Thursday, June 20, 2019

The Future of the Bay Area for Moderate Income Families

San Jose officials say that without intervention, moderate-income families may be priced out of renting or buying in the area altogether. The news will come as no surprise to locals who are likely all too familiar with the challenges of the Silicon Valley real estate market. Cal Bay Property Management's Scott Safadi has watched the evolution of San Jose's housing crisis. While government intervention could help save the shrinking middle class, landlords and property owners may feel frustrated by the slow pace that city council operates at. 

To understand the challenges these families face, it helps to define moderate income. It's a subsection of the middle-class making between 81 and 120 percent of the area's median income. For San Jose, that's $135,250 for a family of three. Not the group typically associated with government handouts, these people often struggle to qualify for low-income housing. With no option but to pay expensive rent or mortgage costs each month, many opt to move in with roommates to help ease the financial burden.

While roommates are one option, it's important for moderate-income families to have a space of their own. Landlords and multi-family property owners in Silicon Valley may be eager to find quality tenants, but taxes, maintenance costs, and other factors drive up the average rental prices. This makes it difficult to turn a profit, especially as the area's cost of living continues to climb. 

Whatever the San Jose city council has in store, area property owners and landlords will have their eye on the moderate-income group. 

- Scott Safadi, Cal Bay Property Management

Friday, June 7, 2019

How Not to Implement a Rent Hike

The Bay Area has many charms. Beautiful landscapes, rich cultural opportunities and a plethora of job opportunities make it appealing to people of all backgrounds. Unfortunately, though, the Bay Area isn't without its drawbacks. While tech companies have added tremendous value to the region, they've had a serious impact on the local rental markets. When Facebook moved into east Menlo Park, one tenant saw her rent jump $800 over a one-month period. 

Cal Bay Property Management's Scott Safadi was consulted for the story. When companies like Facebook come to town, property values increase, causing owners to sell multi-family apartment buildings based on full occupancy at market rates. New owners will be quick to raise rent in order to pay off the loan they used to purchase the property.

“The guy who sells the building wants as much as possible from the sale. And so the buyer says, ‘I need to get as much rent as possible to make up for this purchase,’” Safadi shared in the Palo Alto Daily Post.  

While this strategy makes sense for the property owner, it can cause financial hardship for tenants. If you're hoping to implement a rent hike, it's best to roll out the changes gradually. Above all, keep tenants in the loop about your plans. By increasing rent over several months, renters will be able to plan accordingly. This leads to less turnover and less work on the part of the landlord.

As with most things in life, the golden rule comes into play. By treating tenants with the same respect you'd expect in return, you can maintain a cordial relationship no matter what you're charging per month.

- Scott Safadi, Cal Bay Property Management

Thursday, May 30, 2019

This Airbnb Killer Could be Bad News for the Bay Area


Airbnb has forever changed the landscape of tourism and short-term rentals. While there is no denying their success, the company's impact on communities has been frequently criticized. A new competitor could change the way Airbnb does business in the San Francisco area, but Cal Bay Property Management's Scott Safadi cautions anyone celebrating the new company's arrival in our part of the world.

WhyHotel is a Washington, D.C.-based startup that connects with luxury apartment tower developers to develop pop-up hotels in empty units. Since it can take developers several years to fill up vacant units, many are eager to take advantage of the new service. Offering maid services and 24-hour front desk support, these new pop-up hotels look and feel like any other. The only difference? They won't typically remain open after 24 months.

While the idea is innovative, WhyHotel could have an Airbnb effect on the greater Bay Area. Short-term rentals hurt lower and middle-class families searching for affordable housing. While the use of empty luxury apartment units as hotel rooms may not immediately impact individuals searching for affordable housing, it has the potential to drive up tourism costs. The trickle-down impact of the service could be significant.

No matter how you feel about short-term rentals, there's no denying their influence on housing markets. Investing in a multi-family property is typically a better use of your money and has a better impact on your community. While you may not necessarily have empty luxury apartment units to rent out, it's worth considering how WhyHotel could impact your property and the housing market at large.

- Scott Safadi, Cal Bay Property Management

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Earthquake Preparedness Tips to Share with Your Tenants

It's easy to take disaster preparedness for granted, especially when it comes to rental properties. While you might be well-versed in the tips and tricks necessary to prepare for earthquakes, your tenants may not be as familiar. Scott Safadi of Cal Bay Property Management recommends all property managers review these earthquake preparedness strategies with their tenants:

Hang Shelves and Picture Frames Away from Seating Areas
When an earthquake occurs, what items in your home are most likely to topple? While framed photos might look great over your couch, they are likely to fall on those seated below should an earthquake occur. Decorate with fabric wall hangings and tapestries and save framed art for less accident-prone locations. 

Store Fragile Items Low to the Ground
While this tip might seem like common sense to anyone who has ever lived in an earthquake-prone region, those who are new to town might have missed the memo. Encourage tenants to store glass vases, expensive china and other delicate items on the lowest shelves possible. 

Prepare Your Earthquake Kit
In many cases, earthquakes knock out power in just a few moments. You'll want to stock up on non-perishable food just in case. Bottled water, batteries, first aid materials and alternate power sources like portable cell phone chargers are all great to have on hand in an emergency.

Drop and Cover
Should an earthquake occur, you'll want to be as low to the ground as possible. Because the likelihood of something toppling and hitting you on the head dramatically increases during an earthquake, make sure you're covering yourself as you duck!

No matter how prepared you assume your tenants might be, checking in with them about a few basic principles of safety can save lives!

- Scott Safadi, Cal Bay Property Management

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Damage-Free Bathroom Ideas for Renters

Strict rental agreements can kill the vibe of DIY-loving tenants. Pre-existing fixtures, storage and color schemes limit the options for personalizing a rental home, and it's hard to feel fully at home in a place you can't customize. Thankfully, there are some tips, tricks and projects that won't sacrifice your security deposit. Scott Safadi of Cal Bay Property Management recommends the following ideas for your rental home:

Add Storage

There's rarely enough storage in a bathroom. Between a person's self-care products, their bath towels, cleaning tools and bath accessories, the sheer amount of space taken up can feel overwhelming. While it might be nice to tear out a wall and install built-in shelving in your bathroom, opt instead for an over-the-toilet shelving unit. Display clean towels, candles or keep spare toilet paper handy in a spot that won't damage your rental!

Change Up the Lighting

Bathroom lighting is crucial for anyone paying attention to their hair and makeup. Too often, the light fixtures found in rental homes and apartments are yellow-tinged. If you've grown frustrated with the lights in your rental's bathroom, consider adding in a floor lamp by your mirror. No room for a lamp? Swap out your bathroom lightbulbs for LEDs. They burn more brightly white than your average lightbulb!

Hang Art You Love

Blank walls can feel lonely. Add some life to your rental's bathroom by hanging up pieces of art you're inspired by. Pops of color can breathe life into otherwise boring bathrooms! Before driving a nail through the wall, though, check your lease for your landlord's policy on decor. Damage-free double-sided tape may be a better option!

- Scott Safadi, Cal Bay Property Management

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Tips for Showing Occupied Rentals

Vacancies are never something you want, but it can be frustrating when you don't have a single empty unit to show off during open houses and tours with prospective tenants. Of course, this is a good problem to have; it shows that you're retaining tenants and doing a good job filling vacancies faster than people can move out! Scott Safadi of Cal Bay Property Management encourages other professionals to consider the following tips for showing off rentals that are still occupied:

Communicate with Tenants
The last thing anyone wants is a surprise guest, especially if that guest is their landlord. By communicating frequently with your tenants about showings, you'll be able to mitigate any kind of surprises. Have a conversation with your tenant about expectations and give them plenty of notice when you need to give a tour. By respecting your tenants' privacy, you'll set yourself up for the best showing possible.

Ask Tenants to Clean
Part of your conversation with tenants should be about the state of the unit you want to show. While nobody can keep their apartment pristine all the time, let your renters know that the unit should be tidy enough to showcase its features. It's also good to chat about pets and whether or not they can be restrained or removed altogether while guests are getting the tour. 

Save Self-Showings for Vacant Apartments
While it's tempting to attach a lockbox to a unit's door and pass out a code for self-showings, you'll want to accompany any prospective tenants as they tour an occupied apartment. Not only will this maintain the current tenant's sense of privacy, but you'll also be able to ensure their valuables and furniture are respected. 

No matter how you get around the awkwardness of showing an occupied rental, having patience and a sense of humor will go a long way to keeping both your current tenant and prospective tenants happy!

- Scott Safadi, Cal Bay Property Management

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Celebrate Mother's Day with Your Residents

Spring has officially sprung, bringing with it warmer temperatures, longer days and the beginning of a busy season of celebrations. Father's Day, college graduations and Easter all make the Spring months some of the most fun times of the year. Mother's Day, in particular, stands out as an opportunity to form relationships with your tenants. Scott Safadi of Cal Bay Property Management recommends that landlords and property managers take extra care to celebrate the mothers in your community.

By encouraging a sense of community amidst your tenants, you increase the odds of them staying put for another year. Resident events are the perfect way to build on the relationships you already have and nurture new ones. Thankfully, these events don't need to be expensive or over-the-top. Start with a simple reminder to your tenants that you care about them and their families. 

One way to do just that? Consider offering flowers for moms on Mother's Day. Partner with a local farmer's market to buy stems in bulk. You'd be surprised at how affordable such a single daisy can be, and the impact on your tenants lasts far longer than the flower itself. Send an email out to tenants letting them know that they're welcome to pick up a stem for their moms on their way by the office, and you'll have a crowd in no time!

Want to engage families with little ones? Set up a rotating craft station in your office for kids to enjoy while their parents stop in to pay rent, pick up a package or say hello. They'll love the chance to create a homemade Mother's Day card! This kind of arts and craft station is a great way to appeal to prospective tenants who stop by with their children, too. 

If you're ready to go all out on your Mother's Day community celebration, consider hosting a brunch for tenants. Everybody loves breakfast, so why not offer pastries, juice, coffee and fruit for the taking? Whether you offer this celebration to those who RSVP or for anyone stopping in, it's a fun and delicious way to honor moms. 

- Scott Safadi, Cal Bay Property Management

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