Using all the Senses to Attract Potential Tenants

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All of our five senses—smell, sight, hearing, touch, and taste—can be used effectively by landlords to market their property and attract potential tenants. Landlords too often focus on sight alone to rent their property. However, the other four senses can also be used with more success and faster rental numbers. Here’s how to market using all of the five all-important senses:

  1. Smell. Any tenant who enters a property that has a musty or moldy smell will immediately notice and most likely not rent the unit. First off, make sure everything is clean and well maintained. You can then get creative – use vanilla-scented or “fresh linen” candles, use home fragrance sprays that also get rid of germs while simultaneously disinfecting the home, or bake bread or cookies in the unit before potential tenants arrive. The warm delicious smell is sure to invite several potential renters!
  2. Hearing. Even if your property, or a specific unit, is near a busy highway, there are certain things you can do to minimize the home’s noises for potential tenants. Try to put in double-pane windows to bring down outside noise; insulate around doors and windows; and also try showing the unit at a time when the noise is less blatant. If you cannot do the aforementioned, try playing soft, soothing music throughout the unit or home during showings.
  3. Taste. This is the trickiest of the senses to use when attracting potential tenants. However, it can be very effective if you have a plate of cookies (either home-baked or catered by a local place) for potential tenants to nibble on or even having wine for them to enjoy as they check out the unit. This can help put the tenants at ease, while also making your particular home memorable in their search for a rental.
  4. Touch. When you first meet the tenant, give a firm, not-too-strong handshake. Then, let them touch things in the property (open cabinets, take their shoes off to feel the tile or carpet, etc.). This will allow the tenants to interact with the property and familiarize themselves with the home in the same manner that they would use it.
  5. Sight. This is the main sense that most landlords use for marketing their property, and it is probably the most important one. Don’t just rely on the property or unit itself to attract the tenant. Try using finishing touches such as light decorating or “staging” to get the tenant to sign that lease agreement. Set out fresh flowers, light candles, use colorful throw pillows (for units that come already furnished), and be sure to point out any recent renovations you’ve completed.

How to Write an Effective Ad for Rental Properties

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Listing your property for rent—whether in print or online—is one of the most important and effective marketing steps you can take for renting out your unit. For maximum benefits and to stand out from the crowd of property listings, follow these simple easy tactics:

  1. Create a headline that makes renters want to read more. Most rental ads will start out with either the number of bedrooms/bathrooms or a succinct phrase like “Good, clean.” To really make your headline stand out, try using something like “Just miles from the beach,” or “Gorgeous hardwood floors throughout.” Use attractive features of the unit/property to really capture a potential renter’s attention.
  2. Use lots of photos. Renters love listings with pictures of the property. Focus on the kitchen, living-room, bathrooms, bedrooms, and any unique features of the unit (fireplace, hardwood floors, or gorgeous kitchen countertops). It might also be helpful to include pictures of great views from the property, if any.
  3. Write a complete, thorough description. Write the listing as if you are walking through the property. Start by describing the rooms, special features, the location, and also note if you have an application fee and how much it is. This lets the renter know the cost up-front so they won’t go into the application process and get surprised with the fee.
  4. End the listing with a call to action. A short call to action would include a phrase like “Make sure to take advantage of this month’s rent special” or “Get the first month’s rent for free if you answer this ad today.” This will entice potential renters to get in touch with you soon so that you can rent out the property quickly.

Why Affordable Rental Housing is Becoming Harder to Find

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According to a report from the Federal Center for Housing Policy, an astounding 10.6 million American families spend more than half of their income (pre-tax) on housing. Experts say that even this astonishing number is impossible to maintain. Due to population growth, low inventory, larger immigration numbers, an economy that is struggling, low investment cash available for investors, and a very high rental demand, affordable housing is extremely difficult to find. Rent is quickly becoming more expensive than mortgages in most areas, and because of recent supply and demand increases, the rent also rises.

Another reason for higher rental housing is the amount of foreclosures.  Those who have just gone through foreclosure or bank repossession must leave quickly and, considering their circumstances, are unable to buy another home to move into. Therefore, those people are forced to rent, and landlords are then able to increase their rates because of such a high demand for those living spaces. Higher demand creates higher rent, as does lower supply.

There hasn’t been an increase in units to equal the increase in the number of renters – another reason for lack of affordable housing. Time and money are needed to renovate old homes into apartments, condos, and townhomes, and landlords still need to have the renovations approved before renting the property. This lack of new housing makes the search even harder.

National vacancies are at their lowest level in more than 10 years. The National Low Income Housing Coalition states that for just a “basic apartment,” a person needs to earn at least $18/hour, whereas most individuals (such as those in Vermont) earn only $11.60 per hour. This indicates that a lot of people are unable to afford even a basic apartment. Rental Roost offers a solution for this problem by helping renters find the right homes within their budget, while still maximizing on the need for a great neighborhood and other amenities.

Five creative storage solutions for small apartments

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When you live in a tiny city apartment, smart storage solutions become even more important. Time to get creative!

1. Floating wall shelves
Ikea offers numerous float wall shelf options. This is a great way to store your books without the need for a bulky bookshelf. And if you do a clean white floating wall shelf against a dark accent wall, it’s also a simple way to add a modern accent to the room. You can design and build a floating wall shelf to your own specifications – it just takes a quick trip to Home Depot, some patience, and a free weekend.

2. Under-bed storage boxes
Bed, Bath & Beyond has fantastic under-the-bed rolling storage boxes that can help you maximize your closet space by storing out of season fabrics. So your sweaters can safely live under your bed all summer long, and your summer dresses can hibernate during the winter in these boxes. This effectively frees up your closet for in-season fabrics and styles!

3. Use magazine racks and bakeware organizers to free up kitchen cabinet space
Magazine racks nailed to the inside doors of kitchen cabinets can serve as a creative way to hold the lids for all your pots and pans. And you can find bakeware organizers at the Container Store. This can help you organize all your baking sheets and brownie pans in neat vertical slots, so that you won’t have a bakingware avalanche the next time you open that cabinet!

4. Hanging shoe organizers
This may not be the best way to display your $500 pair of Manolos, but if you can’t afford better real estate for your shoes, this is a great way to ensure that all your shoes are stored in pairs and easy to find. There are a couple of different options – over the door hangers that you can sling over your closet door or behind your master bedroom door, or a hanging one that you can store from a closet rod. By simply purchasing an additional shoe organizer, it can expand with your shoe collection, which (let’s admit it) is always growing.

5. Slim velvet hangers
Space-saving hangers, usually in an extremely thin plastic or metal coated with a velvet material, are a great way to get more room in your closet. By taking far less space than wooden or regular plastic hangers, this allows you to store almost twice as many clothes in the same space! And if you pack what you don’t regularly wear into space saver bags to be stored in the back of your closet, you will have a very neat and organized closet!

Five ways to instantly add panache to your space

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Living in an apartment doesn’t have to cramp up your style. Here are five inexpensive ways to add some pizazz to your dwelling.

1) Add a rug

Rugs give both small and large spaces the chance to change the feel of an entire room with the addition of just one thing. There are endless options when it comes to style, size, shape, and texture. One of my favorite rug manufacturers, Safavieh, has many fashionable of rugs on sale at Overstock.com. Chevrons and shag rugs can add a great modern touch to an otherwise dull room.

2) Add depth and character with a mirror

A unique mirror add aesthetic variety and creates the illusion of space. A well placed mirror in a room can also add additional light and brighten up the living area. Speaking of cookie-cutter, IKEA also has some floor-to-ceiling, framed ones that look very chic propped into a corner of a bedroom or living room. World market has a great selection of mirrors that are high on charm and low in price. Darker walls can be livened up with a mirror with a pleasant silver frame.

3) Pillows and throws to add some character to your sofa

A few bright pillows and throws can give a needed pop of color to an otherwise bland bedroom or living room. With their bold shapes, big, square, European-inspired throws and pillows are an easy way to create visual interest. If you already have decorative pillows, pick up new shams to reinvent your room. Target has a great assortment of stylish pillows while Z-gallerie’s throws are sure to pique your interest.

4) Create an ambience with paint

Nothing makes a bigger statement than painting a wall. A bucket of Martha Stewart paint from Home Depot runs for under fifty dollars and leaves you with endless options. Paint one wall a bold color, like Araucana Teal. If the wall is fairly bare, use a few stencils to give the wall some personality. You could even paint your ceiling a few shades lighter than the walls,to make the room feel larger.

5) Upgrade your lighting

Glass ceiling domes, while economical, look mass produced and generic. Swap them for more creative covering, or just forgo them altogether in exchange for an eclectic combo of standing floor and table lamps, which have the added benefit of casting more flattering light than their more prevalent counterparts do. Lampsplus has a great selection of floor lamps for the modern minded individual.

San Francisco’s Bay Bridge illuminated

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The 1.8 mile span of the Bay Bridge is lit up with 25,000 computer-controlled LED lights, in a project by artist Leo Villareal.  ”My inspiration comes from the motion of the bridge,” says Villareal, of his inspiration for the project. “I’m interpreting all the kinetic activity around the bridge: the traffic, the motion of water, the sky — it’s such a rich environment to draw upon.”

Even though the Bay Bridge was built six months prior to the Golden Gate Bridge, this behemoth was overshadowed by the iconic red towers rising above the San Francisco Bay. However, this project will bring back a lot more attention and appreciation that our faithful Bay Bridge deserves.

The “Bay Lights” will illuminate the bridge and the waters for the next two years. The best neighborhoods to view the lights would be the Embarcadero, Rincon Hill, South Beach, Telegraph Hill, and other waterfront areas in east San Francisco.