Keeping Tenants In Place When Buying a Santa Cruz Rental Property

Real Estate Agent with eXp Realty of California Silicon Valley Probate, Trust, and Investment Sales B.R.E. 01191194

Santa Cruz investment property


If you are one of smart Silicon Valley investors who is buying a rental property in Santa Cruz you may be buying one that has tenants in place. If that is the case it is very possible that the current tenants are not paying Santa Cruz market rental rates

Current Santa Cruz rental market rates are at a very high level. It is common to get at least $1200 a bedroom and not unheard of to get $1600 a bedroom. 

So what is the best thing to do if you are a Silicon Valley inverstor and have Santa Cruz tenants paying $1000 a bedroom, or less?

In my opinion, as a long term Silicon Valley/Santa Cruz real estate agent and Santa Cruz rental property investor myself it is sometimes better to keep the tenants in place with gradual rent increases than to give them a huge rental increase and risk having them move out.

The reason for this opinion is based on numbers, not just my hesitancy to put a good Santa Cruz tenant out onto the street. 

When a Santa Cruz tenant moves out, especially if they have been there for 3 years or longer you will have to at a  minimum paint and replace carpet. You may have to replace window coverings. You will have at best 2 weeks, and possibly a month of vacancy.

So let's take a scenario of a 2 bedroom rental property renting for $2000 a month that you think you can get $2800 a month for with Santa Cruz market rents.

If the current Santa Cruz tenants can't or don't want to pay $2800 a month here is what can happen:

1. 4 week vacancy: Lose $2000

2. New carpet: Spend $1500

3. New paint: Spend $3000

4. Replace old appliances: $3000

5. New window coverings: $1000

Money lost: $10,500

Increase rent by $800 a month for 1 year

Money gained: $9,600

So the first year you lose $900 if you did not raise the Santa Cruz rent at all. If the Santa Cruz tenant leaves after 1 year and no repairs are needed you can probably look at a 2 week vacancy. So you only lose $1900. You are in the hole. If the tenant stays the second year you will make an additional $9600 in rent so total gain is $8600 over 2 years and $18,200 over 3 years.

If you raise the Santa Cruz rent $100 a month every year for 3 years and you do not have to paint, carpet, or replace old appliance over 3 years you make an additional $7200 over 3 years plus the $10,500 you did not spend so $17,700 over 3 years.  So, if this is a long term Santa Cruz tenant you are only $500 ahead in 3 years by removing the original tenant and replacing them at market rate.

In my opinion it is probably not worth it.

What if you are only $300 a month under Santa Cruz market rate? then it is really not worth it.

So my fellow Silicon Valley investors who are buying in Santa Cruz, be sure and run the numbers before you replace a below market rent paying Santa Cruz tenant for a new one

Marcy Moyer

eXp Realty of California


Specializing in Probate, Trust, and Investment Properties









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Marcy Moyer eXp Realty of California  Specializing in Probate and Trust Sales, and Rental Investment Properties


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