The San Diego housing and rental market is exploding. Just six months ago, it was reported that the average rent in San Diego hit $1,743 a month, an increase of 8.4 percent. Furthermore, the vacancy rate dropped another 2.17 percent, to the lowest rate in five years. In short, San Diego is a booming market with huge opportunities for real estate investors and property owners who act quickly.

But, preparing your property for rent is no simple task. You must ensure that it complies with San Diego county ordinances (of which there are many), the State of California’s Fair Housing and Employment Act, and applicable federal law. It is a daunting task.

Oh, and don’t forget, these are only the legal issues you will need to address.

Additionally, you will need to tailor the price for the neighborhood in which your property sits. You will need to prepare a maintenance schedule. Finally, it needs to look modern, inviting, and appealing for a San Diego resident.

If this sounds like a big undertaking, that is because it is. Luckily, you don’t need to figure this out on your own. A property management company with decades of experience operating Southern California properties can assist you in managing and preparing your property for new tenants. To help you along, this guide will go over some key points to consider prior to leasing your property.

San Diego County Rental Rates

San Diego is a city with diverse neighborhoods and even more diverse rent variation. While, overall, the city is a booming market for property owners, it is critical that you set the right price for your properties. For instance, desirable beach and coastal locations like Pacific Beach and Mission Beach are rented at the highest rates. A one-bedroom in La Jolla, Coronado, Little Italy, and Downtown can easily reach over $2,000. A two-bedroom will hit close to $3,000 and three-bedrooms are nearly unheard of in these neighborhoods.

If you own in beach-towns Ocean Beach (“OB”) and Pacific Beach (“PB”), you can easily charge $1,700 or more for a one-bedroom. A studio apartment should easily hit $1,500 a month. As you move closer inland, the prices drop – but only a little. Hillcrest, North Park, South Park, Uptown, and the East Village are all rapidly increasing in price. Recently renovated two-bedrooms in Hillcrest can easily top $2,000 a month.

As you move further south into Chula Vista, National City, and Barrio Logan, the prices drop a little. However, the average rent in many of these cities is still easily over $1,000.

Updates and Renovations

The more you update and renovate your properties, the more rent you can charge prospective tenants. If you are considering renovations, consider the unique needs of a Southern Californian resident. First, don’t spring for grass, maybe plant a beautiful rock garden and drought-resistant plant combination. The landscaping for drought-resistant plants is far cheaper and easier to maintain than traditional grass.

Also, you may want to consider water efficient fixtures, such as efficient shower heads, low-flow toilets, and other amenities. Many Southern California tenants are up-and-coming professionals who (1) appreciate conserving resources and (2) will pay a premium for smartly crafted renovations.

Finally, embrace in-unit amenities. Many Southern Californians are accustomed to dishwashers and washer/dryer combinations. The addition of these amenities can often equal an increase of $100 or more a month in lease payments.

Maintenance Items

You should also craft a maintenance schedule. You may want to consult with a property management company for assistance on what are the most common items that require replacement and repair in San Diego. Granted, a residential property in San Diego deals with far less harsh weather and elements than other houses but you still need to stay on top of your maintenance schedule. A management company often includes a maintenance schedule within their property management services.

For instance, you should coordinate regular carpet cleanings, painting, and other deep clean and standard repairs. Tenants, no matter how carefully vetted, always damage your property. It is crucial that you build a network of reliable contractors who you trust to work on your rental properties.

A property management company can cut through that messy business development by connecting you with their network of contractors. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel because a management company already has.

San Diego presents exciting opportunities for entrepreneurial property owners – if you can take advantage of it. This county has huge opportunities but there are also high costs. A property management company minimizes the risk of failure by connecting you to a deep network of experience, knowledge, and professionalism that will give you a leg-up on your competition for the best residents.