Category Archives: Multi-family

Why You Should Have a Property Maintenance Contract

Property maintenance is a service that you hire to take care of the maintenance of your rental property such as when you own a multi-family dwelling. A property maintenance service becomes the caretaker of your property and deals with fixing damages and property upkeep. This way your property is maintained in a professional manner, and this frees you up to deal with other things.

What a good property maintenance service company also does is that it provides you with financial stability because you have a set monthly fee, and it saves you time because they deal with property problems when the property needs repairs and maintenance. In addition, they should be insured and bonded. For a monthly fee, the company then supplies the tools, restocks supplies needed to operate the property and repairs equipment; walls and roofs as needed. Some of the details in the service that this kind of company does are listed below:

  • Lawn maintenance and snow removal
  • Plumbing and electrical
  • General cleaning, painting and storm clean-up
  • Facade repairs and power washing
  • Carpentry and dry wall replacement
  • Sign installation and graffiti cleanup
  • HVAC

When you decide to put them in charge of the maintenance of your multi-family dwelling, it frees you from having to oversee anyone that you would have to hire to do each job separately. You also don’t have to invest in costly tools or equipment because the company supplies everything. When you use the services of a property service maintenance company, you have experts that have extensive experience in handling rental property problems and construction issues. There is high efficiency and thorough knowledge about the job requirements which is better than hiring a handyman; or doing it yourself.

Now when choosing what company that you are going to use, you need to choose someone reliable. You also want someone who itemizes all their work. You want someone who will show up when there’s a problem too. You want someone that will live up to the high standards of the best in the industry. So by going through a screening process and checking references, you can be sure that the company which you choose will take excellent care of your property.

By maintaining your rental properties also, you will have a better quality of tenants.

Repairing Water Damage on a Multi-Family Dwelling

56577481_sWhen repairing the water damage of a multi-family dwelling, there are some things to consider. First of all, is it a hole or weak spot in the roof that needs patched or does the whole roof need to be redone? Or do you need to replace a collapsed ceiling inside the multi-family building or just repair it where it leaked? Is the building structurally safe or did the damage compromise the integrity of the building? Is the damage from a rain storm; or a more severe storm or flood? Also, do you need to call a professional contractor to access and repair the damage?

So below are the signs of structural damage where you will need professional help:

  • If the building has shifted its position on the foundation; or if there are stairs have shifted and walls now slant and there are broken pilings.
  • If the floors aren’t level or if a crawlspace or the walls of the foundation have caved in or cracked.
  • If the foundation has been undermined by erosion that’s cut into the soil at the bottom of the foundation.

Now if the building has been damaged you need to have these steps taken:

  • Remove the damaged materials and permit the building to dry out. To prevent additional water damage, protect with tarps and other barriers that will contain the water where you need to. Some materials which have been water damaged can be salvaged, but some can’t. Also by reusing materials that haven’t dried thoroughly in repairs, they can buckle or cause mildew problems.
  • You can keep drywall that has only been dampened by rainwater that’s clean. The drywall can’t be sagging, can’t be mildewed and it can’t have lost its smooth texture. However; wet insulation has to be removed immediately from the ceiling, and walls need to dry completely before you can repair them if you are not tearing them out.
  • If any materials can be salvaged, move them to a place that’s dry and secure. Also, you can remove the materials which aren’t salvageable to another area, but make sure you save them until the insurance adjuster sees them.

If handled correctly, damages can be repaired smoothly, but seek professional help for the things you cannot do correctly and to code.

Attract Tenants to Your Multi-Family Property with Stylist Design

15391773 - circular driveway and sidewalk at brick condominium buildingTenants are expecting more than ever from a multi-family property when renting than the same gym/game room offer in each apartment dwelling place. Also, the floor after floor of apartment sameness is not renting as tenants want diversification. Further to add to the mix, this is the first time in the rental market where two generations, the baby boomers and the millennials, are in the same urban living area with each having different expectations. So the flow of who’s renting just isn’t just one demographic; or the other, but both. This can be an exciting challenge and great opportunity to developers and landlords of multi-family apartments.

First off, in the construction and remodeling of multi-family dwellings the flavor and look of the neighborhoods should be in the grounds and buildings. Also, encouraging a sense of community in apartment dwellers by adding music jam rooms, swim up bars and sports lounges are just a few things landlords may want to think about. Too, more tenants want to have pets so dog parks and dog areas are becoming more prevalent among tenants wants. In addition, bikes are being ridden more as an alternate way to get around town. So developers who add bike racks to the parking areas are getting good feedback. Additionally, electric car-charging stations are being installed in some areas for those tenants who are green minded,

Developers also need to consider walkable neighborhoods where everything that’s needed is within walking distance of the property if the developers intend to rent out the property they build. This would include places to eat, shopping complexes and catering to the nightlife. Also, those who have developed living spaces within the hub of people’s social lives have seen apartment rentals skyrocket as people look to be close to what’s close to their hearts.

In addition, it’s not just the Generation Z who’s speaking up, but the Baby Boomers too. So Baby Boomers are demanding more as far as expectations, as in more closet space and large master bedrooms as well as high end amenities. Balconies are in demand that are big enough for entertaining and dining outdoors additionally.
The rental scene is changing and landlords and developers need to change along with it to be profitable.

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.

Replacing Windows to Save Money

slide2When the muti-family apartment building you own has cracks in the windows or has windows which don’t close properly, it can cost you money. Because apartments which are drafty and cold in the winter require more heating. Also bad windows can make apartments too hot in the summer because of poor insulation. Further, even if tenants pay their own utilities, the heat loss and heat gain will destroy your budgeted expense payments because of the extra heating and cooling required in the hallways and common areas. So rents go up and then you lose good tenants and can’t even attract new ones either because the apartments also look rundown.

So replacing your windows may be the best option. In order to determine which windows will work best for your building though you will need to understand the energy performance ratings on windows. This way you’ll be able to make an intelligent decision on windows based on the design of your building and the climate in your area. Further, after you make your decision, hire a reliable contractor to install them properly. So all this stated, here is some helpful information for you dealing with the above matter:

  • South facing windows: South facing windows should have a solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) of at least 0.6 to maximize solar heat in the winter when it is cold. Windows should also have a U-factor of 0.35 or less so it reduces conductive heat transferred out in the winter and in during the summer. A VT or high visible transmittance is needed for good visible light transference too.
  • East, west, and north facing windows: It’s harder to control heat and light transfer through east and west facing windows because of the sun’s rising and setting. So these windows should be shaded or have a low SHGC. North facing windows gain little solar heat so their main use is for lighting
  • Cooler climate strategies: Strategies which are effective here are using north facing windows and shaded south facing windows for reducing cooling loads. Windows with a low SHGS are especially effective here. You are trying to keep heat in in other words.

When your making your selection for windows based on energy efficiency, first consider the windows’ ratings in relation to what is your climate and the design of your building. Also you need to select windows that have both low U-factor ratings and SHGS to get the most energy savings in a climate with both hot and cold seasons.

However; the best advice is to talk to a specialist at a building supply company when you are buying your windows.

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!

Finding a Contractor to Fix Hail Damage

hail-damageThe roof of your multi-family unit has been through a hail storm and you can see the damage without even having to climb on a ladder. Your insurance company is willing to pay for repairs, but you have to submit a bid of how much it’s going to cost from a professional contractor. So what do you look for in a contractor, and what questions should you ask? Well, below are some suggestions to help you:

  • First of all, ask other business owners who they use or if they have any suggestions. Sometimes finding the right contractor is done by finding someone who comes with a personal reference from someone you know.
  • When checking contractors, verify licenses and see if they are bonded. Also ask if companies have property insurance, Workers Compensation Insurance and general liability insurance.
  • Ask for references so that you can call and see what the past customers thought of the work done and if service was provided in a timely manner.
  • Make a verification that the contractor and any sub-contractors being used have state business filings which are up-to-date and applicable. Also run criminal background and sex offender checks on both the contractor and subcontractors. You’re hiring people that will be around your tenants and possibly the tenant’s children.
  • Finally, run a check and see if there are any civil judgments or liens against the contractor or if the business has any financial problems.

In addition, you’ll want to ask what experience the contractor has had with hail damage. You will also want to know how long the contractor has been in business, and what is the contractor’s work-style. So does the contractor work weekends? How late does the contractor work? Will the contractor take on other jobs while doing the work you need to be done? Ask any question that you feel you need to have answers to in order to feel that this is the person you want to work with.

When hiring a contractor, you really need to know what questions to ask and to always check references.

Maintaining Balconies in Multi-family Apartment Units

balconyWhen you have balconies on your multi-family apartment units, keeping them in tip-top shape is a priority. Because they need to be maintained and cared for to look their best and stay safe for your tenants to use. Also, balconies can be an added point of value when you’re renting out your apartment, and keeping them well cared for then is to your best interest.

Now if the balconies you have are metal and concrete; or made from wood, there are some signs to look for to keep needed maintenance and repairs from getting out of hand. So below are some things to look for in this:

  • On the balcony itself, look for any rust stains, cracks, discolorations on the floor or the roof; or salt stains. This means the metal that is used to support the balcony could be rusting, or water could be finding a way in and deteriorating the slabs.
  • If there is a small crack in the cement in a balcony floor, measure it and record it so that you can at the next inspection see if the crack has gotten larger or if there are any changes in it. By watching it for about six months, and if there aren’t any changes, there may not be a need to worry.
  • Railings on any balcony can also be a problem if they are loose. And if they’re metal, you need to regularly check for rust or to see if screws need to be tightened. Also checked for signs of any other deterioration. As an example, an embedded railing may be collecting moisture causing either corrosion if it’s metal; or if the railings are wood, the railing could be rotting and need to be replaced.

As far as other maintenance:

  • If a wood balcony has been sealed to prevent moisture from seeping into the wood, you will need to power wash it once a year and check to see if sealant will need to be applied again.
  • By using rust inhibitors on the metal balconies and protective coatings on the wooden balconies, you can extend the life of your balconies.

The balconies on your multi-family apartment units can last for a long time if properly taken care of.

What is the Most Efficient Recycling Program for Multi-Family Buildings

recycleRecycling for a multi-family apartment building can be a challenging venture for a landlord. Cooperation from all the tenants or maintenance staff is a must to make the program work too. Plus, you will need to make the trash collection system for your multi-family apartment building both easy and convenient for it to work properly. So below are some tips to help your recycling program to get started:

  • Whenever you have a new tenant move in, you must go over the recycling rules to make sure the rules are understood for enforcement and the penalties that apply. You also need to show the new tenants the dumpsters, recycling bins or barrels and make sure that everything about their use is understandable. If needed, you may have to post signs in multiple languages if your tenants do not speak English as a first language.
  • Buildings which don’t have the space in the actual apartments for additional recycling containers may need to have a central trash and recycling area for the tenants to use for the disposal of trash and recyclables. In addition, if your tenants do not speak English as a first language, then pamphlets printed in English may not be easy for them to understand either with their rules for the use of trash and recycle bins. If possible then, have the pamphlets properly translated and use pictures on the receptacles to show where items should be placed.
  • Make sure your trash bins and recycle bins are placed in convenient places for your tenants to use. This is because as an example, if the trash bins are placed in an out of the way area and the recycle bins are handy, then the recycle bins will most likely be used for trash too. It’s better to have the bins trash bins and recycle bins convenient for the tenants for use then in their daily routine than for them to be convenient for trash haulers if necessary.
  • Always make sure the signs and labels can be easily understood. Post reminders around the building concerning recycling too, and if you send newsletters monthly, add reminders there as well.

If you live in an area where recycling is the law, you can get fined for mixing trash and recyclables also. And if incidents of improper disposal are a reoccurring issue, your trash collector can refuse to take the trash from your building. So make sure recycling is done properly.

What is the Regulation for Handicapped Parking in Texas

When planning parking for your multi-family apartment building, you must allow for designated accessible parking for handicapped people. Not only do you need to have this designed parking, but you also need additional room either on the right or left of the parking space above what is needed for a vehicle to serve as an access aisle. This is so that the person who is using the space in front of your multi-family dwelling, whether with a wheelchair; crutches or an electric scooter can get out safely from their van or car. So what else is needed to meet the requirements for handicapped access parking spaces?

handicapWell, you will need a sign that is marked with the international symbol of accessibility. This has to be placed in front of the parking space and high enough so that it’s not hidden by the parked vehicle. The sign is to be positioned 60 inches minimum from the ground or floor. Also, accessible parking needs to be in the spaces as close to the entrance as possible. The surface from the space to the accessible entrance too has to have no steps or steep slopes and have a slip-resistant surface.

In addition, if a space is van accessible, it has to have an aisle at least an eight-feet wide with a sign designated “van accessible.” The space will also have to have a vertical clearance of at least 98 inches at the parking space and along the exit route. A “van accessible” sign needs to be mounted, and the parking space needs to be relatively level with an 8-foot access aisle next to it too

Additionally, you will need to have a marked crosswalk if the disabled person has to cross traffic as well as an accessible route to the building itself. If you can provide only one accessible parking space, it has to be van accessible. If you have many parking spaces, then one in eight needs to be accessible for a van. If you have different entrances, then the accessible parking should be at each entrance.

When planning the parking spaces in your parking lot, always remember that accessible parking spaces are a requirement, not an afterthought.