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Inexpensive Ways to Update Older Apartments

Looking around at the multifamily trends and the shifting demographics may make it seem that older apartments are not a relevant option for attracting the hard to please millennial crowd.  However, with the right renovations, even the oldest apartment building can reinvent itself and attract a wide range of tenants.  As the premier agent for apartment buildings for sale in the Lower Mainland, I would like to share the following inexpensive ways you can update an older apartment.

Low Cost Materials

Regardless of what type of renovation you are going to be undertaking, it all starts with finding the right materials.  Not all materials are equal and you will quickly find a large price gap between certain choices.  Although natural wood is trendy and quite an appealing material in today’s multifamily environment, this material is quite costly and difficult to maintain.

Luckily there are many low-cost alternatives that include:

  • Aluminum siding.
  • Concrete panels or pre-fabricated finished slabs (for counter tops).
  • Fiber board.
  • Porcelain tile.

If used right, these inexpensive materials can give any older apartment a makeover and create that ever-appealing contemporary look.

Increase Curb Appeal

Sometimes a new coat of paint just isn’t going to be enough to increase the curb appeal of your older multifamily property.  If you are looking for a change, start with choosing an inexpensive material such as aluminum siding or look at a combination of materials to get your desired look.

Regardless of what type of material and look you choose, trim can make all the difference.  If it is a contemporary look you are striving for then metal trim is a must.  Many architects use metal trim to create patterns or geometric shapes with contrasting colours to make the exterior of any building stand out.

Here’s the Deal:

Try to find a manufacturer that produces both the siding material as well as the trim material.  Most manufacturers offer a discount or package if purchased together and there will be no surprises when installing the product.

Inexpensive Renovations

When renovating your multi-family property, start with renovations that are going to save you money in the long run.  These renovations include:

  • Installing smart thermostats and other energy efficient appliances. Many of these items come with a tax break incentive.
  • New windows. This can reduce your energy bill by up to 25 % and will definitely boost your property’s curb appeal.
  • Upgrade flooring. Many tenants are willing to pay more for hardwood floors and they are far more durable and will outlast carpet, saving you cleaning and replacement costs.
  • Modernize plumbing to save costly maintenance and water damage. You can also install low flow options for showers and toilets to attract that millennial demographic.

Not only will these renovations save you money in the long run and further increase the value of your investment, they will also allow you to charge more rent.  It has been shown time and again that the new demographics of renters are quite willing to pay for added amenities and technology.

Breathe new life into your older multifamily property by following these simple tips.  These renovations will not only transform your building, they will also allow you to attract and retain a whole new set of tenants.  If you would like other ways to enhance your multifamily property or would like to see some of the new and exciting apartment blocks available in the Lower Mainland, please contact me today.  I look forward to working with you soon.

 

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Multifamily Trends for 2019

The demand in the multifamily market is forecasted to grow in 2019.  Now is the perfect time to either invest in the market or take steps to keep your property relevant and in high demand for the upcoming year.  As the premier real estate agent for apartment buildings for sale in the Lower Mainland, I would like to share the following multifamily trends for 2019.

Technology

Perhaps the biggest driving force behind rental trends in 2019 is going to be technology.  As the demographics continue to shift, more and more tenants are looking for Wi-Fi and other technologies.  Smart technology is quickly becoming a growing trend and will definitely influence the 2019 market.  Smart technology gives tenants more control over their property and includes:

  • Keyless entry.
  • Smart thermostats.
  • Doorbell cameras.

This type of technology not only increases interest and demand for your multifamily property, it will also save money in the long run.

Demographics

Millennials have taken over the tenant market and this change in demographics has altered what renters are looking for in terms of amenities.  They will pay more for smart technology and other such amenities, so make sure that apartments are ready for the millennials.

Market Demand

It is no secret that the rental market in the Lower Mainland is very competitive.  Even with the new housing starts and the government’s pledge to create more rental housing, this trend will continue in 2019.

Storage Options

The Amazon era is upon us.  Amazon’s share of the retail shopping sector will continue to grow in 2019 and your tenants will need a way of accepting packages.  Many apartments are installing smart lockers which will allow them to pick up their parcels whenever they can.  This is another example of smart technology as these lockers are opened by an app on the tenant’s smart phone.

If you do not have a bike locker in your multifamily property, you need one.  The shift in demographics means a shift in what type of transportation many tenants are choosing.  To save your walls and elevators from wear and tear, make sure that you have a safe place to store bikes.

Green Space

With more and more young families choosing to live in multifamily properties, the demand for green space has never been higher.  Parks, picnic areas or common open areas are all great ways to attract this demographic.  Green space also benefits the community and is a selling factor for tenants.

These multifamily trends of 2019 are sure to influence the rental market.  Make sure that you know and understand your tenant’s needs and wants and are ready for the New Year.  If you would like any more forecasted multifamily trends for 2019 or are interested in some of the apartment buildings that are for sale, please contact me today.  I look forward to working with you soon.

Happy New Year.

 

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Going Green to Attract Tenants

More and more tenants are demanding or expecting green features in the apartments that they want to live in and are willing to pay extra for these types of features.  If you are looking to attract and retain tenants and stay relevant in the multifamily business, you must provide a sustainable design and green features.  As the premier real estate agent for multifamily apartment buildings for sale, I would like to share some green features that will help you attract tenants.

Bike Room

In large cities, bikes are quickly replacing cars as the most popular choice of transit.  Bikes are mobile; they don’t get stuck in congestion and parking is never a hassle.  If you do not already have a bike room, you need to create one.  A bike room makes sense for a number of reasons.

  • A bike room will save your walls and elevators from additional wear and tear and damage because tenants will no longer have to transport their bikes to and from their apartment.
  • A bike room is a selling feature and will attract tenants that may look elsewhere for this specific feature.

Make sure that your bike room is on the first floor or in the underground and provide extra safety features to prevent theft or vandalism.

Energy Saving Appliances

Energy saving appliances show your tenants that you care and do believe in the green movement.  Even the often-overlooked aspects such as energy efficient light bulbs can attract a new type of tenant.  Millennials are especially focused on trying to reduce their carbon footprint and will quickly notice any type of energy efficient appliance or feature in an apartment.

Here’s the Deal:

An investment in energy saving appliances will attract a higher quality renter and can also save you money in the long run by cutting down on energy consumption as well as various tax breaks and cash back incentives.

Outdoor Space

Outdoor green space fosters a feeling of community.  This sense of belonging is a major selling point to many of the new generations of renters as they are choosing multifamily living over single family homes.  Some great ways to make the most out of your multifamily green space include:

  • Outdoor family dining area with a food prep and grilling area.
  • Community garden for residents.
  • Playground to retain renters who are starting families or have young families.

Remember:

Green space is no longer a luxury, but rather a necessity.

By offering green space and sustainable design features, your space will quickly become more appealing to a far larger group of potential renters.  These green options will help you retain tenants and can also allow you to increase rent.  If you have any more questions about the importance of green features in your multifamily unit or are interested in some of the new and exciting apartments that are for sale, please contact me today.  I look forward to working with you soon.

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Tenant Screening – What all Property Managers Need to Know

Tenant screening is an important and sometimes overlooked part of attracting and maintaining excellent occupants for your multi-family dwelling.  As the premier real estate agent for apartment buildings for sale in the Lower Mainland, I would like to share with you some questions that should be included in your tenant screening process and why each of these questions is important to your multi-family housing.

Credit Profile Report

A credit profile report is an important vetting process because it identifies applicants with low scores based on past payment history and unbalanced credit-to-debit ratios.  This can be a red flag for any tenant as they may have difficulty paying rent on time each month.

Criminal Record and Background Check

A criminal record and background check should be a part of any tenant screening process as you do not want tenants with a violent past living in your building.  Take the time to do a thorough check and then it is up to you or your property manager to make a final decision.

Remember:

A shoplifting charge is a lot different than an assault charge.

Employment Verification

Although employment patterns have drastically changed over the past 50 years, it is still critical to verify current employment.  Accurate employment information provides you with data as well as a point of contact in case that a tenant does not pay rent.

This contact number also allows you to see if that prospective tenant is on good terms with their employer and to see if there has been a history of past terminations or multiple jobs in a short period of time.

Past Address History

Past addresses can provide more details about financial habits, work history as well as landlords and prior living arrangements.  This history will help you to complete a thorough and well -rounded background check and allow you to gain a better understanding of any potential tenant.

Here’s the Deal:

A 7 – 10 year window should be a good range and give you all of the information that you need to base a decision on.

Eviction reports

Evictions should be a definite red flag when it comes to screening any tenant, especially if there are multiple evictions.  Make sure to take your time and review each eviction case by case.  A single eviction over a long history should not disqualify any tenant, especially if the eviction occurred because of the following:

  • Personal illness.
  • Death of a loved one.
  • Job Loss due to unforeseen circumstances.

All of these are important factors that need to be included in any thorough tenant screening. If you are looking at attracting and retaining tenants for your multi-family dwelling, finding the right tenants is the first step.  Take your time with the process and always trust your gut-feeling when it comes time to make your final decision.  If you would like more information on tenant screening and are interested in some of the new and exciting apartments and multi-family homes available, please contact me today.

 

 

 

 

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3 Renovations Proven To Generate Returns in Your Multifamily Property

Renovations will generate revenue in your multi-family property.  Regardless of whether you are an apartment building property owner or have been looking at adding this type of property to your portfolio, investing in certain upgrades will help to increase your property’s value as well as your profits.  As the premier real estate agent for apartment buildings for sale, I would like to share these 3 renovations that will guarantee to generate returns for your multi-family property.

Exteriors

The possibilities for exterior upgrades are endless.  If you are looking at increasing the curb appeal of your building, increasing interest and creating a good first impression, then an exterior renovation or upgrade is a must.

Some proven exterior renovations include:

  • Landscaping – adding shrubs, trees or even new lighting can increase the value of a property by 10%.
  • Signage
  • Painting – A new paint job can breathe life into any multi-family property.
  • Creating or upgrading an outside common room or area – outdoor structures such as pergolas or outdoor seating areas are extremely sought after by tenants. By bringing the indoor living idea outdoors, you will not only increase the value of your property, you will also increase your retention rate.

Flooring

Replacing your carpeted apartments with tile, vinyl or wood flooring offers many advantages.  These include:

  • It gives each apartment a more modern, clean look making that space appealing to any tenant, especially millennials and Generation-Z.
  • It makes the apartment easier and less expensive to maintain and clean.

The significant long-term savings and durability of hard floor surfaces makes an upgrade or renovation one of the best ways to add value to your property, increase your profits and retain tenants.

Amenities

There are certain amenities that will provide you with a better rate of return than others.  The number one amenity upgrade is adding a washer and dryer in every suite.  All tenants would love in-suite laundry and are willing to pay more to have this added convenience.

Another must have amenity is storage.  If you do not already provide storage lockers, this is another great investment to increase your rate of return.  Look to renovate any unused space such as the washer and dryer room if you now have in-suite laundry.  The extra storage space can be charged out and will be appreciated by your tenants.

Investing and renovating your multi-family property is a great way to increase your rate of return and its property value.  The renovations previously mentioned should be able to see returns from 10-30% depending upon where your multi-family property is located, its age and current amenities.  If you would like more information about what renovations are right for your rental property or to see some of the new exciting apartment buildings that are available, please contact me today.  I look forward to working with you soon.

 

 

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Bank of Canada Interest Rate Announcement – October 24, 2018

Bank of Canada Interest Rate Announcement – October 24, 2018

The Bank of Canada raised its target for the overnight rate by 25 basis points to 1.75 per cent this morning. In the statement accompanying the decision, the Bank noted that the Canadian economy is expected to average growth of 2 per cent over the second half of 2018 before slowing to 1.9 per cent next year.
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Multifamily Housing Trends for 2018

If you own, manage or have been thinking about getting into multifamily properties there are definitely some current trends that you will want to pay attention to.  These trends may decide whether your properties are full or if you have a vacancy sign outside.  As the premier agent for apartments for sale in Vancouver, I would like to share with you some of the multifamily housing trends of 2018.

Attract Diverse Demographics

Gone are the days that multifamily properties appealed to only one demographic.  Currently, multifamily properties are very attractive to at least two:

  • Empty nesters who are looking to downgrade their housing size because their children have moved out.
  • Millennials who are attracted to an urban lifestyle and may lack the funds to invest in the housing market.

Both groups are looking for apartments that are well-landscaped, have a high walkability score and are nicely maintained.  Make sure to invest in well-lit pathways, landscaping and keep your property properly maintained to woo these groups.

Luxury Sells

A little bit of luxury can go a long way.  Tenants love the added touches of class, such as hardwood flooring and bright, well placed lighting.  Other luxury trends that you may want to invest in include:

  • A pool and work-out area.
  • A yoga studio.
  • A large common room with a home theatre system and comfortable furniture.

In many cases, tenants are willing to pay extra rent to enjoy these types of luxuries.  A multifamily property with these amenities is sure to have a steady stream of interested renters ready to pounce on any vacancies.

Sustainability Rules

If you have been looking to set yourself apart from the other rental properties think sustainability.  A bike room and composting or green energy are all attractive pieces, especially for Millennials and younger renters.   Many energy efficient upgrades also come with a tax credit, which will not only benefit the environment, but it will also benefit your bottom line as well.

Technology Savvy

If you have been thinking about investing in your multifamily property or are looking to get into the market, one of the current trends is offering high speed internet and fiber optics in common areas.  You may also want to provide individual apartments with technology such as smart thermostats or even customizable entertainment packages.

If your property has room for a business center don’t forget to provide reliable and fast wireless connection, printer and fax capability and even videoconferencing equipment that is available for use.

Here’s the deal:

A growing segment of tenants are extremely reliant and technology savvy and are looking for places that can meet their requirements.  Make sure to be a part of this growing need in rental properties or be prepared for a large number of vacancies.

Micro-Apartment Boom

Micro-units of 350 square feet or less are becoming more popular every day.  They are the perfect space for young single professionals who do not want to entertain at home but want to live in populous, metropolitan centres such as downtown Vancouver.  By providing these types of units, you may be able to accommodate more individuals in your property and serve this expanding new market.

Not all these trends make sense for every multifamily property.  However, if you are looking at getting into the market or are wanting to invest in your property, you may want to pay attention to these new niche markets.  If you would like more information about the availability of multifamily properties in your area or are interested in getting into this exciting and profitable market, please contact me today.

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Mortgage Rate Outlook – September 14, 2018

Mortgage Rate Outlook

Canadian Interest Rates and Monentary Policy - September 14, 2018The Canadian mortgage market is undergoing significant tightening with the availability of credit falling and interest rates rising. The mortgage stress test introduced in January negatively impacted home sales nationwide as prospective homebuyers with more than 20 per cent down payments were denied access to loans they would have qualified for under the old regulatory regime.
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Canadian Housing Starts – September 11, 2018

Canadian housing starts declined 2 per cent on a monthly basis in August to 201,000 units at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR). The trend in Canadian housing starts continued to moderate lower, averaging 214,000 units SAAR over the past six months.

In BC, total housing starts increased 8 per cent on a monthly basis to 46,000 units SAAR and were up 29 per cent year-over-year. On a monthly basis, starts of multiple units were up 11 per cent to an annual rate of 37,000 units SAAR while single detached fell 4 per cent to 9,100 units SAAR. Compared to August 2017, multiple units starts were up 45 per cent while single detached starts were 11 per cent lower.
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Bank of Canada Interest Rate Announcement – September 5, 2018

Bank of Canada Interest Rate Announcement – September 5, 2018

The Bank of Canada maintained its target for the overnight rate at 1.50 per cent this morning. In the statement accompanying the decision, the Bank noted that the Canadian economy is evolving in line with its projections and that real GDP growth is expected to slow in the third quarter due to fluctuations in energy production and exports. Inflation is anticipated to come down from the 7-year high of 3 per cent rate observed in July, falling back to 2 per cent in early 2019. The Bank further noted that housing markets are beginning to stabilize following the implementation of the mortgage stress test.
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Bank of Canada Interest Rate Announcement – July 11, 2018

Bank of Canada Interest Rate Announcement – July 11, 2018

The Bank of Canada opted to raise its target for the overnight rate 25 basis points to 1.5 per cent this morning. In the statement accompanying the decision, the Bank cited that the economy is operating close to capacity and as a result inflation is expected to edge higher over their two year forecast horizon. The Bank noted that incoming data suggests housing markets are starting to stabilize after the implementation of the B20 stress test.
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Rising Interest Rates Affecting Canadian Real Estate Investors

Mortgage Rate Outlook

The Canadian mortgage market has seen substantial changes in the first six months of 2018, with mortgage credit both more expensive and more difficult to access, and rising interest rates. The B20 stress test for conventional borrowers has slowed overall mortgage credit growth while the five-year qualifying rate for Canadian mortgages has gone up 70 basis points in the past year. Rising interest rates have largely been influenced by tighter monetary policy from the Bank of Canada as strong economic growth has fuelled rising inflation.
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