Thursday, August 6, 2020

Property Upgrades That Aren't Worth the Investment


It's easy to assume that any property upgrade you undergo will add value to your rental. Unfortunately, not every upgrade will have the intended impact. Scott Safadi of Cal Bay Property Management advises landlords to do their research before investing. These three common upgrades aren't always worth the time, effort or money it takes to install them correctly:

Pool
Pools are pretty universally beloved, but unless you're willing to put in the maintenance work and expenses, it may not be a great amenity to offer. Potential renters will rarely want to keep up with maintenance expenses themselves, and you also risk your insurance rates skyrocketing. Do your homework on the costs of installation, upkeep, and maintenance before you pull the trigger.

Luxury Finishes
Everyone loves luxury finishes, but few people are willing to pay more to get them. Go too high grade in your finishes and you could price yourself right out of the market. The truth is that those who can afford luxury upgrades are often looking to buy, not rent. While it's important to invest in nice options for your property, keeping upgrades affordable is key. 

Hardwood Floors
Hardwood flooring is all the rage right now, and for good reason: it looks gorgeous and is more sanitary than carpet. Unfortunately, though, hardwood requires a decent amount of maintenance. If you're renting to families or tenants with pets, you may be jeopardizing the health and longevity of your floors. Stick with a high-quality laminate that gives the look of hardwood without the effort. 

-- Scott Safadi, Cal Bay Property Management

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Apartment Petiquette Rules to Live By


Petiquette might sound like a silly word, but it's a very real idea that more renters are catching onto. As pet-friendly rental communities are becoming more and more common, it's important to be mindful of rules, requirements, and animal faux pas. Establishing a good rapport with your landlord and neighbors is key for a successful rental experience, and your pets must be included in that process.

If you're curious about how to engage in good petiquette, start with taking care of business. A lot of pet-friendly communities have designated areas for dogs to go to the bathroom, and training your dog to go there is an excellent start to your petiquette journey. If there's not a designated area, avoid main walkways and any carefully manicured garden beds. Wherever your dog chooses to go, always be sure to clean up after them!

Speaking of dogs, if your pup is prone to barking, consider quiet hours when moving into a new community. While a midnight play session might sound fun for you and your pooch, others won't appreciate loud noise that late at night. Even if your dog isn't especially loud, their heavy footfalls can keep your neighbors up, so be mindful of your habits.

Cat lovers have to be aware of petiquette too! As you empty your cat's litter box and take the trash to the community garbage dumpster, be sure to double bag the litter. The weight of kitty litter can be deceptive, and bags full of the stuff can be prone to breaking before you actually reach the dumpster. 

-- Scott Safadi, Cal Bay Property Management

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Rookie Moving Mistakes to Avoid

Moving is exciting. Whether it is your first move or your 50th, there's no denying the thrill that comes with a fresh start and a new setting. Before you can begin relishing your new home, though, you'll have to undergo the dreaded move. While moving can be stressful at times, it doesn't have to be. Scott Safadi of Cal Bay Property Management recommends avoiding these common mistakes that frequently lead to confusion, exhaustion, and unnecessary stress:

Forgetting to Make a Plan

While you might be tempted to just throw everything into boxes and sort it out once you've moved into your new place, this is a recipe for disaster. Without a plan in place, your move could be a serious headache. Take time to inventory your possessions and group them in a way that makes sense. It'll make the unpacking process much easier!

Failing to Set Aside Must-Haves

Once you're in your new apartment, you'll be eager to unwind. Make it easy on yourself! Group must-haves like phone chargers, coffee pots, toiletries, and clothes together. Also, be sure to keep important documents like your lease and renters' insurance policy close at hand.

Ignoring Your Pets' Needs

Your pet is part of the family, but without a voice of their own, they can struggle to have their needs recognized. This is especially true during moves. Create a pet survival pack for them as you pack up the rest of your home. Include food, bowls, medicine, leashes, and anything else you might need to grab at a moments' notice. Your pet will thank you for thinking ahead!

-- Scott Safadi, Cal Bay Property Management

Thursday, July 16, 2020

The Maintenance Chore No Landlord Should Put Off

A lush, green yard can be incredibly enticing for renters. Without regular pruning, however, trees can present a real threat to the health of your property and the safety of your tenants. While some maintenance chores can be shrugged off until the next quarter, this is one you don't want to procrastinate on. Pruning will make your property look neat and tidy while also ensuring your trees stay healthy.

Before you start pruning, take a careful assessment of your trees. You'll want to remove branches and limbs that are weak or dying. Take a close up look at each branch before deciding which to snip. Use a three-point method to begin. 

On the branch that needs to be removed, start by sawing about halfway through the bottom of the limb. Then make your top cut by sawing one or two inches from your initial undercut. Next, make the final cut to remove the limb entirely. Any diseased, dying branches or limbs with water sprouts can be safely removed.

When in doubt, leave this important job to the experts. Safety is key when pruning trees, and if you have a tree near an electrical wire, call on a professional to do the work. 

-- Scott Safadi, Cal Bay Property Management

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Introducing Yourself to New Tenants

It's always a good idea to make a formal introduction to new tenants. After all, it's true what they say: you don't get a second chance at a first impression. By reaching out early on in a renter's occupancy, you can set the tone and ensure they come to you with questions and concerns. This task is typically done in person, but given the spread of COVID-19, many landlords are turning to introduction letters instead. It's a safe, easy way to greet new tenants while prioritizing everyone's safety, says Scott Safadi of Cal Bay Property Management.

Start by collecting tenant contact information. Be sure to ask about their preferred method of communication. Email is generally the best way to reach out, but a letter slipped into each tenant's mailbox can be just as effective. 

In your letter, introduce yourself and welcome them to the community. Tell them how they'll be expected to pay rent, when it is due, and to whom they should make the payment. Share your contact information and details on submitting maintenance requests. By formally welcoming your tenants to the property, you'll up the odds of starting and maintaining an excellent rapport throughout their residency.

-- Scott Safadi, Cal Bay Property Management

Monday, June 22, 2020

Automate Your Rental with Smart Thermostats

Smart home technology has become increasingly popular over the years. It's a great way to automate our homes and live more conveniently. The perks are even better for landlords. Smart thermostats, for instance, can save serious energy, and in turn, lower heating expenses. Users can control the temperature of their unit based on usage, time of day, and even weather patterns. 

Scott Safadi of Cal Bay Property Management encourages landlords to install smart thermostat technology as a way to attract and retain new tenants. In competitive housing markets, even little things like smart home technology can go a long way to win over renters. 

Smart technology can even help you raise your rental fees. Amenities like smart thermostats increase the overall value of a rental unit, allowing you to upcharge tenants. If you pay utilities on behalf of your tenants, a smart thermostat can be an even better way to monitor usage while saving some money. When your unit is vacant, you won't have to worry about wasting energy, either.

-- Scott Safadi, Cal Bay Property Management

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Tips for Reducing Mold in Rental Properties

Virtually every home, apartment building, and townhome on the planet has mold. The substance is incredibly common. It's also incredibly dangerous if not handled correctly. When mold spores find the right environment in which to grow, black mold can develop. This leads to allergic reactions, nausea, headaches, and other immune responses. Thankfully, there are ways to mitigate the impact of mold in rental properties.

Many of the most common causes of mold involve improper ventilation. Get tenants on board with preventing mold growth by alerting them of the risks. Simple strategies like cracking a window or using a fan when taking a steamy shower can help. Should your tenant spot mold, tell them to loop you in on their findings. The sooner you take action, the easier it will be to eliminate.

Should you discover mold in your rental property, clean the area thoroughly. Use water and soap to scrub mold from hard surfaces. Once dry, check back to see that it was completely eliminated. You may want to wear a face mask while doing so - mold spores can be released into the air and inhaled while cleaning.

Once mold has been eliminated, take a moment to investigate the source. You can spend hours cleaning, only to find that more mold takes its place a month later. A leaky sink, a clogged vent, or an especially porous carpet can all lead to rapid mold growth!

-- Scott Safadi, Cal Bay Property Management

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