings uploaded by Apartment Hunterz, California’s number one apartment finder. Discover a large collection of regularly updated listings, pick and save your favorites, revisit your searches at any given point in time, reach property managers and landlords, discuss amenities and rental rates and schedule a face-to-face meeting with the person who may hold the key to the ideal Californian vacation rental.

  1. Meet the Homeowner in Person. While Apartment Hunterz gives you the opportunity to find out everything there is to know about the property that you may be interested in (and its landlord) without actually leaving the office, it is advisable to take the time to meet the manager/landlord in person before reaching an agreement. First of all, a first contact with the landlord in his own environment may help you determine whether or not his house is the perfect match for you and your friends or family. Secondly, owners are always excellent sources of local knowledge and may even agree to become your personal tour guides. Most of them will gladly provide a series of tips and expert recommendations enabling you to make the best decisions during your vacation and save some money in the process.

Moreover, you should understand and accept the fact that each vacation home is unique. Avoid assumptions that could trigger your frustration and disappointment and ask questions related to the aspects that interest you the most. For instance, is the house pet-friendly/wheelchair accessible/baby-proofed? Don’t leave any room for misunderstandings and don’t sign on the dotted line or make a deposit until you are satisfied with the answers provided by your landlord/property manager.

Much-appreciated for its large rental inventory and professional services, Apartment Hunterz can lend you a helping hand and offer you the knowledge, tools and expert support that you may require to find a great slice of real estate. Make the most of all these elements to perform a rapid, effective and fulfilling targeted search and uncover the hottest deals on the Californian real estate market from the comfort of your home or office.

Sep 2015