DIY Upgrades That Make Your Property Feel Like a Luxury Rental

Renovations can be expensive, especially when you want to turn your property into a luxury rental to attract higher-paying tenants. While materials and furniture can be expensive, the prices really start to climb when you bring a professional into the mix. Luckily for your budget, that isn’t always necessary.

Instead, try these DIY upgrades, all of which will make your property feel like a truly luxurious rental.

Update the Kitchen Cabinets

The kitchen isn’t just a place to cook and eat; it’s often the space where tenants spend time with friends and family. A simple way to turn the kitchen in the most lavish space in the home is to update the kitchen cabinets. This gives the space an instant facelift at a fraction of the cost of re-doing the entire space.

The lowest-cost update is to paint the cabinets a fresh new color. If you have a little more budget, consider refacing the current cabinets or replacing them altogether. Finally, take it one step further and replace the hardware on your cabinets for another visually impactful, yet simple DIY project.

Source: Freshome.com

Update the Fireplace

The fireplace is a coveted feature, but one that’s not in top condition can be an eyesore and detract from your property’s value. Not to mention, it’s a centerpiece of the home, which means the smallest changes can make a big difference. A few ways to upgrade the fireplace include:

1. Replace the doors with tinted glass: Tinted glass looks classy, and keeps the mess covered: “Your fireplace is the ugliest place in your home. It’s covered with soot, ashes, and is a grayish blackish mess. Glass doors with tinted glass do a great job of hiding the unsightly mess. It’s like closets. No matter how well organized they are, most people still like a door to keep them out of sight,” says Sam Wilhoit, of Brick-Anew.

2. Paint the brick: Bring your fireplace to life with a fresh coat of paint. Consider re-staining or painting the mantle as well to create an entirely new look that elevates the entire room.

Update the Backsplash

An easy and economical DIY project is updating the backsplash in the kitchen. Fresh tile has a significant visual impact without being expensive. “This is another tenant appreciated upgrade that can be very economical if you get tiles on sale and install yourself. Even if the tiles are not on sale, you’re usually only covering an area that is 2 feet by 10 feet = 20 square feet of area = 20 tiles,” shares Nathan Richard with Revnyou.com.

If you want to skip the sometimes-tricky installation, go with peel and stick subway tiles instead. These are both inexpensive and easy to use, giving the kitchen a luxurious look without the high price tag or extensive sweat equity.

Update the Garage Door

One of the easiest and most cost effective ways to boost curb appeal and the value of your property is to replace the garage doors. Having worn out or out of date garage doors can make a poor first impression, losing potential tenants before they even step inside.

The best part: garage doors can easily be replaced, and you can also upgrade or replace the hardware on the doors to make an impact without the extra work of a full replacement.

Upgrade Lighting

Lighting has an immediate impact on the feel of a home, making it feel dark and closed off or well-lit, open, and inviting. “One of the worst things about rental units has got to be the outdated light fixtures. Luckily, this is also one of the easiest switches. Simply swap out that light fixture for something more your style. Just be sure to reattach the original fixture before moving out,” says Keri Sanders with HGTV.com.

Updating lighting fixtures can be as inexpensive as your budget needs, with a wide variety of options at varying price points. Consider some of the most popular modern styles, including unique chandeliers and wood and metal materials.

Finally: Clean the Property

Never underestimate the impact of a clean rental, especially if you want it to have that luxurious feel—it’s hard to sell relaxation when the space is filthy: “Nothing will turn off a potential renter more than a dirty place,” says Patricia-Anne Tom with Realtor.com.

It can seem almost too simple, but a good cleaning is a great opportunity to make the rental shine—literally—to prospective tenants. Deep clean the rental twice yearly, if possible, and hire a professional if possible. Don’t forget the often overlooked areas like baseboards, window treatments, ceiling fans and appliances.

A small budget can go a long way to turning a mediocre rental into one that looks could be in a luxury home magazine. Use these ideas to take your space up a notch and attract renters who are ready to spend more.

Find out which rental property kitchen and bath trends are making a statement in 2017.

Original article: https://www.propertyware.com/blog/diy-rental-upgrades/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=diy-rental-upgrades&utm_term=20170822-tpw&hootPostID=8f976df8d8034c60cbe1a343bfe91da9

Single Family Rentals: What Does the Future Look Like?

In June, the NRHC and Green Street Advisors’ Advisory and Consulting Group together published an in-depth research paper packed with stats that illuminate the current market for home rentals and projections for the coming years. Their findings should be of interest (and quite encouraging) to people in the business of renting single family properties.
In short, a number of factors point to a bullish market for single family home rentals over the next five years, including the modest growth in supply of homes; strong demand due to demographics and the growing attractiveness of homes relative to apartments; and a greatly tightened lending environment that has made buying homes (vs. renting) more difficult for many.

Today, according to the report, around 13% of all occupied single family homes are rentals, constituting about 37% of the total residential rental market. That’s more than most people would guess, and testament to the strong role single family homes now play in housing renters. In fact, the ownership of rental homes could even become an asset class for institutional investors betting on large portfolios of homes – though today their portfolios still represent only around 1% of the total single family rental market, with the other 99% being owned by “Moms and Pops.”

Single family homes are still 11% below their peak values in 2006, while apartments are now priced 38% above the peak they reached in 2007. The report suggests that this leaves lots of room for a rise in home values vs. apartments, so the good news isn’t only about the strength of the rental market – it’s also about the potential value of the underlying assets, the homes themselves.

Growing Demand

The report posits household formation as the chief driver of housing demand, and goes on to estimate that 6.6 million households will be created over the next five years. Over half these households will rent, a percentage exceeding the historical norm; of these, around 1.5 million will choose single family homes – an increase of around 9% over the next five years.

Job creation is another demand driver for rental housing, and a post-recessionary job market that continues to improve should add around 156,000 jobs per year over the next five years if the report’s projections are correct.

Demographics figure into demand as well. People under 35 represent the most important renter base, and this base is expected to grow faster than the population as a whole over the next five years. These days, carrying lots of debt and finding it hard to come up with down payments, they’re likely to delay buying homes until later in life than ever. Until that time, they’ll remain in the renter pool.

Then too, there’s the fact that every demographic group has seen an increase in desire for homes over apartments, particularly those needing three or more rooms – a feature homes are much more likely to provide than apartments or townhomes. The large millennial generation will soon be creating families that need more room than many apartments can offer them.
Limited Supply

The economy has for over seven years now been absorbing the many foreclosed houses that came on the market as a result of the Great Recession. Where once they might have been rented at bargain prices, many have now been purchased out of the rental market, and the others are more highly valued than they were when empty houses were abundant.

At the same time, the building of single family homes has lagged far behind the development of new apartments, and virtually nobody today builds homes from scratch specifically as rentals.

The changing ratio of supply and demand has led to a favorable situation for owners of rental homes, leaving plenty of room for rent growth. The occupancy rate has been climbing since 2009, and is expected to rise even more quickly over the next five years, while apartment occupancy is already at historic highs and doesn’t leave as much room for growth.

The upshot of this eye-opening report is that it’s a good time to own single family rental properties, and it’s likely to get better – perhaps a lot better. Keep an eye on our blog to pick up tips on how to squeeze the most from your investments!
Source: “Single-Family Rental Primer,” June 6, 2016, Green Street Advisors in partnership with National Rental Home Council.

http://www.propertyware.com/blog/single-family-home-rentals-what-does-the-future-look-like/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=blog&hootPostID=d1a89f336bc38ee9c2b9c45924586e09

 

Recent Analysis Shows Many Big-City Renters that Earn Enough to Buy, Prefer Convenience of Renting

SEATTLE, WA – Across the country’s largest rental markets, almost 14 percent of on-market renters have strong credit scores, relatively high incomes and could afford to buy the median home in their market.

As the homeownership rate has declined over the past decade, a broader socio-economic swath of Americans are renting than at any time in recent history. That means people who could afford to buy are renting instead, increasing competition for limited available homes for rent, according to an analysis of financial qualifications reported via the Zillow Renter Profile feature.

San Jose, San Diego, and San Francisco have the largest segments of on-market renters who have the credit score and income necessary to purchase a home, making those metros highly competitive for renters. Los Angeles, New York and Seattle also made the list of metros with large segments of current renters who are financially qualified to buy a home.

To determine which markets have the highest number of financially stable and thus most competitive renters vying for the attention of landlords and property managers, Zillow examined the self-reported credit scores and incomes of renters who were on the market during the first half of 2016. Zillow also looked at regional median rental and home values and competition to determine the markets with the highest share of renters who reported a monthly income equal to or greater than necessary to afford the typical rental and median home in the metro area.

There are also long-term demographic trends impacting renter qualifications and competition: young adults, both the affluent and otherwise, are renting longer than ever before as they delay many of the hallmarks of adulthood that typically lead to homeownership, such as finishing their education and starting families.

In general, markets with lower homeownership rates have higher proportions of on-market renters with both strong credit and high incomes. That said, even when controlling for the homeownership rate, booming markets closely associated with the tech industry – such as San Jose and San Francisco – tend to have exceptionally high proportions of highly qualified, on-market renters.

At the other extreme, markets that tend to have higher homeownership rates, such as Houston, and metros that were particularly hard hit during the housing bust and foreclosure crisis, including Cleveland and Detroit, have lower shares of renters who report both strong credit and high incomes.

“When faced with hurdles of high prices and low inventory, first-time homebuyers are renting longer than ever before even if they are qualified to buy,” said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell. “San Jose, San Diego and Seattle are among the most competitive places for buyers, and the going isn’t any easier for renters – as they are competing against throngs of financially sound applicants with strong credit and high incomes. This is a conundrum for many young people who move to those cities because of their strong job markets, only to find tight inventory and steep competition standing between them and their dream home.”


Courtesy of: http://www.multifamilybiz.com/News/7107/Recent_Analysis_Shows_Many_BigCity_Renters_that_Ea…

Skills All Property Managers Need

The best property managers know how to apply a broad skillset to the unique situations they encounter. They move with ease into situations that require strong communication, negotiation, customer service, and organizational skills. Property managers also have the ability to manage more tangible property-related concerns, such as maintenance and repair issues.
Here are five essential property manager skills that all property managers must develop in order to excel in the field:

1. A Property Management Company Needs Strong Communication

According to Entrepreneur Magazine, “learning how to effectively communicate with others while choosing the right words can literally make or break your growth in the marketplace.” While your properties are an important part of your rental property management company’s portfolio, it’s the way in which you interact that will seal the deal for tenants. If you treat prospective tenants with respect during the screening and move-in, move-out process, they will know that they can trust you and your business.

Respect means that you communicate clearly, you’re easy to access, and when you’re not available, you have processes in place that allow tenants to connect with your company. A tenant portal that allows tenants to ask questions, find information, and pay bills online at a time that is convenient for them is a communication investment that will pay off. Keeping the lines of communication open is a great way to build and maintain good relationships with your tenants.
Property managers need to have strong customer service skills backed up by effective property management systems.

2. Property Managers Must Exemplify Responsive Customer Service

For tenants, excellent customer service and exceptional communication skills go hand in hand. When tenants communicate a question, they want an answer as soon as possible. You must have a way of tracking tenant queries and concerns. A tenant portal makes these questions and concerns visible to tenants. Then, you must act. For example, if a tenant is concerned about a possible leak in the roof, you need to treat this issue as the emergency it is and respond quickly. To do this, you need a list of pre-approved contractors at the ready and a schedule that shows when your employees and those contractors are available to manage the customer’s problem.

3. Managers Need to be Exceptionally Organized

Property management requires a high level of organization. For example, that leaky roof might have been avoided if your company conducted an annual evaluation of large maintenance concerns, such as the integrity of the roof and the safety of stairs and railings. According to Inc.com, exceptional leaders look for patterns to improve the company’s processes: “they are constantly scanning themselves, other people, and processes to identify patterns and changes in the patterns.” To avoid the leaky roof, you could identify the need for a stronger ongoing maintenance schedule that involves not only yard maintenance but checking appliances, plumbing, and other common problem areas in the home. Help your managers put these systems in place with rental management software that can be used in the development of a maintenance schedule and ongoing tracking of maintenance and repairs.

4. Managers Need to Know the Basics of Marketing

Most property managers are skilled in property maintenance and related tasks, but not everyone has extensive marketing experience. Do you find it challenging to write about your properties, add that information to listing services and your website, and develop the site itself so that the listings speak to certain desired groups of tenants? Writing a great property description requires knowledge about the amenities of the property and surrounding area, as well as an understanding of how those amenities will attract a specific group of tenants. Digital property marketing assistance can help you develop a website and list your properties even if you don’t have a lot of experience with web listings.

5. A Property Management Company Needs to Have Hands-On Skills

Property managers need to have a diverse range of skills, and they must understand properties as well as people. Some property managers come from a background in customer service, while others come from a background in building maintenance. Each manager should have an understanding of how buildings work so thorough and well-documented inspections can be conducted. Managers also need to understand the typical problems of rental properties so that they can respond appropriately and rank maintenance issues according to their urgency.
Written & Published by Propertyware June 2016

Why Invest in Rental Property?

Michigan Real Estate 1

Some people invest to get rich. Others invest to get out of a job. Still others invest so their children have an inheritance and grand kids have a college education. Whatever your reason for investing – investing in rental property can help you get there – and can be one of the quickest and safest investment vehicles around. Rental property allows you to take advantage of several distinct benefits:

  • Leverage– Leverage is the ability to use only a small amount of cash to purchase a much larger investment. When investing in real estate, you don’t necessarily have to pay the full amount for the property. Instead, you can pay a “down payment” and get a bank or private investor to fund the remaining. While you may only have 10-20% down (or as low as 3.5% with an FHA Loan) you are able to control 100% of the property and take advantage of 100% of the appreciation, cash-flow, and other benefits.
  • Security– Investing in rental property is generally considered one of the most secure investments you can make, as contrast to methods like flipping or speculation. When you buy smart* you are able to make more monthly income from rent than what it costs to own the property, and the extra monthly incomes (cash flow) can be used to cover the times when the property is vacant or needs repairs.
  • Tax Benefits– The government likes real estate investors, because they provide housing for millions of Americans, and as such – they reward rental property owners with tax breaks and incentives to encourage this type of investing. Benefits like depreciation or the ability to “trade up” to larger properties without paying any tax (1031 Exchanges) can help compound your wealth even faster.
  • Directly Actionable– Finally, investing in rental property gives you an investment that you can directly control. When you buy a stock, you have very very little (if any) control over what the company does and how it operates. Your trust is placed 100% in the hands of Wall Street types and when things go south – your only option is to sell the stock or hang on. When investing in rental property, YOU get to actively take a role in the destiny of your property. You can maintain it, improve it, choose the right tenants, pick the right manager, correct problems, and influence local government to support you.

Different Methods of Investing

There are several different ways that you can invest in rental property, which this section is going to look at. This is not a comprehensive list, but simply a sampling of what is possible.

  • Single Family Homes – Perhaps the most popular method for investing in rental property, the single family home is a house that you can rent out to a single family (or individual.) Generally, these properties are fairly easy to find and fairly easy to finance. Single family homes generally have a higher likelihood of obtaining long-term renters thus an increased chance for stability. On the down-side, when a single family home is vacant, you lose 100% of the rent for that time.
  • Small Multifamily Properties – A personal favorite of mine, the small multifamily is typically between two and four units and can be found in practically every area of the world. The small multifamily offers the ability to receive multiple rents from multiple different tenants, thus diversifying your income to compensate for times of vacancy. In other word – when one unit goes vacant, you still have income from the other units to help pay the bills. Another unique advantage of small multifamily properties is the ability to finance using conventional loans from banks (just like a normal mortgage you would get on a single family house.) This is especially helpful when you plan on living in one of the units, so you can take advantage of the 3.5% down payment requirements given by FHA insured loans.
  • Large Multifamily– Investing in rental property with five units or more becomes a slightly different game, at least in terms of lending. When buying this kind of property, you will be using a “commercial loan” which typically requires higher down payments and interest rates, but shorter term lengths. However, if purchased at a good price, large multifamily properties can quickly produce significant cash flow and a high return on investment.

How to Get Started Investing in Rental Property

Your first step in investing in rental property is to get educated. Congratulations – you’ve already started on step one!

Your next step is to create a plan. As I often say, you wouldn’t take a road trip from Canada to Argentina knowing only that it’s South. You need to have a road map to guide you . Your plan is your road map, and it will help you stay on the right path and avoid dead-ends, wrong-roads, and “shiny objects.” Your plan includes

  • your starting point;
  • your goal/destination;
  • deciding what kind of investing you want to get;
  • how much you want to pay;
  • where you want to buy (neighborhood, tenant type, etc);
  • the level of risk you want to take;
  • the financing you plan on using and
  • your property management team!

Once you have done some of your homework, call Rental Management One to help you get your plan in place. We work with investors just like you who want to trust their property to a professional firm who will take the guess work out of property management. For a free property evaluation click here.

 

 

Article written by Brandon Turner, April 2013. (https://www.biggerpockets.com/renewsblog/2013/04/23/investing-in-rental-property/)