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.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Massachusetts Single-Family Home Prices Hit a Record High

If you are searching for a new home in Massachusetts, get prepared to pay record high prices. According to a market report from the Greater Boston Association of Realtors released on Wednesday, the median sales price for a single family home in the Greater Boston area just a hit a record high last month at $652,500. This marks the highest median sales price the organization has witnessed since they first started recording data in 2004. The median sales price of single-family home sold in the Greater Boston area rose by 7.1%, from $609,250 in June 2017, to $652,500 in June 2018.

The median sales price for condominiums also increased by 10.6% since last year in June 2017, jumping a median of $520,000 in June 2017 to $575,000 in June 2018. The report provided by the Greater Boston Association of Realtors follows trends from last summer, when single family homes in Massachusetts surpassed the median sale price of $400,000 for the first time.

How are these numbers affecting the real estate market? The number of single-family homes sold in the Greater Boston area decreased by 6.2%, however, these homes spent an average of 33 days on the market. The number of condominiums purchased decreased by 5.2%, but units spent an average of 29 days on the market. Sales of single-family homes and condominiums have remained steadily strong in June, however less home-owners are selling their properties due to continuously appreciating home values. Although property sales prices continue to steadily increase, the number of homes for sale are decreasing, leading to a very low inventory of available homes on the market. Additionally, closed sales have been down for 2018, despite the median prices of homes skyrocketing.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Expert Tips For Saving Space in Your Boston Rental

Finding an affordable apartment in Boston with plenty of room and extra storage space is becoming challenging, as property prices skyrocket. Fitting all of your belongings in a small one-bedroom apartment can be extremely difficult, and requires creative space-saving style solutions. Creatively managing your storage and minimizing clutter will overall make your small apartment appear larger, cleaner, and more open. Luckily, we consulted with top interior designers on how to save space and create more storage without comprising on style. Here is what they recommended as space-saving style solutions for each room in your apartment:

1. Bedroom

Utilizing the space under your bed for storage is key, and makes your room look less cluttered and cramped. If you are looking to conserve space, designers highly recommend using your bed as storage, either finding a frame with drawers included, or using plastic boxes and woven bins that slide under your bed for easy access. If you are feeling extra creative, you can even purchase a loft bed. Loft beds are one of the best ways to make the most of a really tiny space. If you don't mind climbing up a ladder to your bed, loft beds completely open up the space underneath your bed for storage, a desk, or lounge area. Furthermore, nightstands are another useful opportunity for storage in a stylish way.

2. Living Room

While decorating your living room, aim to decorate the space in a vertical way, which will open up the space and make the apartment appear larger than it actually is. Using bookshelves will make the room look more open and inviting, while serving as convenient storage opportunities. Interior designers recommended purchasing an ottoman or table with inner storage compartments, which will help hide clutter without comprising on style.  Ottomans with storage spaces can even be topped with trays to make them multi-purposeful.

3. Kitchen

When it comes to decorating your kitchen, storage spaces are not only limited to cabinets and counters. Installing freestanding shelves and racks will open up countertop space while serving as useful storage areas. If your kitchen doesn't already come with recessed lighting, interior designers recommend purchasing sconces that can be plugged into an outlet. 

4. Bathroom

Standard bathrooms include storage space below the bathroom sink and above the vanity, but interior designers recommend installing freestanding shelves above the toilet. Furthermore, install removable hooks to the backs of doorways and mount adjustable tension rods to allow easy access to towels and other necessary items. 

Saturday, July 7, 2018

How to Prepare your Home for Summer Storms

As the summer of 2018 commences, it's time to prepare your home for extreme summer weather conditions and the possibility of dangerous summer storms. Every season hold it's challenges, and it's important to always protect yourself and your property. Stay safe from severe summer weather with the following tips from home experts:

1. Manage Your Gutter

Keeping water from harsh rain storms out of your property should be a leading priority, and can prevent expensive property damages. Water needs to be directed off the roof, which means gutters need to be checked for any excess leaves, tree branches, or debris. Ensure that downspout elbows are unclogged, allowing water to flow freely from the roof and away from your home. While inspecting your rooftop gutters, look for any missing shingles or holes in your roof which will allow water to slowly seep into your home. Cracked and damaged roofs lead to leaking which can cause excessive water damage, mildew, and mold.

2. Protect Your Appliances

Local property management experts recommend using a whole-home surge protector, which can be installed in your electrical panel. A whole-home surge protector will protect any plugged in appliances (including televisions and appliances), if there is an unexpected lightening strike or power outage. For further precautionary measures, you can purchase outlet surge protector power strips.

3. Trim Your Trees

Ensure trees on your property are properly trimmed and no branches are touching your house. In extreme weather conditions and high winds, branches can break and harshly damage your home exterior. 

4. Install Air Conditioners Sparingly 

As New England is expecting higher than average temperatures this summer, many homeowners are rushing to install multiple air conditioners. Experts warn to install air conditioners sparingly and with caution, and never install more than one air conditioner on the same circuit. In many homes, especially apartments and older homes, numerous rooms are wired on the same circuit. Installing air conditioners on the same circuit can damage the breaker and cause serious issues over time, including electrical fires.