Key Aspects to Consider When Touring Apartments for Rent in California

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.