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 Also, you may want to replace old, outdated gadgets and appliances that wouldn’t be a good match for your new home (think about your ancient, wall-hogging TV or the massive 3D framed wall art that no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.

How to Decide Whether or Not a Certain Californian Home Is Right for You and Your Family

Photo credit: iStock Photo

Photo credit: iStock Photo

Let’s face it: the densely populated state of California has everything it takes to put newcomers under a spell: lovely settings, high waves, fabulous beach bodies, lots of sunny days, some of the best golf courses, restaurants and shopping venues and so much more. You have always wanted to live in a big Californian city like Santa Monica or San Francisco. At this point, you are finally ready to make this move, from an emotional and financial standpoint. But how exactly could you spot the most adequate rental or for sale properties for you and your family? Here are a few tips on how to make wiser decisions and get the keys to a place matching your lifestyle, budget and personal demands.

Go Beyond the Listing Price. Naturally, when you’re housing hunting, you are always prepared to grab that old-school calculator and do the math. But you should also be aware of the fact that the listing price is only one piece of the puzzle. There are several other aspects that require your attention, including the design and amenities of your new potential home. Pools and indoor wellness centers always require additional expenses that you may not be able to cope with. Moreover, properties with high ceilings will always lead to bigger heating costs, compared to houses with low ceilings.

Remember That Size and Condition Matter a Great Deal. Would you be able to remodel your home to welcome your elder relatives with open arms 10 years from now? Could you turn your attic into a spare bedroom? If the house is too big or too small for your short and long-term goals, you may want to turn to your other options.

Take Your Lifestyle into Consideration. Why would you be tempted to buy or rent a beachfront property that carries a significant price tag mostly due to its prime location, or a superb mansion with lots of pricy, high-tech amenities, when you spend more than 12 hours a day at the office? Such properties may be right for your first years of retirement, but they may fail to justify the costs that they imply when you’re not actually living in your home.

Go with Your Gut. Trust your instincts. Studies show that prospects can feel the vibe of a new place as soon as they walk into an apartment or a house. Go in favor of the property that allows you to project your future between its walls.

Involve a Real Expert in Your House Hunt. California is the place where budget-conscious families can find superb homes for sale that cost a few thousands of dollars. At the same time, this state also encompasses some of the most extravagant and luxurious multimillion dollar properties targeted by deep-pocketed clients from different parts of the globe. The versatility of the local real estate market may leave you puzzled and dazzled. In this case, choose to save time and money by counting on the services provided by Apartment Hunterz. The largest, most reputable Californian apartment finder can upgrade the quality of your home hunt and help you make the most of your resources while relocating to this sunny state.



Oct 2014

5 Signs That You’re about to Buy the Wrong House

Businesswoman With House Model And KeysWhen it comes to buying your first home, all your closest ones advise you to go with your gut. If a house looks perfect, then it probably is, right? Wrong! Experience tells us that not all that glitters is gold and not all areas surrounded by four walls are welcoming indoor spaces suitable for all categories of buyers. So how can you tell whether or not a certain property is “the one”? It’s not always easy to assess the level of compatibility between yourself and a new place. Nonetheless, the five following signs indicate that you are actually targeting a house that is pretty far from being your best pick.

1. You Can’t Cope with the Costs. Quality homes in California don’t come cheap, that’s for sure. If you’re relying on financing, would you be able to cope with your monthly mortgage payments? On top of that, you would also need money to pay your utility bills, buy groceries and spare a little something for clothes and entertainment. This being said, make sure your property of choice is actually in your price range, to avoid getting covered in debt.

2. It “Works” for Now. Does the house that you are targeting leave room for remodeling work? Would you be able to add a garage, a pool, a tennis court, a 4th bedroom and bathroom and several other additions that you may find necessary 5 or 10 years from now on?

3. It’s Too Big/Not Big Enough. Are you planning on living with your elder relatives? Are you expecting your 5th child? In this case, you shouldn’t settle for a 3-bedroom single family home. Instead, you should focus on spacious properties enabling all family members to feel as comfortable as possible and profit from a higher level of privacy. If the house is too big, it will only force you to handle bigger bills and costly upkeep.

4. It’s in a Bad Neighborhood(But That’s All That You Can Afford at This Point).Are you flirting with the idea of buying a home in the elegant, safe and quiet Californian suburbs? This sounds like a great plan, but only if you actually get the keys to a house that is close enough to all your key points of interest (your kids’ schools, your office, the local hospital, mall, groceries stores and so on). Otherwise, longer commuting routes could elevate your stress levels, drain the energy out of you and even raise your car insurance premiums.

5. You Can’t See the Bigger Picture, Because You’ve Been Temporarily Blinded by Luxurious Features. “Look at that amazing pool! I definitely want to get my hands on this house!” This is the kind of impulsive behavior that could make you waste a lot of money. Sure, the pool is fabulous, but is also implies considerable maintenance costs. Furthermore, once you detach yourself from all the luxurious features that the homeowner wants you to see, you can actually spot drawbacks that weren’t so obvious at a first glance. Elements like the wrong square footage and wrong locationare only a few of the most commons cons that could make you reconsider, as soon as the novelty factor wears off.


Sep 2014

3 Reasons Why You’re Not Selling Your Californian House (Although You Desperately Want to)

For Sale SignSo far, you’ve invested a small fortune in remodeling work. You’ve spent hours and hours cleaning, polishing and de-cluttering. You’ve taken the prettiest pictures of your home and uploaded them on different websites. You’ve spread the word about your upcoming relocation and organized open houses. And still, 90 days and a few thousands of dollars later, you find yourself in an awkward position: the phone isn’t ringing. Buyers aren’t knocking at your door. What went wrong? Don’t blame it on bad karma. Here are a few reasons why your actions aren’t returning the desirable results.

You’ve Made Costly, Unnecessary Changes. You have decided to bend over backwards to attract buyers. But can those new, insanely expensive custom cabinets be considered a wise investment? Was it a smart decision to replace your flooring material, repaint all your rooms and purchase new artwork just to impress someone whom you don’t really know? Truth be told, very few buyers assess your interior décor when it comes to making a final decision. They will change the style of your home anyway, simply because they want their new house to reflect their own taste and personality. In this context, it becomes obvious that buying expensive extras (furniture, decorations and so on) is never a good idea, especially if you’re relocating on a tight budget.  Pricy new additions seldom pay for themselves. And you can’t just add another 20,000 dollars to your initial asking price simply because you had to have those paintings, rare marble countertops and designer bamboo cabinets.

You Have Overpriced Your Home. Don’t let your emotional attachment dictate the price of your home. Keep your feelings under control and try to evaluate your property in an objective manner. Go online and check out various listings to discover the price tags of similar homes located in your neighborhood. When in doubt, count on the expert opinion of a local real estate agent. An overpriced home instantly deters a large category of clients simply because it leaves very little room for negotiations.

You’ve Neglect Crucial Repairs. Some homeowners go the extra mile to implement unnecessary, pricy additions (gym rooms, pools, indoor spas, walk-in closets) and focus less on repairs and home improvements that are actually mandatory. Before putting a ton of money in your property to boost its curb appeal and attract more prospects, pay attention to potential flaws that could impact its electrical and plumbing systems. Leaks, clogged toilets and damaged wires posing an elevated risk of electrocution will put your buyers on the run and delay your home selling. If you don’t know how to evaluate the current condition of your house, don’t hesitate to call a professional who can conduct a meticulous home inspection. After a thorough inspection, you will manage to identify and address concerns affecting the end value of your property.


Sep 2014

How to Turn Your Californian Home into a More Profitable Cash Cow

SavingsIn these difficult economic times, it is essential to turn every single special skill and personal belonging into an extra source of income. If you are lucky enough to own a fantastic Californian property that you use only once in a while, you could decide to turn it into the perfect vacation rental. Or better yet, you could boost its curb appeal, make minor adjustments on the inside and outside of your property and put it up for sale. Either way, a properly maintained Californian home could become your very own cash cow allowing you to overcome times of financial hardship and increase your quality of life. Don’t know where to start? Here are a few pointers that you could consider if you feel ready to upgrade your property and make more money.

Invest in Basic Improvements without Overspending. Let’s get one thing straight: you can’t make more money if you are not willing to spend a dime out of your own pockets. According to Forbes, even a basic cleaning process could cost you anywhere from 100 to 200 dollars and up, depending on the size and current condition of your home. This small amount can trigger a substantial profit ranging from 1,500 dollars to 2,000 dollars, according to the same source. You don’t have to make a huge financial effort to transform your home into a money-making machine. A new front door, a coat of paint applied on all exterior walls, a few potted plants placed at the entrance and artworks hanged on your walls are only a few simple, cost-effective additions that you could concentrate on.

Use the Right Marketing Tactics. Promote your property with your primary audience in mind. Are you targeting families with lots of kids? If so, make your Californian house look spacious and lived-in. Are you more interested in deep-pocketed singles who could rent your home for an indefinite period of time? In this case, talk about the giant heated pool, large patio and fantastic indoor bar that could ensure the perfect ambiance for unforgettable parties. Recent studies indicate that online listings containing walk-through tours attract up to 15% more prospects than the rest; so don’t forget to post quality pictures and videos to stand out from the crowd.

Convert Your Property into a Safer Environment. No matter whom you would like to rent or sell your house to, consider home security a top priority. At this point in time, more and more people seem to be interested in gadgets that deter burglars, leading to a safer environment and a superior comfort. Invest in a state-of-the-art security system with home automation that will sweep potential buyers or renters off their feet and make them want to move in as soon as possible and write you a bigger check.

Aug 2014