Apartment Rental Tips – Choosing a Neighborhood in Los Angeles

Los Angeles living is exciting, fast-paced, and exceedingly diverse. Life in one part of the city can be a striking contrast, bearing no resemblance to life elsewhere in LA. The apartment rental process can be one that is fraught with difficulty, if only due to the huge number of choices available. When you start the apartment rental process in Los Angeles, you’ll quickly get overwhelmed because there are well over 100 distinct, named neighborhoods in the city. Which ones are hot? Which ones are dangerous? Which are kid friendly, and which have the best nightlife? Apartment rental is stressful enough in Los Angeles, so we’re going to bring you our picks for the best neighborhoods in LA for apartment rental today.

Venice Beach. If beach living is the life for you, look no farther than Venice Beach. Life here is affordable, diversified, and colorful. It’s clear when you visit Venice Beach that the free spirit that attracted so many artists of yesteryear, including Doors frontman Jim Morrison, survives today. Life in Venice Beach is populated by street performers, wandering musicians, craft vendors, and of course the hip bohemians who make Venice Beach their home. Variety is the spice of life here.

Westwood. Westwood is home to UCLA, so it features plenty of students, with the requisite affordable student housing, bars, and nightlife. Life in Westwood is fast and happening, but if you’re young and looking for a place you can truly unwind, and don’t mind fighting for parking, then Westwood may be the place for you.

Silver Lake. Silver Lake is a young, hip neighborhood characterized by organic cafes, dive bars, artsy boutiques, coffee shops, and easy-going, friendly, trendy people. Its proximity to downtown, Hollywood, and other great night spots around the city makes this an ideal spot for someone who likes to keep all of their options open.

Los Feliz. Once a mecca for the artists and indie crowd, Los Feliz has evolved into an upscale neighborhood attracting trendy residents looking for a quiet place to call home and retreat from the bustle of the city. The Los Angeles apartment rental prices are understandably rising as the neighborhood improves, but it’s still possible to find affordable digs in Los Feliz.

Midtown. A true melting pot of the city, Midtown is home to wealthy city-dwellers, working-class families, students, and more. Home to Koreatown, this centrally located hub is a great place to live if you always want to be connected to the action, but be warned, being centrally located means being in the middle of the city’s infamous traffic congestion, so plan accordingly.

Choosing a Property Manager – Practical Tips For Real Estate Investors

Selecting a property management firm is one of the most important decisions a real estate investor can make. The following are critical factors we think you should look at when making your decision.

Customer Service

You really want to select a firm that will deliver great customer service – to you and tenants alike. If you experience any responsiveness issues when inquiring about their service, the odds are that you will experience the same on an ongoing basis if you select the firm. Ask pertinent questions such as:

  • Are they available after regular working hours?
  • How do they handle emergencies?
  • Who can you speak to if there are problems, and where are they located?
  • Do they offer any guarantees on their service?

Knowledge of Building Construction & Maintenance

Experience and knowledge of building construction and maintenance is key for your property management firm to have. We would expect a coffee company like Starbucks to have excellent knowledge about the coffee equipment in use at their stores. We should expect a property management company to have excellent knowledge about the building technology in use at their properties. Key questions are:

  • Do they have skills on staff to be able to diagnose building issues quickly & effectively?
  • Are formal and documented maintenance and capital upgrade plans created for each property?
  • Can they manage subtrade work over and above minor maintenance?

Tenant Screening Process

You will want to select a firm that takes tenant selection seriously and does more than just the standard background checks. Tenant selection requires time, solid inter-personal skills and good judgment. Ask questions such as:

  • How much time will they spend with a prospective tenant?
  • What kind of questions will be asked of the tenant?
  • Will references be checked even if a reference letter is provided?

Local Market Knowledge

The most important influence to real estate investment value is the local market influence – and local market knowledge is key. Your property manager should have excellent knowledge of the local real estate market. Ask pertinent questions such as:

· What local staff presence exists?

· How does the firm keep up with local market trends?

· Will you be dealing with any remotely located staff to get service?

· Will tenants or prospective tenants be dealing with local or remote staff?

Fee Structure

You will want to select a firm with reasonable fees and also a structure whereby fees on top of fees are avoided. For example, for a renovation you will want to avoid paying a % fee to the construction contractor, and then a % fee to the property manager on top of that. Ask pertinent questions such as:

· What fees are charged for renovation and construction projects?

· Do they use general contractors for renovation and construction? If so, what fees are charged?

· Do they have the capability to manage subtrades directly?

Information Systems

Technology helps businesses run. Your property management company should have a clear information systems management strategy and operational. As the owner of the property, in the end you are responsible for the information so you will want to make sure your property manager has a good handle on it. Ask pertinent questions such as:

· How is information maintained?

· Are IT industry best-practices followed?

· How is privacy legislation compliance achieved?

· Does a backup strategy exist?

· What is the company’s IT disaster recovery plan

Accounting

And finally, you will want your books in order. This will keep your tax accountant happy and your accounting fees low. Find out if the property management firm has a solid grounding in accounting practices. Key questions include:

· What financial and transaction records are kept?

· What is the accounting cycle for the property?

· Which reports will be provided?

· Is someone available to answer your accountant’s questions should any arise?

Understanding the above areas and getting to know a property management firm’s management approach to managing these key aspects of real estate management will lead you to making a well-informed decision.

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