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

Attracting families to your property

Happy familySome property managers balk at the idea of renting to families. Though it is illegal to discriminate against tenants with kids, it’s not unheard of for landlords to find convenient ways to deny applicants. They picture stained carpets, noise complaints from neighbors and increased liability risks at the community pool or dog park.

 But renting to families doesn’t have to be painful. Indeed, families can be some of the best long-term tenants. Folks with kids are often farther along in their careers than other tenants, making them more secure and responsible with their money. Plus, families like to stay put – it makes no sense to move kids from school to school each year.
So what can you do to attract families to your property? Take a look at your community through a parent’s eyes. Highlight the quality of your area’s schools to prospective tenants. It’s also helpful to point out local parks, libraries and grocery stores. Jogging trails wide enough for strollers are also a bonus. Small investments like adding a swing set or jungle gym to the property can go a long way to convince families to move in.
– Scott Safadi, Cal Bay Property Management

Can CA Property Managers Ban Marijuana Use?

no-smoking-1-1495290-1920x1440With the passage of Prop. 64 in November, recreational marijuana use was made legal for adults. Many celebrated the move, but not everyone is thrilled with this development. For property managers especially, marijuana use in apartments can be a tricky subject.
While Prop. 64 legalized recreational use, smoking marijuana is still against federal law. For property managers, this means you’re within your right to ban marijuana use in your community. And perhaps you should. If a tenant is smoking marijuana on a balcony or porch, its drift into another unit could be considered trespass or battery. The reality is that smoke inhalation can lead to serious health conditions.
Of course, medical marijuana use has its role, too. Should a tenant request medical use in their unit, property managers may consider allowing tenants to vaporize marijuana or partake in edible versions of the drug. Limiting exposure to others is the key! Whatever you decide, it’s important you spell out your rules in your lease – leaving things up to interpretation will only lead to headaches!

Should You Require Tenants to Hold Renters Insurance?

contract-signing-1474333It is estimated that fewer than one third of all renters carry any kind of insurance. That begs the question: should you require your tenants to hold renters insurance while living on your property?
As a landlord, your insurance policy covers the building structure only – not any of the personal belongings inside the unit. Should a pipe burst or a burglary occur, any items damaged or stolen won’t be covered by your insurance policy. That’s why it’s so important for tenants to protect themselves with renters insurance.
It’s a good idea to require renters to show proof that they hold such insurance. Include the requirement in the lease and ask for it before turning over the keys to the apartment. For tenants who refuse, consider adopting a Tenant Liability Insurance Program. The program protects landlords should a resident be liable for damage to a unit in the event of a fire, sewer overflow or water damage.
– Scott Safadi, Cal Bay Property Management

Should You Pay for Good Reviews?

feedback-form-excellent-1238383

Last week, we wrote about the necessity of handling bad reviews in a polite, fiar manner. But this week, we’re digging into the slightly seedier side of the review world: paid reviews.
They’re more common than you think. Whether you’re reading up on a local pizza joint’s reputation or getting feedback about a new gadget from Amazon reviews, chances are good, at least some of the reviews you’re reading are fake.
It’s easier – and cheaper – than ever to buy great reviews of your property. There are even companies that specialize in just that. It doesn’t take more than a few Google searches to find writers willing to create unique Yelp reviews for your property. The question isn’t can you – but should you buy fake reviews?
We recommend you don’t. Here’s why: consumers are catching on to these trends. Websites like Fakespot.com and Reviewskeptic.com use algorithms to analyze reviews and find the fakes. And once someone realizes you’re paying for good reviews, your reputation tanks faster than if you’d had a page full of mediocre reviews.
So when it comes to paying for good reviews, just don’t!