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Property Management Blog

Published on Saturday, November 29, 2008

Apartment Rentals or Homeownership

Contrary to the popular belief that home ownership is the best and most financially sound decision that one can make for their family, people are coming to the conclusion that apartment rentals offer just as many benefits, though of a different nature, as home ownership does. It is arguable which decision is the best, and in the long run, it is more about personal choice than it is about making the absolute right one.

Apartment rentals have many benefits that owning a home does not. One of the most convenient aspects of living in a residential complex is the yard care responsibilities, or rather, the lack of yard care responsibilities involved. Living in a community where the grounds are manicured, maintained and cultivated without any responsibility from you is perfect for elderly individuals, people who work long hours or simply dislike lawn maintenance duties. Not everyone enjoys getting down and dirty with a lawn mower, hedger or weed eater.  But for those who do, there is usually access to a small porch or balcony, and some complexes will allow residents a small flowerbed in which to grow plants of their choice, though not all will.

Maintenance responsibilities are taken care of with apartment rentals as well. If your garbage disposal breaks, you call maintenance. You do not have to run to your nearest home improvement store and spend hundreds of dollars replacing it. In addition, they spray for insects, keep the hallways and courtyards well lit, stairways safe and clean and maintain the swimming areas and playgrounds, laundry facilities and parking lots. the only responsibility that tenants have aside from keeping their own personal space clean and neat is taking their trash out to the designated trash areas. Other than that, it is basically a hassle free living arrangement.

The lessened responsibility of apartment rentals is a huge factor in why many people are choosing that lifestyle. Face it, our primary responsibility should be to ourselves and to our families, rather than to loan officers and financial institutions. Owning a home does have its benefits. Renters insurance is not nearly as expensive as homeowners insurance. If your home is destroyed in a disaster, natural or otherwise, you suffer a great loss, and if you do not have enough insurance to cover it, you lose. Losing all of ones personal belongings is bad enough without the added strain of being hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt on a home that you can no longer inhabit.

Apartment rentals give tenants the option to pick up and move when their lease is up, with no obligation or required payment. If they want to move to a different neighborhood, or a different State altogether, the option is there, and they are not obligated to go through the sometimes long and arduous task of finding a buyer for their current home. No Realtors fees, no concern on what the market is doing, no obligation, except to pack their things and move. It is a much easier, more freedom centered way to live. When people complain that renting is akin to throwing their money away, consider that the money that is required to purchase a home, and the credit costs associated with remodeling, renovating and upgrading the home to give it more value, completely overshadows the cost of a years worth of rent in return for your temporary use of the space.

There will always be opposing viewpoints in this matter, as some will inevitable argue why owning your own home is the best investment of your money. But apartment rentals are offering a higher quality of living, featuring more amenities, more community oriented neighborhoods and less overall fiscal and material responsibility from tenants, appealing to many different types of people.

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Author: Web Master

Categories: Property Management




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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