Category: Property Management

Seven East Bay Property Management Musts

Brentwood Property ManagementThe East Bay area continues to be one of the hot investment areas in all of California. While prices are expected to continually climb, there will be adjustments and similar setbacks, as there will be anywhere else in any market worldwide. In the East Bay though, residential real estate investors get access to an experienced and professional property management environment, without the steep prices and charges that they’d likely experience in many far more expensive parts of the greater Bay area.
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Four Important Water Conservation Tips for Surviving the Drought with Your Tenants in Place

As one of the leading Alameda County and Contra Costa County property managers, we look at a lot of water bills. In fact, we pay them for many of our clients, so we’re very often in charge of keeping those costs down so that our property owners don’t see their entire investment run down the drain.

These are some of the simplest and quickest tips we make to anyone renting out an apartment in the East Bay. Fortunately, Californians are generally more aware of the issues relating to water conservation than are residents in many other parts of the country, but that advantage is lost if you don’t address the issue, in one way or another, right from the very beginning.

1) Water Costs are Included in the Rent!

Your tenants know perfectly well there’s no such thing as free water. Explaining to them exactly what conservation measures are in place – and why – allows your clients to make better decisions and lets them respect the mechanics or devices where they exist.

Professional property managers are experts at setting the tone right from the beginning. That’s part of the reason property owners hire them. But nothing is more important than establishing the rules regarding water use at the signing of the lease. Good tenants will understand to, that there rent may increase if water use gets more expensive. Those are the tenants you want to keep, and keep happy.

2) Make Reporting Leaks Easy

And make your follow-up fast, efficient and professional every time. One of the biggest sources of water waste, expense and damage is still the unreported leak. But if you show up in a few days in a stained t-shirt, you’re not likely to be invited back. That’s one of the things all property managers are experts at; just put on the show and you get better results, earlier reports of water leaks and less expense and damage.

3) The Biggest Savings is Between Tenants

You don’t have to be a super-star to make significant changes between tenants. You could take the expensive route and install one-gallon-per-flush super-efficient toilets. But short of that, put low-flow showerheads that pay for themselves in a month. And inspect for leaks everywhere. If you’re not prepared to do the plumbing yourself, the same goes for what you pay in these minor changes. Aerators on the sink faucets and a full inspection and replacement of anything old or worn out on any of the fixtures will cut your water use.

4) Establish Laundry Rules

This is one of the most commonly overlooked areas for landlords. Obviously, if your tenant own and operate their own equipment inside of the unit, you’ll need to be less restrictive. But that’s not to say you can’t post recommendations, again, to keep the rental rate stable. If your tenant use a common area with a coin operated or similar laundry, you can post more stringent regulations. You won’t stop everyone from running a full cycle for a pair of socks, but as mentioned above, a lot of your results depend on the tone you establish from the outset.

These tips are intended to keep your tenants happy and your water-bill as low as possible, even as the drought continues to affect all of us in the East Bay. There also some of the most important parts of property management we practice, and on an everyday basis, too.

3 Most Important Points About California Landlord Tenant Law

california landlord tenant lawYou don’t have to be a lawyer to rent a home in California. Best Property Management reminds all of our Contra Costa County renters that some 99% of landlord-tenant disputes in California get settled easily and far outside of the arena of the law.

Landlord-Tenant law is pretty straightforward, easy to understand and generally something that both parties should be able to interpret and understand easily. That said, you’ll feel better understanding the basic points outlined below. They’re based on the California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Landlord Book. Read the following, and you’ll be essentially on the same footing with landlords renting residential housing, anywhere in California.

There may be a very few cases where you really will need legal counsel, and this short intro shouldn’t be understood as a substitute for legal advice. It’s not complete, but it is accurate. Remember too, compliance is always your own responsibility, and some local and municipal regulations can be just slightly different, depending on where you’re renting. … Continue reading

Seven Basic Services Your Property Management Should Be Providing. Are They?

A real estate investment can seem like a scary place to put your money. You’re not sure which way things will go. So many factors can affect whether you come out on top that you really need to do your homework.

Hiring a property management company is one way to reduce the variables. The range of responsibilities you’ll pay them for are – each and every one of the – going to reduce the level of risk. Let’s go quickly through the most basic things you should be getting from your property manager. … Continue reading

No Excuses: Five Good Ways for Property Owners to be Neighborhood Advocates, Too

Very few absentee slumlords started out in life as absentee slumlords.

Deteriorating property values lead to deteriorating returns – and no one really comes out on top.

But being a landlord is not exactly an easy ride either, even in the best of times. Let’s take a look at nine easy ways you can get involved in your community, and reap the rewards of doing so. You really don’t need to run for city council to beef up your properties’ values and to keep your tenants in place.

These are Five Ways to Start Being a Neighborhood Advocate and not just another landlord.

1) Be a Property Manager – Not an Owner!  

“Landlord” is just four letters away from “slumlord.” So why tempt the comparison?  Even if you’re renting out mostly higher-end properties, call yourself for what you’re doing, not for what you are. And present yourself that way too. You’re here reading this so let’s assume you’re already interested in the field. Rather than just owning, start managing. Owners may think of themselves as lords, but few of them will profit from doing so.

2) Manage Your Neighborhood

That doesn’t mean you go out and start bossing the neighbors around, though that would be funny. On the contrary, imagine buying that property and moving in. No matter where it is, you’re going to be involved. Rather than ruling “in absentia”, you need to manage your property’s relationship to a broader community. The more properties you’re managing, the more involved you need to be.

3. Know thine Neighbor

It doesn’t mean knocking on their doors. It doesn’t mean getting involved in their lives. Say hello. Perhaps when the place is new, leave a business card. Ask questions when you are in the neighborhood and introduce yourself as the property manager. There is no end to benefits you can receive from knowing people and from letting them know you. And to the greatest extent possible, manage your properties’ online presence to be involved with the community. Promote neighboring businesses and organizations and do some word-of-mouth work on their behalf.

4. Study Neighborhood Associations

Co-op boards, ownership groups, crime watch and community redevelopment organizations are all valuable sources of information. They come from people looking for exactly the same things you want: better tenants, better rents and better resale values. Those things come from better families, safer streets and more community – not from paranoid cynicism.

5. Organize Events, Regularly

That can mean block parties, wine tastings or coffee breaks with Danishes. You know who’s living there and what they prefer. Regularly means once or twice a year and probably not more. But suddenly you really are managing. If you own one to five properties, you might be merely attending events. But with more than five properties, you need to be deeply involved in organizing them and promoting them. It’s only going to help, and being a manager, you’ve always got a good reason to show up.

All of the above is not necessarily something totally simple to accomplish. Organizing and hosting events take some time and some money. Then again, all of the above is also something you should expect from a good, and good-sized property management firm. It’s not just about collecting the rent, but also about protecting the investment. Protecting a rental property always comes down to making it livable and making the neighborhood livable too.