Our team of local professionals at Mynd Property Management are different than other East Bay property managers. Servicing the greater Oakland, Richmond, Hayward, Tracy, and Berkeley areas, we leverage real-time data to consistently better our services, providing owners with seamless management experience.
Customers working with Mynd can rely on us as their trusted partner, providing them with a healthy investment, and their residents with a happy home. Manufacturing and business were once the East Bay’s greatest investments, now, it’s residential real estate. It’s time to make your real estate investment work for you.
If we place a resident and they fail to pay rent at any time during their lease, we reimburse you up to $5,000 in lost rent while we resolve the situation.
If a resident we place moves out and leaves behind property damage in excess of their security deposit, we will cover the difference, up to $5,000.
If a Mynd-placed resident fails to pay rent and an eviction is required, Mynd will cover the court costs and legal fees up to $5,000.
Your rental property is one of your most valuable assets. You expect concrete, tangible results, and Mynd delivers. We focus on measurable results that you can see.
Quicker than average leasing times.
Less than 4 business hours for owners, less than 8 business hours for residents.
Higher than average resident quality score (720+)
No need to worry about rental payments, less than 2% delinquency.
Consistently high customer satisfaction scores (Better than 4/5)
Net Promoter Score of 58 versus industry average of 7
We start by hiring the best people with deep local expertise.We equip them with the tools, technology and data. You get results.
Shea is your local Bay Area Portfolio Manager
The East Bay has plenty of large corporations to provide residents , but that doesn’t mean Mynd’s property managers are off the hook. We’ll still be doing regular maintenance to make sure your homes are in tip-top shape. Trees near your roof? Trimmed! Central air? We’ll suggest a replacement at the fifteen year mark! Local ordinances? Followed to a ‘T’ so you never face a fine!We’ll also respond to the needs of your residents in real time, so that if anything goes wrong we’ll be there immediately. We’ll also make sure your residents are reliable before they ever move in so that you never have to worry about a missed month’s rent
1611 Telegraph Ave #1200
Oakland, California 94612
Extra care has to be taken for neighborhoods that are near the East Bay Area shore because the salt in the air can cause exterior damage to your Bay are rental property, particularly to concrete. We’ll keep an eye on your driveway, foundation, and everything else in between. Explore our resources below to learn more about East Bay, CA property management and more!
Fire is always a risk, but it’s especially top of mind now given all the wildfires in the western US.
There are things landlords can do to prevent fires and reduce their likelihood, and there are things landlords can explain to their tenants to keep them safe. Fire prevention is yet another reason to maintain a good relationship with their tenants because it encourages cooperation.
Remember, your investment is their home; they don’t want it to burn down either!
These are things landlords can take care of themselves to help prevent fires and reduce potential fire damage.
Following local fire codes and ordinances will help you avoid fines, keep your tenants safe, and likely keep you from violating terms of your insurance.
Make rules of your own that tenants are expected to follow. Write the rules out and distribute them to your tenants when you give them their lease and via email. Explain the rules to your tenants in person since you shouldn’t assume they’ll read them. If there are children in the household, make sure they are present, and learn these lessons.
Remind your tenants of common causes of fires:
Checking smoke and C02 detectors can be a part of your inspection. This is also an excellent opportunity to scope out the apartment in general.
Put fire extinguishers in every kitchen and make sure your tenants know how to use them. Not every fire extinguisher works in the same way!
Fire blankets are made out of fire retardant material and are placed over fires to smother them. They can be more useful for those who aren't experienced using fire extinguishers. They should not, however, be used to extinguish an oil/fat fire (like one caused by a deep-fryer) since they may end up covered in burning oil.
You have the right to prohibit smoking inside or outside your property. If you choose to do so, put it in your lease and inform your tenant verbally. If the stipulation is not in your lease agreement, it cannot be enforced.
You have the right to prohibit grilling. Like a smoking ban, the ban must be in the lease agreement. If you choose not to disallow grilling, then explain grilling best practices to your tenants:
Your escape plan should be clearly explained, posted, and include emergency numbers and contact information.
Renters insurance only costs a couple hundred dollars a year, but they can help policyholders cover the cost of personal items in the event of a fire, theft, natural disasters, etc.
A tenant isn’t guaranteed to report an issue, which can be dangerous if it’s a fire hazard, water leak, etc. Fostering a positive relationship with tenants and responding to complaints quickly and effectively will encourage them to report issues.
Repair structural components such as fireplaces, chimneys, electrical cables, and plumbing systems.
Make sure to follow fire prevention best practices for your landscaping.
Check the state of your electrical appliances, even the microwave. Check vents for dust, pet hair, and other debris.
Residential fire sprinklers can contain and potentially put out a fire in less time than it might take for the fire department to get there.
Keep track of everything you do to reduce the likelihood of fire to reduce your legal liability at your property.
You should put together a list of fire prevention measures your tenants can take. Make sure to provide the list in person, via email and go over it verbally and that any children are also present.
You can break up the list into the following three categories:
Taking as many precautions as possible will decrease the likelihood of your investment being destroyed by a fire. Many of these precautions are also acts of maintenance that will keep your investment looking good and prevent them from depreciating.
A well-maintained home is a fireproof home!
To learn more about fire prevention tips in your local area, contact our on-the-ground property management team who can help keep you prepared for the fire season at your rental home.
Minimizing vacancy time is a priority for landlords trying to maximize their return, but it is even more important during a pandemic when every dollar counts. The key to reducing the time between a renter moving out and a new tenant moving in is utilizing technology to make the process quick and convenient. A tech savvy property management company using self-showings, online applications, and virtual leasing can reduce vacancy time.
Implementing pre-leasing strategies can result in your property being leased before your current tenant moves out. If you are using a property management company, they may already have marketing materials for your property ready to start advertising immediately.
Every day the unit is vacant is money lost, and pre-leasing can help to minimize the days between renters. You will still need a few days between renters to get your rental property rent ready and complete the cleaning process, but having a tenant ready to go right after is a huge advantage.
Mynd offers pre-leasing when we can and if there are photos and video available to begin marketing the property.
Each of these advertising tools gets more eyeballs on your property. The more potential renters you reach, the larger number of applicants you will have to choose from. Video is a powerful tool in its ability to bring the property to people virtually. You want to cast a wide web and quickly capture as many interested renters as possible.
Certain platforms may perform well in one market and not in another. A local property management company like Mynd knows what works best for marketing a property in their specific area.
During a pandemic there are additional challenges associated with showing a property safely. Virtual tours and showings are welcome alternatives to actual onsite visits to the property.
Mynd offers self-guided tours of properties for rent. Someone interested in the property can select an appointment from a schedule online. There is an ID verification process, so we know who is going into the property, and they are given a temporary access code.
Statistics show that self-showings increase the conversion rate of a prospective renter to a tenant because a lot of the friction of the process is removed. They don’t feel the pressures of a salesperson, and they can better schedule the tour when it is convenient for them.
Video allows the property to be seen by more people. The ease of sharing a link with someone vs scheduling an onsite tour is a huge advantage in reaching a wider audience.
Video tours are a great way for potential renters to view multiple properties from the comfort of home. They love the convenience and time saved. No more running around to see properties they instantly aren’t interested in because of a layout or other reasons. People relocating from out of town can easily tour properties without the time and cost of traveling.
Video tours give potential renters the ability to narrow their list of properties and schedule self-showings themselves. It is a safe showing process to offer during a pandemic because it doesn’t require any interaction from a salesperson or property manager.
Once a potential renter finds a property they would like to view in person, they simply select an appointment time online to register for a self-showing. During the signup, Mynd collects ID and credit card information. They are then given an access code that works with a smart lock on the property. The code is temporary and only works during their scheduled visit.
Mynd knows who is at the property and when they are there. Every step is tracked so there is an information trail. The process is very convenient for the renters, and it is a safe process for everyone.
Once the tenant had decided on a property and is ready to apply, they can do that online at their convenience.
How do you know if a potential tenant is right for your property? The tenant screening process is an important step to ensure you get a quality resident in your home. There are several tools available to help screen applicants.
Some property management companies use a FICO score which only tells you the applicant’s credit score. It is important to look at several factors, so Mynd uses data from Transunion to create a resident score to evaluate a potential tenant.
Running a criminal background check is another layer of information to consider. However, in some areas it is illegal to run that report on an applicant.
As a landlord, it is important to know the laws that apply to applications and what you can and can’t do in your area. There are questions you can’t ask on an application, and you don’t want to end up dealing with an expensive lawsuit. Good property management companies understand the laws and regulations to ensure you are complying. Mynd has in-house legal counsel to ensure the application process follows the laws.
The more thorough the screening, the better chance of getting the highest quality tenant in your property that is going to pay their rent on time.
Once you have a tenant ready to sign a lease, it is important that the lease signing process be quick and easy. At Mynd, our lease signing process is done completely online. In addition to the website option, Mynd also has an app available for mobile phones or iPads because the goal is to make the process as frictionless as possible for the applicant.
When looking for a property to rent, it is important to know that you are dealing with the actual owner or property management company advertising it. How can you tell if you are dealing with the right person and not someone claiming to own it? It is important that you, the property owner, can also clearly communicate this to your prospective residents.
Considering branding the listing with your name or some other unique feature so that the prospects can easily identify the unit. At Mynd, all photos will be watermarked with the Mynd brand, smart lockboxes will have our sticker on them, and the signs will have our logo and information on them. Applications and lease signing are all done online through our website or app.
Mynd does everything they can to make it clear who you are dealing with on a listing and brands all promotion material to reduce the potential for fraud.
Once the tenant has an application approved, it is important that the next step, signing the lease, happens quickly in order to keep the momentum going. The digital lease signing process makes it easy to move the resident through the next step. Once the digital lease is signed, the tenant books a move-in date online. Again, the goal is to move through this process quickly.
Mynd then works around the move-in date to make sure the cleaning, keys, etc. are ready for the big move-in day.
This seamless process moves the tenant step by step through the process with minimal time between. You don’t want to lose a quality tenant because you took too long, so keeping the momentum going is key. Using technology speeds up the process, and significantly reduce the time it takes to place a new tenant. Tenants love it because they can complete the process quickly from home on their own time.
As an owner, you want to keep a quality tenant if possible. Getting them to renew a lease saves all the time and effort of finding another tenant, screening them, getting the home rent ready, etc. Keeping the current tenants means no lost rent during the vacancy time.
At Mynd we will re-evaluate the market to see if it is a good time to increase rent or if you need to decrease rent to avoid them moving out for a better deal. The market determines rates, and you want to stay competitive.
How do you know if it is illegal to run a background check? What questions can you ask on an application? The laws and regulations are constantly changing. COVID-19 has added even more rules and regulations that apply to evictions or rent increases depending on where your property is located. As a landlord you must follow all the laws that apply to your rental property.
You can research the laws online yourself. However, this can be dangerous as there might also be dated information online. It can be a lot of pressure to rely on your own research, especially since much of the information is written using legal terminology.
As the owner of a rental property you own a business that is governed by laws, and you must comply with them. You can do the research yourself or hire a property management company like Mynd who can take care of this for you. Not only can that give you peace of mind that your investment is in good hands, you can also reclaim some of your time back as well.
Mynd property management is ready to be your partner. Whether you are looking to expand your investment portfolio or need management services, contact us today. We offer a three-tired pricing plan, so you can choose the one that best fits your needs.
The CDC has issued an eviction moratorium until December 31, 2020. Any individual with the right to pursue an eviction, whether it be landlords or owners of residential properties, is prohibited from doing so against any occupants who are unable to pay due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Evictions are still permitted for reasons that have nothing to do with non-payment of rent due to the coronavirus pandemic, and foreclosures of home mortgages are not precluded.
This moratorium is different from the CARES Act. It only applies to those areas that don't already have an eviction moratorium of their own or areas where protections are less substantial than those provided by the CDC. That means states like California, which passed its own
COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act (AB 3088), aren’t covered by the CDC moratorium.
The CARES Act, which expired on July 24, 2020, prohibited evictions for 120 days against those unable to pay their rents due to the coronavirus pandemic. It also prohibited landlords from charging late fees, penalties, or charges against tenants protected from eviction.
The new protections from the CDC are available to all residential occupants instead of only those who get federal housing assistance or who live in a federally related or financed property.
The CDC's moratorium only applies to those areas that don't have their own moratoriums or where protections are less substantial than those provided by the CDC moratorium.
The CDC moratorium doesn't mean late fees, fines, or interest cannot be incurred due to rent that goes unpaid during the moratorium.
To make use of the moratorium, tenants have to fill out a declaration form. The form is then given to whoever has the right to start the eviction process. The declaration must include the following from each adult tenant listed on the lease or rental agreement:
The declaration is considered "sworn testimony," so anyone who fills it out untruthfully can face charges or a fine. The statement also does not have to be filed in court. It only has to be submitted by tenants to their landlords.
The moratorium does not forgive rent. Tenants still have to follow their lease terms and pay as much of their rent as possible. Tenants may also face fines, penalties, and interest for not paying their rent.
The CDC moratorium only affects tenants at risk for eviction caused by non-payment of rent due to the coronavirus pandemic. Tenants can still be evicted for willful destruction of property, alleged illicit activity, lease agreement violations, etc.
The CDC order also doesn't cover commercial tenants, which means office and retail spaces, for example, get no protections. Only tenants of apartments or houses are protected. Those living in hotels or motels are also still subject to eviction.
Tenants who are protected by the moratorium are still at risk of eviction. As reported by NPR, the CDC's moratorium hasn't entirely stopped evictions. The following problems persist:
The penalties for ignoring the CDC's moratorium are stiff for landlords: upwards of $100,000 and a year in jail for a first offense. A landlord that tries to evict a tenant for not paying their rent will have to provide sworn testimony that they never received a declaration from the tenant. Being dishonest with the court could also come with a charge or fine, so property owners should always be truthful.
Some have voiced the concern that the CDC's moratorium may prompt landlords to take the following actions that will have adverse consequences for existing or potential tenants:
Some have also expressed the concern that providing a moratorium on evictions may discourage tenants from seeking employment.
Like moratoriums offered by states and local jurisdictions, the CDC's moratorium on evictions only provides temporary protections for tenants through December 31, 2020.
The risk of systemic failure still exists in the near future, which may be warded off by some federal intervention in the form of monetary assistance for both property owners and residents. Many believe that economic stimulus directly to both parties is a better solution. No matter what happens, though, the coronavirus pandemic's effects will be widely felt by tenants and landlords nationwide in both predictable and unpredictable ways.
The East Bay region of Northern California is generally defined as the area to the east of the San Francisco Bay and San Pablo Bay. There are about 2.8 million people living in the two counties (Alameda and Contra Costa) that make up the East Bay region. In addition to being in close proximity to the US central tech hub Silicon Valley, the East Bay has one of the top 10 busiest ports in the US—the Oakland Seaport—which is said to discharge about 99 percent of all containerized cargo goods in Northern California.
East Bay houses many large US corporations, in industries such as healthcare (Kaiser Permanente, Sutter, John Muir), gasoline/oil (Chevron, headquarters in San Ramon, ranked #11 on the Fortune 500), consumer goods (Clorox, headquarters in Oakland, #477 on the Fortune 500), grocery/food (Safeway, headquarters in Pleasanton), entertainment/animation (Pixar, headquarters in Emeryville). For those who decide to live in the East Bay and commute into San Francisco, the rail system, BART, will get commuters to and from the city via the Transbay Tube.
The NorCal region is highly urbanized, with some suburban neighborhoods mixed in as well. The weather is usually about 10 degrees warmer than in San Francisco The East Bay Division of the League of California Cities includes 33 medium- to large-size cities, with Oakland, Fremont, Hayward, and Concord among the largest. In addition to many outdoor activities such as hiking, trails, parks, and more, East Bay is also home to two major league sports teams: NFL’s Oakland Raiders and MLB’s Oakland A’s.
Home sales prices in East Bay cities dropped YOY (2018–2019), down 9 percent in Oakland and 15% in San Ramon (Bay East Association of Realtors)
University of California Berkeley ranked #22 in National Universities by U.S. News and World Report
Home to the headquarters of Chevron, Pixar, Safeway, Clorox, and more
Median age of residents in the East Bay is 39.6
Alameda County residents have a median household income of $96,296, which is higher than the national average of $63,179
Job growth in Oakland alone is expected to increase by 35.3% over the next 10 years, compared to the national average of 33.5%
The Northwest region of the East Bay includes Richmond, Berkeley, and parts of Oakland. Berkeley is not only home to the top national institution, the University of California, Berkeley, it also has one of the best school districts in California (#24 for most diverse and #72 for best school districts). It has a population of over 110,000 residents, and median home value is $1.26 million, with median rent at about $3,800.
Oakland’s median home value is $752,275, with median rent prices listed at around $3,000, which is $300 less than the San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward Metro region. Popular Oakland neighborhoods for homebuyers include West Oakland, Dogtown, Jingletown, Temescal, and Jack London Square.
Concord and Walnut Creek are just steps away from Napa Valley wine country, with many golf courses and open spaces for outdoor adventures. Concord is a burgeoning arts and cultural city located very close to many award-winning wineries. It’s one of the most affordable cities in the East Bay, with average home value listed as less than $575,000.
Walnut Creek boasts many award-winning schools and a myriad of outdoor activities. It’s also an affordable place to settle down with family: Home values average at just under $800,000, with rental properties averaging $2,900.
Just across the bay, the southwest region is an area perfect for singles and families. Hayward is an affordable and centrally located city in the East Bay with great views of the Bay Area and beyond. Home values average at about $660,000, and median rent is about $500 below the metro area’s median of $3,300.
Centrally located in the East Bay, Pleasanton and San Ramon are great commuter locations for many locations in the Bay Area. Further south, Fremont and Milpitas are adjacent to Silicon Valley. Pleasanton is a more upscale suburban neighborhood in the East Bay, with home prices averaging over $1 million and median rents around $3,500. It’s about 25 miles east of Oakland has been ranked in various best places to live and raise a family lists (such as on USA Today).
San Ramon is a smaller city with a population of 76,000. Homes average about $1.2 million in this popular city for families, with several golf courses and outdoor adventures.
East Bay’s Fremont is close to Silicon Valley, with a median home value of $548,385. With nearly 200,000 residents, Fremont is a family-friendly city known for its many parks and it has easy access to Silicon Valley and nearby universities. Milpitas is also directly adjacent to Silicon Valley, with home values averaging just over $1 million and rental prices averaging $3,400.
For more information, refer to our Knowledge Center and visit our East Bay, CA Property Management page for local landlord tips and information. Our team has vast knowledge and experience in local East Bay property management and can help you to have a better investment experience. We educate on topics in the East Bay area ranging from landlord tips, repairs and maintenance, leasing, rent control and even new laws! We look forward to furthering your rental property education.
Location, location, location! This is probably the real estate industry’s most overused adage, and as much as we hate to repeat it time and again, we can’t ignore a longtime truth: where investors buy matters as much as — if not more than —what they buy.OK. So, location matters. You get that. But what exactly does that mean? How should real estate investors evaluate locations throughout the East Bay area?In Part I of a multi-installment series on real estate investing, we explore a number of factors that influence where to buy income property. Our advice is grounded in decades of experience buying and managing rental properties, both at the height of the market and when it was at record-lows.So, without further ado, we offer a few guiding principles:
The latter half of the 20th century favored the suburbs. A number of factors, most notably persistently high crime, meant that anyone who could afford to leave the city fled for the suburbs’ greener pastures. Over the last decade, the pendulum has shifted back and people are moving back to cities in droves. Why? Well, in addition to the jobs, cultural amenities, bars and restaurants that cities have to offer, they also tend to be highly walkable.Residents today place a premium on being able to run errands, grab lunch, or get to work with little or no need for an automobile. This is especially true now that Zipcar, Uber, Lyft and other ride-sharing services have created on-demand access to vehicles as needed. Millennials and Baby Boomers alike want to live in these “20-minute neighborhoods,” where a bulk of their daily activities can easily be reached within a 20-minute walk. While these areas tend to be located in the urban core, they’re also starting to pop up in inner-ring suburbs.To evaluate a neighborhood’s walkability, check its Walk Score. Most people assume that San Francisco is the Bay Area’s most walkable community – but as it turns out, Downtown Berkeley takes the top spot with a walk score of 96. All told, the East Bay offers a range of highly walkable neighborhoods. Oakland’s Lakeshore, Temescal and Upper Dimond neighborhoods all rank in the mid- to high-80s.
Related to walkability is proximity to public transit. Not everyone can live in a 20-minute neighborhood, but that doesn’t mean that they want to jump in their car and sit in traffic, either. Demographic shifts and concerns over quality of life have made living near public transit more desirable. Studies have shown that consumers are willing to pay more for housing located in areas located near public transit.The gold standard is buying property near one of the Bay Area’s BART stations. East Bay is home to several BART stations, and during rush hour trains come every 2 to 3 minutes. Depending on which neighborhood you’re coming from, this means you can get to downtown San Francisco in less than 20 minutes. Riders can catch up on social media, respond to emails, play games or read the news – sure beats a stressful bumper-to-bumper commute each day! Residents are willing to pay a premium for the convenience of living near public transit.What’s more, a recent analysis finds that residential properties located in proximity to fixed-guideway () transit maintained their value better than those without transit access between 2006 and 2011. The study concluded that San Francisco-area properties located within a transit shed outperformed the region by 37% during that time. This confirms our on-the-ground experience: buying rentals near public transit helps to preserve value despite the market’s ebbs and flows.
It can take years () for neighborhoods to transition. But for investors with a long term buy-and-hold strategy, owning in a transition neighborhood can pay big dividends in the long run.Look at who’s investing and where. In an upcycle like we’re in today, investment starts percolating into neighborhoods on the fringe. We’ve seen this happen right here in our own backyards. For years, investors would think long and hard before buying rental property in Oakland. It was considered one of the most dangerous cities in the U.S. Fast-forward a few years: real estate investors priced out of San Francisco started scooping up properties in Oakland at bargain prices. Rents in Oakland have subsequently experienced year-over-year double-digit gains. Today, Oakland is considered one of the nation’s hottest rental markets.Identifying East Bay’s next trendy neighborhood can be tricky. One strategy is to use the Starbucks test: where is Starbucks opening its newest locations? In their own words, Starbucks calls its real estate decisions “as much an art as a science.” Indeed, Starbucks and other upscale retailers do extensive research before making their location decisions.In a perfect world, you’d buy real estate in these areas just before Starbucks, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and the others start to put down roots. Gentrification moves through neighborhoods in wavelike patterns; buying right in front of the wave helps to maximize value. Investing in rental property near a new Starbucks is a good strategy nonetheless; research shows that homes located near a Starbucks appreciate faster than average. The East Bay area is peppered with opportunities like these.
All investment decisions are personal. As you evaluate where to buy rental property, consider how much risk you are willing to take. Your risk profile () will influence where to buy.For instance, if you have a high risk tolerance, you might consider investing in rougher transitional neighborhoods. With high risk comes the opportunity for high reward. But keep in mind: these are usually the first neighborhoods to lose value during an economic downturn. Let’s compare San Francisco and Antioch as illustration. San Francisco real estate values dropped by about 20% during the 2008-2010 recession, and quickly recovered. Meanwhile, property values in Antioch plummeted by about 70%, and have yet to fully recover. The longer your investment time horizon, the easier it will be to weather the market’s ebbs and flows.Conversely, if you have a low risk tolerance or shorter time horizon, it makes sense to buy income property in more established locations. More desirable core areas maintain their value well even in a down market, and recover quickly on the upswing. It comes as no surprise that these areas tend to be located near the jobs and amenities downtowns have to offer—including walkability, public transit, and of course….a Starbucks.
Whether you’re a first time investor or seasoned vet, finding a well-located property is essential for maximizing value. As you set out in search of your next East Bay rental property, keep these guiding principles in mind.Part II of this series will look at the types of real estate and property features you may want to consider if you’re contemplating investing in the East Bay area.Stay tuned for more!
Class A. Class B. Single family. Multifamily. Turnkey properties. Value-add opportunities. Primary market. Secondary market. Tertiary market? Gut rehabs. Mixed-use. Student housing. Housing for young professionals. Rent controlled. Non-rent controlled.When it comes to investing in East Bay real estate, there are so many different types of properties you can buy. So how do you narrow it down and decide what to buy?In Part I of a multi-installment series on real estate investing, we shared the guiding principles that help us determine where to buy rental property. In Part II of this series, we explore a few key considerations that help guide us when evaluating what types of rental property to buy.
How much renovation work are you willing to take on? This differs for every investor. Some investors have construction and rehab experience, or are willing to manage the multiple contractors that are needed when taking on a major renovation project. Buying an older, outdated or otherwise “rough” property can make a lot of sense for those with a lot of experience or access to capital. As successful flippers know, one can realize a lot of financial upside by purchasing an underutilized asset, renovating it and then holding onto it for a period of time.But renovating a property isn’t for everyone. If you have less experience, less capital, or are less interested in being a hands-on investor, buying a newer property makes a lot of sense. Newer properties – or properties that are older but have been newly-renovated () – require less frequent repair and maintenance. You might pay more for these properties on the front end, but new properties also tend to command higher rents. For these reasons, we believe buying a fully renovated asset is still a great investment; you just won’t get the additional juice from adding value through renovation.Fortunately, the East Bay is a mixed-bag when it comes to age and condition of properties. Many of the homes were built in the early 1900s. The craftsmanship on these properties is usually fantastic: the properties are structurally sound, and tend to feature unique details that you don’t find with new construction. Some of these properties have been scooped up by investors who renovated and flipped them, a welcome addition to the brand new units popping up throughout the East Bay.
This may sound counter-intuitive, but hear me out: in my experience, you don’t want to buy the nicest property in an up-and-coming neighborhood. Instead, my investment approach is to look for the worst building in a great, stable community. People are always willing to pay up to live in an awesome neighborhood (). It’s easier to improve a single property than to improve an entire neighborhood, so we prefer to invest in value-add opportunities in high-demand areas instead of vice versa.
There are certainly advantages to both types of real estate. Single family homes can be a great investment because when it’s time to sell, you have a broad range of buyers, from institutional investors looking to add to their portfolios to owner-occupants willing to spend more for their “dream home” than would be justified on a cap rate basis alone. The price point of a single family can also be an advantage, for investors with a limited amount of capital. Single family homes are usually easier to finance, and if it’s someone’s first purchase they might be able to qualify for as little as 3.5% down. Multifamily properties are usually more expensive, and lenders usually want buyers to put down at least 30% if the property won’t be owner-occupied. Investing in a single family is a great option for those who don’t have a huge chunk of money to put down at the outset.That said, I’m biased towards multifamily properties. Although they require a larger upfront investment, they tend to be less risky. If one tenant moves out or stops paying rent, you still have the cash flow coming in from the other units to balance expenses. The repair and maintenance costs tend to be more predictable, and when large capital expenditures do arise (), the costs are lower on a per unit basis.
Most buildings in America are not rent controlled. Investing in non-rent controlled buildings has generally proven to be great investment strategy. The ability to raise rents with the market allows for substantial increase in cash flow and appreciation during periods of increasing rents.That said, investing in rent controlled buildings is a strategy that we like a lot. The cash flow is more reliable due to lower vacancy rates, along with less sensitivity to declines in market rents. If a resident in a rent controlled unit is paying 30% below market rent, and market rents go down by 10%, they are unlikely to move out or ask for a lower rent. Furthermore, there is upside for the owner when residents move out and units reset to market rates, which is guaranteed to happen eventually ().What to look for specifically in rent controlled buildings is a big topic, which I’ll cover in a future article.
Buying rental property is an investment, so you want to be sure this investment is generating meaningful cash flow. There are a few instances where investors might be willing to forego cash flow in the short term, such as buying a rent-controlled property with dramatically sub-market rents, or buying a fixer-upper that will need substantial investment. Otherwise, investors should look to buy properties at a reasonably high cap rate. In other words, you want to be taking some money off the table each month. At a minimum, you should be covering the cost of your debt (). In the current tight market, we target East Bay properties that have at least a 5-7% cap rate. In a down market, I’d look for properties with a 7-10% cap rate ().So many investors focus on where to buy rental property that they often forget to put thought into what types of rental property to buy. We hope that Part I and Part II of this investors’ series has left you feeling well-equipped to make smart, informed decisions as you look to purchase your next East Bay rental property.