Category Archives: Rehab

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.

Sidewalks and their Liability’s for Landlords

If the sidewalks in front or around your multi-family apartment building aren’t in good repair, it could be a liability suit just waiting to happen for a landlord. Because cracks and uneven pavement can trip even a watchful tenant. Plus, even if the tenant isn’t watching to see where feet are landing, you as the landlord still could be held to be at fault.

sidewalk-safetyHowever; if the sidewalk is cracked and you aren’t aware of the damage, you may not be liable if a tenant or visitor trips and falls. Say that just after a winter storm the snow melts and then freezes again making cracks in your sidewalk, but no one has informed you of the damage the snow and ice has done. If the damage isn’t reported to you, you may not be held liable for anyone falling down and getting hurt. Also, if in the rental agreement the tenant is supposed to shovel the walk and fails to do so; and someone falls due to this, then you aren’t liable. However; if you are to shovel the sidewalk and you fail to do so, the you could be held responsible if someone falls.

So what should you do to protect yourself as a landlord from lawsuits dealing with your sidewalks? Well, you should make an inspection regularly of the outside of your multi-family building to make sure everything is as it should be. If for some reason the sidewalk is in disrepair, then hiring a professional contractor to fix it may be the best thing to do. A professional contractor knows how to fix cracks, broken sidewalks and other states of disrepair so the costs are worth it if you don’t have the right skills for the job. Also the job will be done correctly and in the long run it will save you money by not having lawsuits filed because people fall and get hurt.

So leaving a sidewalk cracked and damaged is dangerous to your tenants and their guests. It also can be a bank account hit in the worst way. So it’s better to invest a little money now and have the job done right then to wait and be sued.

Tips for Repainting a Multifamily Rental Property

When it comes time to repaint your multifamily rental property, what should you keep in mind? Well, a new coat of paint will keep your multifamily property rented by decent tenants; especially if the paint is looking shoddy. Therefore; some suggestions are listed below to make the job a little easier.

44220101_sWhen you pick a paint color choose something neutral. Also a lighter shade of paint will make the rooms much brighter. Too, unless you love to paint, having to prime your walls every time because you’ve used a dark color paint can be time consuming.

Always clean your walls before you paint. If you paint over your former tenant’s dirt and grime, it will cause issues down the road. So vacuum off the walls first and then wipe them down with a damp cloth. Then mix up some warm water and detergent in a bucket. Using a damp sponge, scrub down the walls and wring out your sponge in a second bucket.

When painting through all the rooms of a unit, use the same color paint for consistency from room to room.

Make a choice of either semi-gloss paint or eggshell. These paints are very durable and will stand up to wear and tear. Now the semi-gloss is excellent for bathrooms since it’s water resistant. Use eggshell in the living room or bedroom because it’s easier to clean.
If your walls have glossy paint on them, don’t paint over them. Glossy paint keeps new paint from sticking to the walls. So if you have glossy paint, you’ll need to use `10-grit sandpaper to take some of the glossiness off the walls so your new paint has something to hold onto. Wipe down the walls after sanding too and then prime the walls and then paint.

Repainting a rental unit isn’t difficult if you follow the above steps for a bright, cheerful rental unit.

How to Repair Stair Tread in a Multifamily Rental

One thing you want to keep up with is the repairs when you own multifamily rentals or any rental property. Because if your tenant would fall down the steps or becomes hurt due to your negligence, you could be sued. So if your tenant reports; or if you notice a loose stair tread, fixing it as soon as possible is advisable. Therefore; below are instructions on how to repair a stair tread on a wooden staircase.

11866658_sFirst block off the stairway so no one can use it. Then pry up any moldings or trim around where the damaged stair is. Also pull up any loose nails. If the bottom of the handrails are in the stair tread, put the notches on the side of the stair tread at each baluster so it’s easier to remove the balusters. With a hammer, strike the bottom of the balusters by striking outward so the balusters are pushed to the side. Now remove any additional nails sticking out.

Next you need to pry the damaged tread up by using a pry bar. You will need to tap the bar in between the stair trend as well as the stringer and then push down on the bar so the step raises. Keep repeating until the tread becomes loose and can be removed easily by hand.

You will then need to measure the worn tread’s length, thickness and width. Next, buy the same wood species as the old tread as well as the same thickness of board when you buy a length of stair tread stock. Now if the tread has a rounded edge, buy a new one already rounded. Then lay the old tread on the new plank and trace the outline or measure and mark the needed dimensions on the new tread. For cutting the new tread, using a circular saw is best.

Make sure the new tread is smooth by using a power sander or sandpaper. Now by drilling pilot holes 3/16-inch at the end of the new tread, when nails are driven into the wood, it won’t split. To close, place the new tread where the old tread used to be and nail it to the stringers. Replace the handrails, moldings and any trim and nail into place also.

When in doubt call a professional.

Draw More Tenants with a Community Room

Attracting the best tenants is the goal of every multi-family complex owner. You want the kind of tenants that respect the property and make it their home for a long period of time. Most property owners spend a lot of money on renovations to make their properties stand out from other apartment buildings. Although renovations can be costly, if you approach them properly, they can be a great investment.

A property with an attractive gathering space has an advantage over multi-family complexes without a community room. If you are considering doing improvements at your complex, consider the advantages of adding a clubhouse or a community room. A clubhouse is an investment that your tenants will enjoy if it is constructed properly. If you encourage people to hold events at the clubhouse, it will help build a sense of community which helps you keep your best tenants. Some properties have annual or semi-annual tenant events so that new and existing tenants can get together and meet one another.

community-room-partyIf you already have a community room or clubhouse, is it time for renovations? Evaluate the room carefully. Is it modern? Does it have it have comfortable and ample seating for a gathering like a baby shower, graduation party or a book club? Is the seating in good condition? Even if you have ample seating and tables, you should check the condition of the furniture. Shabby furnishings will make the room appear neglected.

If you are considering a remodel like adding or upgrading your clubhouse, think about your tenants’ needs while designing it. An experienced multi-family construction project manager can help you plan a clubhouse that will be attractive and functional. You may consider adding a small kitchenette or a wet bar for events. Some clubhouses have multiple rooms so that more than one event can take place at the same time. Another option is one large room that can be divided into smaller rooms with a removable wall. The more multi-functional the room is, the more useful it will be.

Create a Revenue Stream with Your Clubhouse

community-clubhouseIf you have a great clubhouse on your multi-family property, it can be an advantage in more than one way. Good tenants will appreciate a high-end clubhouse or community room. They can hold events like baby showers, graduation parties, community gatherings, barbeques and many other gatherings. This will help you retain your best tenants. It’s also an advantage in terms of attracting new tenants. This type of feature helps your property stand out from other rental communities in a positive way. Many landowners invest in renovation projects that upgrade their clubhouses from average to exceptional.

If you are considering a remodeling project involving your property’s clubhouse or community room, you know that the costs may be significant. Before you decide the renovation is too expensive, consider the opportunities a high-end clubhouse or community room can provide. It’s not just a perk for your tenants. You can actually create a revenue stream using your clubhouse. How? You can rent the clubhouse out to people besides your tenants. People are always looking for convenient venues for parties and gatherings. You can advertise your clubhouse as a possibility if it is nice enough to attract renters. Some property owners also charge tenants if they hold gatherings in the clubhouse.

Renovation becomes much less daunting if you know the clubhouse will pay for itself over time. To make the property attractive, it will have to stand out from other potential venues. You should consider a variety of amenities when you are planning a renovation. The more amenities you can offer, the more likely it is that you’ll attract business.

The best amenities are those that make it convenient for renters to hold a fun and tasteful event. An updated kitchen with an oven, microwave, sinks and a full-sized refrigerator make it easy for party givers to prepare and serve refreshments. It’s also a good idea to provide counter space for food preparation. The clubhouse should also have adequate and clean restrooms. Seating is also important for gatherings. Tables and comfortable chairs should be available for guests. You should include all these things when you plan a remodel.

Paint and Lighting Make a Difference

When a strip mall begins to look a little run down and uncared for, sometimes a coat or two of paint can make all the difference. It will restore the mall to all its former glory and help to increase business. Also, vandals are more likely to damage a rundown area so painting helps to prevent that. Now the type of painting used is called industrial painting or commercial painting. One of the easiest ways to have this type of painting done is to hire a construction contractor to do the job correctly and efficiently.

stripmallWhat the contractor will do first is to assess what tools will be used and whether there will be a color change also needed. The contractor will then consider the surface area of the entire area that needs painted; plus the height. If the building is more than one floor than scaffolds will need to be used. If it’s higher than three stories then suspended scaffolds will be used. The next step will be to scrape any peeling or chipping paint from the surface of the building or buildings. After that, then the building gets washed with detergent to remove all dust and grease. It will then get rinsed with a power washer. After the building dries, then cracks; dents and dings are repaired with putty. The rough spots are then sanded to blend into the walls; then rinsed to remove any dust from the repaired area. Next they are allowed to dry. Then, the door and windows are taped over so paint doesn’t mark them. Finally a primer is applied to the building; it’s left to dry and then the paint is applied to complete the project.

Another issue which may need attention is the exterior lighting in the parking lot. Bright lighting with a minimum of glare helps with the safety of the customers and employees of the mall. This is especially true during the holiday season when customers are buying and spending more. By having properly installed pole lighting though, this can help to prevent theft and injury on the premises.

By improving the appearance of the outside of a strip mall with fresh paint and better lighting, it can breathe new life back into a business.

Safe Multifamily Dwellings for Senior Citizens

When you are buying a multifamily property and considering having it undergo renovation to make it safe for senior citizens, there are some things to consider. Seniors have different needs than younger non-senior tenants. Remodeling with those differences in mind will help you to rent out the property you are purchasing then.

seniorsWhen having property undergo multifamily construction and renovating for senior citizens, safety concerns are the primary need. Like keeping everything on a one floor level if possible so there aren’t steps involved. Any carpeting should be firmly tacked or glued down too; or the dwelling having no carpet at all to avoid tripping. The lighting should be installed so there aren’t any dark corners also.

If there are stairs, they should be well constructed with wide tread and handrails; the handrails preferably on both sides. If the stairs are wide enough too; if a stair-lift needs to be installed at a later date by the tenant, then there won’t be a problem with it not fitting.

In the bathroom, handrails need to be installed in the shower section or even a roll-in shower for seniors in wheelchairs could be installed. Cupboards for towels could be built-in with easy access shelves. The tiles should be nonskid so there is less danger of falling for your senior tenant too.

For safety in the kitchen, again a non-skid tile or linoleum can be used. Lever type door handles should be installed on kitchen cabinets and doors for easy use for arthritic hands. Shelving too should be easy to access overhead without overstretching which can cause injury to backs or cause a fall. Plus, locks on doors should be easy to lock and unlock without difficulty.

If a balcony is part of the design of your multifamily construction for seniors, make sure the banisters are at a safe height. Also, a sliding door which slides back and forth and locks without effort is a good selling point.

Senior citizens make excellent tenants and a multifamily dwelling can be a perfect place for them to live. So when you are renovating, keep senior citizens in mind, and your property could always be full.

What is a Multi-family Dwelling?

A multi-family dwelling can be several buildings in one complex or several housing units in one building. So it can be an apartment building, a condo or even a cohousing project.

And when an owner of a property decides to undergo multifamily construction for tenant use, he could have any of these properties he’s working with:

  • A two apartment house: This usually consists of two apartments with one of the apartments on the first floor and the other apartment on the second floor. These apartments usually share the basement and have a front entrance which is shared. There’s also a back entrance which is shared to cover fire regulations. Each unit must have an entrance to the outside or the building wouldn’t be considered an apartment building.
  • Three and four apartment buildings: These are similar to a two apartment building, but the apartment layout is different. They also all have separate entrances to the outside, and the lot the building is built on is larger than a regular house lot.
  • Duplex or semi-detached: This is a building which consists of two separate houses side by side; under the same roof with separate entrances. The insides of the homes are also separated and have a common wall between the two houses.
  • Apartment building: This building has numerous apartments with multiple floors in it connected with staircases or elevators. Apartment buildings can come in all sizes from there being only a few apartments to there being a couple of hundred apartments. Too there are inside hallways and entrances to the apartments with usually some type of community foyer.
  • Apartment community: This is often a group of buildings on pieces of land that are adjoining. These buildings are still considered multi-family dwellings and are usually owned by one person or a corporation. Common grounds are shared as well as pools, community clubhouse, and parking spaces in these types of communities.

So a multi-family dwelling has many faces, and when undergoing renovation, a building can be turned into any of the above properties. There is always a need for multi-family dwellings for people who don’t want or can’t afford to purchase their own home too. There just need to be property owners who are willing to rent to people who need a good place to live.

The Importance of Up-to-date Colors

Out-of-date colors are one of the first signals to potential tenants that a property isn’t being kept up to date. Color styles change fairly rapidly and you should ensure that your property’s color palettes are revised every few years to keep up with the latest trends. You may not need to repaint everything, but you may need to change accents like trim or bring interior wall colors up to date.

color-choicesWhen it comes to the interior of a room, the color can quickly date the room. You should consider changing the colors of units on a regular basis. If you work with a commercial construction company, they can help paint a large number of units for you quickly. Consider a variety of designs when painting the interior of the units. It’s important to use colors that reflect a modern style. Also, avoid painting every room the exact same color. This gives the units a monotonous looks and can actually make them look smaller. A variety of colors adds visual interest and makes the unit look more modern.

You should consult with your commercial construction company about the colors in your clubhouse. It’s common for property owners to neglect clubhouses. When the clubhouse appears out of style, tenants are likely to avoid it. When they don’t use it, tenants are less likely to view the clubhouse as an advantage to the property. The clubhouse should be painted every few years so that it looks as modern as possible.

You should definitely ask your commercial construction company for recommendations about updating the exterior color of your property. You’ve probably driven past a lot of buildings that look tired and dated simply due to their color. At the same time, you’ve probably noticed other multi-family properties that appear fresher. You can achieve this more modern look simply by updating the color of your paint as long as the exterior of your building is in good shape. You’ll need to paint several parts of the exterior, including the exterior walls, trim, railings, shutters, fencing and any other decorative details. You’ll be surprised at how much updating the colors improves the appearance of your building.