Category Archives: Upgrades and Enhancements

Different Types of Shingles for Your Rental

condo-rentalIt’s important when considering having your roof redone on a rental property the different types of roofing shingles. You need to consult with a roofing contractor also to figure out which type of shingle will work best on your property along with the costs of installing the right type of shingle on your roof. Below is a list of commonly used shingles:

  • Asphalt shingles: These shingles are pretty inexpensive compared to other shingles. In addition, if you buy asphalt shingles which are coated, the Energy Star standard may be met, and you could get a rebate. The three-tab shingles are a little less expensive and are thinner than an architectural asphalt shingle. The life span of these shingles is about 20 to 30 years. The very expensive asphalt ones last longer than this. Additionally, there is an expense to disposing of asphalt shingles later when reroofing because they are oil based.
  • Tile shingles: These shingles are the most expensive shingles to buy and install. However, they are durable and long lasting; lasting up to 50 years. But some homes may not be able to support the support the weight of these shingles structurally according to the National Roofing Contractors Association.
  • Wood shingles: These are more expensive than the asphalt shingles, but usually are more aesthetically appealing. The natural hardwood shingles such as redwood or cedar should last up to 30 years and even up to 50 years in some instances. The runoff water from roofs shingled this way is the most environmentally friendly.
  • Slate shingles: These shingles have a life span of up to 50 years being extremely durable. The Northeastern portion of the United States favors these because the slate is quarried there. If your budget can’t afford real slate shingles though there are synthetic slate shingles with shorter life spans which are less expensive.
  • Ceramic roofing tile: This type of tile shingle can give your home character and is durable. The advances in the way the tiles are processed make the tiles fade resistant. These tiles are fireproof and last about 50-70 years. However, these tiles aren’t suitable for climates that have fluctuating weather. The cost to install this kind of roof is expensive.

Talk it over with your roofing contractor to see which shingles will work best with your building.

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.

Safety Tips for Rental Properties in the Winter

Before and when winter arrives, there are some things that you need to do to keep your rental properties safe for your tenants. Also, not only could you have significant repairs eventually if you don’t, but if a tenant or tenants in one of your multi-family dwellings falls or is injured, the results could cost you because of lawsuits. So below are some suggestions to keep your tenants safe through the winter and prevent an oversight from turning into major repairs from unintentional neglect:

  • Turn off any exterior faucets on your property: The water in undrained pipes can freeze and burst. This not only would cause damage in your building, but could cause damage the outside as well. So drain all the garden hoses and outside lines after you shut-off the values inside your building.
  • Check the furnace filter: Getting a phone call at 2am in the morning because your tenants are freezing is bad enough. However, knowing that it could’ve been prevented by something as simple as changing the filter is even worse. By changing the furnace filter too, this cuts down on higher fuel costs, overheating and the shutdown of a furnace. Also, scheduling maintenance is wise. This is one way to catch small problems before they turn onto big ones.
  • Inspect the roof: It’s much easier to repair the roof if there’s an issue when the weather is halfway decent than to have a roofing problem in the middle of a blizzard.
  • Arrange for snow removal services: By setting up the service earlier, you won’t be the last one on someone’s list. It’s better to have everything ready than to try and negotiate when the snowflakes are falling and no one is taking calls.
  • Inspect all the doors and windows: Check where heat is most likely to escape and then either caulk it or use weather stripping where the problem is. It’s easier to do it now than when the snow is flying and your fingers are freezing.

Keeping your property winter safe is the smart thing to do.

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.

Safety and Comfort in Your Apartment Complex Laundry Room

laundry-roomTo make laundry room facilities appealing to your residents, there are a few things you should do and be aware of. For one thing, you want to make the laundry room area safe as well as resident friendly. So below are some suggestions to make your laundry room facility an asset:

  • One of the main considerations is convenience for your residents. A laundry room then should be located in a traffic area and not in an unsafe out of the way place. If possible, having the laundry room on the same floor as the tenants which means you may have to have several smaller laundry rooms rather than one large one if you have a lot of buildings in your complex. The laundry room should be located near staircases and/or elevators for ease of access too.
  • You want to make it safe so place the laundry room in a well-lit area. It should be designed so that all corners are visible from the corridor too. Plus; the walls should be glass paneled so the inside of the laundry room is visible. You may also want to consider making the laundry room accessible to tenants only, with key locks on the laundry room doors.
  • You want to make the laundry room more sociable by placing chairs around, having the walls painted an inviting color and have bright lighting. You may even consider installing a TV or Wi-Fi connections for a sense of community. You also should have an adequate amount of washers and dryers to cover the amount of people in your complex as well as enough folding tables. Remember too, if a place is warm, convenient and safe as well as adequately equipped, residents will spend money doing their laundry in your complex.
  • Be sure your equipment is in working condition and that the laundry room is well kept and well stocked. So if you have machines that supply laundry detergent, fabric softener and change, be sure the machines are full. In this, nothing will discourage use more than a dirty laundry room, gummed up machines and empty supplies.

By keeping your laundry safe and in working order, you as a landlord, can have a valuable tool for leasing.

Attract More Tenants with an On-site Gym

One of the ways to attract more tenants in your multi-family unit is to offer an on-site gym. By offering this enhancement as one of the perks in your building, you’re attracting a better class of tenant too. And tenants who work out would love to have the opportunity of working out without even leaving their building. They could then come home from work, change into workout clothes and grab their gym bag, go to the gym, come back to their apartment and make a bite to eat and then relax for the evening; all without leaving where they call home. Plus, if the gym is included in the rent, and they don’t have to pay extra for the membership as a separate item, it’s an even more attractive perk.

community-gymIn your gym you could offer lower body/cardio workout and state of the art exercise and fitness equipment. Access to the fitness center could also include locker room facilities. Some building owners offer gym attendants and trainers; saunas, pools and spas too. Other multifamily units have unlimited access with a key entry system for whenever the mood strikes the tenant to work out. So if he or she has had a bad day at the office, some lifting of weights or walking on the treadmill could help to ease the stressful day. With an onsite gym, tenants are more likely to use it just because of its very availability also.

Adding an on-site gym can be expensive as an initial investment for you, the landlord. But the return on investments and quality of tenants will not only outweigh the expense, but it will compensate you as well. With the gym rates integrated into the rent itself, your rents will cover the fees and if the demand for your apartments goes up, rents increase. This will assure that you get your return on your investment in the on-site gym. Your tenants will be happier, healthier and the draw of the on-site gym will spread by mouth as well as advertising. You may even have a waiting list for the available apartments for whenever a tenant moves out.

By having an on-site gym, it’s a win-win situation for both you and your tenants.

How a Swimming Pool Attracts More Tenants

The single family market for renters with children is a strong market. This type of renter is looking for multi-family apartments complexes with enhancements and a kid friendly environment. So the single family renter is looking for places that have heavy duty swing sets, game rooms, and a clubhouse and; of course, a swimming pool.

A community pool is a wonderful selling point for a multifamily property then. And since pools are where people gather, a sense of community can be built within the property. In areas of high temperatures, a place with a pool can be a very tempting place to live in too. So your list of prospective tenants should grow quickly when a clean and refreshing pool as one of the selling points.

As a pool owner of a multi-family property, it will be your responsibility to make sure the pool area is safe though. You need to review the safety codes for your area then and seek legal counsel if you’re unsure on whether you’re meeting these qualifications. You also need to make sure the pool fences are in proper repair. Pool fences have a twofold purpose, first to keep people who don’t live there out. You can issue a special key or code to the people who live in your complex though so only they can enter the pool area. To the second point, pool fencing is to keep the very young children away from the water. Children are attracted to water and accidents can happen very quickly.

cool-nights-swimmingInstalling a swimming pool in your multifamily complex may be an expense you want to consider. It can be a wise investment as to draw the type of tenant you want living in your buildings. In this figuring the cost per tenant into the rent can pay for the pool and any repairs it may need down the road in no time.

Blue water, the scent of chlorine, sun reflecting off the water and happy tenants gathered around the pool is what a prospective tenant will see when taking a tour of your properties. This is a scene well worth investing in.

Lighting Up the Outside

When an apartment building is undergoing construction, one of the main concerns should be about proper outdoor lighting. Because with proper lighting, the tenants of the building will feel and be safer, and the reputation of the building being a safe place to live will increase. Also without proper lighting, tenant turnover may increase because people feel unsafe on the grounds after dark.

outdoor-lightingBut is professionally installed outside lighting really that important as opposed to you doing it? Actually the answer is yes. Because experts will know how to do it right. Because the reason for exterior lighting in parking lots anyway is to make sure there aren’t any hidden dangers and dark spots where threatening people can hide in. The exterior lighting should be bright enough then at 100 feet for a person walking to see potential threats and be able to avoid them. Bright lighting helps to deter criminal activity because of identification risk on the part of the criminal. Criminals like easy targets in dark places and professional lighting experts know how to design the lighting.

Also, another important area is the perimeter of the apartment building and the entry way. So exterior lighting in common areas needs to be on a timer or photo-cell which is timed to be turned on when it’s dusk and then turn back off when it’s dawn.

Perimeter flood lights with motion detectors are another option for safety issues. The motion detector will only turn on the flood lights when a human body comes across its field of detection. That way, if someone is on the premises or just walking around, the lights will come on and anyone out walking will be able to see that person.

With some managers, the concern that too much lighting will disturb the tenants in their apartments may keep some portions of the complex dark. Some of these areas may be the passage area between buildings, the swimming pool area, the area where pets can be walked and the laundry rooms. By hiring professional contractors who work with these issues daily though, they can use lights which have special light pollution and glare technology which will solve these problems when installed. With these specific areas targeted, the tenants can feel safe as they walk back and forth in these areas.

There are some things which should be left to the professionals and exterior lighting done correctly is one of them.

Multi-Family Renovations with the Best Return on Investment

Any time you approach a construction project, you goal is to get the maximum return on your financial investment. These projects can quickly get expensive, especially if you want them done correctly. If you are investing a lot of money, it’s important that you see results that will improve your multi-family property significantly so that you can attract better tenants and hang on to your best tenants.

Building a relationship with an experienced, well-respected contractor is an important part of making sure you get the most out of your investment. Contractors can make great recommendations about how to approach commercial projects so that you know that you are making a wise investment. They can even help you plan out commercial construction projects over the long-term so that you can budget the improvements you want over time.

One way to approach your project to ensure that the work you choose improves the quality of life of your tenants. Another consideration is whether the work significantly elevates the appearance of your multi-family property. Think about the things your tenants or prospective tenants will see at first when they walk around the grounds of your property. Good projects include exterior improvements like painting, new roofing, upgraded clubhouses, improvements to balconies and other projects that improve the curbside appeal of the building.

Clear blue skyOne of the best ways to get the maximum bang for your buck is to upgrade the appliances in the property’s units and a deep cleaning. This is beneficial for a variety of reasons. These include dishwashers, washing machines, ovens, furnaces and air conditioning. New appliances upgrade the look of each unit significantly. Upgrades like these have an additional benefit. They will reduce overall energy costs because new energy appliances because they use significantly less energy.

Another promising investment is unit renovations. These include renovations like new flooring, cabinets, paint and windows. Other renovations can include upgrading bathrooms, laundry rooms, outdated kitchens and other parts of the units. You want to make the unit look as up-to-date and functional as possible.

When Should You Renovate Your Commercial Building?

Every commercial building owner wonders about the right time for renovation. Commercial construction and design are inevitable parts of rehabilitating older-style buildings to make them appeal to modern renters. When is the right time to renovate your commercial property? How do you know it’s time to put the time, planning and investment into commercial construction?

commercial ross1Even though commercial construction is a serious investment, it has long-term benefits for your property. There is nothing less attractive to a renter than an out-of-date building with a laundry list of problems. Even when you aren’t planning a major project, you should stay on top of issues like plumbing, HVAC issues, broken windows, fence repairs, painting and roof maintenance. These concerns are important for keeping your tenants safe and comfortable.

As you work on smaller projects, you should work to build a relationship with a reputable commercial construction company. When you work with contractors, carefully evaluate their work and honesty. Do they give you reasonable estimates? Are they able to complete work within the estimates? Are their prices in line what other contractors offer? Before you start a renovation, you need to know that you are working with a reputable company.

It’s time to renovate your building when it starts to look slightly out of style. Always keep an eye on other properties in the area, especially new buildings. Compare the styles to your property. How are they different? Do they offer amenities that you don’t have? What aspects of newer properties make your building seem out of date? Look at the styles of roofs, fences, balconies, windows, the club house and other details you can see from the road. If you notice that most properties have a much more modern look than your property, it’s probably time for a serious renovation.

It’s important to consider the interior of your property as well. You should work with a commercial construction company that can perform both interior and exterior renovations. The interior of your units and clubhouse should be renovated so that they have modern appliances, flooring, lighting and other amenities. A good commercial construction project manager can help you identify projects that will help improve your property immediately.