Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

Do we really want to go there?

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

Author: Scott Goodman • Scenic West Property Management

I’ve noticed in recent weeks that landlords in Los Angeles, more specifically in Westwood, have begun to lure prospective tenants into signing leases by lowering move in costs.  Typically, move in costs consist of first month’s rent and security deposit.  One can only lower rent so much, so landlords have begun to lower the security deposit requirements.  On average, our property management company charges from 1 ½ to 2 times the monthly rent for security deposit.  I am now hearing from prospective tenants that they guy down the street wants 1x the monthly rent, some even less.  This is a race to the bottom that could end badly.  Some will argue that a large security deposit invites a tenant to skip on their last month of rent; others just shrug and claim that there usually isn’t that much damage.  As I have said before in previous postings, the security deposit protects you and your investment.  Don’t skimp on this “insurance”. Rather, try and work out a payment schedule to ease a tenant who is cash poor into paying a suitable amount of security deposit.  You won’t regret it.

Pay Attention to the Big Picture

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

Author: Scott Goodman • Scenic West Property Management

HighsmithI read recently that the Fox and Bruin theaters in Westwood Village were in danger of closure.  Fortunately, Regency Theaters stepped in to avoid what might have been a conversion to retail space or an outright demolition.  I can just picture the local residents and architectural preservationists fighting tooth and nail had this matter not been concluded as it was.  Having the benefits of a strong community where people can spend their free time in a place like Westwood Village should not to be taken lightly.  I grew up in Westwood and watched many  movies in those two theaters. Had we lost the Fox and Bruin theaters to the laws of highest and best use, we would have lost yet another piece of our history, as well as a reminder of why we chose to live in West Los Angeles.  It is easy to get caught up in the day to day of property management.   The property you own or manage may be “your world” but do not forget that it was the greater community which lured your customers (i.e. tenants) to live in your building in the first place.

The Importance of Finding Good Tenants In Spite of the Bad Market

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

Author: Scott Goodman • Scenic West Property Management

First in a series about tenant screening 

Don’t lower your standards and ignore your better judgment for the sake of a quick rental. I’ve been there and learned my lesson.  If the tenant looks bad on paper, just wait until they are living under your roof. A good property manager should have a written set of criteria which every prospective tenant must meet in order to live in one of your units.

The rental market is soft, there’s a lot of competition out there. Landlords are seeing one vacancy after another and feel the pressure to fill vacancies quickly. Many landlords have become less diligent in screening prospective tenants. After all, an occupied apartment is better than an empty one, right? Wrong.

Unfortunately, this non-vetting can lead to larger issues with problem tenants. Let’s fast-forward six months from now. Your tenant, who wasn’t properly screened, has stopped paying rent and now you have an eviction in your hands. It’s a double whammy – another vacancy AND an eviction. You would have been better off properly screening your prospective tenants and renting to a good tenant.

Only an apartment occupied by a GOOD tenant is better than a vacant unit. To avoid problem tenants, it is important to carefully assess your candidates. This might mean that you will have to suffer along the way and have an unoccupied period, but it could save you costly expenses later on. Remember, the time you spend up front carefully screening your applicants will save you a lot of time, money, and headache when compared to renting to a deadbeat tenant that defaults on rent, trashes your rental property, or worse yet, scares away your other tenants.

As a footnote, always use fair and consistent parameters for screening your prospective tenants. More about this topic coming soon.