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5 Signs Your Home Is in a Great Investment Neighborhood

The value of a home is one of those things that is made up from a thousand different little factors. First is the quality of the home, how sturdy the structure is, how insulated and energy efficient, and the quality of the pipes and wire. Then there’s attractiveness and inclusion of popular features like a big backyard, an open living area rather than a closed floorplan, and an enjoyable kitchen design. However, because you can’t pick up a home and move it, it’s location is also a big part of the actual value determining how much buyers or renters want to live there.

A nice home in a nice neighborhood has a much higher practical property value than the same home standing out as the nicest structure in a run-down neighborhood. Naturally, you want to be sure that any property you own or buy is in an area that will make it a more valuable investment. Here are the five clearest signs that your home is in a great neighborhood for investment property ownership.

1) Good School District

When people are looking for a new home, they’re also planning for the future of their family which means considering the quality of the schools. A high-quality school district with good test scores and many positive reports of happy children and an effective education is often a more powerful neighborhood draw than the homes themselves. Simply being within the bussing zone of a good school district improves the property value of your neighborhood, but actually being within safe walking distance of one is incredibly powerful.

2) Close to Shopping Centers and City Features

Of course, it’s not just schools that shape a resident’s lifestyle. The restaurants, shops, parks, and other public features of the neighborhood determine who will enjoy living there. If you are close to your city’s downtown center, your neighborhood is likely to be more desirable to professionals while proximity to laid-back shopping centers and family restaurants will make your neighborhood more appealing to families. If there are enjoyable nearby venues, your neighborhood is likely to be in a good spot for property values.

3) Well Lit Walking Paths

Every city handles its local maintenance a little differently, but often neighborhoods can take responsibility for their own local upkeep. Crummier parts of town tend to be badly lit with broken sidewalks because nobody takes pride in the area enough to fix it up and maintain it. A good neighborhood, on the other hand, will have sidewalks in good repair, well-lit by a collection of street lamps and safe yard lighting from the helpful neighbors.

4) Consistent Neighborhood Curb Appeal

You can always tell a neighborhood that’s begun to deteriorate because a few of the homes will look much shabbier than the others. This can happen because owners stop caring about a home, let it stand vacant and unsold for too long, or because something else has gone wrong. However, if you can look all the way up and down your street and all the homes are well-kept and attractive, you’re in a good neighborhood in which all the other homeowners are working hard to maintain their own and each other’s property values.

5) Active HOA Participation

The final mark of a thriving little investment-worthy community is an active HOA or home owner’s association. While a neighborhood doesn’t need an HOA to be great (not all neighborhoods have one), an active HOA is a good sign that your area is actively managed by concerned fellow homeowners. In fact, an HOA’s primary mandate is to protect and enhance the property values for every owner on the block.

So is your home in a great investment neighborhood? If you have a positive answer for two or more of these points, then there’s a very high chance that your home will continue to appreciate in value over time. For more great real estate investment tips and tricks, contact us today!

Seven Spring Upgrades to Boost Your Rental Price This Year

The value of a rental house and what your renters are willing to pay comes down to a combination of factors. While it’s safe to assume that your rental home is structurally sound and kept in good repair, the exterior appearance, ‘newness’ of the rooms, and quality of your included appliances are all major contributors to how much rent you can reasonably charge. Whether you’ve just acquired a new piece of investment property or have been renting a home for several years, there are a few quick and easy techniques that can help you improve the value of your rental property this year starting with a lively spring cleaning.

1) Clean Everything!

The one factor that can most damage the value of an otherwise nice rental property is signs of previous tenants. While renters may be aware that others have lived in the home before them, who wants to deal with dingy carpets, discolored wall paint, or lingering smells? Your first step for any spring improvement wave is mass-cleaning. Wash every surface you can reach, steam-clean the carpets, and even get the ducts and vents professionally cleaned to get rid of old allergens and smells. The newer the home appears, the better a price you can get for it.

2) A Vibrant New Landscaping Design

What makes a renter think “Wow, this place is nice!” the moment they drive up? A beautiful garden full of landscaped flowers, shrubs, and trees. You Don’t have to completely dig-up and redesign the yard, but you should definitely work with an artistic landscaping service to fill your flower beds with vibrant blooms, trim your trees, and possibly even add a cute stepping-stone walk through the yard or a swinging bench as a nice accent.

3) A Fresh Coat of Paint

Nothing makes a home look more ‘like new’ than a fresh, professionally done repainting job. This not only saves you the trouble of trying to scrub off old discoloration, it also gives you a chance to pick a new subtle color scheme and make sure all your baseboards, outlets, and light switches match. Make sure to choose a sturdy, glossy paint that can be scrubbed safely in case of pets or toddlers. Remove outlet and light switch covers to paint them and use painter’s tape for windows and fixtures so that only the surfaces you want to be painted get paint on them.

4) Maintain Your Exterior Siding and Roof

Almost no one ever looks directly at the exterior siding or roof, but subtle signs of shabbiness will filter into the subconscious and lower the apparent overall value of your rental property. Double-check your maintenance schedules and get both your roof and siding touched up before beginning the staging process. This way, everything will be tidied, freshly repainted or finished, and ready to show your home’s ‘best side’ to new tenants.

5) Replace Old Utility Appliances

The age and quality of the included appliances like the stove, fridge, dishwasher, washer/dryer (if included) and the HVAC units matter a great deal to how valuable a home seems. Really old appliances can negatively ‘date’ your home while brand-new energy-efficient models allow you to significantly up your rental price for the utilities savings and reliability of the units alone. For what you don’t replace, have a handyman do a full maintenance check, empty any filters, clear out any accumulated dust and crud (under the fridge), and give you a new maintenance schedule.

6) Breezy Window Treatments

Whether or not your tenants put up curtains of their own, there are a couple of good reasons why you will want to put up some breeze, attractive curtains. First, a home with uncovered windows looks vacant and creepy, harder to imagine yourself living there. Second, take down those dingy old white mini-blinds. While they were once the height of technology and fashion, now they are a sign of age and broken things that are hard to dust. A few inexpensive but cheerful curtains in neutral colors can make a house seem homey.

7) Polish and Finish any Rough Edges

Finally, do a last detailed check of absolutely everything. Check the grout and caulk in the bathrooms, the quality of the garage door, the edges of counters for chips and jagged places, and repair everything you find. Get the home as close to ‘new’ quality as possible by taking care of any signs of age. Discoloration can be re-finished or painted, chips can be fixed with putty or sanding, and rough edges can be smoothed and and re-sealed. When you really put in the time, your tenants will appreciate how nice their new home is and be willing to pay for that quality.

Here at Property Management Pros, we take pride in taking the best possible care of every property we manage. Keeping track of maintenance schedules making sure repainting is done right, and fixing little signs of wear-and-tear between tenants are what we do best! For more great investment property owner tips or to arrange for the pros to take care of it for you, conact us today!

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