Robyn Calvin – Investor

Robyn Calvin is a terrific primarily single-family investor based out of the Inglewood, CA area.

She brings years of experience as a marketer, project manager, and administrator. Her analytical ability, knowledge, attention to detail and negotiation skills give her clients confidence that their most important purchases and sales are being handled by a diligent, passionate professional.

What’s so great about Robyn, besides her knowledge, is that she take the time to get to know her clients. Personal relationships are key in real estate. She communicates in a way that makes both savvy investors, as well as beginners, feel comfortable.

Robyn is currently working with a young PropTech company, that has developed innovative and digitalized real estate living concepts worldwide. She is looking for Partners (owners/investors/developers) of 4+ units in the Los Angeles area who are interested in discussing a long-term master lease opportunity that will increase the yield of the property. (They currently have 1000 units at 96% occupancy in Berlin & Manhattan.)

Robyn covers dozens of zip codes in the Los Angeles area. If you have a chance to connect with her, I highly recommend it!

Read more reviews.

Best Practices For Apartment Showings

Property owners have to go through a lot to get an apartment ready to show. From purchasing the property, to renovations and cleaning, it’s a journey that even Frodo would wince at. With all that hard work behind you, it’s critical to not drop the ball on one of the most important details of all: showings. Showing an apartment to potential tenants seems like an easy endeavor, but there are plenty of ways to screw it up. You want the best tenant you can find and a lazy showing can often cause them to turn in the other direction. Even if the apartment sells itself, picky tenants can be turned off by a careless property manager. Here are my Ali Safavi Real Estate Tips for showing an apartment.

  1. The Meeting

Set up expectations in your favor, if you have a preliminary call to ask questions, don’t make it feel like an interview. Smile as you speak and talk in a level tone, focus on making it feel like a conversation. Being too serious or short can often come off as rude and dismissive. You also don’t want to come off as a used car salesman.

  1. The Arrival

As a rule of thumb, always arrive five minutes early to a showing, dressed professionally, with business cards ready to go. Prepare the home: turn on all lights, open all blinds, and I like to spray a fresh scented air freshener throughout the home. You want to make it feel inviting and most importantly – clean! Think Annett Benning from American Beauty. When the prospect arrives, greet them outside with a smile, handshake, your card and your name. Try not to give the appearance you are in a rush or that this is your 10thshowing that day.

  1. The Big Show

Remember, you are the ringmaster. You’re guiding them through this tour. It shouldn’t be a free for all or choose your own adventure. Your job is to walk them room by room, pointing out all the special little features that your unit offers, mentioning what utilities are included, the best restaurants nearby, and local attractions. Make sure to leave room for questions. Everyone is looking for something different, so make sure to engage them about their current home and why they’re moving, this will help you identify their specific desires and what they don’t want to see. When it comes to showings, one size doesn’t not fit all. Tailor your “sales pitch” to the buyer.

  1. The Close

At the completion of your showing, you should ask them if they’d like you to go over the process of securing the unit, and if they say yes, explain the process in detail, including all fees associated. Of course, don’t do this if you have reservations about the buyer. There are laws governing the reasons you can turn away an interested a buyer. Make sure you are fully aware of these before you start showing.

If you are moving on to the close, ask if they’d like to take a few minutes to discuss the home by themselves before they commit to a non-refundable deposit. If they seem like they’re ready to go, offer them the option to come to the office (if you have one) to lay down the depost.. If they are thinkers, hesitating and unsure of how to proceed, tell them to go home, sleep on it, talk about it, and they’ll hear from you the next day. Keep track of your leads and follow up every few days until you get a firm answer, positive or negative.

Showing properties requires you to be a sales person, share your passion for the property you are showing with the people walking through, there is nothing more attractive in sales than when someone believes in the product that they are selling.




For First Time Multi-Family Managers

Making the jump from single-family rental properties to multi-family can seem like a daunting prospect to some investors. Instead of dealing with just one property and one set of tenants, suddenly you’re handling two, three, or even more. For someone who’s only ever dealt in single-family properties, this can take quite an adjustment.

Then there are those investors who LOVE multi-family units. They swear by them, and they’ve got reason. There’s a lot to love about properties that contain multiple opportunities for cashflow, and they can certainly help you reach your financial goals faster than if you own just one single-family home.

There are lots of pros and cons that come with multi-family investment properties, but before I list some of those, let’s be clear about what constitutes a multi-family home. Multi-family properties are those that contain two or more units under one roof. However, they can be further categorized, as some are considered residential and some commercial. Basically, it’s like this:

  • Properties with two, three, or four units are small multi-family and therefore are considered residential;
  • Properties with five or more units are large multi-family and are considered commercial properties.

This distinction matters when you’re determining a property’s value or taking out a loan to purchase it, among other reasons. But that’s a topic for another post. On to the pros and cons!


  1. Potential for increased cashflow – As I mentioned earlier, when you have multiple units, there are increased opportunities for cashflow. More units = greater potential for more money.
  2. One loan for multiple units – If you plan to finance your purchase, the process is streamlined because you only need to take out one loan, even though there are multiple units.
  3. Less emotion involved – With single-family homes, emotions tend to get in the way more than they do with a multi-family property. When you’re dealing with multiple units, it’s more about the math and making decisions that make you more money. It’s easier to separate emotion from logic with multi-family…don’t ask me why, but it is!
  4. Less risk – While risk is inherent with any investment property, it can be reduced with a multi-family one, especially where vacancy is concerned. When a single-family property goes vacant, you have ZERO cashflow. But with a multi-family, you’re only down one unit, rather than the entire property. There’s a buffer there that insulates you from a major financial strain, and you won’t get this with a single-family property.
  5. Valuation – For large multi-family properties that are classified as commercial, there’s a benefit in how they’re valued. Single-family home values are based on several factors, and one of the biggest is the surrounding properties. With a commercial property, however, surrounding properties don’t matter. What matters is the cap rate, which shows the rate of return that’s based on the expected income. This means that external factors (like surrounding properties) won’t affect the value, but internal ones (like making improvements or raising the rent) can have a major positive impact.


  1. Costs more – Multi-family homes generally cost more to buy than a single-family property. Makes sense, when you consider that more people will live in it and provide multiple streams of income for the owner.
  2. Fewer properties available – There are also fewer of these homes available to investors, which means less options for you and potentially fierce competition among investors.
  3. Competition is more experienced – Speaking of competition, investors who are after multi-family homes, and particularly ones that qualify as commercial properties, are generally more experienced and savvy. If you’re not quite as experienced, they might have have an edge on you when it comes to finding and negotiating deals.
  4. Regulations – Multi-family homes that classify as commercial also come with more regulations that you have to follow. While there are rules in place for any investment property, they become much stricter when you own a commercial property, or even a small multi-family unit.
  5. More complicated – Multi-family properties can be more complicated, in general. When you look at management (rent collection, tenant screening, maintenance, etc.), it becomes much more complex. You’re dealing with a larger building, more units, more people, and inevitably more issues.

Before you buy a multi-family rental property, be sure to consider these pros and cons and do your own research as well. Multi-family investing isn’t for everyone, but if you believe it is right for you, you can stand to make significant financial gains if you make smart choices.


This article is a repost from Bigger Pockets

Tenant Screening In California

Let’s say you found a realtor you like (hopefully Ali Safavi Real Estate helped with that). You then found the perfect rental property, laid down the deposit and are now the proud owner of a real estate investment. Congratulations! Now, if all the repairs and renovations are in order, it’s time to find the new tenant. You might see this as “the easy part,” but beware. Choosing a bad tenant can have dire consequences on your real estate investment. Furthermore, you don’t want to get yourself into trouble by asking the wrong questions. There are strict laws in each state dictating what you can and cannot ask during the tenant screening process.

Since Ali Safavi Real Estate is based in California, we’ll be looking at laws specific to that state. Be sure to check the laws wherever you may life.

Background Checks

While you don’t have to carry out a criminal background check in California, many landlords do – and you should. As long as you perform the check and use the information it throws up in a way that complies with federal and state law, you are free to interpret the results in any way you choose. In theory, you are free to set a renting standard that rejects every applicant with felonies or criminal activities on their record. Remember, you cannot ask a tenant if they have been arrested.

Understand Fair Housing

The Unruh Civil Rights Actand the California Fair Employment and Housing Actprevent landlords from discriminating between would-be tenants on the grounds of their sex, race, color, religion, sexual orientation, marital status, ancestry, national origin, source of income, disability or medical condition.

Don’t Discriminate

Rejecting applicants based on an “all entries” approach to their criminal background could be considered arbitrary discrimination. To stay on the right side of the law, you must show that the past crime affects the applicant’s ability to meet the tenancy obligations or presents a direct threat to the health and safety of other residents. There’s no hard and fast rule here. However, certain types of crime, such as burglary, assault, arson, sex offenses and drug dealing convictions will be more relevant than traffic offenses, and older convictions are typically less relevant than newer ones.

Avoid the Small and Spent

It is illegal to refuse to rent to someone because of past drug use, though you can consider a history of drug manufacture and dealing. California law prohibits any consumer report from including arrests, indictments or misdemeanors that did not result in a conviction, or crimes that are spent by more than seven years. If you reject an applicant based on these factors, you’re likely committing arbitrary discrimination. In other words, you have to look beyond the crime at the facts and circumstances surrounding the individual conduct.

Apply the Standards Consistently

Fair housing laws require you to apply background check and screening criteria consistently to every applicant. In other words, if you turn one would-be tenant away because of an entry on his criminal check but accept another ex-offender, you’re breaking the law. You’ll also need the tenant’s permission and signature before you can run the criminal check. If you say you’re going to conduct a criminal record check, you must do so for every single applicant. You may, however, narrow the field by screening only those applicants who pass other checks, such as a credit report.

Here Are Some Things You Can Ask About:

  • Income and employment.Making sure that they have adequate and reliable means to pay rent on time. Ask your applicants to provide pay-stubs and employer phone numbers so you can verify their employment status. Some property managers use the 30 percent rule, where at minimum the monthly rent must amount to no more than 30 percent of the tenant’s monthly income.
  • Number of occupants. It’s reasonable for you to want to know how many people will be living in a rental house and even to require all tenants over 18 to be part of the lease. Landlords must follow occupancy guidelines and should check with state rules on the maximum number of people allowed in a rental home.
  • Credit check approval.Property managers and landlord are allowed to run credit checks for tenant screening purposes only, but they have to get approval first. Make sure your application includes a section that acquires an applicant’s permission to run a credit and background check.
  • Eviction history.Prior evictions can be symptoms of problematic behavior. Tennant with priors should be avoided. Asking your applicants directly about past evictions gives them an opportunity to explain the situation. Online tenant-screening services let landlords check eviction reports and will expose the truth if your applicant lies.



Shopping For Rental Properties? Here’s What To Look For | Ali Safavi Real Estate

When looking for a rental property there are a number of things to consider: neighborhood, price, renovations, potential, etc. You want everything to be perfect, but perfect often comes at a high price. So instead we look for good enough. Most new purchases are going to come with a certain level of remodeling. So how do you decide what problems are okay and which ones are deal breakers?

The following Ali Safavi Real Estate list is a guide on what to look out for when shopping for rental properties. Each building is unique, and your skillset for renovations is unique. None of these are must-follows, but they will get you thinking in the right direction.

  1. Ali Safavi Real Estate: There’s Something Rotten

When you walk into a house, and it smells like an old sock, most of us have the impulse to turn around. Ironically, bad smells are one of the easiest problems to fix in a property but one of the things that drives away 99% of the competition. Bad smells are generally caused by one or more of a few things, none of which are difficult to solve:

  • Rotten Food
  • Pets
  • Water damage
  • Smoke damage
  • Old socks

Most of this list is fairly easy to fix. Finding an easy solution may allow you to get a good deal when others where too turned off to make an offer. One caveat is bad sewage. That’s a problem that could be rooted in plumbing issues, which can be a hassle you don’t want to take on.

  1. Ali Safavi Real Estate: Finding Profitability In The Bedroom

Everyone once in a while you’ll look at a home that is listed as a 2 bedrooms, but hidden inside is potential for more. Some homes, for some reason, have an entire room that is listed for storage or other odd purposes. Do you know an extra bedroom can add as much as $25,000 to the value of the home? This means if you see potential for an easy switch from room to bedroom, jump on it.

  1. Ali Safavi Real Estate: Don’t Be Turned Off By Ugly

You’ve likely heard the phrase “kitchens and baths sell houses,” and it’s not an exaggeration! If you walk into a home and the kitchen looks like a dilapidated version of a 1950s movie set, don’t be deterred. As we have written about before at Ali Safavi Real Estate, often a fresh coast of pain will do wonders in transforming old to look new.

There are also a number of affordable options for new countertops. You don’t have to break the bank to bring a fresh aesthetic to these areas. Especially in the age of Pinterest. Do some online browsing to get ideas, then set a budget and go hunting.

  1. The Bad Roof

Roofs are tricky business. We’ve written before than a bed roof is a sign to say “goodbye” to a property. It really comes down to what you are prepared to pay for long term benefit. A leaky roof is a problem and needs to be addressed immediately. The cost of renovation can reach upwards of $20,000. However, if you take the time to do some shopping, I’ve heard rates as low as $7,000.

The benefit to getting a property with a leaky roof is that many people, as we have suggested ourselves, will not purchase a property with a bad roof. This means you are probably able to get a pretty good price. If you’re able to lay out the money up front (and find a good contractor) the long term benefits will overshadow the short term payout. I wouldn’t suggest only looking for leaky roof properties, but just allow for that to not be an automatic no.

  1. Ali Safavi Real Estate: A Moldy Solution

If you have a leaky roof, chances are you will also have mold. If you don’t have proper ventilation in your bathroom, you probably will have mold there as well. Mold is a scary sight. Seeing mold is like seeing a spider, we want to run away from it (or is that just me)?

The thing about mold is that it can be both fixed and prevented. Replacing the roof will eliminate the moisture causing the mold in the ceiling. Having better ventilation in your bathroom will do the same. The only place where mold should be a major deterrent is in the basement. Mold down there can be a sign of a bad foundation – and that is a problem you don’t want to add to your list.

  1. Ali Safavi Real Estate: Hoarders

Hoarders are an issue I have personal experience with. I used to live next to one and could see into their unit. The smell was so bad that it would waft out of the window and into my apartment. For the longest time I thought there was hidden feces under my bed until I realized it was that apartment. When that lady finally moved out, it took movers three days to clear the until. The look on their faces said it all.

As unpleasant as it was, the fix was relatively simple. Hire some movers and they’ll take care of the junk. Hire a cleaning service and they’ll take care of the smell and any stains. Once those two jobs are done you have yourself a unit that is attractive and ready to sell. Don’t let junk scare you, unless it’s piling up in your own backyard.



May Real Estate Stats You Need To Know

As a real estate investor it’s crucial that you stay up to date on news and numbers that could affect your business. Ali Safavi Real Estate has gathered news from around the web looking for statistic that you need to know in order to make informed buying decisions. Let us know if you have any that we missed.

Ali Safavi Real Estate Stat 1

Real Estate Prices

In March 2018 the medium home price was $250,000, up 8% since last year. Inventory continues to be the factor for driving up prices. Construction simply cannot keep up.

The dwindling numbers of homes for sale should push prices upward in Los Angeles, San Diego, Boston, Denver, Las Vegas, Dallas, Miami, Seattle, New York, and Houston . It’s all driven by a wildly successful economy and a resistance by local and state governments to support home development in their jurisdictions.

Ali Safavi Real Estate Stat 2

Renter Growth

Renter growth outpaced homeowners in 97 of 100 top US cities. The overall growth in renters in 2017 was 23.7 million. In order to keep up with demand we will need 328 units per year now through 2030.

Ali Safavi Real Estate Stat 3

Real Estate ROI San Francisco

Looking to make a big return on your investment. In 2017 San Francisco returns a 71% profit for home sellers, averaging $365K! Of course, that doesn’t bode will if you are the person buying the house. Profit around the country averaged a very good 44%/

Ali Safavi Real Estate Stat 4

Here are the top cities with the best rental income prospects:

  • Wayne County, MI
  • Clayton County, Georgia
  • Washington County, Miss
  • Bibb County, GA
  • Baltimore City, MD
  • Wyandotte County, KS
  • Putnam County, FL
  • Fayette County, FL
  • Hernando County, FL
  • Pasco County, FL

No surprise that on the bottom of this list are cities like San Francisco, Honolulu, Oakland, Los Angeles and New York.

Ali Safavi Real Estate Review | Alexis Balner

Alexis is regarded as one of the most liked and well-respected real estate agents in El Segundo.

Originally from New Jersey, Alexis went to Arizona State University and then moved to Southern California to start her career.

Alexis has spent the last ten years in real estate. She is the head agent at Balner & Co. and specializes in primary and secondary homes averaging $600,000. There are two main qualities that make her such a stellar SoCal realtor: negotiation and communication. With Alexis, it’s never about “selling.” She just wants to match the right person with the right opportunity. But, once you find that opportunity, she will do everything in her power to get the best price possible.

Learn more about Alexis at her website.

Ali Safavi Real Estate Review | Bruce Mitchelle

Bruce, a resident of Southern California for over 30 years, is an expert on real estate on the Westside of Los Angeles.

Through his experience, he has learned the in-and-outs of the real estate business and continued to push himself to be the best agent he can be.

Bruce believes that integrity and trust are the two most important parts of the Realtor Client relationship. He prides himself in offering his clients a personal service tailored to each of their individual needs.

A graduate of Texas Christian University and the Mortgage Banker’s Association School of Mortgage Banking at Stanford University, Bruce’s education has also covered all aspects of the Real Estate business including agency, ethics, property investing, disclosure, and negotiations.

There isn’t another agent like Bruce. He truly does live by the saying, “treat others the way you would like to be treated.”

Learn more about Bruce at his website.

Jon Polansky – Realtor

A graduate of UCLA and a resident of West LA for 27 years, Jon knows West LA real estate.

With over 10 years’ experience as a realtor specializing in Los Angeles areas like Century City, Brentwood, Santa Monica, Marina Del Rey, Westwood and West Hollywood. Jon helps both buyers and sellers meet their real estate objectives. He has extensive knowledge of each of these communities and will work tirelessly on your behalf to make your next home buying or home selling experience a pleasant and successful one.

For buyers looking for homes or other real estate opportunities, Jon will work with you to find your ideal home and provide you with all of the necessary tools for finding the right property. He’s a great negotiator and will get the best possible deal for his clients with each and every real estate transaction.

Contact Jon at his Sotheby’s website.

Loraine Silver – Realtor

Loraine was born in South Africa and has lived in Santa Monica for over 25 years. She specializes in estate properties on the Westside, which includes Santa Monica, Brentwood, Pacific Palisades, Beverly Hills, and Venice.

What sets Loraine apart from the other top producers are her exceptional people skills. Ask any of her past clients and you will hear that she is always professional with a personal touch that translates into a very smooth, stress-free transaction. This is also evidenced in her repeat business, which is a reflection of her personalized service, ability to focus into the specific needs of her clients, and her insight into the important subtleties of a real estate transaction.

These skills, along with a thorough knowledge of the market place, dedicated responsiveness, and superb negotiation skills have made Loraine one of the top producers on the Westside.

Contact Loraine at her Partners Trust website.

Todd Mitchell – Realtor

Todd Mitchell specializes in real estate in Santa Monica’s beautiful and renowned North of Wilshire regions including Santa Monica, Brentwood and Pacific Palisades. He has been serving these communities’ real estate needs since 1987 and has amassed an expert knowledge on buying, selling and renting properties that lay within these highly sought after areas.

With a degree from UCLA in Economics and with a special focus on Business Administration, Todd emphasizes professionalism and the utmost dedication to his client’s needs. He is a consistent Top Producer, ranked in the top 3% internationally and is a member of Coldwell Banker International President’s Elite. As a Preview Property Specialist, Todd is a member of the Malibu Board of Realtors and a member of the National Association of Realtors.

Todd typically represents the seller (60% of the time), but has also completed 31 buyer transactions during this period. Todd has transacted in Santa Monica more than any other area helping to buy or sell 54 homes including a 5 bedroom single family home on November 07, 2012 which sold for $2,750,000 and a 5 bedroom single family home on August 31, 2012 which sold for $2,700,000.

Contact Todd.