Tag Archives: advertising

Listing Photo Do’s and Don’ts

cozy-winter-bedroom-lightsMaking your rental eye catching is the most important aspect of reaching out to prospective renters online. Your rental must stand out from the rest, and give people a reason to want to know more. Here are a few Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to capturing the essence of your rental.

Do: Take a shot from the curb

Showing off your home’s curb appeal should be one of your top priorites as potential renters often decide within a matter of minutes whether they want to keep looking or move on to another listing. Make sure you get the whole house in the shot, and don’t have cars or other objects blocking your line of sight.

Don’t: Make your rental look deformed

When taking a shot from the curb, be mindful of your camera’s angle. The roof line should be parallel with the photo’s frame to make it look level- not look like there is a landslide on the property.

Do: Welcome visitors

An attractive front door and entryway go a long way in setting the tone for the rest of your home. Leaving the door open in one of your photos can also send a welcoming message.

Don’t: Create an unwelcoming feel

Make sure you do a walk through in your rental before hiring someone to take pictures for you, if that is the path you take. You want to know that the property looks exactly the way you want it to before you pay someone to photograph your rental.

Do: Consider a bird’s-eye view

Taking a photo from above is a great way to show off a large property or a waterfront location. It is best if you can get close enough so the home is visible without having to draw an arrow or a box around it.

Don’t: Consider a fish-eye lens

Some use a fish-eye lens to make smaller spaces appear larger. However, they often have the opposite effect, making the space feel smaller and distorted. As a general rule of thumb, stick with a traditional lens for listing photos and make updates to rooms to make them appear larger if need be.

Do: Capture your home’s selling points

You may think it’s best to skip the bathroom when taking listing photos, but if yours was recently update, show it off! You would be surprised how important the bathroom actually is to potential renters. Think about showing off anything that is unique to your rental that makes it different and desirable.

Don’t: Capture yourself in the mirror

Adding a mirror to a room is one way to add more light to a room. And while a vanity can be a home’s selling point, you want buyers to picture themselves in the mirror-not you. Stay out of your listing photos by avoiding angles where you or the flash or your camera may be reflected.

Do: Stage each room

While there are several options to consider when staging your home, the key is to put your best foot forward in your listing photos. Try a simple vase of flowers: it freshens the space without hiding the countertops and is homey and welcoming.

Don’t: Stage a mess

If there’s one absolute “no” when it comes to listing photos, it’s capturing a mess. To check if your level of cleanliness is the right amount, do the “grandma test” by asking yourself if your grandma would feel at home here.

Do: Play up the season

Even if your rental has sat on the market for a while, it will seem up-to-date if the photos reflect the season. If it’s summer, take a sunny photo of the backyard. If it’s winter, create a cozy feel with a fire and a warm blanket.

Don’t: Play up your holiday décor

Over-the-top holiday décor can be a turn-off, especially if buyers don’t celebrate that holiday. Instead, consider ways to decorate for the season as a whole and take photos of rooms without themed décor.

Do: Show off the view

If the view is one of your home’s selling points, you’ll definitely want to show it off. It is best if you can capture it with a part of the house, like the deck, in a shot. That way, renters can tell where the view is from and more easily picture themselves there.

Don’t: Show off your pets

It’s best to focus on the parts of your home that will be there when a renter moves in. As much as you may love your pets, showing them off can come across like false advertising.

Do: Consider the backdrop

If a room in your rental has an incredible backdrop, try to capture it in your photos. Rearranging the furniture can also have a dramatic impact on a space.

Don’t: consider a screenshot

It can be tempting to take a screenshot of an online street-view of your home, but do not do it! Even if you don’t want to hire a professional, your own exterior photo is likely a better option for your listing.

Do: Show off architectural details

Archways, nooks and crannies may be hard to photograph, but they are what give your rental character. Try to capture a few of the architectural details if you can.

Don’t: Show off architectural blunders

Every home has its blemishes, but that does not mean you have to capture them all in the photos. The listing is the time to put your best foot forward; the open house and inspection are when the buyer can take note of the imperfections. You may also want to consider making a few small improvements, like updating the bathroom, before listing your rental.

Do: Take a night shot with the lights on

While it’s easy to assume daytime shots are the best, a nighttime exterior shot can create the right amount of contrast to make your photos stand out. They key is to leave your home’s interior and exterior lights on while you take the photo.

Don’t: Take an interior shot in the dark

When it comes to interior photos, the more light, the better. Use lamps and daytime window light to make your photos as bright as possible, while still looking natural.

Common Staging Misakes

Home staging is a useful tool to control the message as you market your property. By taking the livingroomtime to declutter and rearrange furniture, you’ll position yourself to attract the largest pool of potential renters possible. Improve your listing photos, showing success, and quality of applicants by staging your property to play to its strengths. Here are some common staging mis
takes that can throw off the look and feel of a space, and easy solutions to fix them.

There’s not enough light.

Good lighting makes a space look inviting, attractive, and comfortable. Bad lighting also results in low-quality listing photos. Improve the look and feel of the rooms on your property by making sure there light sources in each room. While windows that let in natural light are ideal, you can improve the lighting in the room by adding an overhead light or a smaller lamp.

The furniture is the wrong size.

Oversized furniture in a small room will make the area look even more cramped and awkward. Prevent the room from looking off-balance by measuring the space before bringing in the furniture. In large rooms, don’t be afraid to place couches and chairs away from the walls and grouped together to make the room look cozier. If you have dark furniture, using light-colored slipcovers makes large or heavy items seem smaller. You can also remove a piece or two to lighten up the space.

Weirdly positioned artwork

Hanging artwork on the walls is an easy solution to keep a room from feeling too bare and sterile. Similar to having furniture in listing photos, the placement of artwork gives viewers a better feel for the size of the room and the amount of space relative to the objects. However, art that’s in the wrong place can look strange or even give a false impression of the space. A large frame in a smaller space, such as a bathroom wall or narrow corner, can make the room feel even more cramped. Art that’s hung too high or isn’t large enough (like a frame above the sofa) can make the space look awkward.

Instead of going out and buying a large canvas, hang your art displays to scale by decorating with a gallery wall and making sure the size of the artwork is the right scale for the items around it. Help your art blend in and add to the décor by hanging the canvas so that the center of the piece is at eye level.

There’s no texture.

Keep your rooms from looking dull by adding color and texture. Remember that not everything needs to match. A fruit bowl on the counter, throw blanket on the couch, or basket on a shelf adds texture and dimension. Focus less on everything ‘matching’ and being from the same period or style – instead, don’t be afraid to mix things up and go with what you think looks good.

10 Ways to Make Your Chico Apartment Handicap Accessible

Wheelchair-ProgramsMillions of people in the United States have disabilities and often find that traditional housing options don’t meet their needs. Chico landlords can attract these potential tenants by converting their Chico apartments into handicap accessible apartments that are comfortable and friendly to those with special needs.

Wheelchair accessible and handicap accessible apartments are not very common, therefore disabled or elderly tenants are an underserved market. With a few modifications and changes, you could attract these potential tenants and keep your Chico rental property from sitting vacant.

What is a Handicap Apartment?

Modifying an apartment to be accessible for elderly or disabled residents simply means making some changes to fit someone who uses a wheelchair, scooter or walker or has limited mobility. Everything from doorways to counter tops can pose an obstacle for someone in a wheelchair, for example.

Converting an apartment to accommodate the prospective tenant with physical limitations makes it more accessible and therefore boosting his or her quality of life. Handicap apartments are often hard to find, so many disabled and elderly residents cannot find what they need.

10 Ways to Convert to Handicap Apartments

There are some basic changes you can make to an existing Chico apartment that would turn it into a handicap apartment and therefore more friendly toward the elderly or the disabled. Other approaches to convert traditional units to handicap apartments require more extensive remodeling.

Here’s a list of 10 ways to modify an existing apartment to cater to those with physical limitations:

1. Entrances to the apartment should not have stairs, but be replaced or covered with a wheelchair ramp. These can be made of wood, aluminum or even poured concrete. Check with your local building codes for ramp angles and other important specifications to ensure you are compliant.

2. Doorways must be wide enough to accommodate a standard wheelchair. From the entrance to the interior doors, this width needs to be at least 32 inches wide. Consider changing the hinge system on the doors to the swing-away style, allowing doors to open even wider to allow the chair to pass all the way through without hitting it.

3. Thresholds must be flat, not raised, in order to give residents with scooters, wheelchairs and walkers a smooth path all the way throughout the apartment. A ½-inch threshold can become a big deal to a disabled tenant who doesn’t have much mobility.

4. Faucets in an accessible Chico apartment should be changed out to single lever style. These are easier for people to grip and maneuver if they don’t have full mobility in their hands, arms or upper body. Single lever faucets are simply raised up to turn on, pushed down to turn off and moved right or left to control temperature.

5. Sinks are hard for people to access when they are in a wheelchair because of low vanity cabinets prevent the user from getting close enough. Consider installing pedestal sinks, wall mounted sinks or removing the cabinets altogether.

6. Moving from a wheelchair or scooter to the toilet is a challenge, but an accessible apartment should have a raised toilet in the bathroom. Installing sturdy hand bars by the toilet is another way to ensure that the disabled resident can safely and securely maneuver around when he or she needs to use the toilet.

7. Bathing and showering is a real challenge for residents who are wheelchair-bound or cannot lower themselves into a tub or stand for long periods of time in a shower. It helps greatly when landlords install a handicapped accessible tub/shower unit. This is a tall, deep tub with a door on the side that opens to reveal a seat inside. The tenant can sit on the seat and either bathe or shower. The tenant has no high tub wall to go over, and no slippery shower floor to worry about. These specialized units can easily be installed into existing tub/shower units.

8. Standard kitchen and bathroom counter tops are often too high for someone in a wheelchair or scooter—usually 36 inches for standard height. Lowering countertops to 30 inches makes all the difference and lets a disabled person reach all the way back, utilizing more of the surface space.

9. Floor level cabinets in the kitchen can hinder the maneuverability of a resident in a wheelchair, so take out some of the floor cabinets, leaving empty space, to allow them to get up close to the counter tops.

10. Many landlords who cater to elderly or disabled tenants install a personal alarm system inside the apartment. This is an electronic device that the resident carries around and can activate to summon help if they are sick, hurt or injured and cannot reach the phone. Some alarms simply make a loud sound, while others are linked to a medical services call center. Providing this as part of an accessible apartment will make it even more attractive to prospective tenants who are elderly or disabled.


Investing in Student Housing

56436258.Chico_State_jan03In the last decade, student housing has risen the ranks of investment popularity from necessary evil to attractive opportunity. Overcrowding in university dorms and expensive on-campus living costs have helped boost demand for off-campus housing options in Chico. Student housing development has caught the attention of investors and developers because despite the high turnover, student housing is resilient, as it proved during the economic downturn.


Succeeding in student housing, however, takes work. The demographic has distinctly different wants and needs, but the stable increase in demand makes it a worthwhile investment. Here are some things to keep in mind as you navigate the world of student housing.

Not all students can afford Class A properties. 

While the Chico students who can afford it will shop for units with cool amenities, there are also plenty of students who choose off-campus housing as an alternative to expensive on-campus living. In general, the Chico student housing pipeline leans towards luxury Class A properties, but don’t forget about the students on a budget. Affordable, basic units address the needs of middle and lower socioeconomic students, an important demographic – especially as tuition costs rise.

It’s all about location.

Even the largest, most luxurious apartment community located a mile from campus won’t have the leverage to charge as much – and have as low of a vacancy rate – as a class B property located right across the street from campus. In the student housing market, location is the king. Remember that many Chico students don’t have cars and get around by walking or biking. A great location insulates you from potential overheating in the market, and will also give you a leg up over the competition 

Join the amenities race.

Chico student renters are tech-savvy and environmentally conscious. While you don’t need to go the extra mile and offer lazy river pools and movie theaters, students will prioritize units that have amenities like access to high-speed Internet, bicycle storage, and parking. Basic green features like recycling and energy efficient appliances can also align your community with students’ preferences.

Every campus is different.

Before you invest, get an understanding of the student housing market in the area. Is the market oversaturated? Is the university’s student body growing fast enough to absorb new inventory? Take a look at the vacancy rates in the area, ask local real estate professionals about the demand for housing, look into planned student housing projects in the area, and see if the size of the school’s student body has been expanding. Many large, public universities currently lack the funding to build the residence halls they need, setting the perfect stage for investment success. The last thing you want to do is invest in an overbuilt market that doesn’t have sustainable demand.



Property Management Gem: Streamline the Rental Process

For-RentApartment and rental house searching in Chico is a pain for most renters because it costs time, effort, and does not always produce concrete results. Understand this and make it your mission to simplify the process and close the deal faster so renters can get back to doing other things.

Know Where Renters’ Priorities Are
Renters are looking at so many listings during their search, yours can easily blend in be quickly forgotten. Finding out what renters’ priorities are during their apartment search will give you a priority when you’re writing titles and descriptions for your vacancies. Studies show that renters are most concerned about the quality of the building and location when looking for their next home. Amenities and rent rank lower on the list, so renters are willing to pay for a nice apartment, good commute, and great service, even if your asking rents are higher.

Funnel in the Most Qualified Listings
Vague listings mean you’ll have to work harder to zone in on the most qualified leads. Make this easier on yourself by publishing detailed listings. Include photos of the exterior and common areas, and a diagram of the unit’s layout. We found that when renters look at a rental property, they’re most concerned about the amount of space and layout. Give them the information they want to see so your inbox won’t be cluttered with indecisive renters asking for more information.

Use Technology to Close the Deal
Renters are using the internet and their smartphones to find your business and browse listings. Once they’re ready to sign their lease and take care of the paperwork, is your system fast and easy to use? Paper rental documents take up time and resources. Quit spending time managing your documents and wasting storage space by using online applications. You’ll be able to speed up the application process, save time, reduce the wait process, and track your renters’ progress. We found that most renters prefer to fill out applications online when they apply for their apartment. With a digital leasing program, you’ll be able to spend less time managing paperwork and more time focusing on taking care of your renters.

Be Reachable
Once your listing has caught a renter’s 
eye, make sure it’s easy for them to respond. Have different ways renters can contact you, such as e-mail, lead forms, a phone number, or an address where they can visit the rental property. Make sure your contact information is posted clearly on each page of your website and in each listing so renters can reach out to you immediately to let you know they’re interested. In the renters we surveyed, most prefer to express interest in a rental property by management. Having the trust and respect of your residents means lower turnover and more cooperative tenants.

In short, meeting tenants where they are with technology, property search and more is what will set you up for maximum success. Looking for help with Chico property management?

Being a Property Manager/Owner that Renters Like

website featuresBeing a property manager can seem like a thankless job – you seem to be only approached when  there’s a problem to take care of, and you’re responsible for keeping tabs on what seems like a million little things that help your building run smoothly. To better manage your property and have more satisfied residents, it only makes sense to know what renters expect from property

When you know where renters are looking for apartments, how they like to contact you, and when your residents expect maintenance in their units, you’re able to maximize the hours in your day with happier tenants to boot. Instead of guessing how you can cater to residents and potential renters, use our survey results to determine how you can live up to renters’ expectations. In an informal survey, the industry leaders looked into the experiences of a collection of renters currently living in
rentals run by property management companies. Their thoughts and behaviors uncovered valuable information about their preferences that you’ll be able to use to become the property manager that every tenant wants.

Can Renters Find You Easily?
If you’re a property manager, you’re already ahead of the game: 51 percent of the renters we surveyed think properties run by property management companies are better maintained than properties managed by an independent landlord. Knowing this, how can you position yourself so that renters find you during their apartment search?

Keep your website updated with listings. Is your property management’s website up-to-date with the latest listings? Of the renters who use property management websites, 24% use them to search listings.

where to advertise

When you’re building your website, it’s important to keep in mind that a portion of renters using property management websites are not tenants. They’re using your site to help them in their housing search. Cater your site to both tenants and prospective renters. Include information about the surrounding community, units and pricing, photos, layout, services, and amenities. The more resources your website offers, the ‘stickier’ it will be with renters. If you focus on being helpful to renters, leads will follow naturally.

Advertise where renters look
There are lots of sites out there to post your listings, but which ones are most effective? Don’t waste your time or money advertising on sites that won’t give you good results. Categorize where your leads come from to find out which marketing channels are most effective. In the chart on the left, you can see the most popular sites the renters we surveyed use in their apartment search. Focus on the most popular sites to give your listings the best exposure, and then see how much time and budget you have left for the others. Knowing the online marketing channels that give you the best results will help you use your time and resources much more effectively.

You’re not the only property manager out there
Browsing listings helps renters familiarize themselves with the rental market and what they can get for their budget. The average renter looks at 1-19 listings in their apartment search. 30 percent of those renters attend five or more showings before signing a lease. With hundreds of listings being posted on rental search websites each day, it’s easy for your to get lost in the crowd. Get your rental ads to stick out by familiarizing yourself with what renters are looking for.

Looking for professional property management help? Give us a shot.

How to Drive Traffic to Your Chico Rental Listing

going greenSimply posting your rental listing onto your website is not enough to attract Chico renters. You need to broadcast your listing on a variety of other channels in order to drive more traffic to your web listings. Here’s a list of five things you should be doing to set your rental listing up for internet success.

Make sure your listing is complete
Your listing should include specific details about the numbers of bedrooms, bathrooms, amenities, and any other property features. You also want to optimize your listing for Chico. Keywords about your neighborhood, nearby shopping centers, public transportation, and landmarks will help your listing get prioritized in search engines, especially when renters are searching in your area. Property descriptions are what make your home stand out and motivate renters to respond.

Is your rental photo-centric?
Your text should be accompanied by plenty of high-quality, attractive photos of your property. Images speak much louder than words when it comes to choosing a potential home – in fact, our studies have found that listings with images are opened 19.16 percent more than those that do not.

Share your listing on social media.
When your listing is live on your website, share the link on your Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, or Facebook accounts. Broadcasting your listing on social media helps your audience to know that you’re there and transforms your listing into a more share-able form. Friends and family who ‘like’ or share your post increase your exposure and cast it to a wider network of people.

Post to online listing sites.
Tech-savvy renters are more likely to search online listing sites first when they start their housing search. Many of these sites allow you to post for free, and will drive much more traffic to your listing. The more places your listing can be found on the web, the more likely you’ll catch the attention of renters. A few that come to mind in chico are:

Blog about it.
Write a blog post about your newest listing. Creating new content on your website that’s relevant to your industry is the best way to build your business’s authority and credibility, especially when it comes to ranking higher on search engines. Update your blog regularly with original material that’s applicable to renters, and you’ll improve your business’s chances of being found.

We lease property in 15 days or less on average. If you need help, let’s talk.

Advertising Your Rental Property in Chico

For-RentAdvertising your rental property in Chico can be done in many different ways and you have many options that are free while others can cost you an arm and a leg.

Yard Signs
Yard signs can be an integral part of your overall marketing plan. Yard signs give you the ability to let anyone that passes by know that this property is currently, or will be shortly, available for lease. With your yard sign, you are not only advertising to the prospective tenant, but you are also advertising to their friends and family. How many times have you encountered a friend or family member that is looking for a place to rent? You might not go out of your way to research available properties but you would let them know that you passed a house in a neighborhood that seemed nice, right?

A yard sign is an indispensable part of your marketing strategy. And don’t use the cheap ‘fill in the box’ “For Rent” or “For Lease” signs; it is all about how you present yourself. Create and order your own for rent sign online instead of buying the cheap ones. For a moderately inexpensive yard sign that is very high quality, consider using BuildASign.

Business Logo
You may want to consider having a custom logo designed for your business. Just like anything else, you can spend absolutely nothing other than your time all the way to thousands.

You have may choices available when trying to advertise your rental property ranging from Free to $99.00 or more! Stick to online advertising and as long as your property is in a decent location for a fair price, you will most likely have more inquiries than you know what to do with.

There are two sites that we recommend using, CraigsList and Postlets. CraigsList is by far my number one choice for advertising a rental property, but you will want to start with Postlets. Postlets offers free syndication of your rental advertisement to, currently, 9 different websites. Once you have setup everything through Postlets, you can then take the HTML that it has generated and copy and paste it into Craigslist (Craigslist doesn’t appear to allow automatic postings at this time).

Other paid options include listing with the properties local newspaper and including in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), ChicoRentalListing.com and CSUCHousing.com