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

Friday, April 5, 2019

Local Flavor: 3 Gilroy Restaurants Worth Trying


Gilroy is famous the world over for its annual garlic festival. While garlic is certainly one of the city's mainstay ingredients, chefs throughout Gilroy are experimenting with flavors and techniques that are sure to delight diners. Cal Bay Property Management's Scott Safadi recommends trying these delicious restaurants the next time you're in the area. We have current vacancies in Gilroy, so consider these restaurants the sign you need to make the move to town!

OD's Kitchen
28 Martin St

Start your day at OD's, a local favorite for breakfast and brunch. Nosh on fluffy pancakes, veggie omelets and avocado toast, or indulge with the Kitchen Sink. It's a massive platter of crunchy potatoes, grilled peppers and onion mixed together with diced ham. If that's not enough to tempt you, biscuits and gravy are served alongside, making this one of the most delectable meals in all of Gilroy.

Garlic City Cafe
7461 Monterey St.

For lunch, head to Garlic City Cafe for a taste of the city's garlic obsession. From garlic soup to garlic fries and beyond, the menu is filled with endless variations on Gilroy's favorite ingredient. Hidden away in a shopping center near the outlets, Garlic City Cafe has a menu that's as diverse and inventive as it is delicious. The calamari steak sandwich served with garlic fries is a favorite here, as is the garlic chicken sandwich. 

Il Vigneto
One Cordevalle Rd, San Martin

For a romantic evening out, head to Gilroy's neighboring town San Martin. Il Vigneto is perhaps the crowning jewel of this delicious region, with a menu chock full of delectable options. Comparisons to Tuscany are easy to understand as you nosh on pan seared verlasso salmon, mole encrusted steak and orange glazed jidori chicken. Sit on the gorgeous patio with a few glasses of wine, and you'll feel like you've been transported to Italy!

- Scott Safadi, Cal Bay Property Management

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Why Your Property Needs an Energy Audit

Property Condition Assessments can give you a comprehensive look at what systems are working as intended, which need repaired and which will need replaced in the near future. The out of pocket costs associated with such an assessment can actually save property managers in the long run. Cal Bay Property Management's Scott Safadi recommends beginning with an energy audit.

Energy audits can reveal improvements that should be made in order to save you serious cash. A building naturally becomes less efficient as it ages. This often leads to tenant complaints and higher operating costs. An energy audit can give you an idea of whether or not you should work to retrofit your property with better energy systems.

Construction of new buildings has led to a more efficient California, with builders factoring environmental impacts into their plans. Existing structures can benefit from upgrades that will make them competitive with modern buildings. To know what to upgrade, though, it's best to start with an energy audit.

The audit should include a review of your property's energy consumption. Auditors will look over your electric and gas bills to see where your energy is going. They'll also take a look to see where your property is drawing in fresh air. They'll determine whether or not the air is compromising the efficiency of your heating and cooling systems. 

Insulation inspection is another aspect of an energy audit. Because insulation is such a cost-effective way to improve a structure's energy efficiency, auditors will a thorough visual evaluation of your existing insulation. They may also break out thermal imaging equipment to determine if there are any trouble areas.

If you're hoping to invest in your property and save some cash in the long run, an energy audit is a worthy endeavor.

- Scott Safadi, Cal Bay Property Management

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Outdoor Amenities to Install This Spring

For many rental properties, outdoor space is something of an oxymoron. While some units may feature small balconies or common areas to use in warmer weather, many fail to offer any sort of amenities outside at all. While this may not seem like a make-or-break decision, a lack of outdoor amenities could lead apartment hunters to opt for your competitors instead. Cal Bay Property Management's Scott Safadi advises all rental professionals to consider these easy additions to their outdoor offerings this spring:

Picnic Tables
If you have any sort of green space at your rental property, a picnic table or two can go a long way to charm new and existing tenants. Though certainly not the fanciest amenity, it's an affordable and easy way to encourage guests to get outside. Bonus points if you include space for dog owners to walk their pets nearby!

Storage Space
Though not technically outdoor, storage space can be incredibly appealing to tenants who have too much furniture for their apartment. These spaces can be rented out for additional pricing each month, or offered as a bonus amenity for each resident. While not many property managers have access to the kind of space necessary to invest in this kind of upgrade, it's worth serious consideration.

Security
Whether in the form of a fence, tall hedges, security cameras or actual security guards, increased security can help you stand out from the crowd. Gated entry, security patrols, and other safety systems can offer real peace of mind for your tenants. Even if crime isn't a big problem in your neighborhood, the mere presence of additional security can discourage breaking the law on your property.

These are just a handful of ways to boost your standing in a crowded rental market. As temperatures grow warmer, consider investing in these outdoor amenities!

- Scott Safadi, Cal Bay Property Management

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