SFH Rental: How's the current market & advice needed on appliances

Hi, all! Long time reader, first time poster. Looking for advice from you guys on a rental I’m listing the beginning of December

Had a longtime tenant, so I need some help getting a sense of the market now and whether I need to make adjustments like adding appliances (fridge, washer, dryer) to be more competitive. I usually price a bit below market, and was also wondering the best resource to check for market rent. Zillow, Craigslist, something else?

Background on the property: 3 BR 2 bath single family home in Fremont, near Dumbarton. Good schools (9 for elementary and goes to American High). Very nicely updated kitchen and baths with granite counters, stainless steel appliances. Refinished hardwood floors. I lived there and did the updates for myself before turning it into a rental, so it’s pretty nice.

Thoughts on current market and competitively pricing it?

Should I add a fridge and washer/dryer? If so, are folks expecting stainless steel or is good ol’ white good enough?

Where’s the best resource to check the going market rent? And how do you typically price your rental relative to market?

Thanks for any advice you can share.


Hey @Chiapet828,

Love the 828 by the way…

I also have a SFH rental in Fremont that is def not as nice as yours but when I bought it about just under 2 years ago I was able to rent it out pretty quickly. Since yours is nice and you want decent rent I would probably provide all of the appliances. Applicants at that price point will probably expect you to provide all. Stainless ideally too on the kitchen appliances if that matches the granite an cabinets better. I believe our fearless leader @manch mentioned it from his last SJ vacancy and I agree, Zillow inquiries were of higher quality but honestly I would still go with Craigslist too for listing and competition researching.

In all of my years of doing this, I have always tried to price slightly below market since I prefer a tenant that stays awhile which reduces the turn-over time and expense. That is also because I have a regular job and don’t do this full-time like Manch or others. Losing a month of rent ever so often adds up, so you mind as well price slightly lower to hopefully get that continuous cash flow for awhile. I don’t know about you and everyone else here, but I am a member of several rental housing associations which is where I can download the latest and compliant lease applications/agreement forms to use. Geez, the number of pages is getting ridiculous. It is like doing a refinance…

If my recent SF rental exp is any indication whatsoever applicable to you in the East Bay, I would say that you may notice slightly less interest than you might have expected had it been say Aug or Sept due to the time of the year. It’s Nov-Dec, the holidays are here and people are less inclined to be moving unless they have to. The kiddies are in their schools, so why move now? So, I would def try to price yours well vs the competition. You should still get your share of the techies or folks maybe from Tesla inquiring, but you still want to hook a decent qualified fish and they can be picky. All it takes is one good tenant, right, so you should not have any problem if priced right. I rented our SF place in a matter of a couple of weeks, just showing it on weekends after my guys cleaned and painted it fresh.

Good luck!!!

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Forget the washer dryer…and tell the tenant they are responsible for maintenance on the the refrigerator or they can provide their own… .Stainless is as cheap as white goods now…check lowes and HD specials.

Craigslist is the best market indicator…
If you don’t get several calls the first day you are overpriced. .20 calls and you are under priced…Take lots of good pictures. .Use Craigslist for pricing…Price under market. …Watch out for picky tenants. …they can become annoying. …Remember you will have to deal with them for years…Be very careful who you pick…Best to interview the final selection at their house…will tell you how neat they are. …I like to have all prospective tenants come all at once…one or two showings. .Lets them know thwre is lots of interest. …And that they will be lucky to get a place…

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I used CL and Zillow to look at other competitors price in the area and pice it competitively. I do open house instead of individual showing. Just like Elt1 said, if you are getting too much inquiries, you are pricing it too high. So I would price higher than lower it if you are not getting enough call. I would actually add basic washer / dryer and price it attractive since I assume you are in Warwick elementary area and probably asking for more than 3200+ / month. Maybe you can ask them for $50 / month, they can have it, so you can break even in about one year and it is likely that they would want it. I normally prefer to find tenants on higher price range but not picky ones (watch out for how they comment house color, neighborhood, appliance etc).

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Interesting comments on fridge, washer and dryer. I provide all of these three for SV’s rental but no washer/dryer for Austin rentals. Any other pros/ cons of providing washer/ dryer?

For SV’s rental: Other than the first time, over 20 and bidding wars, I get about 3-5 viewings using Craigslist and Zillow. I use Zillow’s estimate as the asking rent.

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Check padmapper.com for rental prices. It’ll tell you whether a particular listing is higher or lower than recent other listings in a particular neighborhood. Though i don’t know how it’s calculating that. Plus everything is laid out on the map.

I’d recommend buying and maintaining the fridge, but letting them choose the washer/dryer if you don’t want to. Some people will ignore a property if it doesn’t have a fridge because a nice one is pricey and not worth trekking around or having to resell if it turns out that the next apartment will have one.

PS: Stainless vs. white: Whatever fits with the kitchen. If you have a cheaper older ktichen, white. If you have a granite countertop, high end kitchen and the other appliance are stainless, then stainless.

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Come on, if you are in the city where coin op laundrymats are a block away, ok. Not ok in suburbia! Not at that price point. I have coin-ops in my multi unit. Regular washers and dryers are soooo cheap, one would be shooting himself/herself if not offering.

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At that pricepoint, though, would people want their own? When we moved in, there were no W/D, but was a fridge. That was good for us–I got a specific set of W/D that could sanitize cloth diapers. Was glad to be able to do that.

You can also offer to provide them if the renter doesn’t have them.

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Same here.
When i rented, i had my own washer and dryer and that was my preference.
For fridge, i didn’t want to buy mine beacuse it won’t fit in to whatever next home i would move in.

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+one. If you can make this, do this. Buy any of these only when it is needed.

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Look like majority of landlords and renters prefer no washer/ dryer.
Thank you for sharing.

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I provided fridge, but generally no wahser/dryer unless they were already there when I bought the house.

I think by law you have to provide a fridge in CA?

I go beyond not renting to picky tenants. Yes, they exist. I grade people higher if they are very enthusiastic about my place. My theory is that enthusiastic renters will better take care of the house and not give me headaches. I used this approach with the 2 properties I self manage, both times it works out great. I wish I can ask my PM to do the same.

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Offer the washer and dryer as long as you dont have to maintain them. Sure they are cheap but maintaining them is a pain…Same with refers…they don’t build like they used to…Besides in highend homes renters are real picky about the w/ds…so may choices…In the low end don’t even provide garbage disposals or dishwashers. …both maintenance nightmares. And don’t provide ice makers or water to refers…Disasters waiting to happen when the water line breaks…

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I just put a 2 bd on Craigslist, in South Lake Tahoe…already have had way too many inquires. .Probably will take it off market…Remodel and put back on at a higher price…Tenant is being difficult in allowing showings…And besides it looks like crap with him in there. .I usally rent back to back with little turn around time. .but in a hot market it might be worth spending 2 weeks doing a total remodel upgrade with a rent increase

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Thanks for all the great advice and suggestions, everyone.

Sounds like folks are leaning towards providing a fridge but not necessarily the washer/dryer. I’ll consider adding a stainless steel fridge to match the rest of the kitchen appliances and will note the tenant is responsible for maintenance. (@manch, I did a quick google, and a fridge is not required by CA law.)

I’ll also post on both Zillow and Craigslist. I’d been checking the Zillow rent estimate this past year, and, unfortunately, rent is down by $200 whether through the seasonal slow-down or some other market force and is at $3,000. I’ll price it somewhat below that to be competitive and will cross-check with existing listings.

For folks who price slightly below market to be competitive, how much of a discount would you give? It’s a nicely updated rancher in a nice location with good schools but it is certainly not high-end.

I don’t know if I’ll be as lucky as ELT with tons of interest at this time of year. I’ll be happy positioning it right and having it rented out in a couple weeks like sfdragonboy.

If you are not good with photography ask a friend who is. Photos are very important. The more the merrier. Zillow allows way more photos than CL on their listings. Good luck.

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HD and Lowes are offering Stainless fridges for less than $1k…

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Yeah, that is a tough, subjective one. Hopefully, you have been semi-monitoring your competition in Craigs and Zillow once tenant gave notice. Since you indicated tenant was long term, can we assume that any “markdown from full market rent today” would still garner you a fair bump up from current rent paid (like in my situation here in SF, at +40%)? If it were me, I would want to know what your comparable house is going for now in your immediate area, but also same house in a nicer part of town AS WELL as a lesser desirable part of town. What is a particular pro or con with your place? Are you close to BART or any convenient commercial district or shopping mall? Are you near a noisy train line? Once you have those data points, you ought to be able to plot where you think you can go in pricing as well as offering amenities like W/D.

My Big Bro had a recent vacancy in one of his homes in Milpitas. Mentioned same thing, rental market not as robust this time of year. He had been getting decent rent already though, so he only bumped it up a little bit because that is simply what the market is saying right now. At the end of the day, the clock is ticking and trying to be for a lack of a better word, greedy, could actually end up costing you another month and you ain’t having that. Get it back online with a good tenant at a fair rate so that you can get back here to chime in on other subjects…:slight_smile:

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At least in South Lake Tahoe, Zillow and padmapper.com are useless…Lots of property management companies that may just advertise in house…Otherwise Craigslist is the only source for rental info…

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I turned off the water tap hooking to the fridge. It actually leaking right before I put the house up for rent. It’s too fiddly for its own good. Just turn it off.

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