Category Archives: Local

Raising Rents – Property Management – Quick Tip

apt-complex

In a past blog post we explored the benefits and disadvantages of keeping a tenant while trying to sell.  As noted in that post, most know that a 60 day notice must be served when  tenant has lived at the property for over a year (12 months), when not on a lease.  If on lease, then the lease trumps all, except cash of course.  This is another discussion, but a tenant can always agree to move if paid to do so – many know the phrase from the bank owned property days, “cash for keys.”  This question was asked recently, “When a tenant is not on a lease, they’ve lived there for over a year, and I want to raise the rent… do I have to give them a 60 day notice?  Or will a 30 day notice do?”

Answer:  If the increase is less then 10% of the rent, then  30 day notice will suffice.  If the increase is more than 10%, then a 60 days notice is needed.

Rents are going up in Sacramento and there is always a decision to be made between keeping up with rents vs. keeping a tenant.  If you do not raise rents a little bit over time, the shock of a one time, big raise will certainly drive a tenant out.  Other would argue that a good tenant is hard to find and is worth keeping, even if it means leaving their rents low.  I find including a note with the rent increase stating how much you love them as tenant… how you want to keep up the maintenance, and how expenses have risen… this seems to take some of the sting away.  I do believe in keeping good tenants, and surely the cost of re-renting, the cost of making the place ready to rent, and potential vacancy may not be worth the extra $30-50/mo.?

What’s your strategy and experience in raising rents?

Signature2

Keith Klassen, Real Estate Broker

Klassen & Associates / 916.595.7900

 

Advertisements

Solar Panels in Sacramento

I just read an interesting article that motivated me to convey some thoughts and experiences on solar panels.

It’s exciting to see the progress solar power and panels have made in the last decade – more affordable and more efficient.  I visited a remote village in Northern, rural India where no power line reached… but to my surprise, they had a communal solar panel in the middle of the village to, yes … charge their cell phones.  Solar farms are popping up in open spaces – I saw a huge one recently on a drive to Las Vegas.  When I visit my home town of San Francisco and look out over a view, it seems more homes had solar panels than ones that do not.  I’ve sold new homes that now have solar panels as part of the purchase package – what home owner doesn’t love almost free energy!  And I’ve now interviewed three companies to hear their pitch for solar panels on my own home.

solar-panels-1477987_960_720

 

While I’m all for solar power, saving the planet, and money if possible, my experience was a little discouraging.  I hope that you might get a few tid-bits from my own journey.

It seems that purchasing panels is still not very popular, as the out-of-pocket expense out weigh the benefits/savings.  Some might argue, like buying a hybrid car, “You don’t buy it for the saving, rather for the planet.” There are also many incentives in California that go along with the purchase of solar panels.  The federal government gives tax credits (write-offs) for owners of solar panels.  And, there are a bunch of local incentives to look into if you are going to purchase panels.  Like a car, there are avenues and incentives to finance the purchase of solar panels too.  This attracted me, because it seemed that one could save money on power, then eventually own the panels.  However, I was also informed that the life of the panel’s efficiency is only about 20-25 years, which just so happens to be the life of the loan.  Take the time, look into the kick backs for your area, do the math and then make a decision.  Purchasing may be the right path for you?

Leasing the panels is another option where you pay a set amount (lower than your average monthly utility bill), but I found that a “power purchase agreement [PPA]” seems to be most popular route offered.  Leasing and the PPA are similar in that there’s little to no money out-of-pocket.  With the PPA, it’s as if you are agreeing to a fixed utility rate (lower than your average monthly utility bill) and allowing the company to use your roof to harvest solar power.  The company I spent the most time with asks for a 20 year agreement.

At the end of the day, while I love our planet and believe solar power and panels are a great move, I decided against it for now.  Here are the issues I came against:

  1. The numbers did not work for me on the purchase route, nor any other route.  Many told me ahead of time, “If you have SMUD (Sacramento Municipal Utility District) then it doesn’t make sense,” due to how inexpensive our power is.  With the PPA I would have save about 2 cents a month.  This does not give me any incentive to save energy either.  The PPA company gets all of the incentives in this scenario.
  2. My roof may need replacing in the next 5 or so years.  I would be charged about $500 extra to have the panels removed while the roof was replaced.  They would not budge on this or work it into the deal.  I did not want to bear this extra cost.
  3. Lastly, I hated the sales tactics.  The big push seems to be part reality and part fear base… “Energy cost will be going through the roof in the near future!!!!!  Sir, do you want to pay triple what you are paying now?”  Are rates going up?  Who’s to say?  Do you trust the guy selling panels?  Maybe, but I definitely do not like the fear-base sales technique.  Also, the sales person was extremely friendly and helpful, even when I said I was not sure… he kept saying, “Just keep moving forward, you can say ‘no’ at any time.”  When I finally said, “Not at this time,” he got really pushy and aggressive, trying to make me feel like the bad guy for backing out.  That actually helped me “break up.”  There are plenty of solar companies out there that offer great service and similar product.  Don’t feel bound to one.

Again, I have friends and associates that it’s worked great for, and I love the idea.  For me, it’s not the right time.  What experience have you had?  What am I missing here?  Surely my experience is not all-inclusive.

 solar in India Picture from my trip to India in 2015, with small solar panel on roof.

Enjoy,

Keith Klassen – Real Estate Broker

916.669.9030

Happy 4th of July!

fireworks-180553_960_720

It’s been a tradition on our street for at least the last 10 years to have a block party.  Kids decorate their bikes, food is brought out and shared, adults have a pie eating contest (and one time played “chubby bunny”).  There is always a great interaction with family, neighbors, and new friends.  Come on by with something to share and you will be welcomed!

I heard a radio broadcast simply reminding people how to stay safe with firework:

  • Eye injuries are taken for granted, but most common – wear glasses and/or protective eye gear
  • Wear long sleeves and glove to prevent burns (shoes and pants may be a good idea too)
  • Have a hose or bucket of water nearby
  • Keep an eye out for kids running around, especially with the fireworks going off (maybe even have some ear plugs, as I know one neighbor’s kids is super sensitive to load noises)
  • Keep an eye on pets too – some going nuts (in a bad way) once the fireworks start going off

Also, if you live on a street nearby me that also hosts a block party, this is your warning.  There may be a plan to have out bike parade go down your street, and some adults have talked about water balloons… that’s all I’m going to say.

Stay safe and sane 🙂

Enjoy,

Keith Klassen – Real Estate Broker

916.595.7900

 

Summer Movies & Music in Curtis Park, Sacramento

Every summer Curtis Park (at the actual park) holds several movie nights!  It’s always great fun for the whole family.  Check out the schedule HERE.

Also, on super hot days, we sometimes flee to the coast for a weekend, OR an air-conditioned movie theater is not a bad option.  At the bottom of the above list/link, Regal offers younger kid movies for a dollar.

Everyone loves the concerts in the park!  Curtis Park hosts a few each year – check out flyer below.  And East Sac. is known for its summer concert series, Pops in the Park.

2016 MIP jpeg

Have a fantastic summer!

Cheers,

Signature2

Keith Klassen/Real Estate Broker/916.595.7900

New Development in Curtis Park, Sacramento

Yeah, I know what you were hoping for… an article about Curtis Park rail yard development.  Sorry not on this one – no chit chat about gas station wars and dollar stores.  Instead I’m inviting you to follow my own development experience as I build out two houses.  I hope to post some thoughts on the grueling process of splitting the lot / sub-dividing the parcel map.  Could be educational to some – loads of learning from my mistakes and experience.  I’ll be talking about the ins and outs of the scope of work, contracting, and architectural plans.  I’d love some feedback on the design elements when we get to the interior (yeah, everyone loves the interior – this is the sexy part).  Ultimately, these babies will be sold and I will be high-fiving my contractor and business partner.  Welcome to my housing development journey.house rendering

Brief background

If you live in the area, you can check out the progress on 5th Ave., highway 99 frontage road, and Portola Alley.  I bought the house on 5th Ave. in 2008 and got the approval to subdivide the parcel later that year into 3 lots (original house sits on one, leaving 2 to build on).  Oh yes, it came with conditions.  I figured a budget of $25,000 to do curb and gutter work and maybe a few other things.  The City gave me a laundry list of improvements that got bid out between $100,000-125,000 – Yikes!  That killed the deal quickly.  So for the next six years I paid a portion of the property taxes and kept the weeds down.

5th ave overview pic

Fast forward to 2014… I saw a house sell for a decent price on the alley and knew it was time to build.  I got a contractor on board to share the project and do the work at cost (cutting the improvement work cost more than half).

Contact me if you want to discuss the boring, but essential ins and outs of engineering, special use permits, bonding, traffic plans, dealing with the City/fighting with the City (everyone has their war stories), utilities, etc.

We’ve begun improvement work – manholes, water main, sewer main, fire hydrant, and much more!  At the same time I’ve got an architect putting plans together and submitting to the Design Review Board.  In addition, I just got bids from five structural engineers and Title 24 bids.  Yay, getting serious.

lot clearing

Scrubbing the lot earlier 2016

 

“Man holes” – or should I be PC and call them “people holes” – might get a few weird looks?

 

Dropping the “hole” in the ground

Jimmy is the MAN!

Never thought I’d be so exited about a fire hydrant.

Water main beginnings.

Stay tuned for the next phase.

Cheers,

Signature2
Keith Klassen, Real Estate Broker / 916.595.7900

Sacramento Eats Revisited

Good to see this older article’s restaurants come to fruition.  It lists restaurants, mainly in Midtown, that were coming on the scene in 2015.

I’ve been to most of them …. here’s some commentary:

24006909

#1 –  Empress Tavern – If you didn’t know, this is the meat eaters version of MOTHER (a wonderful restaurant that serves no meat).  Or, at least the same owners, I’ve been told.  Killer, coved brick walls and ceilings that make you feel like you’re sitting in a speak-easy of some sort, except they have LED lights and mirrors (no windows) that brighten the place up.  I took my wife there on a special date – my fault for not confirming the reservation.  I made the rezo on an answering machine, um, I mean voice mail.  Do people still have answering machines?  “Wait honey, rewind the tape and play it back to me.”  We arrive and they don’t have my name on THE LIST.  The place is fairly empty on a Tuesday night at 6:00pm, but they tell me that everything is booked for a later party, blah, blah, blah.  We sat in the bar seating area, aka, people-that-didn’t-make-reservations-punishment place.  Okay, I exaggerate.  It was still cool a joint and delicious food, but the initial impression soured my experience.  I will go back a 2nd time.  We just ate a bunch of appetizers – loved the brussel sprouts

#2 – Hawks Provisions and Public House – I must try this place.  Darling, if you are reading this, put it on our next date night, please.

#3 – Braisserie Capitale – never heard of it – any good?  anyone?

#5 – Fish Face – Heard it was delicious!  Out of sight, out of mind.  Kru is legit and one of our go-to’s when wanting to see a sushi chief boggle your mind with his fluidity.   Billy’s like the high-end, night club DJ of sushi, with the sensibilities of Rembrandt. He does have a hand washing fetish though (I love you Billy) – but you want this when it comes toFullSizeRender fresh fish – right!  Just saw this today while grabbing a Peets coffee (think this may be #6 on the list).  Seems like everything Billy Nho touches turns to gold.  Is it just me, or is he blowing the lid off this town?!

#7 – Bottles and Barrow – Trendy concept.  Maybe I’m just jealous of guys who actually can style their hair, or have hair?

#8 – Iron Tavern – It’s kind of like a modern day TGI Fridays with decent beer and really good food.  I was surprised, and kind of wanted to not like it, but I actually do.  The poke nachos are delicious… and my wife got this bloody Mary that was more like a meal than a drink.  It had a strip of bacon in it for god sakes!  Another trendy thing, which I like… if only I liked tomato juice.

#10 – B-Side Bar – Great local bar with a boom box frontage – yeah, it looks like an old school radio like I had in the 5th grade.  Put it on your shoulder and turn it up.  B-side has records in the window, taking it to a whole … nuther… level!

#11 – Coin Op – Ah yes, then there was a bar with old video games.  I actually went there and had an informal Donkey Kong battle with a few guys – none of us got very far, but it brought back some memories, of me spending a zillion quarters on this game when I was a kid.  Very good selection of brews and tasty pizza too.dk__46436.1381332517.1280.1280

#13 – Chandos – … nuff said.  Actually I’m going to say something that may be controversial.  I like Chandos, but I don’t love Chandos, like everyone else.  There are better tacos out there.  There, I said it.

#15 – Track 7 Natomas – The only reason I go to Natomas – to sell a house, or go with buyers to show a house, or visit my homie Earl (shout out to 8 Track Masacre – and who doesn’t love a rockin’ 80’s cover band!).  Curtis Park Track 7 is my hood.

#16 – Magpie – I’m a big fan.  Been there a bunch of times and have only good things to say about it.  Besides, my wife loves it… men, you need to tune in to what your spouse likes, and do that – whatever it is, even if you don’t like it.  Just so happens, I really like Magpie.  Yeah, yeah – it’s hipster-ville at it’s finest.  The people watching is great fun.  I think the hostess had on a plaid 70’s dress which made me feel like I was at a dress up, decades party.  I didn’t mind it at all.

#17 – The Barn in West Sac. – Still being built out – this place has some fantastic architecture flow going on, and I can’t wait until it’s done.  Should be a great hang spot if they do it right.

#20 – (the new location) Shoki Ramen House – Just went there a few weeks ago, at the old Trails Restaurant on 21st, near Broadway – only 4 block from my house, which the old one was 2 blocks away (on 24th st and 2nd Ave.) – Noodles to Thai for is now in that location, which you need to try – I liked it way better than Shoki.  Maybe their Ramen is just not my thing.  Their menu mainly consists of a build-a-bowl of Ramen that is a little too much decision making, and gets expensive.  A dollar more for green onions – com’on!  I’ll pay a dollar more for an egg, but not onions.  I just ended up getting a standard  bowl and it was okay.  Just okay.  If you like Japanese soup, you’ll probably love it like everyone else.  I actually like my friend Dennis’ ramen up at Kansai – great sushi too (Dennis – glad you started hitting up Jiu Jitsu.  You’ll be submitting me before you know it… well, actually it’ll take a long time, but maybe you can tap out Nate – ha ha ha).

What’s your take on any of these haunts?

Cheers,

Signature2

Keith Klassen, Real Estate Broker

916.595.7900

 

 

 

Oak Park, Curtis Park Reunion / Gentrification / Local Eats

Lately there’s been some chatter about bringing the two Parks together.  Since the late 1950’s (I read 1959), when highway 99 cut off Oak Park from Curtis Park, this subsequently divided the two Parks and ghettoized Oak Park (Good Article on the History of Oak Park).  There’s a tunnel on 2nd Ave. that goes under the 99 freeway, where art work is proposed to bring the two Parks together – messages that welcome and encourage cross-over.  I love this idea and reliance on the local residence to give input and be part of the building process.

Another hot conversation revolves around the revitalization of Oak Park.  Clearly property values and rents are going up, up, up!  It wasn’t but several years ago everyone was “under water” on their mortgage.  Now, if they didn’t foreclose, those owners are considered genius for holding their investment (or maybe just lucky).  Much development is taking place – the Broadway Triangle, bringing restaurants, retail, and residential living opportunities.  Early adopters as the good folks at Old Soul, Naked Lounge, Arthur Henry’s, the Brick House art studio, etc. have paved the way.  Oak Park Brewery is now legit.  Five years ago you’d be afraid to get robbed or at the very least propositioned by a prostitute… now people are listing to live music and eating trendy mobile truck food, all on the open patio!  Newer-comers like Broadway Coffee, Capitol Floats, (I got my wife and I a gift certificate to try out one of these isolation, float tanks – I can’t wait!),  The Plant Foundry Nursery, La Venaditas continue to enhance, bring life and some would say gentrify the area.  I saw this tag out front of La Venaditas when my wife I got out there to try some delicious tacos, ceviche, and cold beer!

FullSizeRender

An interesting article was written about the restaurant in the Bee.

What are your thoughts on joining the two Park?

What do you think of gentrification?  All for the good, or displaces and wrecks the community?

And most important, who like tacos??????  Seriously though, have you tried La Venaditas?  I hear their happy hour worth a shot.

Cheers,

Signature2

Keith Klassen, Real Estate Broker (916.595.7900)