Renting – Apartments or Privately Owned Rentals
When making the decision on whether to rent from an apartment community or private owner, there are a few subtle differences to consider.
ORANGE COUNTY PRIVATE RENTALS
Private rentals are homes or condos owned by individuals who, rather than living in the homes themselves, have decided to rent them to the public. The owners may act as landlords, collecting rent and dealing with maintenance issues on their own, or they may hire a 3rd party management company to handle day to day tasks for them.
There are some nice advantages to renting a privately owned home or condo. In general, these homes are less expensive from a dollars per square foot perspective. They also tend to be less densely occupied than apartment communities, where homes are often stacked four high with shared walls on 2 sides. Many private homes have their own pool, yard (typically maintained by professionals), attached garage or other unique features that many apartment communities just can’t provide.
On the other hand, security deposits for these homes tend to start at one full month’s rent capping out at as high as two full months’. Maintenance issues may or may not be handled as quickly as you’d hope, and there’s always a possibility that you may move into a home that the owner loses to the bank. This final fear is a serious one and in these days, perhaps the best reason to work with an agent on finding you that private rental, rather than fishing through newspaper and Craigslist ads by yourself. As a diligent Orange County real estate agent, I and my team do our best to research homes before our clients sign a lease. We look for obvious red flags indicating trouble before we finalize.
ORANGE COUNTY APARTMENT COMMUNITIES
Apartment communities are typically owned by large corporations and have varying levels of amenities and services.
If you like the idea of having a community pool and spa, maintenance and customer service professionals on site, activities to attend, and a fitness center within walking distance, finding the right apartment community may be perfect for you. Many qualified renters can even get away with a $300-$700 security deposit, though those less qualified could still find deposits as high as 2 months’ rent.
There are trade offs. Often these communities are significantly more expensive for their size than private rentals. With such a dense population you should be extra cautious about safety and security. You may end up with a neighbor who is extra sensitive to your footsteps or television volume…or worse yet, you may get the neighbor who insists on blaring the stereo at all hours!
UNDERSTANDING THEIR MOTIVATION
This final point is incredibly important. When it comes to renting from someone, whether it’s a private individual or a large corporation, it’s important to understand what they are trying to accomplish.
Most private owners want their dream tenant. They charge a fair rental price and expect to be paid on time, every time. They also expect their tenant to be cooperative and respectful to their neighbors. With that, they are happy and will likely do all they can to make sure their tenant remains happy. It’s a win-win. If they think raising your rent will drive you out, they’d much rather keep your rent where it is in order to keep the win-win.
Most Orange County apartment communities are owned or operated by large companies who are responsible to shareholders, a board of directors, and investors. They are expected to show YEAR OVER YEAR PROFIT. While they too would like to have great tenants who pay on time, they are forced to be more aggressive in raising their rents and will often let you walk away in order to move in someone new willing to pay the higher price tag. Apartment communities focus is more on dollars and cents. Working with a private owner often has a much more personal feel.