Designing Your Bark Park

Pet lovers will flock to communities that offer their dogs great amenities, and a dog park is quickly becoming a must-have feature for successful properties. The good news? If you’ve got a spare area of grass to devote to dogs, you’re halfway to a new, highly-sought after amenity! Here are some things to consider:
Location is key
You’ll want to position your bark park in a central location, where all residents can easily access it. The nice thing about dog parks is that they don’t need to be on a perfectly flat piece of the property, so if you’ve got a hilly spot you’re not doing much with, consider placing the park there!
Fencing design
Dog park fences should be at least five feet tall in order to keep pups safe and contained within the area. The gate design is critical, too – consider adding a double gate system allowing pets and their owners to separate themselves to get leashed up again before departing the park.
Rules
Public areas of your community need rules. Reminders to pet owners to clean up after their pet, pay close attention while they visit the park and to keep aggressive dogs away from others are all good reminders. One rule you should always include? Warnings that owners – and not the property – are responsible for keeping their dogs safe.
– Scott Safadi, Cal Bay Property Management

When to Worry About Airbnb

The sharing economy has grown tremendously in the last decade. With apps like Uber and Lyft dominating the transportation industry, folks are growing more accustomed to trusting their business to strangers. And with the rise of Airbnb, it’s more affordable than ever for people to travel. Not everyone loves Airbnb, though. For property managers, the unauthorized subletting of your property is inherently problematic.
If you own property in a touristy area, chances are good one or more of your tenants will turn to Airbnb to make some extra cash. Peer-to-peer renting has plenty of drawbacks and almost no positives for the landlord. While Airbnb does provide $1 million in liability protections for hosts, it’s limited to very specific types of damages. If an Airbnb guest becomes ill because of mold in your apartment, you could be held liable for their medical bills.
There’s also no telling how Airbnb guests might disrupt your community. Even if your tenant lucks out with Airbnb guests who are mostly quiet and polite, it only takes one bad incident to annoy neighbors.
When it comes to Airbnb: just say no. Make sure to include clauses prohibiting subletting in your lease. You’ll want all the protections you can against a tenant who wants to get into hosting!
– Scott Safadi, Cal Bay Property Management

Insider Tips for Filling Vacancies

There’s no denying it: vacancies are a pain. They’re a drain on your income and and hassle to fill. But solving this problem isn’t rocket science – you just have to understand a few insider tips from experienced property managers like Scott Safadi of Cal Bay Property Management.
A quick and easy way to promote vacant apartments is to list all vacancies on your website as soon as you know about them. Folks can’t apply for apartments they don’t know are vacant!
It also helps to offer some kind of friends and family incentive bonus. Renting to friends of current tenants is a great way to build community and find reliable tenants. Consider offering your current tenants gift cards, discounted rent or even cold hard cash in exchange for referrals. Of course, the key is to only provide these bonuses if and when the new tenant has signed their 12-month lease!
Another easy way to win over prospective tenants? Print colorful, appealing flyers and post them in high traffic areas like bus stops, metro stations and cafes. This low cost option might surprise you with its effectiveness – there’s just no replacing good old-fashioned advertising!
– Scott Safadi, Cal Bay Property Management

Roaches in Your Community? Here’s What You Need

No one wants to talk about roaches – they’re the dirty, not-so-secret problem that many (if not most) apartment communities face. Along with bed bugs, roaches are incredibly common. Wherever food can be found, a roach won’t be far. Scott Safadi of Cal Bay Property Management says that roaches are more than a nuisance – they can create real health problems for those struggling with respiratory issues like asthma.
For many apartment hunters, roaches are a deal breaker. So how do you ensure your community is roach free? The answer lies with the experts.
Scientists at Tulane University in New Orleans conducted an experiment in a roach-infested apartment building to see how effective gel baits were in eliminating the bugs. After just three months, apartments treated with the gel baits started seeing fewer and fewer roaches. By the end of the year-long study, almost all the roaches were gone!
Maybe the advice sounds overly simplistic, but take action before the roaches show up – your tenants will thank you!
– Scott Safadi, Cal Bay Property Management

Microapartments and You: Should You Take Advantage of This Trend?

There’s a new hot trend in the property management world: microapartments.
Perhaps you’ve heard of them. They’re small units typically between 200 and 400 square feet. Within that space, you have the standard necessities : a kitchen, a bathroom and maybe a window, if you’re lucky. These microapartments make studios look luxurious by comparison,
These microapartments are revolutionizing the way many Millennials are renting. For folks in expensive areas – and those who spend the majority of their time at work or out socializing – these microapartments mean an easy way to save some cash. Often, these renters are willing to trade space for location, particularly in cities like New York and San Francisco.
So will microapartments work for your community? Unless you have a stellar location with an excellent walk score, microapartments probably aren’t a good choice for you. As Scott Safadi of Cal Bay Property Management can tell you, location is critical for your community regardless of the size of your units. But unless you’re offering rock bottom rental prices (not a great idea – you might attract irresponsible tenants), you’ll need some way to appeal to folks. Location is key.
Even if you’re not in a position to convert your community to a microapartment building, this is a trend worth watching!
– Scott Safadi, Cal Bay Property Management

Spring Cleaning Your Property

It’s officially spring, and while the warm temperatures might have you thinking about a vacation, it’s best to tackle spring cleaning before relaxing! Scott Safadi of Cal Bay Property Management knows how important it is to be proactive about maintenance. Here’s a to do list of chores you should consider undertaking to prep your property for the season:
– Check out your roof and gutters. Hauling out the ladder around the property might be a chore, but staying abreast of the condition of your roof and gutters pays in the long run. While you’re there, clean out any old leaves and debris that might have collected. Spring often means lots of rain, so you’ll want to be prepared for the gutters to flow clear!
– Get landscaping. Now is the time to plant new flower beds, pick up old branches and sticks that have fallen over the long winter, and rake up any last dead leaves on the ground. Be sure to trim any trees or bushes that appear grown over, too.
– Inspect your parking lots. Check for potholes and faded paint. Once you know what needs tackled, create a to do list to pass along to any contractors you might hire.
– Scott Safadi, Cal Bay Property Management

Four Tricky Prospective Tenant Questions – And How to Answer Them

When you’ve got a prospective tenant in front of you, you want to impress them with your charm – and your property, of course. But for many property managers, this interaction can invite dicey questions they don’t have the first clue how to answer! Cal Bay Property Management’s Scott Safadi has all the advice you need. Check out our guide to four of the trickiest questions – and how to answer them:
1. How’s the crime in your area?
Honesty is the best policy with this question. It pays to be forthright about your area’s crime levels. Don’t downplay break-ins and burglaries – you’ll pay for it later. Feel uncomfortable discussing crime rates? Refer the tenant to the local police station.
2. Do you allow pets?
Hopefully, you’ll have a very clear pet policy hammered out before a prospective tenant ever has a chance to ask. But some folks with exotic pets like parrots and snakes may not fall within your guidelines. Clearly outline what the consequences are for property damage and come to a compromise with the tenant.
3. Can we have a shorter lease?
Most property managers demand a one-year lease from new tenants, but if you’re willing to be flexible, you can decrease your vacancy rate. Commit to a policy before this question is asked!
4. When can we move in?
This is a great question to hear – you’re obviously doing something right! It’s tempting to toss out a date and make everyone happy. But be certain that the date is indeed okay for move-in – you risk annoying the prospective tenant if that has to change.
– Scott Safadi, Cal Bay Property Management