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5 Rental Property Investment Opportunities in Massachusetts

September 21st, 2021 |

Whether you’re a novice property investor or a veteran, you’ll find plenty of rental property investment opportunities in Massachusetts. Below are five communities with healthy housing and rental markets.

Quincy

Rich in American history as well as home values, Quincy is another Boston suburb with a booming housing market. Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams were born there, resulting in the nickname “City of Presidents.” In July 2021, the average home sale price rose to $570,000 — an increase of 7.8 percent over the previous year. Houses are on the market for an average of 20 days.

The average rent for a two-bedroom apartment rose 2 percent to $2,000, while the average four-bedroom jumped a whopping 37 percent to $4,450. This is a market worthy of a property investor’s attention! 

Lynn

Lynn is another city that enjoys job growth and high demand for homes. The city’s rapidly developing economy includes companies such as Walsh Oil and Bent Water Brewing Company. The average home sale price jumped 19.8 percent to $385,000 from 2020 to 2021. Homes average 20 days on the market as of August 2021. Similarly, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment rose 18 percent to $1775. The average two-bedroom rent rose 8 percent to $2,000. 

Worcester 

Located 40 miles west of Boston, Worcester enjoys a robust housing and rental market. Locals call the city “the heart of Massachusetts,” and the investment picture will surely capture your heart as well. In July 2021, Worcester’s home prices had increased 30.3 percent, with a median sale price of $367,500. Properties spent an average of 19 days on the market. You won’t have to wait long to benefit from the average $1,505 rent per two-bedroom.  

Taunton

For investment property opportunities, you’ll want to check out the city of Taunton. Located 40 miles south of Boston, Taunton boasts a healthy investment climate. According to TurboTenant, the city boasts a 0.6 percent population growth and 1.1 percent employment growth as of 2019. Home prices have risen 25.6 percent in 2021, with a median sale price of $418,000. And those properties sell fast, with an average of 20 days on the market. 

Although the average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment has flattened, Taunton continues to have a healthy market. Rent for a two-bedroom apartment rose by 5 percent to $1,600 between July and August 2021.

Newton 

A suburb of Boston, Newton has all the ingredients for a robust rental market. As of 2019, its population was 89,000, and people continue to move to this city to take advantage of its job growth. As people move to Newton, the city’s demand for houses and apartments continues to increase. The median home value is $1,390,000 and rising. From July to August 2021, the median two-bedroom apartment rent increased by 1 percent to $2,525. 

General Contracting for Rental Properties

Once you’ve found the ideal rental property, you may want to do some remodeling. RH Blanchard will put its 10-plus years of general contracting experience to work for you. Contact us when you’re ready for a free consultation.

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The Importance of Curb Appeal for Split-Level Investment Properties

August 25th, 2021 |

When it comes to curb appeal, split-level properties can be challenging. Sloping yards and multiple levels require specialized landscaping techniques. As an investment property owner, you want to maximize your ROI. From erosion control to strategic plantings, implementing the right split-level home landscaping ideas can make your property more marketable and improve ROI.

Erosion Control and Slope Stabilization

It may not sound glamorous, but erosion control should be your first priority. Split-level homes often have sloping yards that need stabilization. Rainwater flows down the slopes and can result in soil erosion, foundation damage, wet basement and other problems. Plants with deep, extensive root systems slow the speed of flowing water and help prevent erosion. Choose stabilizing grasses, ground covers and low-growing shrubs such as

  • Fescue
  • Muhly grass
  • Creeping juniper
  • Creeping phlox
  • Cotoneaster

Slopes that are greater than 3:1 will need more than plants for stabilization. If the slope is steep enough, you may need to install some hardscape, such as

  • Retaining walls
  • Drainpipe 
  • Boulders
  • Stairs

Erosion control takes time and effort. However, it can save you money in the long run by preventing water damage to your investment property. 

Balance the Levels

One way to add curb appeal is to balance the appearance of the different levels. Consider planting a 20- to 30-foot tree behind the shorter section of the home or at each corner of the home. You can choose from many trees that thrive in the Boston area, such as 

  • Paperbark maple
  • American hornbeam
  • Kousa dogwood
  • American smoketree

A specimen plant can add a balancing focal point to the end of the driveway. Attractive shrubs that add texture and color to the landscape include

  • Panicle hydrangea 
  • Beautybush
  • Smoke bush
  • Purple beautyberry  

Spruce Up the Front Entry

With creative use of space and plantings, you can transform the front entry from flat and boring to intimate and inviting. Many shrubs and hedges make excellent privacy screens, while a trellis can hold flowering vines. Plants that can spruce up the front entry include 

  • Boxwood shrubs
  • Privet hedges
  • Clematis vine
  • Climbing rose

Add a couple of chairs and you have a tranquil space that looks charming from the street. 

Smooth Transition Between Levels

You can add curb appeal by smoothing out the transition between levels. For example, a retaining wall can look harsh or abrupt. You can soften that look by planting cascading vines in beds on top of the walls. Great choices include 

  • Sweet potato vine
  • English ivy
  • Wave petunia
  • Trailing lobelia

Yard Maintenance

You can’t beat good old-fashioned yard maintenance for improving curb appeal. Picture your split-level property through the eyes of a potential buyer or renter. Nothing makes a better statement than a neat, cared-for yard and entry. The following tasks should be done on a regular basis:

  • Rake leaves
  • Remove dead plant debris
  • Prune shrubs and trees
  • Mow lawn
  • Weed planting beds

Experienced General Contractors  

For over a decade, investment property owners in the Boston area have relied on RH Blanchard for general contracting services. We combine the skills and experience needed to manage large and small projects alike. To learn more about split-level home landscaping ideas and other tips for investment properties, contact us today for a free consultation.

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Your Insider Guide to Using Real Estate As Passive Income

May 20th, 2021 |

Passive income is an excellent way of building wealth, saving up for large future investments, or just creating a nice nest egg for the retirement years. Real estate as passive income makes sense because it does not need a lot of hands-on attention. In fact, if you set yourself up for success in the beginning, you may have to do very little toward the end.

Choose a Property

Real estate in the Boston area is a good option. Select properties that appeal to your targeted demographic. For example, homes in an area with good schools are desirable for families. If you cater to the singles market, buy closer to the North End. Keep it near major transportation arteries but not so close that tenants can see or hear them.

Now is an excellent time to work with an agent to run an investment property analysis. This step lets you understand how much you would be able to charge for rent. The analysis shows you whether you break even after purchase costs and monthly expenses or show a profit.

Buy Low and Plan on Making Minor to Moderate Improvements

Create a working relationship with an outstanding general contractor who specializes in preparing a property for the rental market. Doing so lets you buy fixer-uppers, foreclosures, and outdated estate properties.

Of course, no matter what type of property you buy, be certain to get an inspection. Pay close attention to code violations, foundation issues, and water damage.

Once you decide on the best place, the contractor can do minor repairs, cosmetic improvements, and update fixtures. Kitchen remodels for the rental market include cabinets and countertops that are specifically for the builder market. They are less expensive and wear well.

Choose Your Involvement Level as Landlord

Rental properties generate monthly income. If you really want to be completely hands-off, consider working with a property agent who manages the day-to-day tasks. This company would collect rent, screen prospective tenants, handle lease agreements, and send out contractors if there is a middle-of-the-night plumbing emergency. While it does affect your bottom-line slightly, it is a worthwhile investment for a hands-off experience.

Are You Ready to Explore Real Estate as Passive Income?

Boston offers attractively priced single-family units, duplexes, and apartment buildings. Mixed-use properties are among the real estate options that are generating the most interest. Of course, no matter what type of property you choose, contact R.H. Blanchard today to handle the construction details.

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A Complete Guide to Your Split Level Home Remodel

April 20th, 2021 |

Split level homes, an icon of the 1960s, are making a comeback among investment property owners. A licensed general contractor is your best resource for updating and remodeling your split level property. Whether it’s new siding or interior lighting, a skilled professional will do the job right the first time for your split level home remodel. 

1. Update the exterior 

Now is the time to replace that outdated stucco or faux brick exterior. A general contractor can help you jazz up a split level exterior in several ways. 

  • Replace the siding on the taller part of the house with vertical siding, architectural panels or other new materials. 
  • Re-side the lower façade with stone or other updated materials.
  • Repaint the garage doors in a bold color or replace them with doors made of natural wood or sleek metal and glass. 
  • Replace the roof with a color that contrasts with the rest of the exterior. 
  • Paint the soffits to contrast with the exterior color of the house.

2. Replace or add windows 

Does your split-level property have small windows or windowless walls? New or additional windows can update the look of the home.

  • Upgrade to larger windows or install windows in blank walls to add exterior style and interior light.
  • Replace old windows with double-glass panes or insulated glass units (IGUs). This type of window helps stabilize indoor temperatures and reduce noise.

3. Change or move the front door

An entrance to a split-level home can feel cramped or look dark or flat. A few remodeling tricks can dramatically improve the appearance of the front entrance of a split level home.

  • Replace the original door with a glass door to let in more light. 
  • Replace the street-facing door with a window, and move the original door to face the driveway.
  • Match the front door with the new garage doors to create a unified exterior.
  • Add a portico, porch or entrance cover to make a flat front door more attractive and easier to find.

4. Tear down walls

Open floor plans continue to be a popular trend. Many older split level homes, however, have small rooms that feel outdated. Want to create a spacious, airy environment? A general contractor can help by tearing down interior walls. For example, you can knock down part of a kitchen wall to open the kitchen to the living area. The result will be a larger space that is perfect for socializing.  

Some walls should are important for the structure of the building and should remain in place. An experienced professional will know how to avoid structural damage when removing walls.

5. Update interior lighting 

Interior lighting is an important ingredient in setting the mood and comfort level. A brighter interior is an effective way to modernize a split-level home.

  • Add recessed lighting in the kitchen for a clean, well-defined look.
  • Install a skylight in the living area for natural light and reduced electric light usage.
  • Paint the interior in light colors to make small rooms appear larger and brighter. 

6. Upgrade the HVAC system

A remodel should make a split level home more comfortable as well as more attractive. Older split-level homes can have uneven temperatures from room to room. An HVAC upgrade can get rid of those annoying cold spots. One option is to upgrade to a multi-zone system with a thermostat for each zone.  

7. Hire a general contractor  

A licensed general contractor has the necessary skills and experience for your split level remodel. For more than 15 years, Boston-area investment property owners have relied on R.H. Blanchard for their remodeling projects. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.

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6 Advantages for Contracting Out Remodeling Services

April 6th, 2021 |

Remodeling projects are a fact of life when you own investment property. Your first step? Call a general contractor who offers remodeling services. While it’s tempting to do the work yourself, you’ll save time and enjoy peace of mind when you hire a qualified professional. Keep reading to learn about 6 advantages of hiring out contractor remodeling services.

1. License and Qualifications 

A licensed general contractor will provide high quality remodeling services. A contractor must have certain training, skills and experience to obtain a state license. They will be familiar with building codes, permit processes and inspections. You may even be able to get better building loan terms when you hire a licensed contractor.

2. Project Management Services  

A remodel involves calling multiple subcontractors and filling out endless paperwork.  As an investment property owner, you already have enough on your plate – you don’t need that hassle. A general contractor is the only contact you’ll need for your remodeling project. They will obtain permits, arrange schedules and communicate with suppliers and designers. They know how and when to complete each part of a job, from updating light fixtures to adding a new room.

3. Design Experience  

You have certain goals for your investment property. During your first consultation, you’ll tell the general contractor about your vision. The contractor has the professional experience necessary for putting your vision into action. They know which design elements to combine and how to safely complete each part of the job. Whether it’s a new wood floor or replumbing a kitchen, a contractor will make sure the project is up to code.  

4. Insurance Coverage 

Every remodeling project has risks that can bring headaches. Injuries, equipment malfunction or property damage can occur on the safest job site. If you do the work yourself, you will have to pay for any problems that come up. If you hire multiple subcontractors, you’ll have to keep track of their separate insurers. 

A licensed general contractor, however, will carry liability insurance. Their insurance will cover injuries or accidents that occur during the remodel. If something goes wrong, it’s your contractor’s job to deal with the insurance company.

5. Remodel Completed Efficiently and Safely

DIY projects almost always involve hours of research, mistakes and false starts. The learning curve alone can slow your progress and add costs. Where can you buy that specialized tool? What type of glue should you use and how long should it dry? Add your own daily work schedule and family needs, and you have a recipe for stress and frustration.  

A professional contractor can anticipate the length of each stage of the project. They will know which subcontractors to hire and when to schedule them for each task. They’ve learned which materials to use and which suppliers are the most reliable. This knowledge and experience will help the project run smoothly and efficiently.

Safety is another concern during a remodeling project. Updates like electrical work, structural changes and plumbing can be dangerous. Licensed professionals are trained to complete high-risk tasks. You’ll rest easy knowing that all aspects of your project are in skilled hands.

6. Better Return on Investment

What about the return on Investment (ROI) from your remodel? A professional contractor will give you better value for your money than if you do the work yourself. Your newly remodeled property will provide opportunities for increased ROI. For example, you can recoup your costs by charging higher rents or selling the property at a higher price. 

Hire an Experienced General Contractor 

At R.H. Blanchard, we’ve been providing contractor remodeling services in the Boston area for more than 15 years. Is it time to replace that dated linoleum floor? Do you need to enlarge a room or add storage space? Contact R.H. Blanchard for a free initial consultation.

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5 Interior Design Trends of 2021

March 10th, 2021 |

Being aware of the major interior design trends for 2021 can be helpful for property managers and real estate investors who are planning to update their Boston properties. Since many people are spending most of their time at home, this year’s interior design trends focus on making interior spaces tranquil, comfortable, and functional. 

Elements of Nature Are Everywhere

Due to the emphasis on creating calming spaces, making links to nature has become the biggest trend in interior design today. Furniture, light fixtures, and home accessories made of natural materials like rattan have exploded in popularity. Translucent window treatments have gained favor as a way of increasing natural light. When possible, this year’s renovations will include adding windows and doors to boost natural light and views to the outdoors.

Also, houseplants are back in style as a component of home decor. In 2021, there will be more wall planters, open shelving, and living walls to give people a place to display their houseplants.

Rich Color Is Back

The neutral tones that have dominated interior design in recent years will take a backseat to nature-inspired colors.  Prevailing colors will be ocean blue, forest green, burnt orange, sunny yellow, and jewel tones like sapphire, emerald, and ruby.

Multi-Functional Rooms Are the Norm

Given the rise of working and learning from home, rooms have to do double duty. Workers and students will appreciate built-in storage options that make it easy to stay organized when your living room, dining room, or bedroom is also your office or classroom.

Yet Dedicated Home Offices Are Prized

Remote workers yearn for dedicated home office space. Terms like cloffice are trending on social media as desperate teleworkers seek to turn closets into home offices. Properties with dedicated home office space will be sought after.

Maximalism Is Here to Stay

The influence of minimalism is waning. Maximalist trends are on the rise. In particular, grand-millennial style is the millennial generation’s nod to the comfortable interiors of their grandparent’s generation. The style features antiques, wood furniture, ruffles, tassels, pleated lampshades, toile, chintz, and floral wallpaper.

R.H. Blanchard Contract & Design helps Boston area property managers and real estate investors keep their properties in step with the times. Contact us to discuss your next project.

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Color Forecast 2021: Your Complete Interior Paint Guide

January 7th, 2021 |

If it were possible, we would all make the jump to 2021 and get rid of 2020 as quickly as we can. 2020 is not without merit, though, as it is an essential cog in mapping industry trends. Lockdowns and restrictions have forced many to spend more time in their homes, leading to people channeling their funds to home improvement and an industry change in the direction of in-home painting trends. Predicting the color forecast 2021 will highlight gives us all something to look forward to!

One fine example is how color has come back strong into the interior design space. Industry trends point to ocean blues, forest greens, and earth tones, perhaps to compensate for the lack of outside action. We all need some cheering up, and it shows in the warm and bright colors people are choosing. Follow us as we unveil the interior paint color forecast for 2021.

Yellows

Nothing reminds us of the outside other than a nice splash of sunny hue. Use soft yellows to complement different hues to create a mood of optimism and strength.

Urbane Bronze

It is a warm, calming color that stabilizes the mind by anchoring it to the natural world, recreating the ultimate retreat.

Aegean Teal

With a bright teal, recreate natural harmony that leads to a profoundly soothing environment for reflection and finding inner warmth and wellbeing.

Rich, Saturated Tones

Choosing these colors will make any room pop, creating an energetic and cozy environment perfect for meeting and conversing. Rich shades include red, orange, and pink.

Nature Tones

Continuing in the warm colors trend, painting a room in nature colors promotes a feeling of comfort and safety and makes the space cozy. Bring nature to the living space with shades of chocolate browns, ocean blues, and moss green.

Jewel Tones

Transform any dull room with a jewel tone, such as sultry purples and ruby, to give it a reinvigorating and refreshing vibe of visual stimulation.

Contact RH Blanchard today if you need any information about the color forecast 2021 will highlight. They will give you expert advice on the paint you should choose for your investment home in the Greater Boston area.

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Commercial Property Investment for Beginners

December 25th, 2020 |

Commercial real estate investing offers some of the highest income streams available, so it’s no wonder that individuals would be interested in an investment opportunity that likely offers a lower turnover of tenants, thus translating into a steadier monthly cash flow. Nevertheless, it’s important to review at least some of the basics of a commercial property investment to ensure that investing in a warehouse, office, mixed-use, retail, industrial or apartment building in the Boston area truly aligns with one’s overall investment strategy.

The Basics of Commercial Investment

Some might assume that the highest monthly cash flow investment would be the best opportunity, however, that is not necessarily the case. It’s also important to consider how much one might need to add value to an investment. Examples of value-added items include interior renovation and/or improvements such as landscaping or remodeling a building’s exterior.

Other considerations include the anticipated appreciation of business property (it should look promising), within the timeframe an investor plans to hold onto the property.

Which Type is Best for You?

Investors who may have owned a small business in the past may be more comfortable beginning their investment career in a warehouse, office, or retail property. Others may be more comfortable making the switch from a single-family landlord to investing in an apartment building. Having at least some practical knowledge about the various types of commercial investments available may also be an advantage when it comes to accurately comparing the current market value of a property against the location, style, and size of nearby competitors.

More Stringent Financing

Be prepared to meet or exceed the financing requirements for commercial investments, which is typically higher than for residential investments. Most lending institutions require that commercial investors meet higher income or net worth standards, in addition to making a larger financial commitment.

Contact R.H. Blanchard

It’s important to weigh the pros (higher income stream, lower vacancy risk) of investing in commercial properties vs the cons (rigorous financing, more complex planning), especially for those most comfortable with residential properties. If you would like more tips on how to become a successful commercial investor in the Boston area, please contact us at R.H. Blanchard.

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4 Tips for Investing in Luxury Home Rentals

December 17th, 2020 |

The market you are investing in plays a critical role in determining the value of your investment now and in the future. For example, if you want to buy a property in Boston, say in the neighborhoods of Back Bay or Newton, you should first assess the economic outlook, cost of living, the sale price of comparable luxury home rentals, etc., before making a decision. Also, make sure to check out the surrounding areas as they can influence the dynamicity of the market.

Pay attention to economic indicators

Take advantage of economic indicators to gauge the current and future state of the market before investing your money. Besides the location, be keen on indicators that predict economic cycles, particularly in regard to demographic change and economic growth.

The takeaway

Real estate investments can turn out to be quite profitable; it all depends on the market you invest in, the resources at hand, and your shrewdness as an investor. Remember that for you to see a return on investment in luxury home rentals, you need to work closely with a professional, especially when it comes to design and renovation as it helps to create more value for your property.

R.H Blanchard has the experience and expertise to help you navigate the luxury home rentals market to ensure you acquire the rental home that you are looking for. Contact us to learn more.

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5 Ideas to Add Curb Appeal to an Investment Property

November 11th, 2020 |

It’s not always necessary to spend large amounts to improve the look and function of an investment property. Oftentimes, even small improvements can have a big impact when it comes to impressing potential buyers or renters. This article outlines 5 curb appeal ideas ranging from simple and inexpensive, to more substantial improvements that may cost more, but are sure to increase the value of an investment property. 

1. Make a Good First Impression

When looking at an investment property, consider the area where potential buyers or renters are likely to look first. In most cases, the area is the front entrance, a porch, or a front yard. If the front yard landscaping is overgrown, often a simple clean up and trim will go a long way to improving a home’s curb appeal. 

A home’s front entrance or porch can easily be spruced up, often with a simple cleaning, and a few additions such as a new doormat, a safe handrail, a fresh new paint color on the door, or updated door hardware. Replacing the house numbers and/or mailbox if they have a worn, tired look is a good idea as well. 

2. Add Accents

Once the basics are taken care of, it’s time to add a layer of visual interest. If a home has a porch or front entrance, consider adding some potted flowers or plants near the entrance, or add some flower boxes on the windows. Some homes may have shutters that can be painted to complement the newly painted front door. 

3. Install New Lighting

Residents of a home always appreciate lighting fixtures that are functional, provide sufficient illumination, and look well-maintained and attractive. Adding attractive, updated light fixtures to the front entrance is a great way to enhance the curb appeal of a home and only takes minor DIY skills to get the job done.

4. Freshen the Exterior

Sometimes all it takes is some clean up and a small improvement in landscaping to add curb appeal to a home’s exterior. Other properties require more of a financial investment. Some homes may need a new garage door, new stairs leading to the front entrance, driveway repairs, or a new sidewalk in order to function as a safe, well-maintained home.   

5. Big Ticket Essentials

Since a home’s exterior is the first thing people will notice, items such as the roof, the siding, and/or the exterior wall paint must give the impression of being well-maintained. Sometimes all a home needs is a good power washing. Other homes may require an investor to make repairs or replace exterior components of the home altogether.

If you are interested in beginning a project featuring any of these curb appeal ideas for an investment property, please contact us at R.H. Blanchard today.

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