Attending open houses can be a great way to view properties and areas in which you are interested in leasing or buying. By attending an open house you get the obvious benefit of looking up, down, and around the place you might be living or working in. But no doubt you’ll be joined by other potential renters or buyers sizing up the place right alongside you. So how do you get the most out of a visit to an open house and brush off the pressure from all the competition?
First off, before you visit an open house make sure to set your priorities. What do you want in a space? A certain style of home or apartment, a certain size of office? Start to look for the specific things you need in the spaces you visit and train your eyes to search for those things automatically, just so you’re not overwhelmed.
Make sure to ask the agent who is showing the space questions about anything you might see. Don’t be shy about questions or concerns, it’s the agent’s job to make the place look good and be honest about the state of the space. A good impression can also help if you end up wanting to make an offer.
If you fancy taking photos so you can discuss the space later, be sure to ask permission before snapping any. Most of all, be respectful and courteous of the space—look, don’t touch! And don’t look at just one. Usually, if there’s one open house there are many more in the area. If you’re in the market, it’s always better to take a look at as many options as possible.
So you need to find a new apartment or office space to rent. Where do you look? Well, first off, it can’t hurt to check out the properties that Genet Property Group has available. If you want to look at all of the rental options available in an area, there are a few websites that offer the most extensive, searchable databases.
Zillow is perfect for searching in distinct neighborhoods. It allows you to draw borders on a map and search within only the specific areas you set yourself. Though it only shows residential spaces, it includes search options for renting, buying, selling, and price “Zestimates,” on apartments and homes. It can even show you prices of properties that have recently sold in the area. Feel free to filter by price, number of beds and baths, size, and factors such as if they allow pets.
Apartments.com closely resembles Zillow in its functionality. It’s all residential and it offers similar searching capabilities and filters. Apartments.com features Local Guides with information on certain areas that you might search within. It also has more specific filters if you’re searching for a space with a pool, air conditioning, or wheelchair accessibility, for instance.
LoopNet is your one stop shop for searching available commercial real estate—you know, the good stuff. Filter your search results by subset of commercial real estate property, including industrial, retail, shopping center, office, and many more. The website boasts over 5 million monthly visitors and 500,000 listings to choose from—go crazy!
Were you one of those people who always turned in assignments late while you were in school? Maybe just sometimes? If so, do you find those bad habits extending to other areas of your life… like rent payments? Tardiness can get the best of us at times, and every now and then it’s unavoidable. Say you have a medical emergency or a sudden lull in employment—in some cases it’s hard to get the bills paid on time, no matter how important it might be. What should you do when you know you might have trouble getting the rent in on time?
The first step is to plan for any eventual money problems ahead of time. It’s always best to keep a well stocked savings account, preferably one with 6-months of all your expenses saved away. But in many cases that’s a safety net not all of us can afford. If you’re worrying about paying the bills, try to keep a couple of months of the essentials like rent, electricity, phone, and water tucked away. That way if you reach a month where money is tight you can defer to the money saved away.
If you have trouble saving the money for rent, make sure to stow away the amount necessary in a separate bank account as soon as you get your paycheck. It can also be helpful to set reminders throughout the month so that you know to curb your spending if you’re having trouble keeping your account balance up.
If you find yourself without a safety net and can’t avoid a late rent payment, speak to your landlord or property manager. If you are normally reliable with payments, they will likely understand and have the ability to account for and allow this sort of thing. It’s best to be honest and upfront than to say nothing at all and there’s no reason to be ashamed of something that happens to the best of us.
When you’re renting a space you give up a lot of the more creative freedoms that come with owning your own. Don’t bank on being able to make any drastic changes to rooms, appliances, or fixtures like the plumbing or heating—anything you want will have to go through your landlord and property management company. Even though your options for remodeling are limited, it’s possible to make changes that influence the look and feel of an apartment, office, or even a warehouse.
One of the rooms that lessees are most likely to want to change is also one of the most customizable: the kitchen. The benefit of leasing a space with a kitchen is that it is often possible to bring in your own appliances, like refrigerators or stoves. However, the real meat of the kitchen are the tools you use in it: silverware, serving plates and bowls, cookware, cups, and glasses. It’s through these items that your kitchen’s personality really shines. If you’re looking to make a kitchen more homey or like your own, showcase your china and silverware or shop for utensils with designs that fit your style. A fan of novelty mugs or shot glasses? Buy a rack that sits on the counter or hangs on the wall to show off your collection and make the kitchen pop with personality.
Feeling like a bigger change is needed? Ask your property manager or landlord if they would approve a different coat of paint. If the answer is no, improvise yourself! Hang decals, signs, or put up removeable wallpaper. The best rule to follow: if it’s removable and doesn’t risk any damage to the apartment, it’s probably safe. Even though it might seem like your options are limited, a little creativity can inject a good amount of personality into a rented space.
Creepy crawlers climbing walls and tiny rodents scurrying across the floor—every lessee’s favorite sight! Even if you keep your office or apartment spotlessly clean, it’s impossible to avoid bugs and pests. Little critters love to intrude on our spaces, and we can’t really blame them. Many of our office buildings and warehouses were built right overtop their natural homes! Other than swatting and setting humane traps, what are some steps you can take that will reduce the likelihood you’ll be greeted by a six or four-legged friend?
Keeping your space clean is the number one tip for keeping pests away. If there are no crumbs or leftovers to much on they’ll have no reason to stick around. If there’s no clutter or small crevices to burrow in they’ll have fewer places to stay.
Certain pest problems have unique solutions. Fruit flies can be warded off with some apple cider vinegar and dish soap. Regular flies, mosquitoes? Some say placing a penny in a bag/cup of water is a deterrent.
If you do have pest problems, it’s best to speak to your property management company about a professional solution. They will likely have a pest control company on-call for any problems requiring that special touch.
What does your ideal space look like? It’s probably a lavish home or office that’s secluded on its own land—think Apple’s new Hyperloop One campus or a movie star Malibu megaplex. Reality bites, however, and those who lease property often have to make do sharing building and land space with others.
Multi-lessee complexes make up the bulk of the property management business, as you likely know. When you’re renting one of these spots in an apartment building, a warehouse hub, an office complex, or a center for retail, you eventually learn to get used to your neighbors. But even then, privacy can often feel like a luxury. What are some ways you can maximize privacy in a crowded property situation?
If you’re in an office complex with other businesses, maintaining an active front desk can keep away unwanted visitors or confused folks in search of that office down the hallway. If possible, setting an elevator code that only employees know can secure office privacy. If you’re in an apartment with nosey or noisy neighbors, try to casually address the problems—it’s best to be friendly and acquainted with neighbors so that any privacy concerns can be minimized by a simple conversation. If a neighbor ever oversteps their bounds, speak to your property management company—they can act as a mediator of complaints and concerns.
If you’re looking to lease office space, either temporarily or for a more extended stay, a big question to consider is whether or not to rent a space that comes fully furnished. For a temporary space, most lessees tend to rent a space that is furnished, removing the need to find and buy all new desks, tables, chairs, and equipment that, in the end, won’t be used for very long anyway. And conversely, if you’re looking for a longer term lease, most tenants choose to furnish their own space or have the furnishing already available to move. But while the choice might seem obvious in either situation, it can sometimes save money in the long-term to do the opposite of what you might think.
For more temporary lessees, who usually need smaller space, buying a small amount of new or used furniture for cheap can greatly reduce the monthly price of rent for a space. While it might be easier to move in and begin working on pre-provided furnishing, it is often necessary to buy supplemental furniture and supplies that isn’t already provided. Why not purchase a set of furniture from the get-go, rather than pay monthly for furnishings that don’t fit your needs?
For longer term leases, which usually cover a larger space, it can be a huge hassle to move furniture into a building. Larger spaces often necessitate a good amount of furniture, and while a company moving spaces might already possess an adequate amount of desks and chairs and electronics, the process of moving them is quite costly and poses a risk of damage to the building. If an option for pre-provided furniture is available, it might be worth evaluating the cost and comparative risk. If the space is large enough, and the cost-per-month of a furnished plan is cheap and includes upgrades or maintenance, it may be the smarter option.
When you first move into a space, it should be one of your top priorities to make sure people on-site will be safe in the event of an emergency. If a fire were to break out, do you have all of the necessary equipment and planning in place to pull off a smooth evacuation? You might be surprised to know that a lot of small businesses are not prepared. Preparation, it seems, is much more than having a fire extinguisher handy.
In addition to readily available fire extinguishers, it is very important to have printed, clearly outlined evacuation plans in places where workers and individuals inside the building can access them. A plan should include procedures for accounting for all employees and have specific instructions in place for assisting employees or individuals with disabilities who may require help in the event of an emergency. Train for these situations—delegate certain roles to employees so that if the time comes and there is an emergency, everyone is aware of the steps they must take to ensure safety for each other. Make sure there are clearly designated fire exits. Smoke detectors and fire alarms are also very important for an office, especially one that may have multiple closed-off spaces. Speak to your property manager, they likely have some if not all of these materials available for the building.
OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, has an on-site consultation service that can help assess what more your small business can do to plan for and prevent fires and other hazards at the workplace. To find out how you can better ready yourself for emergencies, and lower injuries and illness rates, you can find information about OSHA’s free consultation service here.
Look, it’s a little difficult to actively care for the environment when you’re a property manager. As a person tied to a business you’re looking for cost-cutting measures and quick fixes rather than eco-friendly options. But listen—while it seems like deciding between light bulbs at the hardware store is a no-brainer (going for the cheaper, yet energy inefficient one?), those immediate lower costs can lead to higher costs in the long run. Who doesn’t want to save money on their monthly heat, electricity, and water bills? As it turns out, you can do just that all while making your properties more eco and energy friendly.
When most people think of making a place more eco-friendly they imagine a stark makeover: new air conditioning units, new lightbulbs, expensive sinks, and newfangled technologies. And by all means if you have the resources to provide those amenities all at once then go for it! But it doesn’t have to be so immediate. Start slow—stock up on energy efficient light bulbs for replacements. The next time plumbing needs repaired, think to buy the more efficient system. Rising heat costs in the winter, cooling costs in the summer? Invest in draft blockers for the bottoms of doors and windows. Small changes like this can reduce the amount of money you spend on utilities while also lessening your impact on the environment. Then, who knows? After you save enough money, start dishing out on fancier options like solar panels—that is, if you’re lucky enough to live in a place that gets enough sunshine (like good old South Florida).
You can’t clean up every mess on your own—that’s what maintenance companies and workers are for. They are professionals, hired for exemplary work that not everyone is skilled enough to accomplish. Last week my toilet exploded with water. Some part in the back suddenly cracked and I was left flooded. You can bet I had no idea what to do with that situation, and so I called a plumber who might know how to remedy it. In that situation, I got in contact with my property management company and they were able to send out a professional the next day. Maintenance concerns like these occur all of the time if you’re a property manager and building a relationship with a maintenance company is key. However, lessees often want problems fixed in the now and that can lead to impatience and exasperation. This post is a guide for lessees and tenants, some tips to remain respectful of maintenance workers and to value the work that they do for you and for the many properties they service.
For one, make sure you have reasonable expectations. For issues that aren’t grave, a maintenance worker will likely be unable to come to your property the day-of. Finding a temporary solution before one more permanent can be found is the key. When a maintenance worker does arrive to fix a problem, treat them with the respect that they deserve. Some people have a tendency to view workers with manual skills as lesser, as doing a job that they wouldn’t do themselves. In reality, they’re doing a job that you couldn’t do yourself, and the benefit they provide is unparalleled. Be respectful of their time and if they are unable to fix a problem immediately. Work around their availabilities rather than focusing on your own. But most importantly, make sure you show your appreciation for their hard work.