Tag Archives: multi-family

How to Make a Multi-family Unit Less Cookie-cutter

Just because a multi-family apartment building has more than one family in it doesn’t mean that they all want the same thing when it comes to housing. The question is, how to make your rental property more appealing? There are different ways to make your building more comfortable and attractive for its residents.

What you want to encourage is a sense of community. Your multi-family dwelling should be designed to promote interaction with neighbors to build this sense of community. It will attract the kind of tenants that this appeals to. The community once set is not only based on surroundings and what building design you used to attract these tenants but how neighbors interact with neighbors. So below are some suggestions to help you make your property a hot commodity:

  • Larger community areas: When you make the community area larger, the residents will bond and interact with each other because they feel better about where they live. Living areas which are a decent size, plus amenities will give your tenants a sense of belonging instead of just living in a complex. Efficient laundry rooms, nice sized patios and a common area all work towards this goal.
  • Recreational areas: A fitness center, pool, a playground or other types of recreational areas can make apartment complex living more enjoyable. Because of this, residents will interminable which will make them feel as if they are one big family instead of just groups of blank faces. Also, if you have a recreational area for children; families with kids will have areas which are safe to play in and have fun together which is of particular importance. They can mingle with other tenants who have families and bond.
  • Not every building being the same: The trend now is to individualize each building in a complex. The buildings are being designed to encourage more space which is shared among the residents. All the doors could be facing out into a community area with picnic tables or benches along walks shaded by trees. When residents feel as if they belong, there are less empty apartments.

Tenants enjoy a place which feels like home.

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 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.

What to do After a Fire at Your Investment Property

Fires can be catastrophic events at any property. When you own a multi-family investment property, you have a number of concerns that you’ll need to address. Is anyone injured? How extensive is the fire damage? Is there water damage from fire rescue efforts? Is any of the property recoverable?

These concerns can seem overwhelming after a fire. Ideally, no one is seriously hurt and you’ll only have to address the property issues. The most important thing a multi-family property owner should do is purchase the appropriate insurance coverage. You should talk extensively with your insurance agent so that you understand what is and is not covered. Ideally, the policy should cover buildings and content insurance so that both you and your tenants are covered.

Fire in Building SaskatchewanIf you have a fire at your multi-family investment property, you should contact your insurance company immediately. They can help you through the initial process of assessing damage and resolving pressing concerns. It’s also important to contact your multi-family construction company. Hopefully, over time, you’ve developed a relationship with an honest, ethical company that can support you throughout the restoration process.

Often, insurance companies undervalue damage so that payments are smaller. However, if you consult with your contractor earlier, you may be able to find all the damage and notify the insurance company about all the issues you are facing. A good contractor can review your property and work directly with the insurance company to ensure that you are getting the coverage you deserve.

After the fire, you will likely have many issues to deal with. It can be difficult to prioritize, especially when there is extensive damage. Your contractor can help you decide what you need to tackle first. You can then make a list of all the work that needs to be done and set a schedule for completing all the tasks. It may take time to complete all the repairs. Your multi-family construction company can advise you on how to address repairs in a manner that will keep your tenants comfortable and restore your property to its former condition.

The Importance of Good and Efficient Site Lighting

Good lighting makes your multi-family unit considerably safer. Cars will be able to see pedestrians more easily which cuts down on accidents. Residents will feel more at ease walking in a well-lit area at night. Insufficient lighting makes the area seem dangerous. Good lighting will help attract and retain tenants. It can also cut down on crime in the units because criminals tend to avoid well-lit areas.

Carefully evaluate the lighting on your property from several angles. Are parts of the parking lot darker than others? Is there sufficient light in between buildings? What about the hallways inside and outside of the building? Investigate the laundry facilities and the hallways leading to them. You should also check the areas around the clubhouse and near trash receptacles. Tenants prefer good lighting in all of these areas. You should also check to see if the lights in any area tend to flicker.

A multi-family construction company can help you develop a lighting plan or upgrade your existing lighting. Multi-family construction companies are experienced with these types of projects and can give you helpful advice on how to get the most for your money.

commercialOne of the advantages of working with a multi-family construction company is that they typically have their own electrical staff. You won’t have to wait until they can coordinate an electrical team to work on your property. You can also work with the multi-family construction company on a wide range of other projects which will make managing the property significantly easier.

A multi-family construction company can help you find the most efficient lighting possible for your property. Your energy costs don’t have to go up when you install more lighting. A multi-family construction company may recommend replacing older lighting units to install new, energy-efficient lighting that will save you money over the long run. You’ll please your tenants and save on energy costs at the same time. In some cases, you may be able to deduct energy efficient lighting alterations on your tax forms. Your multi-family construction company can help you understand the tax advantages of revamping lighting.

Flipping Units for New Tenants

When a tenant moves out of a unit, it’s a good idea to do some renovations to the unit to prepare for new residents. You want new residents to be pleased with the unit when they move in. Many property owners work with a multi-family construction company to handle many aspects of their buildings.

Kitchen-upgrade-tenantYou should thoroughly inspect the unit and make notes about potential improvements. Are there holes or cracks in the walls? Do you see water damage? What kind of condition is the floor in? Is the carpet stained or coming loose? Do the hardwood floors have dents or serious scratches? Often, rental units need a fresh coat of paint to make them look fresh and welcoming. Make note of the obvious problems so you can develop a plan for renovating the unit.

You can ask your multi-family construction company to inspect the unit for problems that aren’t obvious. Some issues affect resident safety such as mold and electrical problems. Other problems aren’t as serious but need to be addressed. These include plumbing problems, outdated appliances and cleaning issues. The multi-family construction company should inspect the health of the HVAC system to make sure it does not need updates or repairs.

When you work with a multi-family construction company over time, you will typically work with the same project manager. This person will get to know your property and your priorities so you plan projects over the long term. You may develop a system for flipping units since most properties have consistent changes in tenants. This can help you get rental units ready quickly. It will also help you develop a budget that you can rely on when an old tenant moves out and you want to prepare the unit for new residents.

Multi-family construction companies specialize in dealing with the issues that multi-family property owners face on daily basis. They can often recommend upgrades and changes that you may not think of on your own. The multi-family construction company’s experience in the industry can help you make the most of your properties so that you attract the kind of tenants that you want in your buildings.

Emergency Repairs

storm-photoWhen you own a multi-family property, emergencies can come along at any time. Weather is a common cause of emergency problems. Hail, high winds and ice can damage roofs, siding, windows and stairs. Sidewalks walks can crack and gutters can fall. Fences can be damaged by a number of factors including car damage and storms. These sorts of repairs need to be fixed quickly because they can compromise the safety of residents.

Emergency repairs are not limited to external problems. Water leaks can occur in any part of a building. Hot water heaters can stop working. Plumbing backups can occur in single or multiple units. Weather problems can encroach on building interiors and cause water damage. A variety of electrical issues can affect tenants. These can range from minor power outages to major electrical system failures. Internal emergencies need to be remedied quickly because they directly affect your residents and their quality of life.

Some repairs need to be addressed quickly because they affect the appearance of your buildings. They can make your property appear shabby and neglected. This becomes problematic when you want to attract new tenants. They will notice the damage immediately. These are the reasons why it’s important to have a relationship with a reliable commercial construction company. A commercial construction company can help you solve problems quickly in many different circumstances.

Building a partnership with a commercial construction company can help you manage emergencies quickly and efficiently with minimal disruption for your tenants. How can you tell if you’re working with a good commercial construction company? They should avoid using high pressure techniques to get you to commit to projects. The company should also have strong reputation in the community that has developed over a long period of time.

A commercial construction company can help you with a variety of projects. Their assistance is invaluable when you are dealing with an emergency situation. The company will have experts on hand that are experienced with plumbing, welding, concrete, siding and roofing. They will also have specialized technicians that can handle electrical and plumbing problems immediately.  You’ll also find that a good company can help you manage a wide variety of projects in addition to emergency repairs.

Prioritizing Repairs after a Major Storm

Major storms can have a devastating effect on properties. Multi-family property owners have special concerns. They need to get their properties back in shape quickly to protect tenants and attract new residents. Commercial construction projects can be overwhelming, especially after major storm damage. Working with an experienced commercial construction company can help make the process as smooth and painless as possible.

Property owners usually have to prioritize commercial construction projects since there is so much time and expense involved. The insurance reimbursement process is time-consuming, especially when a storm has damaged extensive parts of the region. Commercial construction projects often need to be completed quickly so that the business isn’t damaged.  Property owners need to quickly assess damage and plan storm damage repairs to protect their property investments.

storm-recoveryYou should consult with a commercial construction contractor immediately to assess the damage to your property. The contractor may be able to provide your insurance company with much of the information necessary to file a claim. Most important, the contractor will help you determine which repairs are imperative and which can be postponed. Serious damages to the roofing, windows, plumbing or sidewalks will need to be addressed immediately. A commercial construction company with multiple areas of expertise will be a strong support for you during the rehabilitation project. The contractor will have expertise will all aspects of the issues you will need to deal with. You won’t have to coordinate with multiple businesses to repair your property.

Your commercial construction company should provide you with a project manager to guide you through the process. You should receive detailed information about what each rehabilitation project will entail. The information should include timelines, estimates and itemized costs for each item. You can ask your commercial construction project manager to meet with your insurance company to expedite the rehabilitation process. The parties can meet and come to agreement about the extent of the damages. This will help ensure that the reimbursement you receive from the insurance company will cover the costs of the repairs you need to make. The collaborative process will help you get the best results for the most reasonable costs.

Getting a Reliable, Thorough Estimate

A commercial construction project is an expensive venture. Commercial construction is complicated and includes a variety of factors such as worker skill and availability, material prices and insurance costs. There are additional issues to consider in multi-family construction projects. Renovations and upgrades may need to be staggered over time for the convenience of residents. You may need to plan projects to correspond with unit vacancies. If these and other commercial construction issues aren’t carefully considered, you can easily end up with an unrealistic estimate.

Why is it important to have an accurate estimate? If you get a low estimate, there is a risk that you will incur significant costs later in the project. If these weren’t reflected in the estimate, you will need to invest additional money that you may not have. A good estimate will help you do the financial planning necessary to support your commercial construction project.

Ask detailed questions about the company’s commercial construction experience. Have they worked on multi-family units before? Guardian has. If not, the estimator won’t thoroughly understand all the issues that affect a commercial construction project. A good estimator will understand all the common factors that affect multi-family construction projects.

A reliable estimate on a commercial construction project will take several elements into consideration.

  1. What are the labor costs?
  2. Will the contractor have to hire additional workers to complete the work within the timeframe?
  3. How much will this labor cost?
  4. Will any equipment need to be rented?
  5. Has the estimator thoroughly included all material costs?
  6. Are the material costs current?

You should ask for detailed information about the contractor’s work on multi-family units. An experienced contractor is much more likely to prepare a reliable estimate. They understand the issues involved in your type of project and will include those in the estimate. An inexperienced contractor may try to get your business by providing an unrealistically low estimate only to surprise you with higher costs when the project gets underway. Always ask for references and check them. Find out as much as you can about the contractor’s record when it comes to completing commercial construction projects within the original estimated cost.