Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Why Every Lease Renewal Should be Celebrated


When a tenant renews their lease, you should be celebrating. These little milestones show you're doing something right. Scott Safadi of Cal Bay Property Management recommends using this time to chat with their tenants about what's going right - and what could still be improved. There is always room for improvement, after all!

But you shouldn't celebrate alone, or even just with your colleagues. You should rope in the tenant who re-signed their lease into the celebration, too! After all, they should be appreciated for making such a great choice! A small token of your appreciation can go a long way to help them celebrate. Though a bottle of champagne for every re-signed lease might be overboard, you should at least acknowledge their good decision with a thank you card. Little things like this can make all the difference in showing residents how much you notice - and care!

Another quick and easy way to show your appreciation? Knock a few dollars off the rent for the month for the person who re-signed. You might lose a little money, but considering how long the unit may have sat open had the tenant not re-signed, it's a bargain!

- Scott Safadi, Cal Bay Property Management

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Common Tenant Complaints and How to Manage Them


When you've work in the property management field for as long as Scott Safadi of Cal Bay Property Management has, you learn a thing or two about tenant complaints. They tend to fall in the following four categories:
  • Maintenance 
  • Noisy neighbors
  • Pest control
  • Communication issues
The last bullet is the most important. Why? Because good communication is a tool that can combat the previous three issues. When a tenant can't contact you about maintenance, pest control or their noisy neighbors, their problem is exacerbated by the lack of response from the powers that be. That's why it's so crucial to have a system in place to handle tenant communications. 

Consider setting up a tenant portal for folks to log their complaints. You can direct these messages to come right to your email inbox, if you so choose. However you decide to manage complaints, the key is communication!

- Scott Safadi, Cal Bay Property Management

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Tenant 101: How you should be educating your renters

A great tenant is made, not born. It sounds silly, but good tenant behavior is learned. It isn't just inherent, especially with younger renters. That's why it pays to educate your tenants about the ins and outs of tenant etiquette. But where do you start?

Tenant education should start when a new resident comes into your office to sign a lease. It's easy to have them sign off each page without detailing what's on it, but you'll be facing more headaches down the line when they realize they're breaking rules 

While you've got your new tenant around, teach them about the importance of renter's insurance. It's a good investment, but for penny pinching renters, it's often the first thing to cut from the budget. Remind tenants that you won't foot the bill for their laptop if it's stolen from their apartment or if they burst a pipe and their electronics are ruined. Presenting a few scary scenarios is often enough to teach the importance of renter's insurance.

- Scott Safadi, Cal Bay Property Management

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Common Photo Mistakes You Might be Making in Your Listing


So you're not a professional photographer - but who among us is? The reality is that we're far too busy managing properties to perfect the art of photography. Still, bad photos are no excuse, especially when it comes to your listings. That's why we've assembled a quick list of what NOT to do in your photos.

Using flash

This sounds like a must-do, right? Wrong! Using the flash on your cell phone camera or your point and shoot likely won't light up a dark room. If anything, it'll cast long shadows and make the room look eerie. Instead, open the blinds and let natural light in!

Focus

Photos need subjects, and it's tempting to snap a picture of a snazzy lamp in the middle of the living room to provide focus. But that can put everything in the background - yep, everything you're trying to promote - out of focus. 

Background

Check out what's going on in your photos before you publish them. Even the most professional of photographers sometimes miss weird stuff in the background. Make sure your images don't feature cameos of your dog or an accidental mirror selfie!

- Scott Safadi, Cal Bay Property Management

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Upgrading Your Great Outdoors

As temperatures begin heating up, tenants will be heading outdoors to soak up the sun. Sure, you've got a community pool, but for many nature lovers, that's simply not enough. Here are the upgrades you need to install before spring really hits!

Outdoor living spaces. Community grills can get messy, but they're also a great way to encourage socializing among neighbors. Social tenants are happy tenants - go communal for your outdoor living space.

Fire pits. Who doesn't love sitting around a campfire as the sun sets? With the proper set up, a community fire pit could be both safe and inviting. 

Tennis courts. With a focus on fitness, Millennials tenants will especially appreciate another opportunity to get outside and get some exercise.

Seating. If you can only afford one outdoor upgrade, this is how to go. Invest in a bench or patio furniture. Your tenants will thank you!

- Scott Safadi, Cal Bay Property Management

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Rental Property Tax Write-Offs You Need to Know About


It's that time of year again: time to pay our taxes. But for property owners, there are lots of tax write-offs to take advantage of before April 15th rolls around. Here are some you need to know about:

Interest on Rental-Related Loans. If you're paying interest on loans used to buy your rental property, you can write it off at the end of the tax year. You can also write off interest you're paying on credit cards you've used to purchase goods and services for your rental property.

Travel Expenses
Whether you're scouting out a new investment opportunity or for research, if it's related to your rental property, you can write off expenses. That includes airfare, lodging and meals!

Repairs and Maintenance
If you're buying new light bulbs, replacing your resident's smoke detector batteries or changing out their HVAC filters, you're on track for a tax write off. You can also write off landscaping charges, pest control and any cleaning supplies you buy for your property.

Utilities
Go ahead and write off any utilities you pay on behalf of your property. That includes cable and internet packages, electricity, gas, water and sewer fees.

- Scott Safadi, Cal Bay Property Management

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

3 Things All Successful Landlords Do

Becoming a super landlord isn't easy. While there is no one direct path to success, we've honed in one three things all successful landlords do. The list includes:

1. They're super responsive. A successful landlord promptly returns phone calls from prospective tenants, beating out competitors and reassuring applicants of their reliability.

2. They make decisions rationally - not emotionally. If a tenant comes to you with a tragic story about losing their job and the love of their life in the same month, it's important to be compassionate. It's also important to draw a firm line between emotion and action. There's a way to be empathetic and still demand their rent payment in full - it won't be easy, but it's gotta be done!

3. They get everything in writing. Record keeping is important in any job, but in the property management world, it's critical. You never want to get into a "he said, she said" debate with a tenant. That's why it pays to have agreements in writing - in both physical and digital form.

- Scott Safadi, Cal Bay Property Management

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