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Property Management Blog

Published on Sunday, February 26, 2012

Find Out What Influences Property Value

 

The size of the house also influences property value as larger properties will command higher prices. Remodeling or making additions and improvements can also make a big impact on the price of a property. For example if you do a complete remodeling of the kitchen or bathroom this will usually add quite a bit of value often far more than the cost of the remodeling job.

Adding a carport to a home that did not have one can also add significant value much greater than the investment made on the carport itself. Of course complete renovations and adding new rooms or a new level altogether will also increase the property value. The great thing about real estate is that most modifications made usually increase the property value quite greatly and you usually end up making much more than you spent in the improvements if you do decide to sell.

This is one of the reasons you really should consider buying a home rather than renting because a house is like an asset that in most cases will grow in value and can pay you back quite significantly if you make a wise investment. The best things that increase property value are those improvements that make the house look newer and more expensive to potential buyers.

For instance just improving the heating and ventilation system may not add much value because potential buyers will assume that the house should already have a good heating and ventilation. However something as simple as replacing a dull wallpaper with a more bright wallpaper or paint job can return much more money than you spent.

Also making sure the front yard is clean and neat, even consider getting some landscaping done, and also making sure the driveway is painted or has good tiling that is not broken can all add more value and put more money in your pocket. Just make sure the house looks impressive and not broken down. Even minor flaws can turn off buyers and they will not want to pay the higher price.

The age of the house is also important as older homes that are over 25 years old may need a complete makeover whereas younger homes could just use a touchup. The best places to focus as far as improvement are the kitchen and bathroom. These two areas can increase the value of your home the most so put the money in to keep them looking great and make sure to maintain them properly. Also the best time to sell a property is when interest rates are low and people are eager to buy so you may want to wait for this kind of period to be able to attract the highest price for your home.

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Landlord Knowledge Base

If you’ve ever considered investing in a few rental properties in Philadelphia or Bucks County, PA now might be a good time. Prices are still low in Philadelphia, but have been on the upswing. According to the National Association of Realtors, the median price of an existing home in a US metropolitan area grew 13.7% between July 2012 and July 2013, the latest in a 17-month streak of year-over-year price increases. 

New landlords can choose from properties that are likely to appreciate and a large pool of potential renters.Licensed realtor Pat Mueller cites a few reasons for this trend: “Many families have lost their homes to foreclosure and are entering the rentals market for the first time in years. Mortgages are also harder to get now, so fewer people are qualifying for a new one.”The more skills you bring to the table to get into Houses for Rent in Philadelphia Philadelphia or Bucks County, PA and the more time you have to devote to your properties, the faster you can make a return on your investment. 

But investing in rentals can also be disastrous (or too stressful to be worthwhile) without expertise. Here are three professionals you may consult about your new rental properties, and what you can do to mitigate how much they cost you:Handyman:  You may need to hire a specialist for some work on your rental. If you need new outlets or new pipes, for example, hire an electrician, plumber or licensed contractor. Handymen usually tackle smaller, more manageable tasks, like:

  • Painting and paint removal
  • Drywall repair
  • Minor appliance repairs (fixing a leaky toilet or faucet, among others)
  • Installing tiling or flooring, moldings, windows, doors
  • Refinishing decks, cabinets and other wood items

When You Could Skip It: You could do any (or all) of these projects yourself if you have the time and interest in learning. Of course, this only works if you live relatively close to your rentals and are flexible enough to service them on short notice. And if you’re willing to respond to the occasional 5 AM basement flooding.

Average Savings: Any base rates or costs-per-hour vary from location to location in Philadelphia or Bucks County, PA , but nationally, you can expect to spend an average of $60 to $85 per hour for repair costs. It general costs less to hire an individual handyman than a handyman employed by a company. Expect an additional charge if your job requires a trip to the store for materials.

Resident Property Manager As the owner of a handful of rental properties, you may be able to manage them yourself, but if you want help, a single resident manager would probably be more cost efficient than a property management company. Resident managers may:

  • Serve as a handyman
  • Advertise vacancies in your units
  • Show apartments to prospective tenants
  • Review rental applications
  • Collect rents

When You Could Skip It: Again, the closer you live to your properties and the more spare time you have, the less likely you are to need a manager. The obligations of being a boss will also cut into the time you save on maintenance.

Average Savings: The national median wage for residential managers is just over $25 per hour. Research the wages in your community and adjust according to how much responsibility your manager will take on. 

Real Estate Agent: Once you’ve gotten your financials in order and done your own research on the neighborhood(s) you’re considering, you might contact a realtor to show you potential properties. You can also arrange for a realtor in Philadelphia or Bucks County, PA to show rentals once they’re ready to rent.

When You Could Skip It: It depends. Even if you’re a local, or have thoroughly researched the neighborhood(s) you’re considering, a realtor is a great resource for a first-time rental buyer. Realtors have access to data and statistics not necessarily available to the general public and first-time buyers may not know all the right questions to ask. Using a realtor to fill your Houses for Rent vacancies is less of a no-brainer, depending on your other time commitments or whether you plan to hire a resident manager who could do the same thing.

Average Savings: As a buyer of rental properties, as when buying your own home, sellers typically pay most, if not all, of the buyer’s realtor fees. In this case, Mueller points out there’s little reason not to work with a realtor. For help in filling your units in Philadelphia or Bucks County, PA, the services of a realtor would set you back between 10-20% of the unit’s rent per month.  Mueller recommends interviewing with several brokers before making your final decision to invest into Houses for Rent .

The Bottom Line: As a new landlord, you can’t necessarily control the flexibility of your schedule or the amount (and cost) of unexpected repairs to your properties. Rentals are a long-term investment. However, to maximize profits from your Houses for Rent, new rentals, you can buy close to home and start small. It is best to begin with just one or two properties. This will allow you to maximize the time you spend on your properties’ needs, and minimize the amount you’ll have to pay anyone else.

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