How to Prep Your Californian Rental Apartment for Fall and Winter

shutterstock_322255574California is the sunny state that lets its tourists and locals make the most of great weather year-round. However, its climate varies a great deal-from subarctic to hot desert, based on several factors, including elevation and latitude. If you’re planning on spending the cold season in California, here are a few tips that you should apply to make your stay more comfortable and prep your rental apartment for lower temperatures.

Clean and De-Clutter Your Space the Smart Way. While you were still living with your parents, you probably owned impressive collections of clothes, accessories, furniture pieces and decorative objects. Now that you’re getting ready to rent a new place and realize the fact that your personal belongings occupy a lot of space and make you spend a lot of money on a house that is too big for you, maybe you are thinking about downsizing into a smaller house. Or maybe you love the spacious apartment that you are currently occupying, but do wish to de-clutter your living spaces with ease. If that’s the case, here’s what you can do to manage clutter:

  • Think about renting storage space in your ZIP code and deposit old clothes, furniture, papers and other non-essentials inside your unit
  • Trade heavy furniture pieces for multifunctional ones that can be used and rearranged in countless ways
  • Leave seasonal clothing in storage
  • Learn to compromise and set some limits to manage your wardrobe and jewelry collection the easy way; for instance, you could follow the “1 in, 1 out” rule, which basically implies the fact that you can buy a your new object of desire only after tossing or donating an item that you no longer see yourself wearing
  • Add hooks and open shelves wherever you can to come up with versatile and inexpensive DIY storage solutions for each and every room

Apply a Few Easy Tips to Shrink Your Utility Bills. During the cooler months, it would be a good idea to perform a thorough some inspection and address the problematic areas that could make you waste energy and money. Make a list of all the changes that could help you save some cash and boost the warmth and level of comfort of your space, and talk about all these potential improvements with your landlord or property manager. Here a few suggestions that may help you keep your expenses in check and stay warm during the cooler days.

  • Lower curtains and blinds during cloudy days and also during the night to keep the heat inside the room
  • Dress up your floors by adding fluffy and soft rugs
  • Layer clothes to maintain an ideal body temperature; by doing so, you will be able to set your thermostat lower
  • Consider replacing old windows with energy-efficient ones; if you don’t have your landlord’s permission or financial support for this project, think about covering sliding patio doors and windows with transparent plastic film; this simple and cost-effective DIY project can help you reduce your heating costs by up to 14%.

Decorate Your Apartment without Making Your Landlord Angry. With Halloween just around the corner, you are probably thinking about cute designs that you could personalize and use to beautify and individualize your space. Instead of opting for wall paint and frameable decorations that would force you to hammer nails into your walls, go for fun, temporary alternatives that are easy to remove and reuse.

If you’re strictly prohibited from drilling or hammering, buy and add adhesive strips with disposable hooks, designed to hold and display your artwork without making you damage your walls to complete your project. This option comes in handy especially if you like to change or reposition your wall art quite often. Nonetheless, do keep in mind that disposable hooks and other popular types of mounting strips are usually made to support only light objects. They may work for small acrylic frames, but they clearly aren’t the best match for oversized art and heavy wooden frames.

Take Precautionary Measures to Avoid House Fires. Warming devices are excellent additions that can up your level of comfort at home, without burning holes in your budget; however, if you’re planning on adding candles, space heaters or any other lit decorations, keep in mind that all these elements can be linked to a potential fire hazard. Be mindful when placing and using all these items and whatever you do, don’t leave these objects unattended; anything that is lit or plugged in could easily set your house on fire.

Get Ready for a Bigger Change: Find a Better Rental with Apartment Hunterz. All your life, you have feared change and strived to gain stability in life. Even so, while your friends are busy carving their pumpkins, you are daydreaming about a bigger, brighter, better indoor space that could stimulate your productivity and match your creative vision.

Maybe you want to rent an apartment that you could use to relax and start a profitable at-home business at the same time; or perhaps you want to move out of your parents’ house, abandon your comfort zone and become independent. Either way, you should know that Apartment Hunterz feeds all these ambitious goals. California’s #1 apartment finding service offers you the best expert support that you could ever ask for from a real estate real estate connoisseur.

At the same time, this rental apartment tracking website provides an ample collection of verified listings, as well as a generous set of tools that you could use to get in contact with landlords and property managers, discuss the details of your arrangement and close a mutually advantageous deal in record time. Don’t let the cold season catch you inside an apartment that you genuinely dislike; instead, perform an online search with Apartment Hunterz and spend less on a rental that manages to exceed all your expectations.


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 Make a Decent Profit as a New Landlord in California

Two men at doorway with keys and contractWe can all agree that California has that special something that stimulates people to pack their bags and catch the first flight to San Diego, San Francisco or Lo Angeles. What you may not know is that this sunny state occupies the first position in the Top 10 U.S. States Visted Each Year. According to recent statistics, California attracts more than 6 million visitors each year. Naturally, most of the individuals who get the chance to contemplate the gorgeous surroundings, explore quality entertainment options and enjoy the nice weather will inevitably consider renting or buying a piece of real estate in California. If you own a house in California’s most sought-after vacation destinations, you could always turn yourself into the perfect landlord to make some money. If this possibility appeals to you, here are a few tips on how to survive (and make a profit) as a first-time landlord in today’s market.

Set Realistic Goals. First of all, you should realize the fact that renting out your apartment is a viable strategy that you can implement to supplement your monthly income and cope with expenses. Don’t waste any time daydreaming about things that you want, can’t afford, yet wish to purchase using your rental income. That super expensive Caribbean cruise can wait.  In most cases, renting out a property may be labeled as a smart, profitable action, but only in the long term, after you manage to pay off your mortgage.

Factor in Your Expenses. As a first-time landlord, you could be taken by surprise by a great variety of unpredicted expenses that could kill your enthusiasm in no time. For example, you simply have to get an insurance policy to protect your goods and your Californian house or apartment. There are literally hundreds of worst-case scenarios revolving around fires, burglary attempts, floods and acts of vandalism that could wipe off the results of years of hard work and overbalance your already thin budget. Next, you should probably hire an attorney to receive all the information that you need on California’s legal requirements set for landlords, mediate potential disputes with tenants or get the best legal representation, if needed. Last but not least, do remember that you will also have to handle potential repairs and improvements on your own. Yes, you will actually have to pay for such adjustments out of your own pocket; not to mention the fact that you will be forced to take the time to address your tenants’ complaints day and night. The good news is that the Californian real estate market allows you to set rental rates pretty high and cover all your monthly expenses. If you live in an overcrowded, sought-after city like Los Angeles or San Francisco, you could easily ask $3,000 per month for your rental and find a plethora of candidates eager to sign your rental agreement. To avoid overpricing your property, get acquainted with the latest real estate trends and start monitoring the listings brought to you by California’s most renowned apartment finders.

Create a Checklist. As a new landlord, it’s your job to stay organized. Before shaking hands with your first tenant, make sure your house is in mint condition. Mask or correct visible signs of wear and tear, perform repairs if needed (nobody likes the idea of living in a house with leaky pipes and cracked walls), conduct a thorough home inspection and review all the items that could potentially lead to a disaster. Check the stove, fireplace, wires and pipes and also inspect all your appliances. Replace the ones that are no longer functioning properly to prevent hazards and ensure the highest level of comfort for the people who are willing to spend a lot of money to live in your house or apartment. Create and follow a checklist to get things done on time and on a budget.

Surf the Web to Download and Personalize Forms. When it comes to putting all their terms and conditions in writing, most new landlords seem to get stuck. To avoid misunderstandings and keep things clear, go online and download the forms that your tenants will have to fill out and sign. These days, you could easily find various types of sample contracts with a few clicks. Personalize your version of choice by adding as many details as possible. For instance, list your preferred payment methods and highlight some of the most important aspects of the contract that usually lead to misinterpretations and disputes, like late payments and penalty fees, for instance.

Screen Your Potential Tenants. Renting to relatives may not be such a smart move after all, considering the fact that you probably shouldn’t do business with family members. Nonetheless, when it comes to giving the keys to your apartment to complete strangers, you have to be very careful. Be curious and ask a lot of questions. Be picky. If you are the lucky owner of a beautiful property located in Southern California, you can actually afford to be very selective, considering the current relationship between supply and demand. Yes, numerous people are willing to move to California, but affordable, absolutely fantastic rentals are still in short supply. Therefore, ask questions related to your candidates’ rental history, job and income. Get in contact with their previous landlords and check their background. This is a simple, yet incredibly important step that could help you avoid various unpleasant surprises.

Avoid Risks and Reduce Your Expenses by Using an Apartment Finding Service. How could you possibly market your property in the most convenient manner? Naturally, you would like to use a channel that could guarantee the highest level of exposure, while also giving you the opportunity to maintain a deeper connection with the people who may be interested in your Californian house or apartment. If this is what you expect from a platform that could help you meet Mr. Perfect Tenant in no time, use the tools offered by Apartment Hunterz on a silver platter to increase the visibility of your listings, communicate with prospects in real time and submit paperwork online. Apartment Hunterz lets you do all this and more. By posting up to 12 photos of your property and a video tour, you could raise the interest of thousands of people who are actually looking for a new home resembling the property that you are eager to rent out. Count on California’s preferred apartment finding service to find the best tenant for your slice of real estate in less than a week and market your assets efficiently and inexpensively.

How to Negotiate Rental Rates Like a Pro in California

iStock_000011739530_SmallYou have been the perfect tenant for many years in a row. You love your place, get along with all your neighbors and don’t plan on moving out in the near future. Even so, you can’t help but notice that you are spending a lot of money on rent on a monthly basis. The ugly truth is that the housing options chosen by your friends, relatives and neighborhoods in the same ZIP code are much cheaper than the one that you’ve sworn not to abandon too soon. What’s the best tactic that you can implement to lower your rental rates without opening a dispute with your landlord? Would it be possible to negotiate your rent? Could you express your desire to invest in repairs and/or remodeling work in exchange for a convenient rent reduction? Keep reading to discover the most accurate answers to all these questions, as well as a few tips that you may find useful during your first round of negotiations.

Reasons Why You Should Work on Your Negotiation Skills

First of all, when should you actually ask your lessor to lower your rent? Here are three plausible (and very common) scenarios that would justify this move:

  • You don’t make enough money. Believe it or not, many young adults who want to live the Californian dream juggle two or three jobs at the same time to be able to pay rent and cope with other expenses on a monthly basis. If you can’t find an easy (and perfectly legal) way to supplement your income and don’t want to bend over backwards to find a new roof over your head, consider discussing your situation with your landlord and presenting a form of bartering as a potential solution to your problem.
  • You want to redirect your resources towards a new project. Any kind of startup requires a significant amount of money, especially if you don’t want to work from home or from the nearest internet café. If you’re planning on investing most of your resources in a new work-related project, you may want to keep your most important expenses in check by striking a deal with your landlord.
  • You don’t think that the property that you’re occupying actually deserves that much money. Let’s face it: even if you don’t have any other plans that could involve a major financial investment, perhaps you hate the idea of spending around $3,000 on a nice apartment located in a neighborhood where most accommodation options are in the $1,800-$2,500 range. If that’s the case, schedule a meeting with your landlord and let him know that you’re targeting cheaper alternatives located in the same area.

Reduced Rental Rates in Exchange for Home Improvements: Does This Strategy Actually Work?

Regardless of the factors that stimulate you to go see your landlord and ask him to lower your rental rates, the main question that you should focus on remains the same: how could you turn the first round of negotiations into a smashing success? There is no foolproof trick that you can explore and apply to achieve this objective without taking any chances; however, there are quite a few tactics that you could employ to spend less on rent save some cash at the end of each month.

  • Contact your landlord and suggest that you are thinking about moving out because you can no longer afford to pay rent. Mention the fact that you’ve stumbled across similar rentals carrying smaller price tags. Fear of competition may be the decisive factor that could intimidate landlords and convince them to lower their rental rates.
  • State the fact that you are willing to sign a long-term lease. By indicating that you’re eager to occupy the same property for many more months in a row you could earn the trust and benevolence of your landlord and get him to lower your rent.
  • Mention the fact that you are willing to handle your own repairs without any fuss. This is a notable advantage that busy landlords will always appreciate, especially if they have to tend to the needs of multiple tenants.
  • Make a list of the home improvements that you would be willing to invest in, in exchange for a rent reduction.

All in all, the tactics detailed above should help you become a better negotiator and come to an agreement with your landlord.

What If You Can’t Lower Your Rent?

In all honesty, finding an incredibly cheap rental in the state of California can be quite tricky (and nearly impossible if you’re targeting prominent, overcrowded cities like San Francisco, for example). So assuming that you have to renew your lease and your landlord isn’t willing to offer you a discount, what’s the strategy that you should employ to save some cash without lowering your level of comfort? Here’s an idea worth exploring: monitor the local rental market on a regular basis. Sweet deals don’t last long on the California market, but you could definitely stay one step ahead of the rest of the people who are looking for an upgrade or a less costly rental by using the data provided by a reliable apartment finder. Knowledge is power and represents the key element that could help you gain a competitive advantage during your apartment search. Apartment Hunterz brings you thousands of quality, verified listings and also facilitates your communication with landlords who may just be on the same page with you in all aspects. Reach property managers and lessors who are eager to fill their vacancies, negotiate rental rates like a pro, discuss the terms of your lease and submit your paperwork online. Apartment Hunterz simplifies each home search and lets you save time and money while falling in love with the Californian rental that’s just perfect for you.

Jun 2015

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.