Blog Posts By Date: September 2017

09/12/2017

13 Things You Didn't Know About Apartment Hunting

Apartment hunting shouldn’t be painful. With that in mind, we at Advent have pulled together a few under-the-radar suggestions to make the process go that much more smoothly: Maintain good communication with leasing agents. This is a critical part of working together as a team, keeping everyone updated, and ensuring everyone is on the same page during the leasing process. Read. Don’t simply skim the rental ad or lease agreement – it contains information that will affect you in the future. Instead, do your due diligence in making sure that the unit provides exactly what you’re seeking, whether that’s laundry facilities or a pet-friendly policy. Once you sign the lease, make sure to read all the details, including those on utilities and addendums. Know your Fair Housing laws. Understand that these hold all real estate services to a strict policy so that everyone is treated equitably. Take pictures to jog your memory. There may be details you will either miss or forget. Pictures help. Measure the unit if you’re seriously considering it. That way you’ll know for sure whether your favorite velour couch will fit through the door. Don’t hesitate if you want to apply. Rental applications are reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis – but remember to physically tour the unit before starting the process. Check for cellular service. This is an overlooked but important item. Do you really want to pace around your apartment dropping calls every five minutes? Price and location are your two major factors when it comes to narrowing the search. These are biggies. If you don’t know that, you should. As you’re narrowing your search, also consider the management company or owner as well as specific amenities you’re seeking. Be realistic. Sunken fire pits and concierge service aren’t guaranteed, but if you look carefully, you’ll get what you need. Pay attention to fees. They’re not just put in the lease for kicks. You’ll have to pay them. Understand community rules and lease-termination policies. This can save a lot of heartache, conflict, and possible court fees down the road. If you may consider subletting in the future, make sure you can do it. See above. This too will save you some heartache and a possible conflict with your landlord or management company. Finally, check your unit for pre-existing damage when you move in. You’ll have to sign off on the move-in condition. Be sure you understand what it is so that you won’t wind up paying for someone else’s damages down the road.   more...

09/12/2017

How to Update and Retain Classic Charm

Buying property in the Bay Area often means you’re getting a place with wonderful old-school charm – but how do you keep that alive when giving the home a contemporary revamp? It’s an endeavor that may take some balance and forethought, but rest assured it can be done. Here are a few things to keep in mind throughout the process. Know What You’re Getting Into You’re not buying a brand-new tract house. Living in a period home means learning to accept the quirks that come along with the charm. If your must-haves include flawless climate control or perfectly level floors, you may be out of luck. Renovations can do a lot, but they’re not a cure-all or a time machine. In other words: be realistic. You didn’t buy new. You’re not getting new. Work with what you have. Pick the Right People Restoring an older home is part art, part science, and you need someone who can understand and harness that. Do your research before settling on any particular contractor and be sure to meet with potential candidates to ensure that you’re comfortable with them and their style. Additionally, talk to people who have experience updating older homes. They’ll have specialized knowledge that can help make the process as smooth as possible. Finally, work with people who share your goal for the home. You don’t want to butt heads with the person you hire. Start Small, Stay Smart If you keep a reasonable scope of work from the beginning, you’re less likely to get overwhelmed by renovations. This is particularly important if you’re on a budget – and really, who isn’t to some degree? Start with a reasonable expectation of renovation – and consider buying smaller as well, a decision that will in turn give you fewer ground to cover. You’ll also want to consider resale value when running your numbers. Be careful not to overspend in ways that won’t increase the return on your investment. Some Quirks are Your Friend You’re not going to make your home totally modern – that’s not why you bought it. Chances are you like many of its quirks, so do yourself a favor and embrace even the ones that might prove annoying time and again. It’s your property. If you’re going to live with it, you should like it.   more...

09/12/2017

Why Your Home's Era Matters

As a property owner, you should know that maintenance is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. Rather, your home’s era and style dictate what you’ll need to do to keep it in top shape. Let’s look at a few different types of home design and the specific property-maintenance tips that accompany them. Tudor While the Tudor style first developed centuries ago, its modern usage with reference to home architecture came into play in the 19th century through a combination of late Gothic and Elizabethan elements in addition to Tudor-type details. It’s important to remember that these homes – often timber-framed – can be prone to decay. This means preventative maintenance is the name of the game. Potential problems here include dampness that could cause rotting, sagging beams that might bear too much weight, timbers that have been cut improperly during renovations, and signs of fungal attack or beetle infestation. Moreover, timber is likely present even where it is not visible – in joists, windows, and lintels above doors, for example. Make sure to contact a qualified surveyor or structural engineer for a complete evaluation of the work ahead. First steps when it comes to checking a timber frame for damage: • Look for moisture, which is timber’s biggest enemy, and try to figure out its source; • Use a penknife to prod for possible infestations – if the timber is sound, you won’t be able to penetrate it; • Maintain treated and painted beams by removing dust and dirt with a soft brush or damp cloth; do not use linseed oil, whose stickiness attracts dirt. Mid-Century Modern This popular pre-war style and its mix of natural materials such as brick, wood, and stone demand a combination of common and unique maintenance tasks. It’s important that you take the time to understand your property and its needs rather than simply rushing to repair damages. This can undercut the value of the home as well as the sanctity of its period details. Experts recommend drafting an inspection checklist to streamline the identification and repair processes. Here are some of the elements this list should include: • Six-Month Inspection: ​ o Clean debris from gutters and spouts; o Clean and clear roofings and flashings, checking for rust, water, or other damage; o Check for cracks or damage in chimney bases and foundations. • Annual Inspection: o Check for weaknesses in chimney tops; o Note all scaling or cracks in masonry, both painted and unpainted; o Inspect all mortar joints, windows, doors, and claddings (also known as sidings) Victorian The picturesque Victorian style took hold in the mid-to-late 19th century; the name refers to the reign of Queen Victoria from 1837 to 1901. You’ll find plenty of these in the Bay Area, and while they’re beautiful, they have their own set of unique maintenance tips that you’ll want to get to know. For example, a Victorian’s early cavity walls were built to fight moisture along with improving insulation. However, these days such walls can corrode, eating away at the stability of the home in general. A few others: • Victorian architecture’s signature ornate decorative details are beautiful, but can also be dangerous if not properly maintained – ignore repair on these at your own (and your tenants’) risk; • Made to emulate early Roman floors, Victorian decorative floor tiles catch your eye and can also drain your wallet if covered with carpet or underlay, both of which trap moisture; • Keep slate roofing material and iron nails healthy by using felt to prevent corrosion and rusting.   more...