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5 Key Questions for Renters to Ask


Today, people are looking to rent more than ever.

After 2008, the push to own property as a no-brainer part of the American Dream took a hit. Sure, there are plenty of benefits to owning a home but do not snub the power you have as a renter.

If you are looking to rent a property, make sure that you also know which questions to ask to find the right rental situation for you.

Below, we will take a look at key questions that all renters need to ask. Take these points in and contact realtors that can assist you.

Talk to Other Renters About their Experience

Speaking to other renters will tell you a lot about a property. You will need to make sure that the property managers are diligent and attentive, and gauging the personal experiences of others will speak volumes.

When you stop by to tour the property, make sure that you also speak to people who live there. Ask them about the neighborhood, whether things get repaired quickly and how they would rate their experience as a whole.

You should also look into reviews for the property and the property management before signing a lease.

Negotiate on the Rent Price

Rent price, along with other parts of the lease, are always up for negotiation.

This process is not something that all landlords openly state or advertise, but do not hesitate to ask. They might say no, but it is better to ask if they can come down on the price before signing the agreement.

You may also be able to negotiate on the terms of the agreement, such as what utilities are included and the length of the lease. Ask for what you want — because you might get it.

Find Out the Basic Requirements

It is always important that you find out the prerequisites for becoming a tenant.

This process means understanding the deposit, references, and credit scores they require. Since you typically have to pay an application fee, you can save yourself time and money by not applying to properties where you cannot meet the qualifications.

Learn If and When You Can Go Month to Month

Going month to month provides you a lot of different benefits regarding flexibility.

Even if the landlord offers yearly leases, ask if they will allow you to do month to month instead. Since this puts them at greater risk, they may accept, with the caveat that you will pay more for rent.

Many leases automatically go month to month after the first year is complete. Read through the lease to know for sure.

Ask About any Out Clauses

Flexibility is the biggest perk of renting. You may get a new job offer, or simply want to move.

Due to this reality, do your due diligence to if there is any clause to allow you to break the lease and how much it will cost you. This way, you will not get stuck in a contract with no way to get out of it.

Shop Around and Speak to Different Professionals

Do all that you can to find help from professionals who assist renters. The more you learn about renting, the easier it will be to sign the lease that works for you.

To learn more about the properties that we have on the market, contact us today.

McLellan Estates operates two apartment complexes in the Bay Area, Crestview Apartments and Old County Road Apartments, both in close proximity to shopping, parks, dining, and transportation.

What Landlords Want Renters to Know

renters in the Bay Area

Landlords want what everyone with an investment wants: returns without the hassle.

Renters who are looking to make it into their dream property but cannot seem to catch a break are not unlucky. Often, they violate one of the vital rules every landlord has for their property.

Are you looking to move into a new property? Follow these landlord tips to become their first choice.

1. Read Your Lease

A landlord knows when you have read your lease because the answer to every common question rests in those pages.

Take 15 minutes to read your lease or even send it to a lawyer or accountant if you have one. Understanding what you agreed to will prevent costly mistakes and keeps you in the landlord’s good books.

2. Set Up a Back-Up Payment for Paying on Time

Landlords want two things: rent paid on time and undamaged property. For those of us who religiously pay on time, we cannot understand how these two basic premises are so hard to come by in the world of renters.

Step up your commitment to the property by leaving a check for the landlord to cash in the event you forget to pay on time. It demonstrates your commitment and covers your back in case you go on your dream vacation and leave all your cares and responsibilities behind.

3. They Will Find Out About Your Pet

Think you can sneak in your bird, rabbit, weasel, turtle, cat, or teacup poodle? Think again.

Landlords now look you up online for a more in-depth reference check. If you claim “no pets” on your application but declare yourself “a cat lady” on Instagram, be prepared for rejection.

4. They Hate Turnover

Landlords do not want to evict you.

It is true. They would rather wait two days for unpaid rent than change the locks while you are at work.

Finding new tenants is excruciating. It requires a new investment in cleaning, advertising, and reference checking, not to mention the lost rent from months of no occupancy.

More importantly, even if their current tenant is not a dream tenant, the next person is an unknown, which is even worse.

Good tenants mean consistent income, which is valuable in the rental market.

If you are having a stressful month or you cannot meet an increase in rent, do not give up. Talk to your landlord. Providing a brief respite to you may be simpler and cheaper for both of you.

5. Good Credit Is Better than Good References

Good references help land better apartments, but all landlords know that another landlord will say anything to get a bad tenant out of their place.

What is the best way to win over a new landlord? Good credit.

Good or excellent credit is essentially a love letter to your landlord because it shows that you live within your means and pay your bills on time.

Find Your New Landlord

Renting is not rocket science. Be honest with your landlord about what you offer, and your landlord will be more accommodating.

Are you looking for a new rental in Belmont, California? Contact us to find your next dream property.

McLellan Estates operates two apartment complexes in the Bay Area, Crestview Apartments, and Old County Road Apartments, both in close proximity to shopping, parks, dining, and transportation.

Apartment Shopping: 5 Tips for Finding Your First Place

apartment shopping for your first rental

Renting has become more common than buying. So for the first-time renter, it’s important to be prepared.

There are many different choices when it comes to apartment shopping. Knowing what works for you will be what will help the most in picking the perfect fit.

These 5 tips for finding an apartment are crucial for making a great choice. Keep the stress out of apartment shopping and get to finding your best place.

1. Know Your Budget

The first way to narrow down the large number of options for renting is by setting your budget.

Keep in mind that your first month is going to be a lot more expensive than your average monthly payment. You will have to pay a deposit (usually at least one month’s rent), an application fee, and then whatever moving fees you may need.

If the monthly cost is more than 30 percent of your income, you will most likely need a guarantor to be approved. Try to figure out if you need one and who would be willing to be yours before you get your heart set on an apartment.

2. Find The Right Location

Being in an area that’s close to your frequent hot spots makes your life so much easier.

Think about the places you go to often. How far is your commute to work? Is it near family or your significant other?

Picking areas that are near your most frequented spots will help you love your first apartment that much more.

3. Consider Amenities

If a dishwasher is a deal breaker, don’t waste your time looking at units without one.

Take the time to think about what amenities are absolutely non-negotiable for you in your first apartment. Dishwashers and washers and dryers can be considered features and not guarantees for an apartment.

Some buildings may even have common areas such as pools and spas. Other units are pet-friendly. Considering these options will help you be able to determine what you absolutely must have and what you can do without.

4. Research the Landlord

When you’re renting, you’re dependent upon your landlord. Therefore, making sure they’re easy to deal with is important.

Do some research online or even ask people you know in the neighborhood. Your landlord doesn’t have to be your best friend, but they need to pick up the phone when something goes wrong.

Be sure to read up on their policies and requirements before signing anything.

5. Explore the Neighborhood

Your new neighborhood is a big part of your first apartment.

Take the time to explore before you make your final decision. Is there a nearby grocery store that you like? How about a local pharmacy or coffee shop?

Even walking around at different times of the day can help you make your final decision when you’re apartment shopping.

Apartment Shopping Like It’s Your Job

Even if it’s your first-time, following these 5 tips when you’re apartment shopping will make it seem like you’ve been an apartment renter for years.

If you’re looking for your perfect apartment, contact us today. We’ll help you find the best unit for you that fits your needs.

McLellan Estates operates two apartment complexes in the Bay Area, Crestview Apartments and Old County Road Apartments, both in close proximity to shopping, parks, dining and transportation.

How to Decide Between a 6- and 12- Month Lease

12-month lease

With nearly 20 million apartment complexes to choose from (2,904,392 in California alone!), the decision to rent involves multiple factors. Here are just a few.

  • What area suits me best?
  • What amenities do I need and which ones am I willing to sacrifice?
  • Is it pet-friendly?
  • Do I sign a 6-month or 12-month lease?

Once you have found the ideal spot to live, knowing how long you plan to stay is key to getting the right lease for your needs. A 6-month lease offers greater flexibility but is subject to anything from price changes to a potential eviction.

If you’re a great tenant, the latter probably won’t happen, but it’s all worth considering. You should also think about work (do you plan to change locations soon?); roommates (how well do you get along?); and relationships (planning to combine households one day?).

Life is unpredictable, but your living situation doesn’t have to be. We’ll help you determine what is best for you.

6-Month Lease

These shorter-term leases are available for the convenience of the tenant and the owner/renter of your apartment.

Shorter leases allow the apartment complex to keep their prices competitive, with the option to change based on today’s market. They also allow you the opportunity to relocate at a shorter (30- or 60-day) notice, if need be.

If you’re shopping around for a home and don’t want to make split decisions, a nice, short lease can give you the perspective and time needed to let you look around.

Keep in mind that 6-month leases tend to cost more on a month-to-month basis than it would cost for a full 12-month commitment.

12-Month Lease

These leases are for the committed.

If you just got a new job, if you’re not planning to leave town for a while or if you’re a person who hates the stresses of moving, then this lease is for you.

This option is the most common one available. It allows you to have a fixed lease contract – not subject to change without approval or discussion – as well as a set price for rent.

This option allows for the tenant and the owner to feel a sense of stability. Having one renter in a 12-month contract can be easier than locking down two separate parties for two separate 6-month leases.

Get to Moving

Choose a lease based on what you think is the most realistic for your situation. If you’re a family-orientated person in their hometown with a solid job, opt for the 12-month lease. If you’re a traveling, single person, your life’s options may be as endless as your apartment ones and you would probably like to consider a lease with more freedom.

Don’t get yourself in a bind by choosing something which ties you down or forces you to break a contract. A good tenant will keep all these factors in mind before crossing T’s and dotting I’s.

If you need help finding the perfect place, reach out to us.

McLellan Estates operates two apartment complexes in the Bay Area, Crestview Apartments, and Old County Road Apartments, both in close proximity to shopping, parks, dining, and transportation.

What Generation X Downsizing Means for the Bay Area Rental Market

generation X

Generation X are typically defined as those born between 1965 and 1984. Many are downsizing as they become empty nesters and for many that means turning to renting as a home option.

Renting offers the flexibility that many of this generation have come to expect and it lessens the burden of home ownership.

With the need for less space and the opportunity to put their money to other uses, such as traveling and enjoying fun amenities, renting is a great solution for many in this generation.

Read on to see how this has affected the Bay Area rental market.

Why Downsize?

The Bay Area housing market continues to be one of the highest in the nation. Renting gives individuals and families a chance to experience living in this beautiful part of California without having to adjust their lifestyles in order to pay a high mortgage.

For the Generation X crowd, renting offers a freedom that they otherwise may not have previously had. They have opted out of  large utility, landscaping, and home maintenance bills for a simpler lifestyle.

Most of Generation X Prefers Renting

There’s still a steady stream of Gen X renters out there.

A CNN Money report back in 2015 claimed that most Gen Xers didn’t want to be homeowners, staying in the rental space longer than anticipated.

This is due partly to stagnant wages that made it difficult for some to save for a down payment on a home. For others, it meant the ability to look into job opportunities without being tied down to a home.

Generation X is More Likely to Stay Put

While they make up the lion’s share of the rental market, millennials are a little fickle when it comes to choosing where they want to live. In fact, it isn’t uncommon for millennials to move once a year or so.

In a sharp contrast, their slightly older counterparts in Gen X are happy to stay where they are.

Not only is Gen X a healthy part of the rental market, but they tend to make up the biggest share of long-term renters, too.

They’d rather stay put than deal with the hassle of moving, making convenience one of their biggest considerations.

Convenience Over Everything

Between affordability and better amenities, such as on-site maintenance, security, and proximity to dining and transportation options, many Gen Xers seem content to rent instead of own.

Since some are likely to have children under 18 living with them, they value two things above all else:

The convenience of work and quality of the local school system. Therefore, don’t be surprised to see more renters between the ages of 36-51 in your office if you’re close to a great school system or office buildings.

Find The Right Rental Property For You

Whether you’re a Baby Boomer, Gen Xer, or Millennial, McLellan Estate Co. wants to find the perfect apartment home for you.

No matter what you’re looking for, we’re sure one of our two properties is a perfect match for you.

So get in touch today and schedule a tour!

McLellan Estates operates two apartment complexes in the Bay Area, Crestview Apartments and Old County Road Apartments, both in close proximity to shopping, parks, dining and transportation.

5 Tips for Planning a Stress-Free Move

apartment moving tips

Moving to a new apartment can be a stressful time, not to mention time-consuming. Packing boxes and making sure you have all your affairs are in order can be overwhelming.

What’s the secret to a stress-free move?

Read on to discover our top 5 tips for planning the ultimate stress-free move.

1. Learn To Let Go

The best thing you can do for yourself when you’re in the process of moving is to let go of any old unwanted belongings. The lighter the load, the better.

We understand that moving is always going to mean transferring lots of stuff from point a to b. However, this is the perfect time to sort through your life’s belongings and determine what you still need and what is now unnecessary.

Cut some baggage where possible. Why not try Marie Kondo’s much-praised method? It can work to help you have a stress-free move just as much as it can help you tidy up your place in the future.

As explained in her book, Kondo’s method involves taking a look at what you have and determining whether or not the items in your possession bring you joy or fulfillment. If they don’t, it’s simple. Get rid of them.

Simple? Yes, but effective.

If you don’t have the patience to ponder too long on whether or not your stuff makes you happy, just go the way of the black trash bag and start throwing things away. It’ll make unpacking when you get to your new place a whole lot easier.

Label And Organize

Another really simple way to make your life easier after the move? Label and keep track of where everything is going. Keep kitchen stuff with kitchen stuff, office supplies in one box, and other rooms boxed accordingly.

It may seem simple, but it’s something many people overlook and is such an easy way to relieve unnecessary stress during your moving process.

2. Plan Ahead

We recommend getting started with the planning as early as six weeks before your move date.

This way, you give yourself plenty of time to organize things, such as your time and route on your moving date and you can adapt should you face road bumps in the planning process.

3. Go Flat Rate

You’re much more likely to have a stress-free move if you go with a flat-rate moving company.

The only situation in which we’d recommend going with a company that charges hourly is if you’re moving within the same apartment complex.

Otherwise, why take the chance? Who knows what could go wrong along the way on move-day?

Anything from bad traffic to an unexpected break down will add time to your move. The last thing you want is to be worrying about the extra cost. A flat-rate move is less stressful for you and it’s more cost-effective too.

4. Disassemble Your Furniture

Moving companies will try and add on extra costs where they can, with many charging extra to disassemble and re-assembling furniture.

To save having to face any unexpected costs that could cause unwanted stress and frustration on your moving day, why not call on friends or family to help you disassemble any big pieces of furniture before your move?

Ask them in plenty of time to make sure they can make it on the day of the move or ask them to give you somewhere to crash the night before once you’ve pulled apart your bed!

If your friends can’t help, make sure you have accommodations pre-booked, so you have somewhere to spend the night once everything is packed and disassembled.

5. Be on Good Terms with Your Movers

For starters, check out the FMCSA to know what to look for when it comes to reputable moving companies. Do your research and find a company that works for you.

Once you’ve chosen your moving company, give them as much information as possible. Make their lives easier so they can give you the best move possible.

Let them know about the parking situation on your street or any possible obstructions. Tell them whether any pieces of furniture need special handling or whether you’ll be disassembling your furniture.

You can’t go wrong if you and your movers are on the same page. The more informed everyone is, the better.

Ready To Make Your Stress-Free Move?

Thinking of moving within the state of California? Well, now you can do so stress-free with our handy list of tips!

Get in touch today for more information on our apartments and check out our blog for more rental tips!

McLellan Estates operates two apartment complexes in the Bay Area, Crestview Apartments and Old County Road Apartments, both in close proximity to shopping, parks, dining and transportation.

What is Renters Insurance and Do You Need It?

renting a property

Some people are willing to pay thousands of dollars for homeowners insurance to ensure that they’re protected no matter what happens.

Homeowners insurance is a must for anybody that owns a home, but what about people that choose to rent?

Renters insurance can help protect you if you rent your home. If you don’t know what renters insurance is and why you need it, keep reading to learn more.

It’s Inexpensive

A renters insurance policy is similar to homeowners insurance in that it’s designed to help cover your belongings in the event of an accident or emergency.

Cost is one of the main reasons why some renters don’t get policies for their homes.

This may come as a surprise, especially because of the high costs associated with homeowners insurance, but renters insurance can be very affordable.

Companies are covering renters and not homeowners; the initial costs can be very budget-friendly. Some people may not end up paying more than a hundred or so a year to be fully covered.

When you consider costs, a renters policy is more than worth the peace of mind that comes with it.

It Covers More Than You Think

Someone broke into your home and now your laptop and other important electronic equipment are missing.

You live in an apartment and the tenant next to you accidentally triggered a fire alarm. Now half of your belongings are destroyed.

This may sound astonishing, but renters insurance can cover a surprising amount of unforeseen problems like this.

Robbery, fire damage, and other things can be covered under the right policy.

It Can Cover Roommates

When you’re asking the question what renters insurance is, you also need to consider what is renters insurance to your roommates.

Some people choose not to get renters insurance policies because they don’t think it’ll cover their roommates. However, with the right policy, your roommate can have the same protection as you.

Adding a roommate to your policy is only recommended if you feel like you know them well enough that you can trust them.

Don’t get a coverage for a roommate you barely get along with. You don’t want to be caught having to pay for problems that were never your fault.

Sit down with your roommate and discuss the kind of coverage you’re both willing to pay for. Once you reach an agreement, you can have a comprehensive policy that can care for you whenever you need it.

Looking for a Rental?

Our residents are highly encouraged, but not required, to obtain renters insurance. If you’re looking to rent soon, contact us and we’ll put you in touch with the right unit.

McLellan Estates operates two apartment complexes in the Bay Area, Crestview Apartments and Old County Road Apartments, both in close proximity to shopping, parks, dining and transportation.

How to Appeal to the Millennial Renter in the Bay Area

millennial renter

Trying to make your apartment rental in the Bay Area more appealing to the millennial crowd? Well, your head’s in the right place.

Millennials have a very different apartment checklist than other generations when they go apartment hunting. While Baby Boomers may be looking for safe, single-family homes, the average millennial’s mind is in a very different place.

What is a millennial and what makes them tick when hunting for apartments in the Bay Area? Let’s find out.

What Makes Someone a Millennial?

Did you know that millennials represent over 25 percent of the United States population?

That’s a much bigger representation than their Baby Boomer parents and is much more diverse as well.

Millennials make up the part of our population born between the years of 1982 and 2000. Their name comes from the fact that they came of age during the beginning of the new millennium.

Eco-Friendly Options Top Their Apartment Checklist

What’s at the top of the list for a millennial renter?

It may surprise you, but a top priority for the average millennial renter is quite selfless. Statistics show that 76% of this generation is focused on environmentally friendly efforts. How does this affect what they look for in a Bay Area apartment rental?

Eco-friendly options are widely available for many appliances and fixtures these days. From water-saving options, such as low-flush toilets, eco-friendly showerheads, and faucets, to lightbulbs, which conserve energy, to recycling and composting options, these efforts are sure to attract a millennial crowd.

Pet-Friendly Rentals

The clear majority of millennials are pet owners, so making sure that rentals are pet-friendly is definitely on the apartment checklist of these home-hunters.

It means outdoor areas for pets to run and play, a community that has pet-friendly parks, and a home with an easy area to wash pets. Want to add a special touch for rental viewings? Add a pet bed so that these millennials can envision their furry friend living comfortably.

Location, Location, Location

Because millennials are reproducing at the slowest rate of any generation thus far, they are less concerned with living in quiet neighborhoods close to good school districts. Instead, they prefer to be close to their place of work and trendy conveniences, such as bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and show venues.

You can be sure that a centralized location will be on a millennial renter’s apartment checklist.

Wrapping Up

To appeal to the millennial crowd when renting in the Bay Area, make sure to keep these tips in mind. Considering the world in which most millennials grew up will point you in the right direction to appeal to this unique class of renters.

From proximity to modern-day conveniences and entertainment to eco-friendly digs and pet-friendly areas, millennials are easy to cater to once you begin to think like one.

Have any questions or comments? Get in touch! We’d love to hear from you. We’re here to help.

McLellan Estates operates two apartment complexes in the Bay Area, Crestview Apartments and Old County Road Apartments, both in close proximity to shopping, parks, dining and transportation.

5 Things to Look for When Renting in the Bay Area

Bay Area amenities

Moving to a new city should be one of the most exciting moments of your life. Wherever you’re relocating from, renting in the Bay Area can bring some unique challenges.

San Francisco has really blown up in the past few years. Big tech companies moved in and created a bubble in the housing market that raised prices significantly.

Consequently, finding the right place to live that matches your lifestyle and stays within your budget is a balance that must be attempted with great caution.

Keep reading for the five amenities to look for when renting in the Bay Area.


If you choose to drive a car while you’re renting in the Bay Area, you’ll find that gas prices are 37% higher than the national average.

Luckily, the city offers great public transportation through its bus and cable-car services. A monthly pass can be purchased for $68, which is a good deal compared to other big cities.

McLellan Estate Co. has properties within walking distance from Cal-train stations, which feature employer shuttle services.

Dining Options

Besides access to public transportation, finding an area with good dining options is key. After a long day at the office and most likely sitting in traffic on the way home, you’ll want to go out for dinner and let someone else do the dishes.

The community of Belmont offers many eclectic dining options and some top-rated shopping areas.


The last thing you need is to be circling the block looking for a parking spot every night. Finding an apartment complex that includes a parking spot is critical. If you can find one with a covered carport, it’s truly a bonus.

School District

The Belmont School District is ranked as one of the best in the nation. Their schools consistently perform above average in national rankings.

The district currently educates 3,380 elementary students and its teachers have an average of twelve years of experience. The district reports that it spends more than $9,000 per student annually.


Easy access to train stations, shopping, schools and city parks are just some of the amenities to look for when renting in the Bay Area. In addition, a safe apartment complex is important. When choosing a property, find an address that’s easy to locate and has a reliable entry system. It’ll provide security for you and an inviting entrance for your family and friends.

The Best Place for Renting in the Bay Area

When you have considered all your needs, begin your search for the perfect community as soon as possible. Nestled in the nice Bay Area suburb of Belmont are two wonderful apartment complexes that offer spacious floor plans, along with various amenities to fit your lifestyle.

Visit Old County Road Apartments and Crestview Apartments in person or online to find your perfect rental.

3 Top Apartment Amenities in the Bay Area

apartment amenities


There are so many wonderful things about living in the Bay Area. From the vibrant culture to the shops and restaurants, there’s always something to do.

Amenities are some of the biggest factors in choosing a new apartment complex, and you’ll want the right ones to make the most of your new place.

These awesome, convenient apartment amenities make the quality of living so much better.  From pools to security, keep reading for the 3 top apartment amenities you’ll want to keep an eye out for.



Let’s face it, some apartment complexes may give you a bad feeling. Whether it’s a lack of front gates or poor-quality, rusted locks, your gut instinct is often correct.

When touring a complex, make sure to ask about all the available security options. Plenty of complexes are getting privy to the popularity of security and are installing home security systems in each unit.

While you may have to pay a bit more for an in-unit security system, that extra money doesn’t compare to feeling safe.

It’s a win-win scenario for both landlord and tenant. You’ll feel at ease, and it won’t take much effort from your landlord.


Common Areas

Every now and then, it’s fun to mingle with the neighbors and meet new people. That’s why common areas, such as pools and spas, are a great inclusion to any complex.

Best of all, a common area gives you an excuse to host apartment-wide events. Get to know your neighbors by throwing little get-togethers every now and again.

Provide food, drinks, and entertainment, and your complex is sure to be a hit.


Renovated Kitchens

While it’s great to be social every now and again, ultimately the brunt of your time will be spent in the unit itself. Accordingly, you’ll want to pick a unit that has a nice kitchen and appliances to boot.

Of course, every renter knows how important countertops are. Sleek, granite countertops give your new living space a newer, fresher look. Additionally, renovated kitchens are a great way to see how the landlord maintains the property overall.


Let Us Help You Find Your New Home

At McLellan Estate Co, we’re all about putting you in an apartment you’ll love. With two properties and tons of floor plans, we have accommodations for both individuals and families.

Get in touch today and take a tour!

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510 Crest View Avenue
Belmont, California 94002

Phone number

(650) 591-7381



707 Old County Road
Belmont, California 94002

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