Happy Halloween: Remove the Scary from Property Management

5 Tips to take the Halloween Scare out of Property Management

The truth is, nothing is more scary than the unknown, and sometimes property management and corporate housing can fall into that category. As in all haunted houses, when you turn on the lights the reality is far less scary than your imagination.  That is why, here at CHBO, we work hard to share with Corporate Property Management Halloween Funyou all that we have learned about managed corporate housing. Success in real estate comes when you know what to expect, you plan ahead and you connect with your goals. Loosing money is VERY scary so don’t do it.  Don’t waste money on the wrong property upgrade!  Don’t waste money on the wrong tenant! Don’t waste money on the wrong investment! Let’s get smarter about property management.

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Real Estate Investing: When is it Time to Buy or Sell?

When is real estate investing the right decision for you and for the market and would a corporate rental property be a good idea?

 

I was meeting with my financial advisor this week and we were discussing “Dollar Cost Averaging”.  According to Wikipedia “Dollar cost averaging (DCA) is an investment strategy for reducing the impact of volatility on large purchases of financial assets such as equities. By dividing the total sum to be invested in the market (e.g. $100,000) into equal amounts put into the market at regular intervals (e.g. $1000 over 100 weeks), DCA reduces the risk of incurring a substantial loss resulting from investing the entire “lump sum” just before a fall in the market. Dollar cost averaging is not always the most profitable way to invest a large sum, but it minimizes downside risk.”  Buying a Corporate Rental

I know DCA makes sense, but is it an approach to be applied to real estate?  YES! If I look back over my 20 years of real estate investing my biggest successes were all about market timing, but did I really know that when I bought?  No, not really :)  My challenge today is more about adjusting my expectations because not all real estate purchases can be as good as my best ones.  However, if I sit on the sidelines too long and don’t keep investing I will have no financial successes at all.

TIP:

So my advice is DCA!  Think of real estate in the terms of Dollar Cost Averaging which means it is always a good time to buy and always a good time to sell, the devil is just in the details.

Start by setting specific goals for your investment.  Do you want the property to have a positive cash flow from day one?  Do you expect the value of the property to go up significantly so you make your profit in equity increase?  Do you want to use the property as an wealth transfer tool to the next generation?  Do you want the property to be part  of your 401K? Do you have the time to make more money by doing a corporate rental?

What you buy and how you finance it will greatly depend on what your goals are, so don’t buy the wrong property for you.  I talk more about this in both The Corporate Housing Handbook and Idiots Guide: Making Money with Rental Properties.

News Today:  According to the June 2014 Fannie Mae National Housing Survey

40% of Americans say that now is a good time to sell.

70% say it’s a good time to buy.

48% feel that home prices will go up in the next 12 months.

Lodging News: Increase in Defense Department TDY Rates

Travel Trends: How TDY Rates encourage the military traveler to use Extended Stay and Corporate Housing Lodging Solutions

Each year the defense department relocates hundreds of thousands of individuals and families in addition to all the long term projects that need housing around the world.  In the last few years there has been a decrease in military demand for Corporate Housing Rentals.  However with new TDY (Temporary Duty) reimbursement rates for stays longer than 30 days, that go into effect November 1st, 2014, we will start to see an increase in the military’s use of corporate housing as a cost savings option compared with utilizing hotels.

According to a recent article published by the Department of Defense:  “changes are meant to give long-term TDY travelers an incentive to seek out extended-stay lodgings, which generally are less expensive. Before this change, the Joint Travel Regulations encouraged travelers on extended TDY to seek out this type of lodging, but there wasn’t a requirement or incentive to do so.”

and they go on to say,Many of the conveniences available at extended-stay hotels can save money for travelers, and in turn, for DoD, Johnson said.  “They offer the kitchenettes, the sink, the refrigerator — recognizing that people aren’t eating out at an expensive restaurant every day, three meals a day,” he explained. “And I believe that’s vital in this environment of sequestration and other external factors that have brought this on. So, we’ve got to make sure that people are traveling smarter and more [efficiently].””

It is exciting to see the DoD acknowledge the benefits of staying in a fully furnished residential property like the corporate housing lodging solutions available on Corporate Housing by Owner (CHBO).

Did you know…

CHBO works hard to connect properties near military facilities with those military individuals in need of housing.  Though our affiliate site Military Corporate Housing we work to make military housing a priority.  To learn more about featuring your property on one of CHBO’s affiliate sites talk with a CHBO Property Specialist at 1.877.333.2426 or submit your property for a free evaluation.

DOD Housing

 

Rental Properties: Design Ideas for the Corporate Tenant

Here at CHBO we get a lot of questions from property owners about what does a great Corporate Tenant expect from my property.  The truth is they expect a lot!  To be a great corporate housing landlord you need to understand what the tenant expects, communicate what they should expect from your property and then meet or exceed those expectations.   Setting and meeting expectation will ensure all of your corporate housing tenants are satisfied with their rental experience and will give your property a great review making it easier for you to connect with that next great corporate housing tenant.  So what are some easy ideas from the experts to make your space perfect especially if you have limited space?  Today guest blogger Rheney Williams  will give us some ideas.

Rental Design Ideas for the Corporate Tenant: Space-Saving Storage for Smaller Bathrooms

Great corporate tenants don’t need the biggest rental space, but they do require quality and efficiency. When decorating your rental property think about the little touches that will make your tenant’s stay the best possible.

Just because your bathroom may not come equipped with nooks and crannies for tucking things away and closet space to spare, there’s no reason you need to skimFurnished Rental Upgraded Bathroomp on what you keep in there, or settle for a less appealing place to offer prospective tenants. After all, smaller bathrooms need to stock the same items as their larger counterparts — just in a smarter way.

Fortunately, there are many great products out there to help with that. At the same time, it’s all about using the space you have more efficiently and more effectively. Consider the following.

Shower Savers to make your Corporate Tenant Happy

Small shower? There are several different ways you can make the most of your available space without sacrificing the quality of your shower experience.

Rental UpgradeFirst, you can hang a shower caddy over the top of the shower head.

This places everything you need right at eye level, yet still out of the way, and allows you to keep the shower floors free of clutter, leading to a safer shower and less time spent cleaning up dirty rings on the floor when it’s time to clean the shower.

Although you can drape a wash cloth over the bottom rack, my husband prefers to hang his handheld mirror here to allow him to shave in the shower. As any busy wife or fastidious roommate can attest, it’s extremely annoying to have to deal with a puddle of water in front of the vanity (or a soaked bathmat) and facial hair remnants in the sink from a pre or post-shower sink shave.

Or maybe you prefer the freedom that comes from storing everything out of the way and in the far corners of the shower; for that, you need a corner caddy.

When we were first married, my husband and I shared an apartment with one bathroom; although he could have survived with a single bar of soap on the side Rental Bathroom Featureof the tub, we ladies need our toiletries, and the baskets in the corner caddy we installed were perfect for holding my shampoo, conditioner, body wash, face soap, shaving cream…you get the picture!

The non-permanent nature of the corner caddy was a lifesaver when it came to sharing the shower, and we were able to remove it and take it with us when we left.

A little organization tip when using a multi-tiered corner caddy: Place loose bars of soap on the bottom rack to avoid the slippery conditions created on the items below by picking up and putting down wet bars of dripping soap during a shower.

Finally, if you have multiple people using the same small shower, a great way to keep everyone’s items together yet distinguished from each other is to hang multiple wall baskets from suction cups in corporate rentals.Rental Update

Look for two-leveled baskets like the one above to prevent frustration and wasted time spent trying to grasp or locate a slippery bar of soap that is on the same level as the other basket contents.

Saving on Floor and Cabinet Space

In our downstairs powder room, we have a spatial problem of a different kind: The bathroom only has space for a pedestal sink and a toilet. I’ve had to find creative ways to make up for the lack of a vanity, with its super functional drawers and closeable cabinet door, and the presence of just enough clearance to walk in and turn around.

If you find yourself dealing with the same difficulties, the perfect way to make the most of a lack of floor space and cabinet storage is to merge the two and use multi-tasking items. For example, a toilet caddy with a magazine rack serves dual purposes and keeps reading material off of the back of the toilet or the floor.Bathroom Organizer

As a final tip on maximizing your space, one way to create a cohesive aesthetic and make the room feel larger as a result is to use the same finish in your accessories and fixtures. By giving your eye the same metallic image no matter where it looks – from your shower head to your toilet paper holder – you can create the illusion of a streamlined, more expansive space instead of breaking up the continuity by mixing metals and drawing attention to the separate “stations” in the room. If your fixtures are chrome, stick with chrome for all of your accessories; the same goes if you prefer oil rubbed bronze or satin nickel, etc.

What other smart products and space-saving techniques have you come across over the years for your smaller bathrooms?

Rheney Williams writes on space-saving ideas for the home and office for Home Depot. Rheney’s efficiency tips for organizing small bathrooms seek to add comfort to an otherwise small space. To find a large shower caddy collection available at Home Depot, you can visit Home Depot’s website.

Property Rental Scams: Red Flags when Screening a Corporate Housing Tenant

Nothing will cause you to lose money with your rental property than having a bad tenant or a professional scammer in the property.  I’ve been in the property management field long enough to know red flags and rental scams when I see them. You know, the tenant calls you and your gut just tells you something just doesn’t feel right.Tenant Scams in Renting  Property

In my experience, here are some red flags every corporate housing landlord should be on the look out for:

A tenant who doesn’t want to complete the rental application.

Every tenant should complete the rental application with a few core exceptions. If they tell you they are a corporation don’t just accept that, do research on the company to find out how big they are, what they do and is this individual approved to get corporate housing.

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Get Local: Toronto Executive Suites / Corporate Rentals

Toronto has thousands of corporate rentals that translate into hundreds of millions of dollars in rent according to the Corporate Housing Providers Association (CHPA) Annual Report. Across Canada corporate housing or corporate rentals are often referred to as executive suites.

Toronto Corporate Rentals

Toronto Executive Suites is a page featuring corporate housing rentals located throughout the expansive Toronto metro area. Toronto is an amazing international city with unique communities and living experiences that differ significantly from the cosmopolitan high-rise living of central Downtown to suburban homes with trees and parks in the outer areas. When staying in a Toronto corporate rental you need to take the time to find the right style of living, in the right location, so you have more time for fun and spend less time stuck in a commute.

Toronto, Ontario Canada is the most populous city in Canada and is the 4th largest city in North America. Toronto is considered the cultural, entertainment and financial capital of Canada with more than 2.8 million people. If you are staying in Toronto don’t miss out on the summer fun and take a long weekend up North to the lakes for fun in the sun or South to Niagara on the Lake for culture and theatre.

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Investing: What to know!

6 MUST Knows before investing in a Corporate Housing Rental Property!

If you’ve decided investing in corporate housing is right for you, here are some important considerations to make before you purchase a property specifically for use as a corporate housing rental.

Evaluate Price per Square Foot

Evaluate price per bed, not price per square foot. While some people think more space or a bonus room are great perks for a home they are going to live in, keep in mind that it’s just added liability for a home you plan to rent.  Purchase the smallest square footage with the most number of bedrooms. Just like a hotel, when you rent out a corporate rental, it’s priced per bed, not by square footage.  Corporate Housing Investment Rental

Avoid First Floor Units

If you’re purchasing a condo as a rental property, avoid first floor units. People who don’t know the city may not feel as safe in a first floor unit (which can negatively affect your rental success), and often, people will use a first floor rental to advertise a business that they may conduct in the unit.

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Home Rental: Tips for Getting the Lighting Right

Have you ever walked into a rental or a hotel room and can’t figure out how to turn the lights on? There is nothing more frustrating than needing to read a report for the big meeting the next day and there is no location in the property with the right lighting to read by. At CHBO we work with a lot of property owners and it is essential that ever property have the right photos with the right lighting if they are going to attract the right renter. This week we thought sharing the ideas of a lighting and design professional would help you with your rental property.  – Kimberly

Shine On: Designer Tips for Getting the Lighting Right
by Kerrie Kelly, ASID

Interior designers love lighting. It can be an inexpensive and efficient way to bring a little life to even the most drab spaces, but with a little planning and design, it can really take your space to the next level. Whether we’re working on a room remodel or simply trying to find just the right type of illumination for a small space, our primary consideration is how the fixture directs light and what the light will be used for.

I say it all the time to clients and contractors: a great lighting scheme is a layered affair. Clients are often surprised that we start the conversation about lighting schemes by talking about bulbs, rather than light fixtures. But to get a good mix of drama and function in a room, we need to start by thinking Kitchen Lightingabout the different qualities of light we can achieve. After you decide on the type of light you want, you need to consider where and how you want to focus that light – that’s what a fixture does.

Start at the Top
Overhead fixtures exist to provide general or ambient lighting that covers the room, but may be more about creating a feeling in a space than just about lighting it. Consider the difference between the kitchen and the dining room. Both rooms are all about food and eating, but your lighting needs are very different in the kitchen than in the dining room, right?

In the kitchen, where you’re working to get food ready, you may want a brighter, whiter source of general, ambient light than you need in the dining room. I’m much more likely to Kitchen Lightinguse recessed lighting as an overhead source in the kitchen, where I can use brighter compact fluorescent lamp bulbs or halogen spot lights for general lighting, and halogen pendants that shine directly over work areas for effective and task lighting.

As I move to the dining room, Dining Room Lightinghowever, I’m much more likely to use a chandelier for a broad and diffuse source of lighting with warm, incandescent bulbs that flatter everyone at the table. Pendants can be beautiful fixtures over a sideboard, and offer a narrower and more specific spray of light that works as task lighting or dramatic accent lighting. Keep the mood warm and cozy with smaller table lamps that throw the light downward and provide the directional lighting you want for an accent, but in a much richer tone with an incandescent bulb.

Lighting is Layering
Take this same layering approach into the other rooms in the house. In the bathroom, your priority is going to be good light, so pendant lighting is a great fixture choice in terms of style. An indulgent chandelier on a dimmer can provide a similar effect that can also be muted when you just want to slide into the tub after a long day. Light-emitting diode or LED rope lighting under the cabinets will throw a muted tone of light toward the floor that gives your bathroom a relaxing spa feel.

Bathroom LightingThese are the same kinds of choices you want to make in the bedroom. Recessed lighting overhead gives you the light you need to make sure your colors match before you leave for work in the morning, and dials down nicely for the night. Shaded lamps on the nightstand and dresser with incandescent bulbs allow you to read yourself to sleep and simultaneously create a much more intimate mood in your most intimate space.

Family Fun and Function
Family and living rooms require the most versatility in terms of lighting. They hold the greatest number of people and activities in the house, so you need function, but you also have the opportunity to display some personal style. Here again, recessed halogen or spot lighting works well for general or ambient light, but floor lamps offer the same functionality with warmer tones, and give you a chance to show off some style. Track lighting and shaded lamps on sofa and end tables create moody accent lighting and cFamily Room Lightingan highlight special, sentimental pieces in the room.

Because I realize you may not be able to make all your lighting wishes come true at the same time, I have one final piece of advice. The quickest way to get total control over your lighting scheme is to add dimmers. We recommend these for every room in the house. They allow you to transition from ambient to task to accent lighting with the slide of a switch!

Award-winning interior designer Kerrie Kelly writes on lighting designs for Home Depot. Kerrie provides advice on overhead lighting, including chandeliers and pendants. lighting and pendant lighting styles for apartment living. A collection of pendant lights available at Home Depot can be found on its website.

When you invest in a rental, should you purchase a Home or Condo?

Home or Condo? What to buy when you invest in a rental property?

5 Must Consider factors before you invest in a rental property!

is now a good time to invest in real estateWhat makes a better corporate rental: A single-family home or a condo? This is the million-dollar question in corporate housing, and it’s just one of the considerations to make when deciding the right type of corporate housing investment property for you. Obviously, there are many other factors, too, so do your homework and take a “gut” check to find out what kind of investor you are and what type of property works best for you.

Consider these factors when making your decision:

Upkeep

Single-family homes typically require extra upkeep and maintenance (especially if they’re older). They require regular yard maintenance, exterior painting, roof repairs, etc. On the other hand, condos only require maintenance within the unit. Generally, the upkeep of the exterior and common areas is maintained by the Homeowners Association (HOA) and is part of the monthly assessment. Condos create reserves from HOA fees to manage major exterior updates or repairs (i.e. a new roof).

Costs

Single-family homes come with monthly costs like trash, heating, water, lawn mowing, etc., and each needs to be paid separately. The good thing is that some of these costs (such as heat and water) will fluctuate depending on the season and the occupancy. Your costs will vary depending on whether your home is vacant, has one tenant, or has multiple tenants. Condos require you to pay a monthly assessment, regardless of whether someone is living in the unit or not. However, most condos include heat, exterior maintenance, trash, building insurance, and water in their monthly fees.

Receive a free property evaluation to see if your property is a match for corporate housing

Commitment

Generally, single-family homes take more time to manage and require a more active, hands-on investor. There are a lot more things that require upkeep and maintenance in a home than in a condo. For investors with little time, a condo can be a great, worry-free way to go.

Value

While resale value depends on the location, single-family homes are typically easier to resell and hold their value over the long-term. A condo building with 500 units may have 10+ units for sale at any given time, making it difficult to sell your unit at a competitive price.

Investment Goals

Is your goal to build equity in the property? Create a positive monthly cash flow? Create the biggest tax deduction? Have a property you can use from time to time?  Simply rent until the real estate market gets better? Make sure you are clear on your goals, particularly what you expect to get out of the property and why. These answers will allow you to make a better assessment of your success at the end of the year.

Read more about Corporate Housing Investment Trends in the CHBO Annual Report.

Rentals: Furnished Corporate Housing vs Unfurnished

What is best for your real estate investment: Corporate Housing versus a Traditional, Long-Term Rental

Top 4 things to consider when deciding if your rental is best as a corporate housing rental or traditional unfurnished rental.

While corporate housing can be quite lucrative and make your property stand out in a sea of available rentals, it’s not the right strategy for everyone. If you are an investor looking to purchase the right type of rental property, review the following information to determine whether you and your property are the right fit for corporate housing – or whether your property may be a better fit as a traditional, long-term rental property.CHBO Rental Property

The properties that people rent through CHBO often appeal to corporate tenants because they are different than the properties traditionally offered through the full-service corporate housing companies. These CHBO properties are in high demand because they are not found anywhere else.

Location
Corporate housing thrives in urban and business areas where executives travel to often. It also does well near hospitals and universities, which tend to bring on temporary staff or relocate professors or doctors to the area. (Please note these may not be traditional rental areas.) If your property falls into one of these locations, you may want to make it a corporate housing rental and tap into these lucrative opportunities.

Cash Flow
While you will typically get a higher annual return with corporate housing, you don’t necessarily get the smooth cash flow that you would from a tenant who is signing a long-term lease. If you need money by the second of each month in order to pay your mortgage, than corporate housing is not for you. With corporate housing, your place will be rented more sporadically and less consistently than a tenant who signs a 12-month lease. In some cases, especially when you work with corporations versus private tenants, you may not get payment for 45 days.

Nerves
Are you a worrier? Your rental property might sit vacant for part of the year (versus having a long-term, lease-committed tenant). Some people, by nature, worry about these kinds of details and may not have the stomach for investing in a short-term rental property. That said, if you’re more easy-going and enjoy earning higher returns overall, you may be just be the right personality fit for corporate rentals.

Time
Do you have the time? Corporate housing can take more time than traditional rentals because you will have to deal with turnover more often. There may be anywhere from two to 12 transactions on your property per year. If you don’t want to be as active in your property’s management (i.e. you’re not cut out for “by owner” management), then hire a good property manager to handle the nitty-gritty details like prepping the home for the next tenant. AvenueWest Corporate Housing is a full service property management program for CHBO Complete™ properties that is available in some markets. Visit www.AvenueWest.com for more details.

Learn more about your rental as the perfect corporate housing rental in The Corporate Housing Handbook.