5 Steps to Becoming a Risk-Free Landlord in California

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Make Your Transition Period More Enjoyable in 5 Simple Steps

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

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

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

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

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

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