Category Archives: Rehab

Should You Convert Your Wood Burning Fireplace into Gas?

You have several rental properties with wood burning fireplaces. You have some concerns though because of tenants having a live wood fire. The thought of an unattended fireplace and your apartment building going up in smoke worries you. Is there a better way?

Another option
You do always have the choice of just covering the fireplace over or blocking it. But it is a useful renting point when looking for new tenants. So, another option would be to have installed a gas fireplace insert. You would still have the appearance without the danger of someone accidentally burning down your building.

Also, there are other advantages to gas fireplaces. A fireplace which takes wood can take some work to get the fire going correctly which can be a danger with an unskilled tenant doing this. With a gas fireplace insert though, a flick of the switch and the fire is lit.

Also, with a wood burning fireplace, you have burned-out logs and ashes which need to be cleaned out; and if thrown away without being cooling, this is a fire danger. This wood burning creates soot which leaves creosote in the chimney too which needs to be removed by a chimney cleaner. If you don’t have it removed, it can cause a chimney fire. With a gas insert, there aren’t all of these problems. But it wouldn’t hurt to have a professional check it out once a year or so.

Cost of an insert
The cost of an insert cost about $3000 to $4000, depending on the size, which includes the installation of the insert and the liner for the chimney. It will heat an area of between 1,000 to 3,000 square feet which depends on the size of the insert. You will need to talk to a gas fireplace insert dealer to decide what size you need and the heating capacity of the insert you want for the apartment.

Wood burning fireplaces have the snap, crackle and pop of a fire. However, gas fireplace inserts are more convenient and safer.

Neutrals That Are Dominating the Design Space

When you think of neutrals, you may think of white, off white, beige and tan. However, for this year, neutrals are a shade different. If you’re thinking of repainting your rental property, multi-family dwelling or apartment building, you need to check out the new shades.

What’s hot?
One of the new neutral shades which are so popular is called Greenery. It’s a bright yellow-green which can make a person think about foliage, rejuvenation and fresh starts. This bright mix is perfect for rental units because tenants who move in are starting over. This shade of green can be used with other colors for different looks. It also can be used as accents or the base of other color schemes.

Also, some other neutrals are getting warmer. These colors range from creams to browns to beiges. With the tones of various shades of these base colors, other colors can be brought in to brighten up a room. Another interesting hue is blush pink. It can work be paired with different shades of browns, creams, and grays for a unique look.

The color camel is a neutral tint which adds a richness to space it’s used. It could be mixed with an assortment of various textiles, woods and leathers. Camel can add refinement and elegance to an area.

What about clashing?
With the softer color palette, it blends nicely with the geometric shapes, patterns, and textures. When you paint one of your properties with one of these quieter colors, it will give your tenants something to work with instead of the same old white walls.

Be bold, be different and add a little pizzazz and soft color to your walls. You may be surprised at the quality of tenant you bring into your rental properties just by changing the hue of paint on your walls.

Why Recoat a Roof on Your Rental

tenant-damageA roof is made up of at least four layers. These layers consist of insulation, a waterproof membrane, some type of roof adhesive and the materials that make up the roof like plywood and shingles. So why bother doing a roof coating to the roof of your rental unit? The reasons are listed below:

  • It costs less to restore a roof: If you have to replace a complete roof, it’s expensive in materials and in labor. Depending upon what roofing you choose for your multi-family dwelling, it can cost between $18 to $20 a square foot on average to reroof. But if you restore your roof, it requires less in materials and less labor. This would cost about $6 to $9 a square foot on average.
  • You can extend your roof’s life by restoration: Restoration can add about 10 to 15 years onto the life of your roof. A commercial roof lasts about 20 years so if you restore it, you can make future plans for replacement in your upcoming budget then.
  • It’s more sustainable to restore: Because you’re reusing your existing roof where you can, restoration is a much friendlier environmental option. It helps to keep roofing waste out of landfills which you pay to haul away additionally. As another bonus too, it will make your building much more energy efficient and could help you to qualify for LEED Certification or ENERGY STAR credits.
  • Catastrophic loss can be prevented with restoration: Your roof will only get worse if it’s ignored. The potential for damage and the cost to restore it will only rise as time goes by, along with the damage a bad roof can do to your rental property. So, if the roof isn’t dealt with in a timely way, the only option will then be for total replacement of the roof and perhaps extensive repairs to the interior of your rental property. The damage you deal with also may be from a pest invasion of insects and rodents because they have been given access ways into the dwelling place because of property deterioration. All of this can put your tenants and business at risk.

Having your roof checked by a professional roofing contractor is the smart thing to do.

Why Have Your Roof Professionally Cleaned

Sometimes on your roof shingles, algae and moss which appear as dark streaks will form because there isn’t enough natural light. A lot of homeowners may think that this is weathering and that the roof will need to be replaced. However, your roof may just need a good cleaning. Also, when there is an alga or moss build up, besides the roof damage this can cause, this can cause the roof to retain heat. This means that it will cost more to run your air conditioner to cool down your home. So when you have your roof professionally cleaned it will save money and save your shingles.

Hire a pro

There are three factors which weigh-in which will determine how much it will cost to clean your roof. How much time it will take is one. The size of your roof and how much algae and moss is present are others. Additionally, the reputable contractor you use should adhere to the techniques for the removal of algae and moss of the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association and Roof Cleaning Institute of America. The RCIA also recommends that professional roofing contractors use the soft washing process. This process helps to prevent damage to the roof.

The cost of a roof cleaning

A typical roof cleaning usually takes two to five hours. The cost of doing this can range from $250 to $1,000 for an average home. This is approximately 5% of what it would cost for a roof replacement at the low end of the cost for cleaning given. If you’re thinking that you’d save money by cleaning the roof yourself, you may want to think twice about it though. A DIY roof cleaning kit which you can buy at a local hardware store may hasten the deterioration of your roof. Most of the DIY products contain a chemical which can harm shingles which are petroleum based. In addition, you just pressure washing it without the right skills can damage the roof.

It’s also advisable that you choose a company that carries Workers’ Compensation Insurance. This would cover any injuries to workers. Make sure liability insurance is additionally carried by the contractor to cover any accidental property damage. It’s advisable to ask the contractor if there is a warranty or any kind of guarantee on the roof cleaning too.

Roof cleaning is done best by the professionals.

Tips on Renovating Your Rental Properties

When you own multi-family dwellings, there comes a time when repairs need to be attended to because some tenants can be hard on your property and leave a mess when they move out. In other instances, it’s just time to replace or improve somethings in a rental unit. So below are some suggestions which may be helpful to you:

  • The floor: Of everything in your rental property, the floors are what really take a beating. This is because the floors take the most wear and tear from tenants moving in and out. If you have carpet in your unit and its worn out, consider having it replaced with something that is more durable and easy to clean. This could be linoleum, commercial grade tile or hardwood. This type of flooring does cost more upfront, but it also can last up to 20-30 years, unlike carpet.
  • Remodeling: When you’re remodeling or having the rental unit remodeled by a professional construction company, only remodel one unit at a time. You want to do things slowly and not go into debt over renovations if this can be helped. Also, if you remodel in smaller stages, then you can rent the remainder of your units while you’re remodeling the one that needs it the most first.
  • Invest in energy efficient appliances: When redoing bathrooms in your property, have low flush toilets installed. These toilets save on the monthly water bill by using less water. In addition, replace shower heads with water efficient ones as well which also lowers energy costs for heated water. Energy efficient appliances too are a good investment. These not only save on energy, but increases rental appeal.
  • Remodel areas that will get you more for your money: Because you own property, the return on your investment is always a prime concern. Now some of the improvements that will do this are updated hardware and lighting fixtures. These can change the look of a unit additionally with very little monetary investment. Also, giving the walls a fresh coat of paint every five years can do a lot to improve a dwelling place’s appearance.

Making well thought out improvements on your property can be a smart way to make money.

What Are Some Energy Efficient Roofing Solutions

Everyone wants to find ways to cut back on their heating and cooling bills such as landlords who own multi-family dwellings. By finding ways to make a roof more energy efficient though, this goes a long way in helping to achieve that goal. So below are some energy efficient roofing solutions which may work for you.

  • If your roof is dark: If your roof is dark in color, it can increase the temperature in your home or rental property considerably. On a hot day, an asphalt roof which is dark colored can reach temperatures of between 150-175 degrees F. This forces any air conditioner in the building to work harder and use more energy when doing this. If the roof is a light-colored roof, however, it can be 50-60 degrees cooler on a roof than its dark counterpart. So one option to make your roof cooler if you don’t want to replace a dark colored roof is to have a contractor apply what’s called a cool roof coating. But if you’ve already considering re-roofing, then you can just go with a lighter color of shingles.
  • Insulate your roof: Most people remember to insulate the attic, but forget about insulating the roof. Now if your roof is insulated poorly, your property will use more air conditioning in the summer to keep the house cool. It will also take more heat in the winter to keep the building warm so you should insulate your roof correctly. Because a roof that’s well insulated by using the right insulation product will drastically help to reduce both your heating and cooling bills. Depending upon where you live will determine what’s the right type of insulation that you’ll need.
  • Choosing the right roofing materials: What is the right type of roofing material that’s needed is determined by what type of building you’re roofing. Plus, the climate is a factor. So wood shingles for a roof in a wet climate will be problematic. while hot dry climates may preclude other roofs for energy efficiency. Whatever type of roofing you and your contractor decide upon, reflective coating being applied may be a good idea depending on what your contractor believes is suitable.

When choosing the right roofing materials, whether you’re just doing a coating; or a re-roofing job, it always helps to talk to a professional contractor first who has good references and the experience.

Types of Siding Replacement for a Multi-family Dwelling

There are different styles of siding that can be used on buildings. The choices are many, and it depends upon what look you want to have for your building. It also depends on how much you want to invest. So below are some different types of siding with their descriptions which can be used on multi-family dwellings.

Wood: Wood was the most commonly used type of siding for many years. Even with the new types of siding out on the market, wood is still the traditional and most versatile choice. With this there are so many choices for wood siding such as clapboard, cedar shingles and wood from old barns, as examples. The bad part about wood is that it won’t resist fire very well, and over time it fades.

Metal: Using metal for siding is something to consider. For one thing, it’s more fire resistant than wood and depending on where it’s sourced, it can be a green option. The most common type of metal used is corrugated aluminum, but steel types can be used as well. The downside is that metal siding dents, and if you use steel siding it rusts in salty environments.

Vinyl: Vinyl siding is both durable and low maintenance, which is great for a multi-family dwelling. It comes is a variety of colors and different designs. It does cost more than some of the other materials, but it also has a long lifespan. It does have somewhat of a plastic appearance though when the siding is the less expensive kind of vinyl design.

Clapboard: This type of siding is also known as lap or bevel siding and is in the wood class. It uses planks of wood which are installed horizontally. One piece overlaps the other one. It’s a common style and comes in variations such as beaded and insulated. Regular clapboard has the simplest appearance.

When deciding what type of siding to put on your rental property, consider all the options based on budget and the long haul.

How Upgrading a Kitchen Can Increase Your Profits from Rentals

Outdated kitchens in your multi-family apartment building may very well appeal to the type of tenants that you want least. This is because when they see outdated they then think cheap and will want to pay less. And since the type of tenants that you want to live there will also think low quality and not rent there; what do you have left? Empty apartments or tenants who pay less. This is because one of the biggest decision makers on a rental deal is how the kitchen will fit in with potential renters’ needs. Too, if the kitchen is up-to-date and attractive, it can raise the rents as much as a $100 per month. So what are renters looking for in a kitchen? Well, below are some answers so that you can style your rental unit kitchens.

  • The cabinets: These are usually what tenants will look at first to see if they fit their needs for space. They also want to see cabinets that are functional and up-to-date? So you need to decide if the cabinets need sprucing up. Often here changing the hardware is all that is needed to give them a functional, modern look. A professional too can repair cabinets and make them look like new additionally.
  • The appliances: If you have old chipped stoves and rattling refrigerators, it may be time to replace them. So here, something a little more energy efficient and nice looking is a better bargain in the long run than hanging onto the old appliances just because they still work.
  • Countertops: Are the countertops dingy? Are they chipped and scratched? Do they have a modern feel? If so, you may want to hire a contractor to come in and do a little fixing up. Now here, you want to choose material that can withstand wear and tear. Also choose a darker color countertop which will look cleaner and blend in any stains that will come about.
  • Paint: When tenants move out, it’s time to repaint. This is because food byproducts in steam and splattered cooking oils can build up on the walls and kitchen cabinets. This can create a dingy appearance as well as leave an “old grease” look. So a new coat of paint in the kitchen especially can change all that and make the apartment look fresh and appealing. You might want to touch up with stain if needed too.

In the end updating the kitchens in your apartment building can give you a higher amount of income.

Why Re-surface Your Bathtub?

If you have a multi-rental apartment building and have a couple of bathtubs which have seen better days, they don’t necessarily have to be replaced. Because replacing a bathtub is expensive you can instead have the tubs re-surfaced by an experienced contractor for much less cost. You can have the old worn and scratched bathtubs re-glazed then, and they will look like new. Plus; there are a variety of colors to choose from when doing this, and the re-surfacing can last up to ten years.

Modern bathroomThese are just a few reasons on the plus side to re-surface instead of re-placing tubs. More pluses are that by re-surfacing bathtubs, this gives a whole new look and feel to the bathroom. Too because of modern technology, the tubs will be more durable, and the actual process is not as time consuming as replacing the tubs. Also, the resurfacing process will save you money in the long run because it will protect you against further repairs.

Now you might be tempted to do the process yourself to save even more money, but this really isn’t advisable unless you know what you’re doing. This is because re-surfacing a bathtub takes a lot of prep work and a lot of cleaning. Also the chemicals which are used to remove the old finish can be hazardous to your health if you don’t wear a respirator and mask; plus ventilating the room properly. It would cause your tenant hardship too if there is only one bathroom in an apartment, and it’s out of commission for a longer period of time because you do it yourself without the right training.

If you hire a professional contractor; however, he or she would have the needed skills; the ventilation equipment, the cloths for the overspray; with the job would being completed within 4-6 hours. The tub would then be ready to go within 48 hours. If you have to remove the bathtub and install a new one there is downtime too; by the way, because caulking has to dry for at least a day, and the tub may have to be ordered which could take even longer.

Hopefully, these tips were helpful.

Rehabbing Commercial Space into Multi-family Units

When purchasing a commercial space and planning on making it into a multi-family unit can be a bot overwhelming. However, the end result can be very profitable because the building is worth more when converted into an apartment building. This is especially true when the building is located in a business/financial district when there aren’t may rental properties. So what should you do first before you embark on a project of this magnitude? Below are some suggestions to help:

First of all, conduct a study to see if this is a feasible project. If you understand what the local planning regulations are, then you can do this part yourself. You should also have a general idea of what the cost is going to be. Other questions to ask yourself are: Will the local authorities allow a change of use? As far as approved permits are concerned, what’s the precedent? Have nearby building been changed? If they have been, did it increase the value of the building? And finally, what kind of planning regulations could cause you an issue?

After getting in touch with a real estate professional to evaluate roughly what the building would be worth if converted, consult the local authorities. This department may have requirement such as disabled access or residential parking. Checking beforehand can save you headaches.

Next hire a contractor you trust to have the building thoroughly checked over. Get all the reports in writing after making sure they are detailed and signed. This way if you’re given bad advice, you have proof for a lawsuit if necessary.

Hire an architect to design the inside plan after showing the reports mentioned above. Include any changes that the authorities wished to be made.

Now is the time to get bids from professional contractors for estimates on labor and materials. Make sure that you have penalties built into the contract in case the work is not completed when promised. Check all credentials of whomever you hire.

Submit your detailed plan to the proper authorities.

Now you’re ready to begin!