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.

Preventive Snow Removal Tips

Snow removal is one of the many services you must provide to your tenants in exchange for rent. Snow removal is also a necessary preventive measure to reduce risk and liability from slips and falls by not just your tenant, but their family, friends, and other visitors to the property. Prevention begins at the front door, and ends anywhere anyone could possibly walk, slip, or fall.

How and When to Protect Your Property

You should have your snow removed every day before you or your tenants go to work. Ice should be removed on an hourly basis if needed, especially if there is a rainstorm. If you use a contractor, frequent talks with them to determine the best times to visit your property are recommended.

Mark the date and time you did snow removal at your property. Also have your contractor do the same. If you are sued for a slip and fall, you can use the dates and times the property was serviced as a defense with your homeowner’s policy.

Some homeowners think that shoveling a path through the sidewalk is sufficient. Not only is it not sufficient, but also one snowstorm after snowstorm will make shoveling harder to complete. The snow not shoveled will be packed down, and heavy. Also, you will find it hard to find someplace to put the snow. A good path clearing should be at least 42 inches wide. Designate yard or driveway space in anticipation of a big winter of snow.

When there is a blizzard, it could snow day and night. You will want your snow removed so your tenants can go to work in the morning to avoid slip and fall suits. Also, research your city ordinances about required snow removal. In Boston, Massachusetts, landlords must remove the snow and slush from their sidewalks within 3 hours of a storm, or they will be fined every day of non-compliance.

Make sure the path to the trash cans or dumpster is cleared. If not, people will not put their trash there any more. When it snows, they will leave it at the nearest convenience to the trash cans.

If your commercial tenants have a lease stating they are responsible for their own snow removal, take a ride and see if they are doing it properly. If not, send them a warning letter, with a specific deadline for lease compliance.

Again, check your local ordinances on snow removal. Some cities charge a substantial fine for shoveling your snow on the street or your neighbor’s sidewalk area.

Hire Someone Else to Shovel the Snow

Your back is killing you, your legs feel like jelly, and your head is throbbing from a head cold. I think that is when it is time to call it a day. A shovel full of snow could average 7 lbs., not including the weight of the shovel. Add to that the exertion of throwing the snow over your head into the front yard.

Do you have any form of asthma or bronchitis? If there is one snowstorm after another, and you have a full time job, why are you out there shoveling snow and throwing down ice melt? Hire a company whose job it is to make sure your sidewalk and driveway is always clear when you leave for and come home from work. It’s a tax deductible property expense.

When you hire a snow removal company, the liability is on them. Make sure the company has liability insurance. Give clear directions as to when you want the snow removed from your property. Talk about what to do if it rains, and the sidewalk freezes over.

This is a high-risk time for people to fall on your property. Protect your investment by having someone remove snow and ice, regardless of when it snows or rains. You can still go by yourself and throw down some salt and sand.

If your back goes out, you are sick, or have to stay at work for overtime, having a contractor will save you the aggravation of doing it yourself. Also, your contractor can hire people to do this work even if one of his employees take sick.

If you live on the property, have your contractor shovel out your car, too. Again, why shovel and sand your property in your business suit before you have to go to work?

Consideration

1. Fire Hydrants – A large snowstorm will cover what could be a life saving device. Remember to clear your fire hydrants, and instruct your snow contractor to do the same.

2. Wheelchair Accessibility, the Disabled and the Elderly – Winter is especially difficult on disabled people, the elderly and those who have to go to work using a wheel chair. Give them enough clearance to navigate your sidewalks with ease. Don’t just shovel a path – shovel the entire sidewalk. If your property is next to the end of the sidewalk, shovel the handicap ramp.

3. Plant Life – Do not plant flowers or shrubs where you plan to dump your snow for the winter. The sand and salt from the street mixed with the snow will kill your plants. I have found that bulb plants can survive. Yet, if you have an extended snow season that goes through April, your tulips may start to come up while snow and ice is still on the ground. Better to strategically plant your flowers and bulbs where you do not intend to dump snow and ice during the winter.

4. Rock Salt vs. Ice Melt – Rock salt, which contains water, will only melt snow and ice up to the freezing temperature. Rock salt also has a corrosive nature, and will wear out the cement on brick stairs. Ice melt is a bit more expensive, but is better long term as a preventive protection. Ice melt is better for indoor carpeting.

Use sand to give people some traction on icy areas. Sawdust is really messy when tracked inside your apartment.

5. Maintenance – Keep your snow blower tuned up after every snowstorm. It will increase its longevity. Do not store gasoline in your house.

6. Before shoveling or plowing, spray some WD-40 oil on the shovel or snow plow blades. It will help make the snow slip off the blades quickly, and prevent ice from forming on the blade and shovel.

Maintain your snow removal efforts in a preventive manner to reduce risks and liability. You will also find that consistent and considerate snow removal management will give your property a good reputation.

8 Tips to Help You Look For Your Desired Apartment

When you are looking for an apartment, you may want to consider a few important amenities, such as public transportation, in-unit dryer/washer and so on. What you need to do is check out more than one apartment before you decide on one. Since renting an apartment costs a good deal of money, make sure you make this decision after doing your homework. Given below are a few tips that can make your search easier.

1. Set a Budget

Don’t ignore the rental price when you see an apartment that features a big living room, amazing window views and the right location. So, it’s important that you decide on a budget prior to starting your search.

What you need to do is find out what you can afford. For this purpose, you should consider other expenses, such as social activities, gym membership, utilities and groceries.

2. Consider the season

In summer, the rental price may be higher than winter. So, it’s important that you take this factor into account when making a decision. If you are on a budget, we suggest that you look for an apartment in winter months, such as February, March, and December. During these months, the demand is low. So, you can get a better accommodation for a lower price.

3. Make a short list

Although it’s a good idea to visit each place on your list, it can waste a lot of time. There is another time-saving method of achieving the same purpose. You can search for your desired place on the Internet. You can make a short list of apartments and then visit each in person based on your schedule.

4. Get Organized

When looking at several options, it may be hard for you to organize the details, such as contact details, deposit amount, rental rates and other amenities. So, it’s a good idea to put together a spreadsheet.

5. Go See an Apartment with Your Roommate

If you are going to move with a roommate, make sure you take them with you to see a place. This will save you a lot of time. After seeing the house, you can discuss it together, which will make the decision process easier for you.

6. Consider the Public Transportation

When looking for a place, you should consider its proximity to the most important thing: public transportation. This can help you save money on maintenance, car insurance and gas, thus making it easier for you to collect money to pay the monthly rent.

7. Ask About Discounts

Based on the type of residence you want to rent, you may want to benefit from move-in discounts as well. For instance, if you sign up for a year or so, you may get to stay in the apartment for free for the first month.

8. Find out About the Average Energy Costs

Make sure ask about the average energy costs for the apartment. After all, you don’t want to pay half of your salary to cover your energy expenses.

In short, make sure you consider these tips when looking for your desired apartment.

Tips to Consider Before You Opt for a Short Term Rental

If you are going to take a vacation in the near future, we suggest that you consider a short-term rental service. You will have a lot of options to choose from. Usually, these homes have all that you need to spend your vacation comfortably. Read on to find out more.

Nowadays, economic circumstances have lead people to opt for short-term rentals. Aside from individuals, companies have made changes to how they work. In other words, their employees have to go to different sites from time to time. In the same way, tenants have similar needs to meet.

You can find a lot of letting agencies that offer short-term rentals. This helps tenants find an accommodation that has all the required facilities. Normally, this type of residence has a high standard, which means they have all the stuff you need on a regular basis. The only things you need are your clothes and suitcases.

Now, if you are going to move to another city, make sure you do your homework first. This will help you opt for the best area. If you are moving to another city on work, we suggest that you choose a rental home that is located in that city. This is important to consider because you need a lot of amenities when you are working in a city.

If you are going on a vacation, on the other hand, then your best bet is to find a rental apartment that is located away from the city. No matter which option you opt for, make sure you consider your budget.

Once you have chosen an area, you may want to search for short-term rental service in your desired area. Take a look at different apartments and once you have found one, find out how much it costs. Usually, short-term rentals don’t come with a lot of restrictions. You can get a discount if you are going to stay there for a longer period of time.

If you are an employee, we suggest that you consider company rentals. Usually, they work the same way private rentals work, but they are a bit different from regular rentals. The competition between these providers is stiff as they want to get the best deal. Employees tend to prefer company lets as they have a lot of amenities.

Some short-term rentals are in touch with companies that need shorter lets from time to time. They can be a good option, especially if you have a company.

If you are a leisure traveler, you may want to go for short-term rentals. The reason is that these rentals are properly furnished. They have amazing kitchens that will save you a good deal of money as you won’t have to eat out. Typically, the rental price includes all the charges.

Nowadays, short-term rentals are quite popular. If you are going to move to another city for work or want to go on a vacation, you may want to consider a short-term rental service. Hope, this article will help you choose one easily.

5 Tips To Consider When Using A Bidding Service To Purchase A Trustee Sale

Purchasing a property at a trustee sale, or auction, represents one of the best ways for sophisticated investors to acquire equity in real estate. In this article we will discuss what to look for when using a bidding service to assist you in purchasing a property.

To begin, trustee sale auctions happen every weekday, and most are held at the steps of the County Courthouse. Some are held outside the offices of the Trustee.

Many who choose to purchase a trustee sale opt to go with a bidding service. The reason being is that there is a massive amount of data to sift through, and allowing a bidding service to perform the preliminary market research can save you a lot of time. This market research usually highlights the properties with the most potential for return on investment.

The tips below should help you get acquainted with choosing a bidding service that meets your needs, and makes you feel more comfortable with making a purchase at a Trustee Sale.

  1. Choose a service that updates its list daily
    Auctions are dynamic. You may want to bid on a property that is a great deal right now, only to find a few hours later it has been postponed. Similarly, you may find a property that was a bad deal an hour ago, but now the opening bid dropped to make it a profitable property. On the flip side, the reverse may happen and the bid may jump. Jump bids are tricky in that they can jump a little and the property can still be profitable, or it may jump up a ridiculous amount making it much less enticing. Having an up-to-date list is key in making smart bidding decisions.
  2. Choose a service that notifies you of drop/jump bids
    This tip compliments the one above it. A drop bid is when a trustee releases/lowers the opening bid amount for a property a short time before the auctioning of it. Conversely, a jump bid is when a trustee raises the opening bid amount for the property a short time before the auction. The key thing to note is to make sure your bidding company notifies you of the jump/drop bids, if and only if, they are for profitable properties. You only want to receive notifications for the profitable properties. There are a lot of properties that get auctioned off in a day and a lot of information to sift through. Would you really want to be notified about a drop bid for a property that you would loose $200K on? But if you could make $200K on a property that just got a drop bid, you definitely want to be notified. This goes hand-in-hand with having an up-to-date auction list.
  3. Take your time
    Auctions happen everyday, Monday – Friday, excluding holidays. You can find great deals almost everyday. Make sure you take the time and find a property that you feel comfortable purchasing. The advantage of purchasing at auction over a traditional home purchase is that you can own the property by the next business day. On the flip side though, you need hard money to purchase a property at auction, although many who purchase do go through a hard money lender. Take your time though, it is a lot of money to invest, and when you do make a purchase you should feel secure and happy that you made the right decision. Never let a bidder pressure you.
  4. Make sure you can get a hold of your bidding company
    Let’s say you find a great deal last minute you want to bid on; you want to make sure you can get a hold of your bidding service. If you change your mind last minute about bidding on a property; you want to make sure you can get a hold of your bidding service. Bottom line, choose a respectable, responsible, and responsive bidding company.
  5. Always verify the research yourself.
    This is most likely the most important tip of all. There is no doubt you can find some great deals at a trustee sale. However, when reviewing an auction list provided to you make sure you double-check the profit margins and verify the math yourself for every property you plan to bid on. Also, be sure to view the property before purchasing it. Seeing the property for yourself is the best route to go, however, it is not always the most feasible. There are many ways to view a property, Google maps, recent photos, or contacting a Realtor to show you the property.