Friday, March 27, 2015

Low Interest Rates

It occurred to me that interest rates have been super low for some time now. Then again, the economy has been in a slump for some time now as well. I wonder what it will actually take for interest rates to go up. Thoughts?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Let's get money out of politics

I read this interesting article today: http://thehigherlearning.com/2014/06/26/a-16-year-old-programmer-just-made-a-plugin-that-shows-where-politicians-get-their-funding/ It reminded me why our political system is broken. Money in politics and the lobbying that comes with it is the reason for nearly all of our political woes today and the reason that our political system today is often regarded as "broken." When you read about laws that don't make any sense or law that are passed despite having little or no support among the voters, you know you can thank a lobbyist. I will never have faith in our political system until campaign finance reform becomes a reality. It's just too bad that the people who would need to pass such an important law are the people who benefit most from being the status quo. Something major needs to happen.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Scott Safadi Discusses Rain and the News

Has anyone noticed how the news refuses to report on good news? For a while, I thought it was because there is more bad news out there than good news, but based on the way the news outlets are reporting the recent/current rainfall in California, I am convinced that they prefer fear and negativity over all else. California has been in a drought for nearly 4 years. Now, that it's finally raining, the headlines read, "rainstorm lashes out" and "residents prepare for flooding and mudslides." These headlines are downright offensive given the context. There is nothing California needs more than rain right now. We are literally running out of water. Mudslides an flooding are miniscule in significance compared to the benefit of getting all of this rain and snow. We should be having a parade right now, not talking about mudslides.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Scott Safadi discusses the 49ers

Scott Safadi has been an avid 49er from since he was a child. He started watching football at the age of 6, back in 1987. One of his funniest childhood memories was showing up to his uncle's house with his father to watch the Superbowl. When he saw the two teams take the field, he was shocked to see that one of them was not the 49ers. He asked his dad where the 49ers were and his dad said that they didn't make it to the Superbowl that year. Scott's understanding of the rules of the Superbowl was that the entire league competed all year to see who would have to play against the 49ers in the Superbowl. It was not a terrible assumption given the context, which was that the 49ers had won the Superbowl in each of the two football seasons that Scott was a follower of the team. While there was a long slump, Scott is very happy to see a competitive 49ers team again, just one step away from being like the team of the 80's!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Scott Safadi talks about disc golf

Scott Safadi enjoys spending some of his free time playing disc golf. This is a game/sport similar to traditional golf, in that you start from the tee (although it is a tee pad and not an actual tee) and the goal is to land your disc in a hole, which comes in the form of a basket surrounded in chains. Scott Safadi believes that disc golf is going to become one of the fastest growing sports in the world. The barrier to entry in minimal, as disc golf typically costs nothing to play, although donations to the courses are always appreciated. In addition, all the equipment you need is a few discs that range from $10-$20 each. Unlike traditional golf, which can be very expensive to play and to buy equipment for, anyone can play disc golf. Scott Safadi loves to get out in nature, often in the Santa Cruz mountains, and spend a day playing golf and enjoying the natural setting that most courses lie in. There's nothing like making a long birdy putt or if you're feeling lucky, nailing an "ace" (hole in one). Scott Safadi admits that the learning curve is steep for beginners, but becomes quite shallow from there on out. It takes more free time than he currently has to rise to the next level. In the meantime, he enjoys getting out there and doing his best.

Monday, May 13, 2013

An Interview With Scott Safadi About Property Management

Veteran property manager Scott Safadi is owner of Cal Bay Property Manager, a premier property firm in the Bay Area. Safadi’s company is centered in the Silicon Valley area.

Q: How do you currently see the real estate market in the Silicon Valley?

Scott Safadi: Well…the Silicon Valley is the home to innovation, and I try to stay ahead of the curve myself. Too many property management companies fall in line with each other, and I make every effort to avoid that.

Q: What is it that’s different in how your company does business?

Scott Safadi: We keep close tabs on all our properties and their condition, and that helps us retain our clients and tenants. For instance, tenants can go to our cloud-based property management database to submit work or repair requests, or even to pay rent. We think it’s a pretty forward-thinking idea.

Q: Property taxes are high in Silicon Valley. How do you deal with that?

Scott Safadi: It’s a fact and a cost of doing business, and it may mean that we have to raise rent on our properties every 12 months or so. It helps retain tenants, though, when we can make sure that they are getting considerably better rents than new applicants. I really believe that good tenants in a complex are essential for a thriving business.

Q: What was the career path that brought you into property management?

Scott Safadi: Well, I have a background in construction, which gives me a pretty good command of cost analysis and building maintenance. That knowledge can then be leveraged into regular remodels and updates for properties, without having to spend an exorbitant amount. It is much easier to rent a freshened-up apartment, and that is an essential factor in keeping our units from sitting vacant for long periods.

As well his lengthy experience in the construction industry, Scott Safadi also has worked as a real estate financial analyst, another skill that has served him well in property management. Based in the San Francisco area for the course of his business career, these experiences have helped him gain a deep knowledge of the housing needs of the Bay Area.

Scott Safadi Discusses the Fair Housing Act and Tenant Screening

Scott Safadi is the President of CBPM (Cal Bay Property Management). Scott Safadi has been doing property management since 2005, with Silicon Valley apartment communities the primary focus of his business management expertise. Scott Safadi holds a CCRM (California Certified Resident Manager) designation.

All property owners and managers are well advised to thoroughly educate themselves with regard to fair housing laws, according to Scott Safadi. In simple terms, the foundation of these laws is that all applicants and tenants must be treated equally, with objectivity, and without bias. But, notes Scott Safadi, the legal jargon is more complex than the basic premise and it is advisable that professionals in the housing industry be aware of the specifics of the law.

Because of possible perceived inconsistencies that may occasionally arise especially when an application is declined, Scott Safadi thinks that the screening of applicants is best handled by a third party agency. When using a third party agency, Scott Safadi explains, a set of screening criteria and policies are pre-established by the landlord or management company for properties in their portfolio. Any tenant applying for any unit within the portfolio is assessed based on the same pre-established rules. Scott Safadi believes that not only is this the most impartial system, but it is also a system that is most compatible with fair housing laws.

Scott Safadi points out that some landlords think they can take a stack of applications for a given apartment, look through them and then choose whom they believe to be the best applicant for their property. Scott Safadi cautions that fair housing laws require applicants to be screened in the order in which they apply. Landlords and management companies are legally required to follow a first-come first-served policy when filling vacancies. Scott Safadi explains that if the first application is denied, the landlord or management company must then move to the next one received in chronological order and so on. If an application is accepted, applicants can be required to put down a deposit within 24 hours of receiving the acceptance. However, Scott Safadi warns this must be the policy for all applicants to avoid any perception of bias.

The Fair Housing Act and its amendments is a law that prevents discrimination based on religion, color, race, or national origin. It covers denial of housing, terms of sale or rental, housing advertisements, interfering with a person's enjoyment of housing rights, and retaliating against organizations for assisting individuals with the exercise of fair housing rights. Its amendments added protection against sex discrimination and discrimination against families with children and the disabled. The law allows some exceptions; however, it is advisable for landlords and management companies to address possible exemptions on an individual basis with legal experts. The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development enforces The Fair Housing Act.

Scott Safadi emphasizes the advantage of using a third party screening agency with regard to fair housing regulations. Using a third party agency takes the decision making out of the landlord’s hands, leaving no possibility for partiality on the part of a management company or landlord. Scott Safadi also stresses the importance of having a consistent policy for screening tenants like the third party agency Cal Bay Property Management uses. With the third party screening process, the decision is out of CBPM's control. If an applicant is denied, they are denied. If an applicant or tenant believes there has been an error in the selection process, he or she contacts the third party business directly. If an error is found, Scott Safadi and CBMP are able to act upon the recommendation of the screening company; however, CBMP does not have the power to override a recommendation by the company. Scott Safadi believes that this is one of the best ways for a landlord to avoid a fair housing lawsuit.

Scott Safadi recommends the website On-Site.com. It has a wealth of information on property management solutions, web-based tools, forms, and more for apartment management businesses.

Scott Safadi lives with his family in Saratoga, California. Learn more about Scott Safadi at his website aboutscottsafadi.com.

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