Wednesday, December 27, 2017

6 Simple Ways to Increase Your Home's Resale Value

When it comes time to selling your home, attaining the highest sale price possible is usually at the top of your priority list. Spending large monetary amounts on expensive home upgrades can end up backfiring and taking large portions from your savings. The good news is, there are surprisingly small and cost-effective ways to dramatically increase your home's resale value. Making your home positively stand out in Boston's competitive real estate market should be prioritized. The following minor home improvements have the power to powerfully maximize property resale value.

1. Refinish Hardwood Floors

Freshly refinished hardwood floors can give any home the pleasant feeling of luxury and cleanliness. Potential buyers are often more inclined to purchase a home with newly renovated hardwood floors,  and are willing to pay extra to experience pristine flooring.

2. Replace Old Light Fixtures

Although a relatively inexpensive purchase, light fixtures have the power to completely change the ambiance of any room. Chunky, outdated, and worn light fixtures appear unattractive and dismal to potential buyers, and negatively affects the atmosphere of your property. Such a small home decor purchase has the power to alter the ambiance of any room, and sellers should utilize this knowledge to their advantage. Replace worn and chunky light fixtures with modern, elegant alternatives, and watch the room's entire appearance improve. 

3. Modernize Your Kitchen

Updating your kitchen is another relatively inexpensive purchase that has the power to beautifully transform any home and dramatically increase resale value.  Potential buyers are highly attracted to homes that lack any worn or outdated appliances. Replace outdated and shoddy kitchen appliances with modern, stainless steel appliances to give your home a touch of elegance and newness. Also consider installing a modern kitchen backsplash, with timeless, neutral tile colors.

4.  Add a Fresh Coat of Paint

Repainting your home is one of the most lucrative ways to make your home appear modern and fresh, which instantly boosts appeal and value. Most people prefer neutral paint tones, which is important to keep in mind before embarking on this home improvement. 

5.  Cut Energy Costs 

Possessing an energy-efficient home is a highly marketable advantage, which can save potential home buyers on utility bills. Start by having your local utility company inspect and audit your home's energy consumption. Their utility experts will show you how to increase the overall energy efficiency of your home, and how to decrease rising utility expenses.

6. Replace Old Kitchen Appliances

When renovating your home, it is important to keep in mind that kitchen updates instantly maximize value. Even minor kitchen updates can highly increase the value of your home. For those homeowners on a budget, try starting with small kitchen improvements. Replace stained sinks and outdated, dingy microwaves with modern, stainless steel appliances. For homeowners unconstrained to home improvement budgets, consider replacing all outdated kitchen appliances with modern stainless steel appliances. Furthermore, consider replacing outdated and stained kitchen countertops with modern, elegant granite countertops. 

Monday, December 11, 2017

How to Prevent Property Damage in Colder Temperatures

According to national statistics published by the Insurance Information Institute, property losses procured by snow, ice, and freezing temperatures appear third on the list of serious losses caused by weather, behind hurricanes and tornadoes. As temperatures drop lower in New England, it is important to stay educated on how to properly protect and maintain properties amid harsh winters. Read these tips to avoid catastrophic property losses and damages this winter.

1. Protect Your Pipes

As temperatures drop in New England, it is important to be mindful of protecting your pipes from bursting. The average burst pipe insurance claim stands around $18,000. The damage to your pipes is not the only headache you will be facing. You will also have to deal with floor replacement, sheet-rock replacement, re-painting the room the accident took place in, and possible mold removal and prevention expenses in order to maintain an orderly rental property. Losses can be even worse if the property is occupied and tenant property loss results from the incident.

Luckily, preventing pipes from bursting is a fairly simple project. First, ensure your pipes are properly insulated. Also, remember to occasionally turn on the heat in occupied homes to prevent pipes from freezing up and eventually bursting. Before the first big snowstorm of the year, consider sending a reminder to tenants on preventative measures for bursting pipes. Encourage tenants to open cabinet doors, which allows heat to reach pipes. Additionally, remind them to leave their faucets slightly dripping overnight as a preventative step.

2. Roof Maintenance 

Heavy snow can severely damage a roof that was weak to begin with. In preparation for harsh New England Winters, you should have your roof inspected yearly, preferably before the weather turns icy.  The seal around vents, skylights, and other protrusions should be checked and replaced if necessary. Any loose tiles or shingles should also be replaced before the winter begins. Maintaining your roof yearly can save you thousands of dollars in the long run. 

Gutter maintenance is also highly important for snow drainage. Walk the roof's edge to ensure all downspouts and gutters are secured tightly and free of any debris which may block the drainage of melting snow. 

Contemplate shoveling your roof after a heavy snow, not just your sidewalk and driveway. Heavy snow can create structural damage to your property. Furthermore, when snow melts and refreezes on your roof multiple times, snow can turn into ice dams along your roof which can bring about water damage along your walls.

3. Landscape Concerns 

Trimming trees before New England's harsh winter approaches is necessary. Large tree limbs can crash under heavy snowfalls, and demolish cars and roofs. Now is also the time to bring in outdoor patio furniture and outdoor decorative items which will become damaged as temperatures drop and snowfalls approach. 

4. Formulate an Emergency Plan

The most important step in protecting and maintaining property through New England's harsh winters, is formulating an emergency plan. Property managers should outline an emergency plan for their residents, so they are properly prepared if an emergency occurs. If the power goes out, encourage tenants to use flashlights and lanterns, rather than candles and open flames. Candles and open flames introduce an unnecessary fire hazard that can easily be avoided. An efficient property manager should create a small and affordable emergency safety bag for tenants, with instructions on how to proceed when an emergency strikes. The safety bag should contain battery operated flashlights, a lantern, and detailed instructions with emergency phone numbers to utilize during emergencies. This small amount of effort and money will ensure tenants feel safe, protected, and at peace living in your rental properties.

Although not all property damage is avoidable, by taking these necessary steps and precautions, you can lower your probability of facing catastrophic damage this winter. 

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Top Market Trends Impacting Your Boston Real Estate Business

As the final month of the year is reaching an end, it's time to regroup and strategize your company's business objectives and strategy for 2018. Before strategizing an updated business approach, it is imperative to study and understand the latest market trends in Boston real estate. By taking market trends into consideration when constructing marketing and management approaches, you will fare exceedingly better than real estate companies that did not apply researching methods to their own business approach. Here are the latest regional and national real estate trends for rental and job growth, occupancy, and more.

1. The Millennial Take Over

Millennials continue to make up the largest portion of the population, and are most likely the largest demographic of renters. Consider changing your company's technology and marketing plans to target millennials, who value efficiency and flexibility. Our previous blog post, "6 Ways To Attract College Students To Fill Your Apartment Vacancy", holds detailed and valuable information on both attracting, satisfying, and retaining millennial renters.

2. Mobile Technology is Here to Stay

Mobile technology has powerfully revolutionized the real estate industry, allowing potential renters to quickly locate properties and schedule apartment showings instantaneously. Mobile technology has become standard in the rental industry, and continues to hold power: studies show 84% of renters use mobile phones during their apartment search process. Taking the time and resources to properly integrate mobile-friendly features on your real estate company's website has the power to attract renters, and fill vacancies swiftly.

3. U.S Job Growth Continues to Soar

As U.S job growth continues to soar, the demand for rentals continues to climb. Property managers should remain aware that the U.S economy has added more than 150,000 jobs for the second month in December, and the employment rate has dropped to 4.3%.

While numerous market trends exist, property managers should especially take these specific trends into consideration when adjusting their market strategy for 2018. As the millennial generation continues to grow and seek out rentals, tweak your strategy to specifically target the millennial generation, with specific amenities and features marketed towards them. Furthermore, carefully study the job growth and Boston's rental property supply. Retaining this knowledge and applying these marketing trends to your 2018 strategy will open up successful business opportunities for 2018.

Monday, November 13, 2017

How to Make Your Boston Property Listings Stand Out Online

Marketing property listings online has become increasingly important, as more and more potential tenants and buyers search for future new homes on their mobile devices. Whether potential tenants are using a mobile browser, a laptop, or phone application, analyze how this approach will affect your property listings. To truly make your property rise above thousands of other listings, optimize your advertisements to a mobile format and focus on high quality advertisements.

Include Professional Photographs

Taking the time to ensure professional pictures of your property listings will give you a high advantage and make your properties stand out from the crowd. Many people scrolling through properties on mobile devices don't want to waste time reading, and only stop scrolling when they see an attractive picture which catches their interest. By taking professional pictures of your property, your listing is likely to attract more attention compared to real estate companies posting blurry cellphone pictures. Professional, beautiful photos are your first chance to make a good impression on potential buyers or renters. When taking professional photos, do your best to prepare the photos with professional staging techniques. Ensure the property is sparkling clean and free of distracting clutter before taking professional photographs.

Feature the Floor Plan

You can make your property stand out from thousands of similar properties online by featuring the floor plan. Many property listings skip over this important feature, so it may give your management company a competitive lead.

Incorporate Professional Video 

To gain a highly competitive advantage, consider shooting professional videos of the apartment or home. A very small percentage of property managers take the time to shoot and upload high quality video tours of their property listings, therefore you will gain a strong competitive edge.

Create Detailed and Luring Descriptions

Unnecessary details and long paragraphs can distract from your property's appealing features and discourage potential buyers. Craft concise and compelling descriptions, and avoid verbose details. People are extremely busy and want to know the most important features of the property without spending long periods of time reading through extraneous copy. Also, consider using bulleted lists to get your points across in an organized and concise manner. Breaking down your information into bulleted points will allow potential tenants and buyers to quickly scan for the imperative information they are searching for.

Avoid Unprofessional Sales Slang

Don't use common sales language that can cheapen your property and it's amenities. Avoid seedy sales language and inferior slang. Renters and buyers want to feel comfortable while browsing for properties that they are working with professional and serious property management companies.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Halloween Safety Tips for Property Managers

Halloween is fast approaching, and property managers should ensure the properties they manage are kept safe and are running smoothly. To ensure that all residents enjoy a safe and happy holiday, read the following Halloween preparation tips.

1. Keep Pathways Clean and Well-Lit

Free walking paths from leaves and other debris, to ensure trick or treaters can see where they are going and safety navigate your pathway. In addition to cleaning your walkways, consider adding lights to ensure trick or treaters can clearly navigate your pathway without any trips or accidental falls.

2. Keep Pets Indoors

The frantic high energy of Halloween combined with children running around creates an uneasy situation for most pets. While many pets may feel calm amongst trick or treaters going from door to door, it is best to keep pets inside to lower the risk of pets behaving erratically and potentially harming someone. Property managers should advise residents to keep pets indoors on Halloween night.

3. Check Smoke Detectors

Check smoke detectors prior to Halloween to ensure the detectors are working properly, and replace batteries as needed. Residents tend to burn more decorative candles around Halloween, and with candles comes the risk of accidental fires. Furthermore, property managers should recommend flameless candles to their residents. Flameless candles accomplish the ultimate goal of illuminating apartment decorations without the risk of fire.

4. Test Door Locks

Property managers should recommend their residents check their door locks are working properly prior to Halloween night. Halloween brings high frantic energy and a higher volume of people walking around, thus your residents should take extra preventive measures to ensure their belongings are kept safe. Property managers should also make an effort to make any vacant apartment units on their property appear "lived in", to discourage break-ins.

5. Remind Renters of Property Rules

Holidays can bring excess amounts of people in apartment units due to parties and get-togethers. Property managers should take the time to remind residents of property rules and regulations, to ensure an enjoyable and safe Halloween for all residents. Send out a notice reminding residents of trick or treating hours, and outlining applicable property rules such as noise level regulations and visitor regulations. 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

How Property Owners are Using Mobile Technology to Attract Residents

Mobile technology continues to evolve across the globe, affecting all aspects of life, including complex business operations. Mobile technology tools have the power to transform the way real estate companies conduct business, and new survey results show companies are starting to discover real value through incorporating social business tools into daily operations. Mobile technology includes activities building connections between customers, employees, and information through property management software, social media engagement, and mobile technology infrastructures. The power of mobile technology is revolutionizing the real estate industry, placing importance on communicating with customers and employees through different social media outlets and software infrastructures.

Innovative property managers recognize the power of mobile technology to attract new residents and build stronger relationships with current residents. Mobile technology advancements make it possible to engage with residents throughout the entire leasing process. When choosing a mobile technology infrastructure for your property management company, find a diverse property management software compatible with various operating systems and devices. Find a property management software which is employing the newest technology, and stay up to date on software updates to support all types of users and their various devices. 

Implementing mobile technology will improve connectivity among potential residents, which leads to increased engagement and improved conversion numbers. To attract potential residents, implement mobile advertisements, coupons, and online invitations to open houses. Furthermore, pursue mobile leasing application options with online signing features to swiftly close deals. 

Properties should be marketing as technology driven communities, where paying rent online and submitting maintenance requests is a simple online process. Implementing text alerts and mobile access to resident portals encourages residents to pay rent promptly, and saves residents valuable time. 

Mobile technology produces higher performance ratings and productivity among employees as well. Incorporating mobile applications into annual inspections encourages workflow efficiency and improves overall organization among employees. 

Globally, mobile technology is improving business operations, and leveraging the power of mobile technology into your real estate management improves success and workplace productiveness. 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

7 Ways To Prepare Your Home For Fall

The weather is getting cooler and the days are getting shorter as fall is quickly approaching. Now is the time to complete any late summer maintenance projects and prepare your home for fall. Follow our easy steps to properly prepare your home for the colder days ahead in New England.

1. Turn off Outdoor Plumbing Systems

Outdoor faucets and sprinkler systems should be properly drained and covered, to protect them from freezing temperatures approaching.

2. Fix Cracks in Asphalt and Concrete 

Depending on where you live, these may be the last few weeks of the year where the weather will be warm and sunny enough to permit driveway repairs and concrete crack maintenance. This will improve the exterior beauty of your home.

3. Plant Bulbs for Spring-Blooming Flowers 

A beautiful sign of Spring approaching is when tulips and daffodils start vibrantly booming. As soon as the soil has cooled down in October, plant bulbs, and your yard will be blooming in beauty next Spring. Ideally, select a spot to plant bulbs in your yard that the sun fully hits during the day. 

4. Clean Fireplace and Chimneys

Clean out the fireplace and ensure the flue is operating correctly, and that the doors and shield are secure. If necessary, have the chimney professionally swept to ensure complete cleanliness.

5. Complete a Home Safety Check

Replace the batteries in your smoke alarms and Carbon Dioxide monitors for safety precaution. Construct a family safety plan, or review the one already set in place. Assemble emergency preparation kits so your family is prepared for winter power outages.

6. Build a Mudroom 

Now is the proper time to assemble and stock an entryway that will serve as a "mudroom" area for freezing and damp weather, even if your home does not include a dedicated mudroom area. Place a durable indoor rug to ensure the floor is properly protected. Consider assembling a shoe rack, coat rack, or a storage bench for your dedicated mudroom area.

7. Properly Insulate Your Home  

As fall approaches, it is important to keep the warm air inside your home and the cold air outside your home. Carefully check your doors and windows for weather stripping. To properly check weather stripping, place a piece of paper in the entryway and shut the door. The paper should be unable to slide back and forth easily. If it does, consider investing in new weather stripping to protect your home from the cold weather approaching. Also, now is the right time to re-caulk around doors and windows as necessary. 

Sunday, October 1, 2017

5 Simple Ways to Boost Resident Retention in the New Year

Keeping residents satisfied and improving resident retention is an immensely important part of property management. Although many residents leave the area entirely or look for a house to buy when their lease expires, there is still a substantial amount of residents who want to be long-term renters. By treating residents properly and keeping them satisfied, you can highly increase lease renewal rates. Discover 5 simple ways for property managers to increase resident retention in 2018.

1. Embrace Technology

As society becomes increasingly dependent on technology and rapid responses, property managers must adapt to technology's growing prevalence. Allow residents to text, leave messages, and contact property managers through your website. Consider optimizing your property management website for mobile, since most residents contact property managers through cellular devices. By adapting to technology while still offering older methods for residents who don't desire change, you will give your residents both flexibility and options.

2. Keep Your Staff Consistent

It's not always possible to retain every employee, however property management companies which maintain a robust staff tend to draw higher retention rates. Residents become comfortable with property managers, and excess change can cause discomfort and confusion. When residents feel confident about their property manager, their entire living experience will improve.

3. Keep Properties Exceptionally Maintained

Residents are more likely to renew their lease when their rental is exceptionally maintained and sparkling clean. When property managers apply increased effort into maintaining rental properties, residents feel confident they are living in a safe, clean, and comfortable environment. Producing a beautiful and safeguarded place to live increases the property management's chances to retain long-term residents.

4. Be Responsive

Residents expect rapid responses to issues, and desire a property management company willing to assist them instantaneously and address their concerns. Even if a property management company is unable to make a requested change for a resident, giving them respect and acknowledging their concerns will increase chances of higher resident retention rates. Property managers should be responsive by quickly answering phone calls and messages, and ensuring maintenance requests are quickly handled.

5. Keep Residents Updated

Ensure residents are always informed about any property maintenance or construction being done in or around the property. Send out newsletters, emails, and text messages, to keep residents properly informed and up-to-date. When residents are consistently informed about important changes or property construction, they will feel more comfortable and at ease in their living environment.

Monday, September 11, 2017

5 Qualities of Highly Successful Property Managers

The following habits, qualities, and characteristics are shared by highly successful property managers everywhere, but they don't appear by accident or luck. These are developed habits built by years of dedication, and deliberate purpose.

1. Willpower

Successful property managers have the ability to see their projects through completion. The greatest property managers have stayed focused on their goals and been consistent in their efforts. Strong property managers do not procrastinate and allow distractions that prevent them from achieving their purpose. They stay completely focused and assert strong willpower towards successful achievement.

2. Humility

Humility is the key quality and component of their personality. Successful property managers are not driven by their egos and do not care about always being right. Although they strive for success and achievement, their primary concern is not attaining affluence or power. Their humility allows them to passionately strive toward making a positive contribution to society. Their main concern is keeping their clients and residents satisfied, and receiving satisfaction from contributing towards the happiness and safety of others.

3. Curiosity

One habitual quality of successful property managers is curiosity. By nature or self-discipline, property managers possess an extraordinary amount of curiosity. As observant professionals, property managers always look for better and more innovative ways to accomplish their goals. Successful property managers do not hesitate to ask questions, undertake research, and search for more efficient solutions.

4. Drive

Highly successful property managers possess an ambitious and driven personality, with an innate desire to achieve success. They are preoccupied with growing and improving, and avoid distractions. They are obsessed with achieving objectives, and go above and beyond to satisfy their clients and residents needs. They will go to seminars, conduct research, join associations, and dedicate themselves to discovering innovative solutions. Successful property managers stay focused on their goals, and stay consistent in their efforts to achieve.

5. Communication Skills

Powerful communications skills are necessary to becoming a successful property manager. Highly successful property managers communicate thoroughly, clearly, and efficiently with both clients and residents. They work to communicate and pay attention to the communicators around them. Most important, successful property managers hear what isn't being said, and discover solutions before problems arise. Clients and residents feel comfortable and secure when communicating with a diligent, comprehensive property manager. When communication is present, trust and respect follow.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

4 Ways to Upgrade Your Properties to Attract More Renters

When planning to upgrade your rental properties, maintaining low costs is usually a large consideration. Using the highest quality materials for the lowest price allows excess profitability and enormous benefits. Luckily, there are numerous ways to upgrade and enhance your existing renal properties in an affordable manner, which still brings in new tenants and immense resident satisfaction.

1. Replace Old Doors

Doors tend to become damaged fairy quickly, especially in rental properties. The majority of real estate investors ignore the damage entirely, or repair the damage inadequately with touch-up paint. Replacing old doors with brand new ones dramatically increases the visual appeal of a rental unit, for an affordable price.

2. Add Kitchen Backsplashes

Backsplashes bring both value and powerful visual appeal to your rental properties. Backsplashes are both durable and easy to maintain. Be careful when choosing a backsplash however; trendy backsplashes can look outdated and unappealing in the future.

When choosing a backsplash, find an affordable look which is both timeless and classic. Avoid trendy, bright colors and patterns. Neutral colored tiled and white subway tiles are both enduring in style and elegance. Frosted turquoise or lime green tiles might be trendy now, however these colors will outdate your property in the near future, and discourage rental tenants. Neutral tiles bring both elegance and tranquility to the ambiance of your kitchen.

3. Install Wood Flooring

Replace all carpets with gleaming hardwood floors. Carpets are never a good option for rental properties. Carpets quickly show damage, and appear dingy after minimal wear and tear.  Replace all carpets with gleaming hardwood floors. Wood flooring is more affordable and easier to maintain. Rental tenants typically prefer wood floors, since they are universally attractive and give the tenant freedom to decorate the apartment with rugs. Wood flooring is also highly cost effective; wood flooring rarely needs to be replaced, and fairy easy to fix when necessary.

4. Upgrade Bathroom Fixtures

Upgrade bathroom fixtures to give your rental property a taste of elegance, and your tenants a mini spa experience. Invest in modern bathroom fixtures and install timeless ceramic tiles. Install a glass shower to give your tenants a luxurious, enjoyable atmosphere.

Monday, August 28, 2017

6 Ways to Attract College Students to Fill Your Apartment Vacancies

The millennial generation makes up a large portion of the growing number of college students in America. To successfully fill open vacancies in your apartment building, you must first know what millennials are searching for, and exceed their expectations. Although millennials often hold different standards and ideals compared to other apartment tenants, you can appeal to the younger generation by using an updated marketing and business approach.

1. Produce Flexibility and Quick Maintenance 

Most of the millennial generation is composed of long-term renters who are not prepared or qualified to purchase property anytime soon. These short-term renters expect instantaneous service and flexibility when renting property. Millennials desire flexibility in their living arrangements, in case they decide to transfer colleges, or move for a relationship or job. Consider alternatives to a 12 month lease agreement if you intend on attracting and satisfying the millennial generation.

2. Location, Location, Location!

If you are a property owner and want to attract the growing millennial and college student population, choosing the right location is the key to success. This generation desires flexibility, and saving time on commuting towards popular restaurants, colleges, bars, and shopping centers gives them more time to enjoy life. Millennials prefer to be near prominent restaurants, cafes, gyms, grocery stores, college campuses, and other places they can unwind, be social, and entertain themselves.

3. Incorporate Social Media

The average millennial spends 12 hours a day consuming media, often multiple forms at once. What this research means for property managers is important. Today, most businesses spend their marketing budgets, even those geared toward social media, primarily on sending out advertising messages. Integrating advertising and technology is becoming necessary to stay relevant and successful. Keep tenants updated on your apartment complex with social media posts. Furthermore, consider employing a social media manager to publish valuable real estate content on your social media platforms, to attract the attention of college students and millennials searching for a new apartment rental. Building an online community for your apartment complex will allow renters to quickly communicate any questions or concerns.

4. Modernize Your Apartment Technology 

Create an engaging, modern website to advertise your open units and give detailed descriptions of your apartment rentals. This will attract renters, while also showing them your modern approach to property management. Furthermore, allow renters to apply online and pay rent electronically, and let renters make maintenance requests online. Whenever possible, utilize the millennial preferred commutation methods of email and text message.

5. Bring Efficiency to Your Apartment Complex

Along with flexibility and fast service, the millennial generation appreciates efficiency when searching for the right living arrangements. To bring more efficiency to your apartment units, use compact fluorescent or LED lights in common areas, upgrade units with energy-efficient appliances, offer recycling services on site, and use programmable thermostats in common areas to maintain low expenses. Other creative ways to bring efficiency to your apartment complex include insulting your property to reduce cold drafts and low utility bills, and adopt solar panels, wind power, or another source of renewable energy.

6. Create Community-Oriented Activities 

Many college students come from different states and countries, and will appreciate feeling a sense of community in their condominium association. To make your rental properties more community-oriented, introduce community parties, move-nights, and social hours. Documents photos from the events to post online and engage with renters through social media channels. Also try introducing a virtual bulletin on your real estate property's website, where residents can engage and connect with each other. Show photos of community events, amenities, and local events on your website.