5 Key Steps to Take Before Viewing a Property in California

shutterstock_89766298When it comes to making important, life-changing decisions, we are often advised to trust our gut feeling and listen to what our heart tells us to do. Is this the smartest tactic that you could employ when it comes to viewing properties for rent in California? In all honesty, on the local real estate market, an unexpected case of love at first sight can cause massive headaches and heartaches, leaving you in a dark pit of despair, anger and frustration.

In other words, when you feel ready to start a house hunt, don’t be fooled by appearances. Don’t fall for the first property that you see online, simply because it has ample floor-to-ceiling windows providing plenty of natural light, glossy hardwood floors, perfectly manicured gardens or modern amenities that you have always contemplated in glossy magazines.

  1. Get the Bigger Picture by Doing Research Online. Let’s face it: in most cases, controlling your emotions during a house hunt can be quite difficult, especially when your eyes meet amazing details that your heart has envisioned a long time ago.

Things can get even more complicated when you don’t actually have a plan. When you aren’t familiar with the realities of the local real estate market, you show up unprepared and give landlords the opportunity to sweep you off your feet and put their expertise to good use to make you overspend on rent. On the other hand, when you use the data brought to you by one of the most reliable apartment finders in California, you keep the ball in your court and make the most of expert insight to get a better deal. The lesson is simple: go online and compare properties in your favorite ZIP codes, in terms of features, square footage and price. This will prepare you for a more productive round of negotiations.

  1. Always Establish a First Direct Contact with Landlords before Touring the Property. Unfortunately, the online rental scam problem is as real as it gets. As a story published by FBI points out, more than a few rental ads are phony, and expose potential tenants to considerable security risks and financial losses. This type of scam has ensnared many victims in several states, including Colorado, Illinois and California. The good news is that you can prevent rental scams in several ways. First of all, you could do a background check on your landlord and start looking for reviews published by other users who have occupied or tried to rent the property that you’re planning on renting at some point.

Secondly, you should dismiss candidates who tell you stories that sound odd and raise red flags. Properties with a ridiculously low rental rate are always a warning sign that you should take into consideration; the same goes for landlords who are letting you know that they have to travel to Nigeria, and ask you to wire them two or three months’ worth of rent.

Thirdly, you should get the best support while doing research online. By teaming up with California’s favorite apartment hunter, you could analyze thousands of fresh, attractive, verified listings, and lower the odds of wasting any time and money dealing with potential scammers. You can keep risks in check by starting to build a solider relationship with landlords and property managers before actually meeting them in person. Using the iConnect feature brought to you by Apartment Hunterz, you can reach the people who have chosen to rent out their properties with just a few clicks.

  1. Ask All the Right Questions. Assuming that you have already had a nice conversation with a few landlords and have gathered all the info allowing you to pick favorites, what’s next? After completing this step, you can prepare a list of questions allowing you to discover the particularities of the property that you’re planning on renting. Make sure you ask concise questions related to the:
  • age and overall condition of the building
  • onsite maintenance service
  • storage space
  • rental rates and payment methods
  • existing tenant policies and procedures
  1. Go Beyond Eye-Catchy Additions Used as Bait. Here’s another aspect that you should consider: many landlords use every single trick in the book to make you fall in love with their properties at a first glace. They won’t hesitate to “plant” a series of wow factors, including huge mirrors designed to create the illusion of extra space, delicious smells, expensive decorative items, fresh coats of paint and strategic lighting, to make their homes more appealing. Don’t let these additions fool you and don’t make a final call based solely on appearances. If the aesthetic value of a home outweighs its practical value, you may want to start looking for other options in your price range; after all, beautiful extras only feed your delight and please your eyes; it’s the practical additions that ensure your comfort and boost your wellbeing inside a house.
  2. Keep Your Options Open by Counting on the Insight Offered by California’s #1 Apartment Finder. Whatever you do, don’t say yes to the first property that you get to tour, even if it manages to respond to most of your needs and demands. Learn to be selective and do your research before investing in a property, even if you’re only interested in a short-term lease. Keep in mind that a house hunt doesn’t necessarily have to be time-consuming and costly. If you’re looking forward to cutting down costs associated with your upcoming apartment search and want to discover a simpler way to analyze rentals and pick favorites, use the listings delivered by Apartment Hunterz to accomplish your mission. Find and save listings with a few clicks, talk to multiple landlords online, in real time, and spend less on a rental property that could offer you the highest number of benefits.


5 Ways to Avoid Losing Your Security Deposit While Renting in California

Security depositYou take really good care of all your personal belongings. You clean the house every two or three days and invest time and energy in regular maintenance work to avoid costly repairs. You’re far from being lazy or sloppy, in all aspects of life. Does this mean that you shouldn’t worry about your relationship with your landlord and the ways in which it could impact your budget? Not exactly! Unfortunately, many landlords would invoke just about any reason to prevent their tenants from recovering their security deposit. This tactic is neither fair, nor legal. Unfortunately, recent statistics show that 36% of all tenants who did not get their deposit back did not receive a justification from their landlord. The good news is that you can avoid all this drama by simply applying the 5 easy tips listed below.

  1. Document the Condition of Your New Apartment Before You Move in. Are you worried that you may be held responsible for pre-existing damages? Create a move-in checklist and use your camera or smartphone to show what the apartment or house really looked like before you shook hands with the landlord and moved in.
  2. Take Pictures (or Video) Before You Move Out. You should also document how clean and faultless you left your Californian rental. Who knows? Five minutes after you’re gone your landlord could decide to throw an amazing party and you clearly wouldn’t want to be charged extra (or lose your security deposit) to cover damages that may be unjustly linked to your presence in the house.
  3. Analyze Your Lease. Your lease is the best source of information enabling you to stay in the safe zone and avoid potential disputes with your landlord. Just think about the fact that you could avoid so many stressful and costly confrontations by reading your lease twice. Check out the end date listed on your lease. If it doesn’t have an end date, this basically means that it automatically extends; in this case, you should give a written notice usually one month before moving out. In this phase, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to solicit a receipt from your landlord, which should state the fact that you have submitted your written notice on time.
  4. Work for It. Let’s face it: even people who are incredibly meticulous can make mistakes. Maybe you have done everything in your power to keep the place clean and inviting, but accidents do happen. Even if you didn’t stain the carpet or break the glass window, you may still have to make small adjustments to bring the rental back to its original conditions. Therefore, repaint the walls if needed, replace the dinnerware that you’ve damaged, patch holes that you made while trying to hang your paintings, fix the damages that you may have created during your stay and clean the oven, cabinets and refrigerator. If you want to go the extra mile to impress your landlord and eliminate all reasons that may stop you from recovering your security deposit, invest a little time and energy in carpet cleaning and dust and polish the furniture and the wooden floors.
  5. End This Chapter in a Gracious Manner. Schedule a walkthrough, print a checklist and ask your landlord to sign it, after the final inspection. If your busy schedule forces you to skip this step, mail the checklist to your landlord and ask him to sign it and return it. Provide a forwarding address. If you can’t collect your security deposit in person, let your landlord know that she or he can send the amount to your new address. Even if you’ve left the place in excellent condition, some landlords may still be tempted to stall or refuse to give you your money back for no apparent reason. In this situation, tell your landlord that you won’t hesitate to drag him or her to court. The mere threat of an upcoming legal action is an effective tactic enabling most tenants to get their deposit back in no time. As a last resort, you could employ the same strategy to put an end to a tiresome conflict with your landlord or property manager.

Extra Tip: Reduce Risks by Relying on a Good Apartment Finder

Renting an apartment or house in California can be a wonderful experience allowing you to live in one of the most beautiful and vibrant cities in the world, get a great job, start your own business and set up and reach bigger goals in your personal and professional life. Rentals involve a minimal level of commitment and let you profit from the highest level of flexibility. Even so, your balance could be easily disrupted by an unscrupulous landlord who would do just about anything it takes to prevent you from getting your security deposit back. Unfortunately, there is no foolproof way to avoid such risks. Nonetheless, you can minimize risks by establishing a deeper bond with potential landlords and property managers. A good apartment finder lets you get in touch with the people who own and manage some of the most attractive for rent properties in your area of choice; not to mention the fact that the expert insight it provides could maximize your odds of finding a decent property in a specific neighborhood and save more than a few dollars on rent each month. Want to get to know your landlord before landing on his porch? By using the iConnect feature brought to you by Apartment Hunterz you could reach landlords with a few clicks, schedule convenient in-person meetings and even submit your paperwork online. Before knocking on a lessor’s door, screen him properly with a little help from Apartment Hunterz to keep risks in check and make the most of a flawless house hunt.

5 Facts That You Should Know about California Real Estate Trends before Renting an Apartment

iStock_000000818620_Small With a population of over 38.8 million, California is considered the tangible version of paradise. Encompassing some of the most lavishing slices of real estate that you could ever dare to imagine, superb oceanfront properties and even modest condos that are far from being affordable, this state offers extremely diverse for rent and for sale properties tailored to each price point and manages to please the widest segment of potential buyers and tenants. In this context, would it be a smart move to invest in a California-based house or apartment? You don’t have to be an experienced real estate agent to figure things out; you just have to analyze recent real estate trends, pay attention to new predictions and determine how they could impact your future plans. Here are some facts that you should take into consideration before making your first move.

  1. Prices Have Gone Up. As a Forbes article points out, price tags carried by California-based properties have managed to reach pre-crash levels; in some cases, prices actually succeed in eclipsing the ones that were set by buyers before the apocalyptic collapse. This means that very few people with limited financial means can enjoy the perks of ownership. On the other side of the coin, when owning a house or apartment is not a valid option, renting a new roof over your head could represent the best alternative worth considering.
  2. Reasonably Priced Pieces of Real Estate Can Be Difficult to Spot in the Largest Cities. Families with a modest income will inevitably have a hard time targeting affordable for rent or for sale properties in some of the most sought-after Californian cities. In San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles, home values are witnessing a rapid growth that may take most prospects by surprise. When buying or renting a slice of real estate in these overcrowded areas is not an option, you could always focus your attention on smaller or less populated Californian cities that could provide equally tempting employment opportunities and accommodation options without forcing you to break the bank to pay rent each month. For instance, the median home value in Fresno is estimated at $178,100, while the median rent price is in the $790 range. Less than $800 spent on rent is a real bargain, taking into consideration the fact that a San Francisco-based rental could cost you anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000 and up on a monthly basis.
  3. Several Factors Will Make It Even More Difficult for Prospects to Buy a Place of Their Own. Wondering why buying a house or apartment in California has almost become a mission impossible? The past actions of investors who have profited from sales and foreclosures to turn properties into moneymaking rentals, scarce land (especially in some of the most desirable neighborhoods from San Francisco or Los Angeles), and deep-pocketed foreign buyers that keep inflating the prices by stimulating sellers to raise the bar too high are just a few of the negative elements that stop so many middle-class families from owning a house or apartment in California. Very limited land available for new developments is one pressing problem that is difficult to address in a satisfying manner. When old properties are being demolished, they are usually replaced in no time with new shiny ones that are two or three times more expensive than their predecessors. Therefore, there are quite a few obstacles standing in the way of California’s residents who are contemplating the idea of becoming homeowners. Nonetheless, stumbling across a convenient rental represents an event that is more likely to occur. With help from a professional apartment finder, one could identify and compare different California-based rentals in their neighborhoods of choice, filter and save their searches and come in contact with landlords and property managers at a touch of a button. Clearly, exceptional client-oriented apartment finding services have changed the way in which individuals fish for bargains on the local rental market, making it possible for everyday people to find a decently-priced house or apartment for rent in less than a week.
  4. Renting a Place in California Is a Good Choice for a Number of Reasons. For those who actually dislike any type of long-term commitment and aren’t very fond of the idea of putting down roots in one place, renting a Californian house would be a good call. Rentals offer tenants the highest level of flexibility and freedom of choice. Ownership may ensure a certain level of stability, but at the same time it also involves more than a few responsibilities such as mortgage payments, repairs and maintenance work; not to mention the fact that in today’s market some sellers may be forced to sell at a loss, which is a great disadvantage that each prospect should factor in before pouring money into a piece of real estate.
  5. Finding a Decently Priced Californian Rental Is Easier Than You Think. As a newcomer or a busy professional who knows very little or nothing at all about California’s real estate market, you are probably thinking about counting on the services of a real estate agent to find a good home for yourself and your family. This is only one option that you can explore if you’re interested in renting. On the other hand, the assistance offered by a reputable apartment finding service could be the cost-effective alternative to hiring a realtor. By analyzing the latest real estate trends, checking out recent listings and using a plethora of additional perks and features (such as 24/7 client support, iConnect feature ensuring a rapider connection between tenants in landlords in real time), you could spot and compare different for rent properties in the comfort of your home or office. With the support offered by Apartment Hunterz, California’s most popular apartment finder, you could maximize your odds of conducting a successful home hunt with minimal expenses.


Apartment Renting Hacks That Can Make Your Life a Whole Lot Easier

Real estate agent at workYoung adults who have lived with their parents all their life may be having a hard time trying to leave the nest. Nonetheless, at some point they will have to find a way to cut the umbilical cord, while getting ready to go to college, move to another city or state or simply rent an apartment in California, get a great first job and discover the perks of an independent lifestyle. In theory, all this sounds great. However, first-time tenants are usually under a lot of stress, associated with a small budget, high expectations or a superficial understanding of the local real estate market. Don’t let all these negative aspects spoil your first house hunt. Count on the unconditional support provided by Apartment Hunterz to find the best listings in your favorite parts of Cali and apply the easy apartment renting hacks listed below to increase your level of comfort before, during and after your apartment search.

  1. Finding the Right Place
  • Rely on Both Offline and Online Channels to Find the Best Offers. California takes pride in a diverse and sometimes very surprising real estate market, which offers both luxurious multimillion dollar homes and modest condos that are perfect for students and young families. Taking into consideration the great variety of options that you should explore while trying to rent a house or apartment, it would be wise to employ multiple tactics to get the keys to a nice place. A combination of online research, word-of-mouth and offline investigations could bring you closer to the successful house hunt that you have been planning all along.
  • Count on a Reliable Apartment Finding Service. When you have limited time on your hands, you can’t just depend on your friends to find a new roof over your head. At the same time, when you’re short on cash, you may not want to spend a fortune on the services offered by a local realtor. In this context, what’s the best thing that you could do? Here’s an idea: team up with California’s biggest apartment finder. By doing so, you will be able to analyze and compare listings on a daily basis, save your searches, contact reliable landlords and property managers in real time, with a few clicks, submit your application online and schedule a face-to-face meeting.
  • Compare Different Listings Based on Your Specific Criteria. Using the same type of apartment finding service you could actually anticipate and understand Californian real estate trends. Just think about it: Apartment Hunterz lets you compare all rentals matching your specific criteria, available in your preferred Californian cities. This is the simplest way to evaluate different alternatives, based on their location, price tag and features, and also based on the feedback that you get from the landlord/property manager after your first contact.
  1. Making the Most of a Good Deal
  • Read Your Rental Agreement Very Carefully. Once you find the Californian rental that makes your heart skip a beat, put some of the most important aspects of your contract in writing. This is a foolproof method to avoid potential scams and misunderstandings.
  • Make Sure Your Rental of Choice Is in Your Price Range. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t spend more than 30% of your income on an accommodation option. After all, there are several other expenses that you will have to cope with on a monthly basis, including utility bills, groceries, clothes and others. Put all these costs on paper and make sure that your rental of choice lets you save enough money to be able to live comfortably from one paycheck to another.
  • Find the Simplest Way to Reduce Housing Expenses. Install energy-efficient appliances, turn down the heat/AC, make the most of natural lighting instead of keeping your property lit at all times and make sure your walls are properly insulated to reduce your monthly expenses associated with your Californian rental. If these simple tips don’t do the trick for you and you don’t want to start looking for a smaller and cheaper place, just get a roommate and start sharing the costs.
  • Establish (and Maintain) a Good Relationship with Your Landlord. Choose to rent a property allowing you to deal with a landlord whom you could reach at all times, if needed. This will help you communicate efficiently with your property owner and avoid potential dissensions linked to requested repairs, renegotiations, security deposit and various other delicate topics.
  1. Eliminating Safety and Security Concerns
  • Ask Your Landlord to Change the Locks (If Needed). Worried that the previous tenants may constitute a safety threat? If your fear is backed by pertinent reasons, don’t hesitate to ask your landlord to change the looks.
  • Hang the Most Important Emergency Numbers Where You Can See Them. By reaching the right authorities in a timely fashion you could reduce losses triggered by a natural or man-made risk factor.
  • Install a Cheap DIY Security System. These days, you can find hundreds of online tutorials showing you how to keep risks at bay by crafting and installing a basic DIY security system. Get inspired and implement the easiest method to stay safe.
  • Install Smoke Detectors. Also, you may want to check your existing smoke detectors on a regular basis. Old, worn out batteries could impact their functionality, exposing you to considerable safety risks.
  • Learn How to Prevent Some of the Most Common Emergency Situations. Do a little bit of research to identify the most common risk factors present in your ZIP code and in your home. For instance, is your area prone to earthquakes or inclement weather conditions? Are there are potential fire hazards in your home, or any other hidden dangers that you should be aware of? You can solve this puzzle by conducting a thorough home inspection before signing on the dotted line.

A first apartment search will always be a little intimidating. If you wish to spot the best deals without investing hours in in-depth research, hiring a realtor or exposing yourself to costly scams, choose to find a lovely Californian house or apartment with help from Apartment Hunterz, the real estate expert that can turn any home hunt into a marvelous experience.


5 Little-Known Ways in Which You Can Reduce Your Rental Costs in California

iStock_000020871178_SmallJust like thousands of other young adults, you’ve come to Cali to pursue your wildest dreams built around a rapid career ascension, a few moments of fame, a large family or a beautiful home. But we all know that beginnings can be pretty tough, especially when you’re pinching pennies while juggling multiple jobs. When you’re living from paycheck to paycheck, you are probably desperate to find a foolproof way to lower your rental costs. We give you not one, but five amazingly effective methods to manage your finances wisely and spend less on your Californian slice of real estate.

Look for an Exception. A combination of flexibility, research and patience always pays off when it comes to conducting house hunts. Finding a property way below the Californian market rate is difficult, but definitely not impossible. Check out online listings, collaborate with a realtor and target certain neighborhoods to narrow down your search.

Change Location. The ZIP code that you have chosen impacts the price tag of your rental in a considerable manner. To save a significant amount of money, think about ditching the sought-after neighborhoods in favor of the ones that are safe and nice, but less coveted. For instance, if you wish to relocate to Los Angeles, you should know that Canoga Park is considered the poor man’s version of Woodland Hills, ensuring a very short an enjoyable drive to Malibu, as well as fantastic one-bedroom rentals priced in the $800 range.

Rethink Your Definition of “Perfect”. In terms of Californian real estate slices, perfection is perfectly attainable, but at what cost? Do you really need a big house that requires you to hire a landscaper and an army of maids? Couldn’t you live without on-site parking, gym and wellness center? Moreover, overlooking minor aspects that have an insignificant impact on your quality of life (chipped wall paint, ugly carpets, old wooden floors) can trigger additional savings.

Before Signing Your Lease, Make Sure You Are Prepared for Any Potential Outcome. What were to happen if you would have to relocate for a career change? What If you would end up loathing your apartment? In these situations, what would be your alternatives for leaving? Make sure your contract outlines a few important aspects, such as fees associated with late rentals payments or repairs required to correct your mishaps. In other words, read the lease twice before signing it and always be prepared to handle the unexpected. Sometimes, adding an ounce of prevention to your daily actions is the best way to lower your bills.

Work Closely with a Reputable Apartment Finder. Are you picky, overly budget-conscious and/or indecisive? Each of these attributes can complicate your Californian house hunt and make you lose time and energy. Fortunately, there is a solution to this problem: rely on the expert guidance of a respectable apartment scout. Keep an eye on the listings brought to you by Apartment Hunterz to find the ideal Californian rental for you and your loved ones in just a few days.

Dec 2014