Friday, February 19, 2016

R I P Postlets. How I use the Web to find Tenants for our apartments. The Apt hunt explained.

RIP I will miss you   Postlets was cool.  I liked it.  It worked.

It was a great web site.  It did not try to over complicate the process of renting an apartment.  With this tool it would set up a standard formatted set of information and photos to share.  Then when you used it's tools would up load the data to other Rental listing sites.

Recently Zillow bought them out.  

Major bummer.  Issues.  I've lost some great functions.

Postlets has gone the way of dodo bird by a bigger company eating it up and spitting out the bones.  The soul of a good process eaten up by the chinking larceny of another heavy handed company that leaves a lot of us wondering... What Happens Next.

Well luckily still works and is still good for basic listing. Their addition of maps is a really big improvement a year or two ago.  Had to add that to keep up with others like and more recently Nether are that good on their own.  Not much better is who has lost its luster with landlords (us housing providers) over the last couple of years.

Here is the lowdown on that. WestsideRentals had a complete lock on the Santa Monica & West Los Angeles area when the local daily newspaper The Outlook went out of business.  And the local landlords loathed to waste our time on the LA Times regardless of the price.  It was like this...
One little 3 or 4 line advert: $138 for a weekend run.
1000 phone calls on your answer machine
return 100 calls and set appointments
of the appointments maybe 5 to 10 show up to look.
Maybe one will return with a filled out application.
This math sucked. 

So, We all (housing providers) eagerly gave the rental info to Westside Rentals for free. Then they sold the data to their clients, the prospective renters.  This worked.  We got pre-screened tenants that had a real vested interest and had PAID up front for the privilege to see our rentals.  The 10 appointments we set, got out 8 or 9 folks to show up, and of that, half were willing to apply!  Maybe even bid up the rents a little to get the better places.

This was great for a time.  Unfortunately like the Zillow getting too big for it's britches above, WestsideRentals has as well.  It has gone into competition with the very folks that gave it the free data it used to sell.  Not good.  Some of the bigger firms are no longer giving them the data first and some not at all.

So the craze that Craig's List started ... Online sales for free... Is back to Craig's List!

My rentals are up on there for a week before I break down to give it to Westside Rentals.

And maybe if needed to one of the other sites.  The quality of tenant from the various sites is still sucky. What amazing demanding whiny folks get on Zillow and Trulia is really a sad sack section of humanity.   I have little time left for that type of folk.  

I need good Quality tenants.  Folks with a bit of brain between their ears and realize the contractual relationship of a housing provider is NOT to service you like a mommy or change your light bulbs or that flushing ear swabs is no big deal.  After all out of sight is out of mind. Right? Wrong. That will be an expensive clog you dim whit. 

The Dim whits that think hitting the automatic email button on Zillow or Trulia or Westside Rentals or Hot Pads or RadPads or HOTIgloos or most any list is not going to actually help you find a good apartment.  It just shows that U'r too lazy to be a good tenant.   With one thumb tap you think it will be handed to you?  Bwaaahh Haaa Haaa    

To Renters
If you are a tenant...  Or want to successfully become a tenant in a better apartment.  Read the advert.  Read all of it.  Yes we put enough info up to make it sorta telling.  There are clear clues.
1.      Send an actual email that states when you are available to rent and
2.      Tell the housing provider Why you want the unit.  
3.      Include your phone number
4.      maybe your email too   (Phone number is more important)
5.      Then follow up with a call and actually Drive By the site.

Really do follow up I'll recognize the name if it is in my list of folks I have to call back and tell you what's up.

If your phone message says something useful like: 
"This is Name, I looked at the photos online and the apartment at 123 7th Street works for me. Please call me on 123-123-1234 or email me at  I drove the area and like it.  It is right for me because X,Y,Z.    I'm available to meet you on Saturday or maybe Tuesdays after noon. Thank you.  Again this is Name at 123-123-1234"

This is the first one called back.  This one leads in setting the day and time of my open house on the weekend.  X is likely... I work for some firm nearby.  Y is likely a statement that it is well within their budget. Z is maybe a feature or something that makes them a match. Telling me the phone number at the beginning is good.  Telling me the number a second time at the very end is Fantastic.

This is in there with all those calls that say “Is it available?” then rush the phone number making me (or other housing providers) repeat the message 3 or more time to get that one breathless number. ARGHHH  And I have the add up?  Hell yes it is available.

Don't be that one if you want to rent from me.  We have to do business down the line for years to come if I rent to you.  You need to communicate clearly.  Fully.  

So Back to rental listings.  I'm going to brush up on my Craig's List Codes.  Some basic HTML formatting that they use.  I've lost my friendly Postlets helper to make easy the task of publishing the data the prospective tenant is looking for.

Fellow Housing Providers... the tip sheet is here

Monday, June 30, 2014

Anti Ellis Bill is Dead!! The "Escape Hatch" is still open.

The bill to stop the Ellis act is dead... for this year.  Sen. Mark Leno has halted his pursuit of state legislation that would undermine a landlord's right to leave the rental housing industry.

Leno, D-San Francisco, has given up on Senate Bill 1439 after its rejection in the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee last week. The bill took aim at the Ellis Act, a landmark 1985 law that bars local governments from making property owners stay in the apartment business.

Leno told the San Francisco Chronicle on Tuesday that he'll probably try to resurrect the bill in 2015.  "I'm very committed to this," he said in the article.

The Housing and Community Development Committee voted down SB 1439 by a 4-3 vote on June 18, leaving little chance for Leno to keep the bill afloat this year. The bill would force many rental property owners in San Francisco to wait at least five years before removing their units from the market - even if losing money month after month.

While the bill would have applied only to San Francisco, it could have statewide ramifications. Los Angeles and Santa Monica has already expressed interest in pursuing legislation similar to SB 1439.

Before the Ellis Act, rent-controlled cities - Santa Monica in particular - were forcing landlords to stay in business, even if they were losing money or experiencing other hardships. The Ellis Act has blocked this type of government intrusion, providing a veritable escape hatch for owners who can no longer thrive - or even survive - in rent-controlled communities.  All the owner in California owe a debt of gratitude to The California Apartment Association (CAA) for their tireless work to defeat this bill.

Keith Lambert

Call us at Lambert Investments Inc. to learn more.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Totally revamped a top end unit... Is it worth it?

Not long ago we did a unit make over and the rent went up approx $300 per month over the similar unit next door rented just 6 months prior.  (area of 18th Street and Montana Ave in Santa Monica)

Now we are taking a top unit to the top level of fix up.  Not just a high end paint job.  A full NEW Kitchen.

Granted it is a top floor unit with high ceilings and some Ocean Views.  But the kitchen will be getting a MASSIVE investment in counter topps and back splash in granite.  AND all appliances upgraded to really good equipment with black and Stainless Steel!

$4k in appliances.  $4k in granite.  Substantial labor time to fix and upgrade much of the apartment.  AND of course the new high end paint and New Carpet.

Well?   What will the rent change be?  What is the payback on this massive investment?

If the last rent was $2650 per month with nice amenities what will this even nicer unit bring?
(area is Euclid Street half way between Montana Ave and Wishire Blvd. in Santa Monica)

I'll post more on this project.


this link is only good for a limited time...

Monday, December 30, 2013

toilet bombs - an idea for those ultra handy owners.

Green and easy and cheaper than store bought.

Would you make these and give them to your tenants?

... toilet bombs that are made from eco-friendly ingredients. With a little patience, things should be running smoothly in no time. Using the degreasing wonders of dish soap, the helpful disks also help clean your toilet while busting through tough clogs.
Keep reading for the directions.

What You'll Need

2 cups baking soda
1/4 cup Epsom salts
8 to 9 tablespoons liquid dish detergent
Muffin tin
Muffin liners

These helpful disks are so easy to make and come together in minutes. The patience part is waiting for them to dry overnight! Mix together the baking soda and Epsom salts in a mixing bowl, stirring to break up any clumps. Baking soda naturally attacks buildup, while Epsom salts dissolve and help break up clogs.
Now slowly add the dish soap one tablespoon at a time. Stir while adding until the mixture resembles wet sand.
Fill your muffin tin with liners. You can use paper or silicone, but silicone liners make it really easy to pop the finished bombs out. Press the mixture into the muffin tin, packing tightly. Let it dry overnight.
Carefully release the bombs from the molds and store in a sealable container. The next time your toilet is clogged, place a bomb in your commode and cover with 4 cups hot water. Let sit for a couple of hours or overnight, and try flushing. Things should be moving smoothly!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

How to Screen Tenants

This is a good overview for new Property Owners

Of course I recommend hiring me to manage the building and take all the stress away.  I've been doing this for years and have seen many tenants that hide issues.  Reading the reports is a tricky thing as well. Being responsible for all that private data and having locked file systems and shredder etc. etc.

Personal Privacy of the applicants is the business person's responsibility too!  And we have to ask for that stuff.  But please be careful with it.  Email me if you want info on that new side of the information age and privacy protection steps we as landlords need to be prepared to take.

Good luck Renting.

Good luck finding Good Tenants.


Keith Lambert

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Taxes on your Capital Gains is on the line. Go Vote.

Please do not vote for Obama for the next 4 years.

While I do not agree with all the parts of any one party stance or party platform.  I do truly see major problems with continuing down the path our current White House is heading.

Most policy is done in the Capital building.  That houses the Congress and House of Representatives.  BUT that is the Republican and Democrat party controlled playground.  There many bills that are going to affect various parts of our lives are debated and voted on and modified and many "log rolling" trades of influence takes place.

But in the White House the influencers are the selections and pressing opinions of the president.  
Our current president is making some decisions that I do not like.  Stopping the pipeline that would bring oil into the USA from Canada for example.  I think it’s a big mistake.  We must reduce gas prices or our economy will keep sputtering! 

One problem that many do not see fully yet is the huge cost of Obama Care taxes.  This is starting at 3.8 % of all capital gains in just a few weeks come Jan 1 2013.  That is an extra % off of all your Real Estate and Stock sales from now on!  A big chunk!  Nation Wide!  That is huge.  I got a tiny refund check from my insurance company.  I'll pay $60,000 to $70,000 extra tax on the sale of my house or apartment building to pay for that measly $50 dollar refund check.  And my health insurance premium with up by over $500 per year.  Not OK. 

Then the news that CNN and other news outlets falsified the news re. the attacks on our consulate.  And that they are making bad decisions that lead to more military deaths.  Please tell me this is not so?

You be the judge.

Review this for the Military position:

And research the News falsified...

I'm not interested in false Propaganda. 

I am very much interested in the removal of a White House that is not leading to a place of prosperity or safety or security.

Please see this movie and THINK about what you want going forward.
The Obama Movie 2016:
It is long but for those who want to know what the “Political Chops” our sitting president brings to the white house you will appreciate the full treatment of the topic of what the man has associated himself with and how he sees the world.  What is the benefit of his special view?   I’m not in alignment but YOU need to find your own view.  So watch the full show.

Then there is this very cool video...  A 13 year old kid does a report card for review of the record...   It is cute and really to the point on the key issues in this election.  The short one to watch. 

I'm for Energy Independence.  AND reducing the price of gas.

I'm not for the perpetration of the Demo vs Repub status quo.  The same old stuff from the same old stuff shirts.  Voting for Obama only because he is on the Democrat ticket is too simplistic. WE the People (Us) need to think more deeply.  What does this election mean on the topics that really affect us.  Maybe we all need to think about more than just the two party system.  What would that mean?  I think it would mean we voted "For" something.

Are you really a Libertarian?

Are you really a Peace and Freedom?

Are you more aligned to Green Party?

Do you know the actual platform of the Democrats?

Or the full platform of the Republican Party?

No one person is able to be "For" all the items in any group's platform.  But you can have a sway in what one person is going to carry our nation forward in the White House for the next 4 years.  Please vote wisely.


Keith Lambert

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Today's Real Estate - Going Up or is it still Down...

... That is the question. You and I both know you can not expect real estate to always be going up. But why expect it to always be going down once it turns south?

We know it is Real Estate that is the basis of most significant wealth in the US of A. I've seen multiple cycles. I've seen interest rates as high as 18% in the 1980's. Never have I seen interest rates this low.

Nice article at DSNews about the report just released yesterday (Tuesday 2-21-2012) The Economics are changing for the better. Lending to 82% LTV. More loans being made? This is really great news. Normalcy is coming back to Real Estate.

So this imply's we are at the beginning of the rebound.

It most likely is the type of info to really look hard at if you want to buy at the start of the upswing in real estate values. Call me to review your goals. I am sure we can find a property that can enrich you and give you financial security.

Income or rental properties. Not just the one single family home purchase. You need an income producing portfolio of real estate to protect you and secure your financial future.

This is where I can help.


Keith Lambert

Your Real Estate expert.
Happy to help in Anything RE related.

All Real Estate is Local. Deal with someone who knows the local market