7 Basic Things That You Should Do Before Moving Out of Your Californian Rental Apartment

shutterstock_301744478For years in a row, you have appreciated the warmth and comfort of your Californian rental property. However, at this point, you feel that the house or apartment that you’re currently renting is no longer a good match for your lifestyle, ambitions and future goals. So what’s next? You choose to find out on your own, by moving out of the apartment that you have been occupying for so long. Life goes on. Goodbyes are always hard, but this doesn’t mean that they should also burn holes in your pockets.

Recover Your Tenancy Deposit in 7 Easy Steps

In this context, your number one goal is to maintain a cordial relationship with your landlord (because we all know that great referrals never hurt, and may actually help you impress other landlords and get the keys to other awesome apartments in the future).

At the same time, you would very much like to get the deposit back, and make the most of a significant amount of cash that you kind of consider “found money.” Both goals are achievable, but they do imply a little bit of work. As you can probably imagine, in order to convince your landlord to give you your tenancy deposit back, you have to prep the property for a thorough inspection. The good news is that you can simplify the entire process by following the seven easy steps described below.

  1. Clean and De-clutter Like a Pro. First of all, start the cleaning process by gathering all your belongings. Now would be a good time to separate the things that you’re planning on using and depositing inside your new apartment, from the ones that you could donate, toss or leave in storage. Make sure all rooms are clean and tidy; and pack your personal belongings and put them in labeled cardboard boxes, to avoid confusion and potential losses before, after or during your big move. Clean the carpets, polish the floors, dust the furniture and do your best to restore the apartment to its original condition, which hopefully you have documented before moving in.
  2. Invest Time and Energy in a Paint Job. A paint job is one of the simplest and most cost-effective improvements that you could invest in with your landlord’s permission. Believe it or not, one coat of fresh paint could bring an entire room back to life, making it seem larger, brighter and tidier at the same time. Opt for professional services ensured by an experienced painter, and you’ll also manage to find a good solution to small cracks, scratches, holes and other marks on your walls.
  3. Erase All the Sings of Your Presence inside the House. While you probably shouldn’t worry about normal signs of wear and tear displayed by the furniture, décor elements and appliances that your rental apartment features, you should try to address minor damages that lower the practical or aesthetic value of the property that you’re still occupying. For instance, now would be the perfect time to take your colorful artwork down and patch those ugly holes that your nails and screws have left on the walls. Use spackling paste and remember to sand every single spot to make it easier for your landlord to repaint the walls and recreate a uniform surface.
  4. Gather All the Keys. To avoid any potential safety risks and cut all ties with your rental property, don’t forget to round-up all the keys, including the spare one that you have decided to give to your friend or neighbor who comes to feed your cat and water the plants every single time you have to go on a trip.
  5. Clean the Fridge and the Oven. Even if you have already managed to vacuum the carpets, dust the furniture and clean the floor, this doesn’t mean that your job is done. Target the less visible corners of your rental apartment and clean and sanitize areas where you often tend to neglect, including your kitchen cabinets, fridge and oven. These areas may still store leftovers and crumbs, which could attract small animals or insects, leading to a potential pest contamination.
  6. Plan the Details of Your Upcoming Walk-Through. If you think that your landlord will just give you your money back without inspecting his apartment, you may be in for a big surprise. In most cases, landlords and property managers will do the exact opposite: they will explore even the most hidden corners, looking for potential signs of damage.

You can prevent misunderstandings and unpleasant surprises by scheduling a walk-through, which will give you the opportunity to show your property manager or landlord that you have already taken care of all the cleaning and small adjustments required before your big move, and make certain that you will get your deposit check as soon as possible.

  1. Look for an Even Better Rental Matching All Your Needs and Budget. At the end of the day, you should strive to leave the rented apartment just as you found it, get your deposit back and carry on with your life. In case you may feel the need to start looking for an even cheaper, more spacious or more comfortable for rent property in the state of California, use the tools and insight offered by Apartment Hunterz to conduct an effective and affordable house hunt.

Why waste any time driving around several neighborhoods and tracking down for rent signs, when you can start a cheaper and more convenient apartment search online? Analyze thousands of listings daily, save and compare all your favorites, contact landlords using the smart iConnect feature, upload and download forms with a few clicks, and schedule in-person meetings to tour and rent one of the most appealing apartments or houses for rent in your price range.

4 Hidden Costs Triggered by Home Ownership (and Why Renting in California Is a Good Call)

Five dollar cottages isolated over whiteOwning a house is a major accomplishment at any age. Home buyers benefit from a long list of advantages, including the highest level of stability, comfort and the chance to explore the widest range of personalization options (after all, no landlord is going to nag them for driving nails into a wall to hang their favorite artwork). So there you have it: the property that you may actually afford to buy could easily become your personal temple of relaxation.

Identifying 4 Additional Expenses Linked to Home Ownership 

On the other hand, it’s no secret that for sale pieces of real estate available in California are usually extremely expensive and bargains on this market are hard to come by. What’s even worse is that most prospects seeking a new roof over their heads often ignore less obvious expenses linked to home ownership. Here are four such examples that you may want to factor in before contracting a loan and attending your first open house.

  1. Necessary Improvements. As an owner, you want to feel proud every single time you invite a new guest to tour your home. Naturally, in order to feed your vanity, you choose to conduct ample remodeling work and invest in a series of improvements designed to add value to your home, from an aesthetic and functional standpoint. The problem is that even the smallest positive changes cost a lot of money. Even the simplest Pinterest-inspired makeover plans involve the usage of basic materials (paint, brushes, wood, PVC and composite boards and so on), which could easily overbalance your monthly budget.
  2. Repairs. As a tenant, when your toilet stops working properly, you call the super and let him handle this problem. As an owner, you have to deal with such unpleasant issues on your own. According to MyDomaine, in order to cope with these unpredicted expenses, owners should try to save anywhere from 1% to 3% of the overall value of their property on an annual basis. This measure of precaution would ensure easy access to a fund especially designed to cover damages such as leaky roofs, clogged toilets and defective heaters.
  3. Maintenance Work. When you rent in California, you can afford to be a little bit lazy or sloppy. You can clean up your apartment each Saturday, right before calling your friends and inviting them over for dinner. On the other side of the coin, ownership dictates new responsibilities and forces you to take maintenance work very seriously. Here’s why: by neglecting the things that you have around the house, such as small appliances, you are basically reducing their lifespan. Just think about it: as a tenant, when you discover that your washer and dryer are no longer working, you just have to contact your landlord and ask him to repair or replace your appliances. When you own a house, you have to pay for repairs or replacements out of your own pocket; this is a drawback that will help you combat your own sloppiness and invest more time, energy and money in regular maintenance.
  4. Home Decorating. Ownership gives you the perfect excuse to go back to your hoarding habits and spend more than a few dollars on a daily basis on things that you consider necessary around the house. The sad truth that no homeowner likes to hear is that even the most fervent bargain hunters can end up pouring a small fortune into so-called “everyday essentials” ranging from bedding, vintage market finds, kitchen appliances and bathroom decorations. These items may not sound like the most expensive, high-end products on the planet, but the small expenses that they involve can easily add up.

Why Is Renting in California Such a Smart Decision After All?

As you may already imagine, rentals require minimal levels of commitment. Basically, an affordable rental would allow you to keep your expenses in check and avoid additional costs linked to new impulse purchases, home improvement work, upkeep and repairs. Moreover, rentals enable you to build and maintain a beneficial relationship with your landlord, which could save you a lot of trouble in the long run. For instance, you wouldn’t have to fix or replace leaky pipes on your own or buy a new toaster when the old one stops running. Furthermore, renting in California has gotten a whole lot easier, due to the new technology that both landlords and tenants can put to good use to interact with people who are looking for a good deal on the local real estate market.

Discover the List of Benefits Ensured by a Respectable Apartment Finding Service

Apartment finding services give prospects the opportunity to get familiar with average rental prices in different areas of interest. Moreover, the same type of services grants access to a large database containing thousands of verified, recent listings. Using this insight, potential tenants can compare different pieces of real estate in terms of costs, location, amenities and features and make an informed decision. It gets better! Using the same handy helper, landlords and property managers can market their listings in a time and cost-effective fashion. By writing a compelling descriptions and posting up to 12 high-resolution photos (and video tours, if needed), people who are determined to rent out their Californian houses or apartments can get a few steps closer to the perfect tenant. As a platform that incorporates the finest technology to consolidate the bond between thousands of lessors and tenants, Apartment Hunterz is considered one of the most reputable providers of fresh, appealing listings. If you’re also looking forward to renting a budget-friendly property in Cali, instead of hiring a realtor, give this service a try and find out how it could help you sign your rental agreement in less than a week.

How to Maximize the Space of Your Rental the Easy Way

iStock_000057768698_SmallAfter sleeping on your friend’s couch for a few months in a row, you have finally decided to regain your independence and find a nice Californian rental that you could call home for the next few months, years or decades. Here’s the problem that stands in the way of your plan and bothers you the most: money. The truth is that you couldn’t possibly afford to spend more than $2,000 on rent. This means that big 3-bedroom apartments, especially the ones located in densely populated, sought-after cities like San Francisco, are out of the question. Could you survive in a small apartment for more than a week? As a matter of fact, you shouldn’t avoid small-scale rentals during your apartment hunt. These candidates offer multiple benefits; not to mention the fact that they could be easily transformed into spacious, stylish environments.

3 Reasons Why You Should Probably Settle for a Smaller Apartment

Why should you ignore luxurious properties that are as spacious as a palace and start to target humbler housing options? We give you not one, but three reasons why a small, modest apartment may be more convenient that a larger one.

  1. It’s Cheaper. As you may already imagine, a 1-bedroom apartment can be much cheaper than a 2 or 3-bedroom one. By using the data provided by an apartment finder, you could compare the price tags carried by similar properties available for rent in your area of choice. Why go for a 3-bedroom apartment when you could save $400 or $500 per month by settling for a smaller unit? The difference stays in your pocket.
  2. It Involves Reduced Utility Costs. Smaller properties trigger smaller utility bills. If you are determined to cut down costs, a small studio could be the perfect choice for you. To identify the one displaying a perfect balance between its price and features, monitor the listings brought to you by Apartment Hunterz and spot a great deal in less than a week.
  3. It Implies Less Complicated and Costly Maintenance Work. We all know just how frustrating it really is to clean and work on spaces with a complicated architecture. Sometimes, you get the distinctive impression that larger properties fuel your compulsive hoarding disorder. If you don’t want to put a lot of time and energy in regular upkeep, go for a smaller home and you won’t regret your choice.

6 Ways to Make Your Californian Rental Look More Spacious and Airy 

In case you already feel the need to improve the look and feel of your rental by creating the illusion of extra space, here are a few tactics that can support your mission:

  1. Define Your Zones. First of all, think about how you are going to use every single inch of space. For instance, you will definitely need a dining area, a small office and a lounge area. Carefully define your most important zones where you eat, sleep, work and relax and delimitate them using the most subtle demarcations that are 100% compatible with the style and décor of your living space. For example, you could implement a decorative screen or a curtained bed to separate the area where you sleep and unwind from the rest of your bedroom, which can be turned into a small office.
  2. Avoid Clutter at All Costs. If you live in a small apartment, your number one duty is to stay organized 24/7. Work on your organizational skills and invest in smart, modern furniture pieces and additional features enabling you to keep your apartment tidy. Whether you’re a big fan of minimalist beds with storage or love those rattan-like storage boxes, do remember that there are more than a few ingenious design solutions that could enhance the appeal and functionality of your space. Mix and match them based on your taste, need and budget and put them to good use to boost the spaciousness of your home.
  3. Invest in Sleek, Multifunctional Elements. Why spend a fortune on an item that only serves one purpose when you could pay less for a multifunctional product that will make your space seem more organized and welcoming? For instance, instead of shedding hundreds of dollars on a high-end nightstand that you don’t really need, buy a coffee table that is also a super convenient all-in-one storage solution.
  4. Use Shelves. Using shelves, you can stack books and other lightweight personal belongings. Opt for a neutral color matching the shade of your walls and let open shelving breathe new life into your boring indoors.
  5. Create Optical Illusions Using Popular Decorative Pieces. OK, so maybe you can’t always find multifunctional furniture pieces that match your unique taste and don’t actually cost a fortune; or perhaps you just don’t like the idea of separating your living space into different zones using various demarcations. In this case, what’s the next best strategy that you could employ to turn your tiny apartment into an inviting corner of paradise? Explore the power of optical illusions to create the idea of extra space. You can achieve this goal by installing strategically placed, large mirrors and transparent furnishings, or by adding floor-to-ceiling, thick curtains and larger windows. All these simple tactics will enable you to make your rooms seem more airy and sophisticated.
  6. Choose Your Furniture Wisely. Last but not least, remember that you have to select your furniture very carefully. Don’t just go for disparate pieces that catch your eye at a first glance. Don’t buy things that you don’t really need, simply because they are incredibly gorgeous. Try to resist the temptation and judge every single furniture piece based on two distinctive elements: its practical value and its aesthetic value. While in most cases it is advisable to purchase multifaceted furnishings that can be used in different ways, sometimes it is better to opt for separate pieces that occupy less space and don’t block traffic around the house. Remember your vintage wood table that you still see as one of the most dangerous knee knockers ever known to mankind? Choose to replace it with two smaller tables. Tiny, round tables look spectacular and ensure a better traffic flow.

What If You Don’t Actually Want to Transform Your Old Californian Rental?

Truth be told, there are many changes that you could implement to improve the appearance and functionality of your Californian apartment. You could buy new furniture, explore different optical illusions, add shelves or try a combination of all these practical options. But what if you don’t want to deal with the extra expenses and the hassle implied by this new home improvement project? If that’s the case, you may want to start looking for a new, more spacious house or apartment in your neighborhood of choice. To simplify your selection and save time and money during this process, let a good apartment finding service guide your search. Analyze thousands of verified listings promoted by Apartment Hunterz to rent the perfect house or apartment in California in less than a week.


Jun 2015

6 Signs Indicating That You Are About to Rent the Wrong House in California

iStock_000042382240_SmallAfter months and months of struggle, you’ve finally stumbled across a Californian rental that makes you happy and fulfills all your fantasies. This is the place where you would feel comfortable inviting your friends for dinner, organizing memorable BBQ parties and raising your kids. As a matter of fact, you think that finding this piece of real estate is the best thing that has happened to you in a while. What’s not to love about this story with a happy ending? The problem is that most prospects who are madly in love with the property that they’re about to rent end up neglecting certain major factors that could put their budget, welfare and comfort on the line in the long run. Here are six signs indicating that you may be making the same mistake in the near future.

  1. You Know Nothing about the Latest Californian Real Estate Trends. Only the people who take the time to monitor the local real estate market can actually anticipate and explore new trends and use the data to their best advantage to get the best deals before anyone else. Just think about it: you don’t have to go back to school and get a degree to be able to understand the mechanism of the Californian real estate market. A good apartment finder will bring all the info that you need at your fingertips, making it easier for you to spot the best neighborhoods compatible with your price point, identify great rentals and compare various candidates based on price, location, current condition, features and several other criteria. Lack of knowledge will always work against you; so if you’re targeting a property without getting the bigger picture, chances are that you’re unintentionally missing out on better deals as we speak.
  2. You Are Targeting a Property That Is Not the Best Match for You. While renting does offer you the highest level of flexibility and lets you avoid the responsibilities associated with ownership, this doesn’t mean that you should take the selection process very lightly. Proper research can save you time and thousands of dollars in the long run. There are a few common signs indicating that a certain rental may not be 100% compatible with your current needs and demands. For instance, a rental located too far away from your home and office may force you to cope with a long, stressful commuting route and the hectic Californian traffic. A cheap, small apartment located in a neighborhood with a relatively high crime rate may be a viable option for young adults, but they often fail to please families with children seeking a safer environment. Single-family homes that leave no room remodel work may not be the best pick for tenants who would like to make a few basic improvements with their landlords’ permission. The list of incompatibilities that could ruin the romance between you and your rental is virtually endless. This is precisely why you should set up and follow a series of objective selection criteria before signing a rental agreement.
  3. You Can’t Reach an Agreement with Your Landlord. Would you really be willing to collaborate with a person who ignores your calls and vanishes into thin air when you need him or her the most? Some landlords are professional naggers, while others are difficult to reach. Both categories of lessors can lower the overall quality of your apartment renting experience. Fortunately, you can screen your landlord rapidly and effortlessly, by using the tools brought to you by Apartment Hunterz. The iConnect feature makes it easier for you to get in touch with thousands of property managers and landlords and strike a deal with a true professional who is on the same page with you.
  4. You Are Emotionally Tied to a Property. You can’t and should not rent a property just because it speaks to you. Weigh its practical and aesthetic value very carefully before shaking hands with your landlord. At the end of the day, you wouldn’t want to be spending a lot of money on a slice of real estate that would constantly remind you just how much you love to buy things on impulse.
  5. You Are Ignoring Other Options. When it comes to organizing a house hunt in California, always keep your options open. The next best deal could be just around the corner. With help from Apartment Hunterz, California’s favorite apartment finder, you could stay one step ahead of all the other prospects and keep tabs on the local real estate market the easy way. Use the large pool of data delivered by this service to compare offers in your area of interest and become familiar with several free tools designed to facilitate and improve your communication with potential landlords.
  6. You’re Making a Considerable Financial Effort to Become a Tenant on Your Own Terms. You’ve found your dream house, but you’re worried that you may not be able to cope with the expenses that it involves. This is a common obstacle that many first-time tenants are forced to deal with at some point during their apartment search. Here’s the main rule that should guide your house hunt: choose an accommodation option that won’t eat up more than 30% of your monthly income. Avoid properties that are way out of your league. We are all daydreaming about lavishing Californian mansions with indoor pools and tennis courts, but at the end of the day, it is extremely important to learn to let go and get the keys to a decent house or apartment that you can actually afford.

Don’t want to stumble across many red flags during your apartment hunt? If that’s the case, take the easy way out by using the data and exceptional tools brought to you by Apartment Hunterz, the number one resource for both tenants and landlords who want to explore the best channels to achieve their real estate goals.

Jun 2015

9 Pitfalls to Avoid While Looking for the Perfect Apartment for Rent in California

hand holding mobile phone with house sale offerMoving out of your parents’ house was your New Year’s resolution at the end of 2010. Five years later, you are still struggling to accomplish the same goal. So what exactly are you intimidated by, aside from your limited financial possibilities and the overly competitive Californian real estate market that always seems to be full of surprises?

Can You Overcome the Obstacles That Are Standing in the Way of Your Upcoming House Hunt?

Well, first of all, you don’t know much about the latest real estate trends in California and you feel very insecure. Secondly, you can’t decide which sources of information you should monitor to get the expert insight that you require to compare different properties for rent and select the one that fits you like a glove. In all honesty, most first-time tenants face similar challenges. Here are 10 problems that you may experience along the road and the best ways to solve them in a satisfying manner.

  1. Not Doing Your Research. Would you buy a car without test driving it? Would you pick a school for your daughter without analyzing its history and graduation rate? You probably wouldn’t. Therefore, also do your homework when it comes to choosing a “for rent” apartment or house. Proper research will let you find the most convenient deals available in the best neighborhoods that you can afford to live in.
  2. Ignoring Online Channels That Can Save You Hundreds of Dollars. In today’s market, it is virtually impossible to identify real bargains by doing a door-to-door search or counting exclusively on word-of-mouth. The Internet has made the real estate market become so much more dynamic. This is why you shouldn’t hesitate to go online and use the best apartment finding service to analyze a plethora of listings in your area of choice. Such services also facilitate a better communication between tenants and landlords, making it easier for you to avoid scams and bad deals.
  3. Not Realizing that What You Like and What You Can Afford Are Not Always the Same Thing. When conducting a house hunt on a budget, it is imperative to separate the things that you fancy from the ones that you can’t and shouldn’t be able to live without. You may not be able to shed $3,500 on a San Francisco rental located right in the heart of the city, but this shouldn’t stop you from looking for nice spacious properties available for rent in the family-friendly suburbs. For instance, Walnut Creek, a suburb based in the East Bay area and Novato, situated in the North Bay area, represent excellent targets for young families with kids requiring above average public schools and convenient housing options.
  4. Not Getting the Bigger Picture. When it comes to researching properties, there are two categories of people who are doing it wrong: those who don’t bother to check online listings and those who think that they can evaluate and rent a house with just a few clicks. While apartment finding services have simplified the apartment search a great deal, you should still take some time to tour the property in person. This action will help you get the bigger picture by weighing the pros and cons of each option and getting to know your new potential landlord.
  5. Overspending. To avoid spending more than you can afford on your rental, you should follow two important steps: 1. Set up a realistic budget and stick to it, and 2. Use the data provided by a local apartment finder to compare different offers and save the listings that are in your price range.
  6. Enquiring about Properties Listed with Zero Photos. Listings featuring very short, general descriptions that are not accompanied by a set of photos or a video tour are not exactly the best choices that you can stumble across. This kind of evasiveness raises a lot of questions: are you dealing with a property that can be labeled as an eyesore or with a landlord lacking interest? Both scenarios raise a red flag and should determine you to focus on listings that do comprise virtual tours and/or photos.
  7. Not Being Able to Make a Compromise. In life, you simply can’t have it all. Deal with it! If you’re targeting rentals in Southern California, a region well-known for its ultra expensive pieces of real estate, chances are that you will have to compromise at some point. Perhaps you should broaden your horizons by pinpointing rentals available in less expensive neighborhoods or maybe you don’t need a third bedroom after all. Re-analyze your selection criteria and make the right adjustments to profit from a happy, successful house hunt.
  8. Not Realizing That a Potential Landlord Is Open to Negotiations. In difficult economic times, most things are perfectly negotiable. Rental rates are not an exception to this rule, especially in rural areas where good long-term tenants are more difficult to come by. Therefore, do not hesitate to negotiate your rental rates, especially if you’re extending the length of your lease. According to Lifehacker, in case such negotiations are out of the question, at least try to get other attractive perks, like an extra parking spot for example.
  9. Ignoring the Fact That You Can Always Count on a Reliable Apartment Finder in California. At the end of the day, you should remember the fact that you’re not alone in this. Whether you want to get an expert insight into the Californian real estate market, spot recent, verified listings or establish a deeper connection with landlords the easy way, Apartment Hunterz can address all these needs. Use the information provided by California’s most popular apartment finding service to turn your upcoming apartment search into a smashing success.


May 2015