Sunday, November 11, 2018

4 Low-Cost Ways to Increase the Value of Your Rental Property

1. Give your property curb appeal.

Prospective tenants will always view the outside of your property first, and first impressions are extremely important. An appealing and clean front lawn will help create an initial positive impression and set the mood for the remainder of the property tour. If you are not working with an extensive budget, upgrade whatever you can to make your property look clean and presentable. Remove fallen branches, leaves, and any debris which makes your property look worn and cluttered. Trim overgrown bushes and shrubs. Consider placing down fresh mulch, and adding bushes and flowers. Simply adding a new mailbox or a freshly painted one will make the property look fresh and new. Having outdoor lights and shutters can quickly and inexpensively make the exterior of your property pop. Furthermore, if there is a fence around your property, make sure it looks appealing. A broken fence or missing pickets is extremely unsightly, and not what any tenant wants to see. Ensure your fence is uniform and clean throughout the yard.

2. Extensively clean your entire property. 

Re-painting the entire exterior and interior of your property will add up extremely quickly, however cleaning the entire property is a more inexpensive way to increase property value. While scrubbing the exterior and interior of your property, consider painting any noticeable areas which need touch-ups. Overall, make sure the exterior of your property looks welcoming and bright. A freshly painted door gives the impression that you've actually renovated the house for the next tenant.

3. Upgrade your kitchen appliances.

Thoroughly inspect your kitchen appliances to decide if your property could use an upgrade. Brand new, shiny, and modern kitchen appliances will help raise the perceived value of your property and be extremely appealing to new tenants. Give potential tenants the functionality, quality, and aesthetic that they desire without breaking the bank. Stainless steel is the standard for modern kitchen appliances. Furthermore, the industry is moving towards appliances that are integrated within cabinetry. 

4. Create a higher demand.

A law of economics states that a commodity demands higher value when its demand goes up. If you successfully apply this rule when you're showing your property to respective tenants, you may be able to demand higher rent. If possible, invite all your prospects to inspect the house at nearly the same time. When the prospects see a large demand for your property, they will feel more inclined to pay a premium. They will also feel as if they want it more than they would otherwise. It's simply human nature.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Why Boston Remains one of the Most Expensive Places to Rent a One-Bedroom

New reports show that Boston's median rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $2,340 per month, making it one of the most expensive places in the United States to rent a one-bedroom. Boston ranks as the fourth most expensive city to rent a one-bedroom apartment, trailing just behind San Francisco ($3,500 per month), New York ($2,900 per month), and San Jose ($2,550 per month). Nationally, the median price for a one-bedroom is just $1,208 per month.

Boston's sales market also remains one of the most expensive in the nation. The median asking price for condos in the city both run well over $500,000. In several neighborhoods, it's not unusual to see asking prices averaging for more than $1,000 per square foot. 

There are multiple reasons for Boston's extraordinarily high price points, starting with high barriers to entry in the sales markets surrounding Boston. Neighboring cities including Cambridge, Brookline, and Somerville also command consistently high prices. Furthermore, Boston is full of wealthy tenants with money to spend. Although the city boasts a large share of rent-burdened households (where tenants pay at least 30 percent of their income in rent), Boston also has a sizable proportion of residents who find $2,500 a month for a one-bedroom not a big deal.

Another reason for Boston's high rents, are the tight inventory of apartments. Boston is home to more than 30 universities, colleges, and community colleges. Despite apartment construction booming in recent years, it's still not enough to satisfy the demand. Furthermore, the horrible commutes in and out of Boston have worsened over the year, raising the demand to live directly in the city. The proportion of Boston-area commuters who travel more than 90 minutes to and from work has increased a whopping 50.1% from 2005 to 2016.

Monday, October 22, 2018

How to Prepare a Dream Vacation Rental

If you are considering listing your home as a vacation rental, you should understand what qualities and features travelers find welcoming, and what features turn them off. Firstly, offering high-quality amenities and toiletries is key. This small detail goes a long way, and truly affects the overall ambiance and atmosphere of your vacation rental. Many travelers desire high-quality sheets and towels, as well as a satisfying selection of soap and toiletries. This makes your rental warm and inviting, while showing your guests both thoughtfulness and care. In a study conducted by Airbnb this summer, travelers rating their vacation cared most about the quality of their accommodations, followed by amenities that are both thoughtful and functional.

Make your vacation rental stand out by providing guests with comfortable amenities and accommodations. In addition to the basic shampoo, body wash, and conditioner, consider a bottle of wine, snacks, or a fully loaded beach bag. Offering guests a fully loaded snack bar and chilled beverages, are very small details which will make even the most modest space feel welcoming and inviting. Small details truly go a long way. Even adding incense, aromatherapy, or fresh flowers to your apartment rental can improve the ambiance and make guests feel at home right away.

Another necessity to making travelers feel welcome and comfortable, is cleanliness. Hosting a dirty vacation rental is incredibly bad for repeat business. After every guest, there needs to be a complex cleaning plan. The vacation rental should look, feel, and be clean. Usually this means hiring a professional cleaning service before and after each guest checks out. This investment will cause your positive reviews to shoot up, leading to more business and revenue.

This also means, get rid of stained and old-looking carpets, refinish wood flooring, and lay fresh tile or new rugs. Provide several mirrors throughout the rental, as well as storage, and a folder or notes on how to operate any equipment.

Another way to make your property stand out, is to include thoughtful suggestions on what to do and where to go in the local area. Furthermore, some Airbnb hosts have found success through offering incentives for longer stays, like a gift certificate to a local restaurant.

Keep the decor minimal and clean, choosing only a few statement pieces. Neutral colors are best, since every guest will have different taste and styles.

Furthermore, consider having your vacation rental professionally photographed, to attract more business and frequent bookings. In addition to professional photography, the images should be staged so that the lifestyle and accommodations are being properly marketed and look appealing. Take seasonal photographs of the yard and outside to make the experience feel more personal and welcoming.

Remember, this may be your guests' first time in your city or town. Do your best to give them a warm and welcoming experience, make your accommodations thoughtful; offer generous toiletries and functional gifts. Keep in mind, the smallest and friendliest details can go a long way, and lead to an abundance of repeat bookings and customers.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Rents are Quickly Rising in Once-Affordable Old Apartments

Older apartment units that were once heavily sought for their relative affordability, are seeing a sharp increase in median rental prices across the United States. In fact, units at properties built in 1959 or earlier had a higher median rent increase from 2000 to 2016 than those half their age, according to a study published by Apartment List. Compared to newer building built in the 1990's or after, older buildings are still less expensive to rent by approximately 23%. 

Older buildings have traditionally been seen as an affordable rental option, however many old apartments have been taken off the market for extensive renovations, resulting in high rental prices once returning to the market. The 1970's and 1980's saw the country's biggest surge in multifamily construction across the United States, with numerous apartment buildings being newly designed and built. However, these older units are now prime targets of reconstruction and redevelopment. Renters seeking affordable home options once sought out older apartment buildings, however finding a budget-friendly older building to rent is becoming increasingly difficult across the entire United States. The lack of unrenovated older apartment units are likely to climb in median rental prices as well, since the demand for older, relatively affordable rentals units is highly increasing. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

5 Disaster Preparation Tips for Flooding from Heavy Rains

As a responsible landlord, property manager, or property owner, it's highly important to protect your property from water damage during powerful rain storms. Effective stormwater management is necessary to prevent flooding, erosion, and structural property damage, which can lead to expensive repairs. Check out 5 powerful disaster preparation tips and flooding solutions for harsh rain storms.

1. Maintain Clean Rain Gutters

Maintaining clean and healthy rain gutters is a necissity during powerful rain storms. When there is excess rain, the property will need its drainage systems working smoothly to minimize the risk of property damage. Consider installing additional drainage devices such as French drains and downspout extensions to improve drainage and reduce home flooding. Furthermore, install a sump pump in low areas of drive ways, car ports, or landscaping for additional protection against flooding. Another important key to stormwater management is keeping catch basins free of trash, sediment, roots, and plant debris, to allow water to smoothly flow through the drains instead of pooling around them. The installation of rock borders and/or straw wattles around drains and V-ditches can help prevent the build up of debris in drains. Keep brow ditches and V-ditches free of unnecessary debris by regularly cleaning drain outlets and weep holes of sediment. 

2. Create Swales

A swale is any depression in a landscape, existing or man-made, that redirects water drainage. A swale is natural solution to safety direct excessive water to safe territory. Consider adding swales to your property, and maximizing their presence by lining the lowest point with rocks and adding deep-rooted plants to the slopes. This overall results in slowing the water's path to the drain. Swales direct the flow of water, rather than stopping it, therefore ensure that it's channeling somewhere excess water will be released harmlessly. An area with frequent flooding should have swales directed into a dry well or deep garden bed with very good drainage and high water tolerance. To avoid costly utility charges, never have a swale draining straight off a property.

3. Install a Rain Garden

A rain garden is an excellent way to prevent disaster flooding, while simultaneously adding to the beautiful landscape of your property. When constructing your rain garden, place plants with the highest wet-soil tolerance in the center. Plants at the edge will drain rather quickly, while the middle plants remain submerged in rainwater. Furthermore, using native plants is best whenever possible. Native plants require little to no watering in between rainfalls, making your garden low-maintenance and reducing the need for harsh pesticides. Rain gardens are similar to swales, however they don't redirect water, they simply provide a place for water to safelty pool during strong rainfalls. Rain gardens will allow the excessive rain to slowly absorb back into the soil. Most rain gardens range from 50-100 square feet. Even small rain gardens can powerfully minimize flooding and runoff. 

4. Use Heavier Mulch

One overlooked solution to prevent flooding is utilizing heavier mulch. Flooding spreads light mulch chips everywhere, causing the mulch chips to clog drains and scatter throughout your yard. Consider using a hard-wood mulch, which will absorb rainfalls better, and avoid clogging drains.

5. Building Draining Driveways

Driveways are one of the biggest contributors to stormwater runoff. To reduce the risk of flooding, consider adding drainage on the sides of your concrete driveway. 

However, a more effective treatment is to eliminate the asphalt or concrete driveway completely. Gravel, spaced paving, and even grass can be used to make your driveway an asset during heavy rainfalls. Designing driveways with flooding prevention in mind will keep your clients extremely grateful. Furthermore, gravel driveways are easier to maintain, prevent flooding, and are less expensive to manage. 

Saturday, September 8, 2018

How to Organically Generate Real Estate Refferals

The key to being a successful real estate agent is knowing how to drive real estate referrals. Driving real estate referrals involves strategic effort and determination. Luckily, we gathered 4 of the most powerful ways you can successfully generate real estate refferals and win valuable opportunities.

1. Stay in Touch

One way to ensure more real estate referrals, is to stay on the mind of your clients. One of the biggest mistakes real estate agents can make is to lose touch with clients after successfully helping them rent an apartment. 

Start by enhancing your online presence and communication skills. Stay in touch with past clients, and send them reminder emails when their lease is about to expire, offering to help them find another apartment or re-enter their current lease. Organize your email database into specific categories (leads, previous clients, agents, etc.), to send more relevant and customized messages. Furthermore, stay on your client's minds by being active on social media, and posting valuable real estate insights. 

2. Successfully Maintain Relationships

A successful client relationship should never end after a closing. The key to being a successful real estate agent and generating organic referrals, is consistently maintaining relationships with past clients. Continue to engage with clients after closing, to ensure they are completely satisfied with their home and to answer any questions they may have. Let your appreciation for their business and feedback be known. Maintaining relationships will not only organically drive real estate referrals, it will encourage past clients to stay loyal and maintain their business relationship with you for future real estate transactions.

3. Refer Other Agents

Although referring other real estate agents can sound counter-productive, this strategic move is a powerful and overlooked approach to generate more business. This strategy will also help you maintain a professional and positive reputation in the real estate industry. Networking with other agents and lenders will be very beneficial for referral purposes, and can even lead to valuable insights and new strategies. 

4. Be Direct

Sometimes the best approach is the most simple and direct manner. When checking back on clients you had successful real estate experiences with, always ask if they know anyone else who may currently need your services. If they are good-hearted clients who genuinely enjoyed your services and know others who may need your assistance, you are on the way to successfully generating a client list. If it seems appropriate, politely ask if you can use their name as an introduction. If they say yes, you have just successfully generated a real estate referral through maintaining a friendly relationship with a past client. 

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Top 5 Reasons to Switch Your Properties to Solar Energy

Solar polar energy is becoming the future of renewable energy. The benefits of solar energy are seemingly endless, benefiting both the environment and your finances. Solar energy is energy from the sun that is converted into thermal or electrical energy, providing your home with clean, renewable, and free fuel. Homeowners around the world are installing solar panels on their roof, as the price of solar panels continues to plummet and flexible financing options are becoming more prevalent. Providing your clients with clean and modern electricity options that benefit both the environment and their pockets, will keep them satisfied and increase the chances of always attracting and retaining high-quality clients. Here are the top 5 reasons you should consider using solar power energy:

1. Solar Polar Benefits the Environment

Solar polar provides your property with a clean, green source of energy which reduces your carbon footprint and doesn't pollute the environment. Solar polar doesn't release any toxic greenhouse gasses into the air, providing you with a safe and environmentally-friendly electricity source. Other than using a source of clean water to function, solar power energy requires absolutely no other resources. Solar power energy is self sufficient, and by installing solar panels on your roof, you are helping contribute towards a more sustainable and brighter future. 

2. Fixed & Lowered Monthly Costs 

Traditional electricity primarily relies on fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas. Not only are these chemicals harmful for the environment, they are limited sources. Therefore, traditional electricity depends on an unpredictable market, in which energy prices constantly change. By investing in solar power systems, you shield yourself against unpredictable increases in utility prices, and enjoy low-cost, natural energy instead.

3.  Say Goodbye to Power Outages

Solar energy panels utilize the energy provided from the sun, and are therefore self-sufficient. Traditional electricity systems need to be transported from large power plants to consumers through comprehensive networks. This long distance transmission equates to power losses. Solar power systems are durable and self-sustaining, thus highly decreasing the chances of a power outage. If there is a power outage in your neighborhood, your tenants chances of a service interruption are highly unlikely. Solar power systems provide you with greater electricity grid security, especially during natural or human-caused disasters. 

4. Attract New Clients

More people are taking eco-friendliness into account when looking to rent or buy property. The financial and environmental benefits of solar power energy will instantly attract new and high-quality clients, who will be grateful for your modern use of renewable energy sources. The millennial generation is especially drawn towards eco-friendly and energy-saving tactics. Consider increasing your chances of attracting new clients by also installing an electric vehicle charging station. The combination of solar panels and an electric vehicle charging station allows your tenants to run their vehicles without polluting the environment in any way. 

5. Save Money with Tax Breaks

When installing solar energy systems, you can deduct up to 85 percent of the cost of your system from your taxes. Furthermore, federal tax credits of up to 30 percent for a system remain in place through December 31, 2019. Numerous states and utility companies are offering advantageous incentives and rebates for installing solar panels, which will decrease your costs and save you even more money.