Scoping Out the Competition: How Research Can be the Ultimate Weapon

In a crowded rental market, it can be hard to find an edge over your competitors. With apartment communities battling for tenants, spending money on state of the art amenities often seems to be the only way to attract applicants. But what if we told you there is a free option for property managers looking to stay competitive? Scott Safadi of Cal Bay Property Management has the answer.
The key, he says, is knowing your market. As the saying goes, keep your friends close and your enemies even closer! By constantly staying abreast of your competitor’s marketing strategies and upgrades, you can ensure you’re one step ahead.
So what does this research look like? For one, you should be following your competition on social media. Don’t worry about giving them extra likes or followers – you need the valuable intel they’ll project on these platforms. You should also not be afraid to call up competing communities and ask questions as a potential applicant might. There’s no shame in staying in the loop!
You should also consider checking out the competition’s online reputation. Reviews can speak volumes about the way tenants feel about their community. Still, don’t rely too heavily on the intel you learn on Yelp – angry tenants are more likely to leave biased reviews.

– Scott Safadi, Cal Bay Property Management

End Chaotic Days with These Time Management Tips

If you’re feeling constantly overwhelmed in the office, work becomes miserable. With phones ringing off the hook, emails pinging in your inbox and colleagues after you for your signature approving the latest big decision, it can feel impossible to get work done. Scott Safadi of Cal Bay Property Management has these tips for you:
Accept applications online. As a property manager, you’ve got enough on your plate without holding the hands of each potential new tenant. Post your applications online and have folks submit them digitally. There’s less paperwork to keep track of and a digital stack waiting for you when you can get to it.
Track maintenance and tenant communications online, too. Linking plumbers and handy men to specific tenant needs can land you on the phone for hours. Instead, have maintenance needs logged online for easy tracking.
Try the Pomodoro Method. Break your time up into 25 minute chunks and devote all your attention to one task at a time. Multitasking can actually be less productive in the long run!
– Scott Safadi, Cal Bay Property Management

Spring Maintenance Your Property (Probably) Needs

Are you ready for spring? More importantly, is your property? After months of chilly temperatures, it’s time to embrace the great outdoors once again. But spring cleaning and maintenance is a must for property managers. Even if your property didn’t experience heavy snowfall this winter, chances are good there is routine maintenance tasks in need of completing. Have you considered:
– Cleaning your gutters? Winds can cause debris to be trapped in your gutters, causing expensive backups and clogs. If any is too difficult to remove, consider calling in an expert – one wrong move could make for a costly repair.
– Power washing exteriors? It’s the perfect time of year to bust out the power washer and go to town! While your checking this task off your list, inspect exteriors for damage. Spotting chipping paint now could save you a headache later!
– Increasing your curb appeal? With sunny days and mild temperatures, now is the time to plant flowers, trees and shrubs necessary to make your property stand out in the crowd.
– Scott Safadi, CalBay Property Management


Marketing to Baby Boomers

for-rent-sign-2-1147396Baby Boomers are saying goodbye to the stress of home ownership and hello to the freedom that comes with renting. If you’re not already marketing to Baby Boomers, you should be! Here are three simple ways to entice older residents to move into your community:
1. Emphasize safety. Unlike younger tenants, Baby Boomers typically have a little wiggle room in their budget. They can afford – and will appreciate – a community that features an on-site security team. Good lighting, surveillance cameras and quality fencing can go far to convince a Boomer to move in.
2. Get social. Baby Boomers love to entertain, so if your units lack space for having company over, consider investing in recreational areas your whole community can enjoy. Tennis courts, horseshoe pits and volleyball nets can ensure your residents always have somewhere fun to hang out – regardless of age.
3. Promote your larger units. Chances are good, apartment hunting Baby Boomers are downgrading from a large home to a smaller apartment. They’ll be sad to see the extra storage space go, even if they don’t need to fill three bedrooms every night. Shine a spotlight on your larger apartments to give Boomers the options they crave.
– Scott Safadi, Cal Bay Property Management

Is Your Property Too Dated to Rent?

houses-1569052It’s not easy keeping up with the trends. Whether your property was built in the 50s or the 90s, you’ll run into this challenge at some point – all property managers do! The reality is that trends come and go with the season, so it can be incredibly tough to appeal to tenants who want to see the latest and greatest home trends in your community.
Whether you’re showing off a model apartment or the actual unit you’re trying to fill, try these simple tips to bring your space into the 21st century!
Let there be light. Overheard lighting can be harsh. Freshen up the space with floor and table lamps. Opening window blinds can be revolutionary in of itself!
Beige is boring. Embrace color and consider painting your units anything but off white or beige. It’s an affordable project that really makes your community stand out above the competition!
Make your kitchen vintage-chic. Installing new cabinets might not be in the budget this year, but hardware is cheap. Invest in classic brass knobs to provide a little details tenants will love.
– Scott Safadi, Cal Bay Property Management

How Going Green Could Increase Your Rental Income

environmental-1247375Are you factoring your community’s carbon footprint into your decision making process each day? Chances are good, you probably aren’t. But experts say going green could be beneficial for both you and the planet! Indeed, with the right investments in green upgrades for your property, you could see an increase in your rental income. Some of the best ROI on green upgrades include:
Programmable thermostats
With an average added cost of $115, installing these thermostats in every apartment could get pricey. The payoff, though, is more than worth it! In just one year, you’re looking at $180 in savings – a 156% return on investment!
Heating system tune-up
When was the last time your heating system was looked at? Even if it is still running fine, a tune-up is necessary every few years. Though it’ll likely cost you around $200, it will potentially save you $180 in a year’s time. You can’t complain about a 90% ROI!
Seal duct leaks
This upgrade isn’t sexy, but it’s sure worth the investment! On average, sealing duct leaks will cost you around $450 out of pocket. The annual savings? About $300!
– Scott Safadi, Cal Bay Property Management


Drawing the Line Between Wear and Tear and Property Damage

draw-the-line-1159036It’s virtually impossible to live in an apartment without causing some damage. Stains on the carpet can be expected, but where does a good landlord draw the line between normal wear and tear and property damage?
Inevitably, a tenants will cause some serious damage to your unit – that’s what security deposits are for! Damage like cigarette burns on the carpet, large marks or holes in the wall, broken tiles or flooring and ripped carpeting are all serious forms of property damage.
On the other hand, you’re much more likely to encounter normal wear and tear. That can take the form of water stains in the bathroom, small nicks in the paint, sun-faded and stained carpeting.
By using a move-in and move-out checklist, it’ll be easy to spot which damage occurred during your tenant’s residency. Misappropriating a security deposit to repair things deemed “normal” wear and tear is illegal. That’s why it’s critical to check out a unit before and after a tenants has resided there. Your notes on the property’s condition will go a long way in proving your right to that deposit.
– Scott Safadi, Cal Bay Property Management