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Property Management Blog

5 Tips for Brand New Landlords in Hayward

Deanna Hansen - Thursday, April 10, 2014

Today, we are sharing five tips for new landlords so you can be prepared for the problems that often come with property management.

  1. Educate yourself. Find out exactly what it takes to be a landlord. Especially important is the time commitment you’re going to have to make. Talk to two or three professional property managers so you have a good idea about what they do on a daily basis. This will help you determine whether you want to self-manage or hire a professional.
  2. Find a good all-around handyman. You want someone dependable and professional. There is nothing worse than hiring someone off the street because you think you’re getting a good deal. That person is probably not licensed or insured, and lots of self managers hire these types of workers and then they end up getting exactly what they pay for. Things will break or take longer and you’ll end up losing a tenant who is tired of making the same maintenance request and things not getting handled correctly. You’d rather avoid that. Test out any contractors you’re considering on your own home and get an idea of how they do. If you’re satisfied, send them over to your rental property.
  3. Purchase a good lease. A lot of leases are made up without protecting the landlord as much as they could. Remember that not all leases are created equal, and you don’t want to copy something that doesn’t include all of the necessary information. Use a lease that protects you and your property from all potential pitfalls and problems. You don’t want to face legal ramifications because your lease isn’t strong enough.
  4. Update your insurance coverage. When you become a landlord, it’s essential to have the right kind of coverage in place. There are a lot of differences between homeowners policies and landlord policies. You don’t want to leave yourself open to liability because you had the wrong insurance plan in place.
  5. Interview and hire a good tax accountant. It will help you to have someone who can provide financial advice when it comes to the best way to own property. There are lots of things you can do to maximize the tax benefits available on your real estate investment.
 5 Tips for Brand New Landlords in Hayward
Potential problems can be easily managed when you decide to use a professional Hayward property manager. Remember that you can hire a manager to do just some of the things that you’d rather leave to a professional. For instance, many property managers, such as ourselves, can provide lease up services only, when we put a good management contract in place and screen the tenants to get you on the path towards a successful landlord experience. If you have any questions about how to start being a landlord, contact us at Aapex Property Management.

Where to Buy Investment Property in Hayward

Deanna Hansen - Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Today, we’re talking about where to buy investment property in Hayward and neighboring areas around here. Before you buy, it’s important to decide what your objective is for this particular piece of property. Determine whether you are looking for immediate cash flow or a long term investment. Or, maybe you’re looking for a place that you can move into yourself when you’re ready to retire. Understanding your goal is more important than the area you select.

From a management perspective, a relatively newer neighborhood is always easier. There is often less maintenance involved in homes that aren’t too old or neglected and there are also fewer problems with tenants in these types of neighborhoods. They make very desirable rental areas, especially for young families. You don’t have to look for a property that is brand new, but on the newer side and in good condition. You don’t want to buy something that is falling apart. There are pockets of these neighborhoods in Hayward and similar areas that are a little bit nicer and easy for attracting tenants.

Logistically speaking, you want to choose an investment home that is closer to transportation. Look for a house with local freeways that area easy to get to and plenty of shopping nearby. Schools are also important. Families will children will look for a rental home that is in a good school district, so get to know the school system in the neighborhood before you buy. Generally speaking, a three bedroom home with two baths and a garage are the easiest homes to rent. You want to find a house that is between 10 and 30 years old. These are the best the places to buy when you want to rent the property out, and there are lots of properties that fit this description in Hayward.
 Where to Buy Investment Property in Hayward Based Off Of Your Financial Goals
Get yourself a good real estate agent when you begin looking for a house. It helps to work with someone you know and someone you are comfortable with. We would be happy to give you rental values before you buy so you aren’t surprised when you close the deal and have to start looking for tenants.

If you’d like some help finding a good investment property, or you have any questions on how to choose the right one, please contact us at Aapex Property Management, and we’d be happy to help you.

How to Advertise and Find the Best Tenants in Hayward

Deanna Hansen - Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Online advertising is where it’s at these days. People are using websites, Craigslist and numerous other sites and portals to locate tenants. I think I heard that 90 percent of tenants are finding properties through the Internet now. If you are only advertising in the newspaper, you’re missing out on a lot of potential tenants. So, online advertising is a must.

Craigslist is a good venue. We have three different IDs at Aapex Property Management, which enables us to load our properties three times a week. If you have ever used Craigslist before, you know that you load your property in the morning and it’s the first one on the page, but by the afternoon, it’s down to number 30 on the list. So, we load properties more often, and we find it’s a key in finding good tenants.

Having a website with pictures of your property is also a good idea. Tenants love to see pictures. We try to take at least 10 to 20 pictures to put on our website. Often, we have tenants come into our office and they will know they want to rent a place before they even see it because the pictures on our website really told the story. We always encourage them to view the property anyway, of course. Pictures really do say a thousand words, so take good ones and advertise them on good websites.

We used to put signs on all of our properties because people would drive by, see the signs and give us a call. Unfortunately, we have found that now, especially in properties that are tucked back off the main streets, a For Rent sign can be an invitation to criminals. If people know the place is vacant, there could be problems if the house is in a remote area. So, good or bad, we find that if a property is in a high traffic area, a For Rent sign is worthwhile, but for properties off the beaten path, it might not make sense.

Another way to find the best tenants is to have a good screening process written and available on your website. If you have a good screening policy that tenants can review before they look at the property, you will weed out bad tenants. By coming to a property management company, you will automatically weed out tenants who would pose potential problems. An owner recently came to me because she hung a sign outside her property and had about 40 people inquire about renting the place. Since she did not want to screen them all, she turned the process over to me. In just a couple of days, we narrowed the pool of potential renters down to about three people. T How to Advertise and Find the Best Tenants in Haywardenants know a property management company will do all the necessary checks, including a credit check, landlord references, etc.

Hiring a Hayward property management company is a good deal for you when you are looking for good tenants. If you decide to do it on your own, just keep in mind that you need to advertise online, provide lots of pictures and do a thorough screening. Should you need any help with advertising or screening tenants, feel free to contact us at Aapex Property Management.

Tips for Thorough Tenant Screening: By a Hayward Property Manager

Deanna Hansen - Wednesday, July 31, 2013

There are several tips we want to provide that can help you do a more thorough tenant screening. The first part of tenant screening, I think, is to make sure you have written policies and procedures in place on what your criteria is for acceptable tenants in your property. At Aapex Property Management, we tell all of our prospective tenants exactly what we are going to be looking for in any rental application. This will show them what they need to do in order to qualify to rent one of our properties.

When you begin your screening process, remember that you are looking for a history and a pattern of behavior for the tenants. You don’t really want to know what’s been going on in just the last year, and it probably won’t help you to know whether or not they pay their Macy’s bill every month. It also does not matter to you whether they had a family emergency a couple of years ago that had an impact on their credit score or situation. You want to know what their pattern of behavior is.

One of the best ways to understand behavior is to talk to current and former landlords. This is part of a thorough tenant screening. Contact those landlords and find out if they were good tenants. Ask if they paid their rent on time, if they had any unauthorized pets on the property while they lived there. Find out how they left the place, and if they took care of it. Ask if they got all or some of their security deposit back. These things will help you determine how the tenants will take care of your property.

Be sure you confirm income and employment. Ask the potential tenant for at least two recent paycheck stubs. This will show you how much the tenants earn, and you will be able to figure out whether they can afford the rent price. Call their employers to verify the tenant still works there. Tips for Thorough Tenant Screening: By a Hayward Property Manager

When you do a thorough tenant screening, you can find high quality tenants who pay their rent on time and take care of your property. Isn’t that what you want as a landlord and property investor?

If you need any help with the screening process or you have questions about this blog, please do not hesitate to contact us at Aapex Property Management. We would be happy to help you.

What do Property Managers in Hayward Do, and what does it Cost?

Deanna Hansen - Wednesday, July 31, 2013

At Aapex Property Management, we have been in business for more than 24 years and one of the questions I get asked most often is: what exactly do you do? Well, I do everything for you. A property manager in Hayward will come out to your property, assess it, help you set your rental value, let you know if there is anything you need to do to keep the rental current with California law. For example, California law says you have to have a smoke detector on the property. It also requires you to have a carbon monoxide detector in the home. Your water heater needs to be strapped. These are the kinds of details we will let you know about to make sure you are in compliance.

Property managers will also help you rent out the property. We will do your advertising, help you out with showing the place, collect applications and conduct the tenant screening. A good property manager will find you quality tenants. Once we find a great tenant who qualifies, we will collect a security deposit as well as the first month’s rent. We will have them sign an agreement or a contract and settle all the details about when they will move into the property. We will conduct inspections, and after they have moved into the property, we will be the main point of contact. If there are any questions or concerns, your tenant will contact us. We will handle any maintenance issues, and we have a 24 hour emergency line that comes straight to an Aapex Property Management employee. If there is an after hours crisis, we will handle it for you.

We also keep current on all state and local laws. It seems like new laws come through every year, and I’ll be honest with you – they rarely favor the landlord. We take courses, go to conferences, and have monthly meetings with local agencies so we can make sure that when we manage your properties, we are doing so with all major laws in mind.

 What do Property Managers in Hayward Do, and what does it Cost?The cost of property management services varies in Hayward, just like it does anywhere else. Keep in mind that a lot of the time, you really do get what you pay for.

If you have any questions about the services a Hayward property manager can provide, please contact us at Aapex Property Management.

What Do I Do with My Parents’ Home in Hayward?

Deanna Hansen - Monday, June 03, 2013

Deciding what to do with your parents’ home is always a difficult decision. Many of us have parents who have lived in their home for many years, and there is an emotional attachment in place. Nevertheless, there is a financial consideration and a business side involved in deciding what to do with the home.

Determining the cash value of the property is important in your decision-making process. Get a written estimate for what the listed price would be and then calculate the costs involved in preparing the house for sale and selling it. Figure out how much profit you can expect from the sale of that house. Then, decide what you will do with that money and what kind of yield you can expect to get from whatever cash investment you’ll make from the sale proceeds.

Compare that projection to the financial benefit you may get from keeping the home as a rental property. Ask a property manager for help in determining how much you could rent the place for and how much it would cost you to get the place in good condition for the rental market. Then, you can determine what kind of positive cash flow you would get out of that property.

There is going to be an emotional element when it comes to either selling or renting the property. You’ll have to decide whether you are able to rent out your mother’s house or the home you grew up in. Your tenants might not take care of it the way you would like them to.

Put all of the information you collect together and then compare the cash flow of selling the house to the cash flow of keeping it and renting it out. Then factor in the emotional part and you’ll be able to determine what’s best for you. Once you do that, hire a really good sales agent or a What Do I Do with My Parents’ Home? really good property management, and move forward with your plan.

One final note – start now. Even if your parents aren’t ready to move and you think you don’t have to worry about this for a few years, at least start the planning process. You don’t want this difficult decision to be made at the last minute.

If you have any questions about what to do with your parents’ property or how you should approach its management, please contact us at Aapex Property Management, and we’d be happy to help you.

Property Management How To – Maintenance Costs in Hayward

Deanna Hansen - Friday, May 24, 2013

Most rental property owners want to know how much it will cost to keep a property maintained. There are a lot of factors involved in that answer. One factor is the age of the property. If the home is older and has not had a lot of maintenance done in the last few years, it’s going to cost more to keep that property maintained. We know water heaters don’t last forever, nor do appliances. Even cabinets eventually wear out. Keep those things in mind when you are purchasing a property or preparing to put a property on the rental market.

If the water heater is over 10 years old, I usually recommend to the owners that they go ahead and replace it before they rent out the home. This is because it is inevitable that on some Saturday night at 2:00 a.m., that water heater will start leaking, leaving water all over the place. It is a habitability issue for your tenants, and the water will also cause damage to your property. Therefore, you’ll need to get someone out there after hours to take care of the problem. So, the cost will be a lot more than if you had just replaced it before putting the property up for rent.

Annual surveys and inspections of the property can also keep some of the big ticket maintenance items from happening. A water leak you notice today may cost you a couple hundred of dollars to fix, and a water leak that isn’t noticed for a year will cost you several thousands of dollars to fix.

Make sure you use a licensed and insured company for maintenance work. You don’t want to take the risk of having an unlicensed company or person working on your property. Make sure your contractors know all the local laws, rules and ordinances. Here in the bay area, you have to be EPA certified to work on a property with mold, or to disturb more than three square feet of paint.

At Aapex Property Management, we make sure all our vendors are certified and licensed. We keep copies of their certifications and credentials on fi Property Management How To – Maintenance Costs in Haywardle, so if we ever need to produce those, we can show that the person who worked on a property is licensed. You do not want a tenant who is now ill to sue you later on for mishandling a property because a vendor you used was not certified. Make sure whoever does maintenance knows what they are doing.

If you have any questions about maintenance costs and how to minimize them, please contact us at Aapex Property Management.

Security Deposit Procedures by a Hayward Property Manager

Deanna Hansen - Friday, May 17, 2013

When it comes to security deposit procedures in Hayward, it is important that you follow California law when returning security deposits to your tenants. Otherwise, the tenants can take you to court and you could be liable for up to three times the amount of the security deposit. That’s a lot of money, so get to know the law and make sure you handle security deposits properly.

California law states that you must refund the deposit to your tenants within 21 days of the tenants turning possession of the property back over to you. California law also states that if you are going to deduct anything from the security deposit, you must provide the tenants with a receipt for whatever work was necessary. For example, if you need to have the carpet cleaned because the tenants did not do it, clean the carpet and then supply a receipt showing how much you had to pay for that cleanup. If you need to have the floor replaced because of damage caused by the tenants, you need to provide a receipt for the work that was done.

You will also need to prorate certain items. For example, a floor replacement or a paint job you need to do inside the house has to be prorated based on the amount of time the tenant lived in that property.

If you cannot get the necessary things taken care of within the 21 day timeframe required by California law, you must give a good faith estimate of the charges. You might get a bid for the floor work that you plan to do, and if that estimate is $2,000, you can go ahead and make a good faith estimate within your 21 days. Once the floor is completed and you have receipts actually come in to you, you can make any neces Security Deposit Procedures by a Hayward Property Managersary adjustments to the security deposit and send out another letter with the refund. Just make sure you document your estimate as well as the final receipts. The tenant might get more back that you initially thought.

Please do not hesitate to contact us at Aapex Property Management if you have any questions about security deposits or how they pertain to California law. Thank you for reading out blog.

Hayward Property Management Facts: Property Maintenance Part 2 – Vendors

Deanna Hansen - Friday, May 03, 2013

One of the most important things you need to do at your property is to hire good vendors. You must hire people who are licensed, insured and carry workers compensation insurance if there are other employees doing work. You need to do this so you don’t incur any liability at your property. It also ensures a better quality of work.

We had one of our property owners hire someone from in front of the local Home Depot to go out to his property and do some work. We knew that he had done this because after he was done with the repairs, our inspector from Aapex Property Management went over to check things out and the work was really shoddy. The paint had been sprayed poorly, and there was paint sprayed into the carpet, there was paint on the cabinets in the kitchen and all over the stove and the countertops. When we called the owner to ask about who had taken care of the maintenance on the property, he told us what he had done and who he had hired.

This is problematic, because if the person he had hired from outside of the Home Depot had gotten hurt while on the property, our owner would have been sued. His insurance company would have helped him with the lawsuit, but none of us want to go through a lawsuit for something like this, which could have been avoided. Also, you don’t want shoddy work done on your property. It just creates a bad impression when tenants come in and view it.

Hire vendors who will treat your tenants well, especially when you are scheduling work while there is a tenant in the property. A tenant will get upset if there is a maintenance person in the house throwing tools around or acting mean or leaving a mess behind. Hire someone who will be mindful of tenants.

As a Hayward property management company, we establish relationships with all of our vendors. We have some vendors who have been with us for a long time. One licensed contractor has been working with us for almost 20 years. He has reasonable rates and he does a good job for us every time. As an owner, you might hire someone just once or twice. We have the same people and companies work with us over and over again, which often gives us a high volume discount. That saves a lot of money for our owners, and it’s something to keep in mind.

When you are hiring vendors, make sure you find someone you can trust, who is reliable and will treat your tenants well. Always make sure they are licensed and carry the required insurance. If you have any questions about locating vendors, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Aapex Property Management.

Hayward Property Management Facts: Maintenance Part 1 – Emergencies

Deanna Hansen - Saturday, April 27, 2013

Dealing with maintenance emergencies is part of Hayward property management. First of all, a tenant’s idea of an emergency might not be my idea of an emergency. If a tenant calls at 10:00 in the evening and tells me the toilet is clogged and I know they have two toilets, it’s not an emergency. We’ll get someone out there the next business day and it will keep the cost down for our owners. Always make sure it is really an emergency before you send someone out to the property.

Some emergencies are seasonal. In California, a heater not working in July is probably not an emergency. A heater not working in January, when the temperature has dropped to 40 degrees is an emergency. A lot of places in the bay area do not have air conditioning, but if it’s a hot day and the a/c is not working, that could be considered an emergency. This is especially true if your tenants are elderly or they have very young children. In those cases, air conditioning is needed. Keep these things in mind when your tenant calls you and tells you there is an emergency at the property.

At Aapex Property Management, we have two employees who get the emergency calls. They do not go out to some other vendor who may or may not know our properties and our tenants. The calls come to us directly so we can determine what needs to be done. It is also really important to keep a list of vendors you know and can trust. You want to make sure you vendors will handle after hour emergencies. You don’t want to find yourself flipping through the phone book at 2:00 in the morning, trying to find someone who can contain the damage being done by a water heater problem. Have a list of preferred vendors you can refer to quickly.

Another thing that’s important is keeping your tenants calm. When a tenant calls and they have an emergency, the first thing we say is that we are very sor Hayward Property Management Facts: Maintenance Part 1 – Emergenciesry they have to deal with this right now. We also tell them we will do our best to take care of the problem right away. That can calm a person down a little bit. Things can get stressful when water is running all over the house or the tenants cannot flush the toilet or stuff starts coming up through the bathtub drain. Calm them down and let them know you are taking care of it. This will make a big difference.

If you have any questions about how to handle a maintenance emergency in your rental property, please contact us at Aapex Property Management.

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21550 Foothill Blvd. Suite 201,
Hayward, CA 94541
510-293-3530

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