You can’t beat Boston neighborhoods for history, charm, and culture. Property investors, however, must consider many other factors when looking for the best neighborhoods to live in. What is the likely return on investment (ROI)? Are home prices and rents increasing year-over-year (YOY)? The following sections look at 6 investment-worthy Boston neighborhoods.(more…) Read More
Is your New England home or investment property ready for winter? A winter home maintenance checklist can help keep your tenants comfortable and prevent costly repairs. Now that temperatures are falling, you’ll want to read the following tips.
1. Finish Fall Cleanup
Now is the time to cross off any remaining tasks on your fall cleanup list. Finish pruning, raking, and disposing of leaves and dead branches. You’ll want to do this before snow covers those piles of plant debris and freezes solid.
2. Check Fire and Carbon Monoxide Alarms
Cold New England winters mean closed windows, a running furnace, and an oven baking all those holiday cookies. To protect the health and safety of your tenants, install or inspect smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Change the batteries and make sure the alarms are working properly. If you haven’t installed them, you can buy smoke alarms and UL-listed carbon monoxide detectors at home improvement stores.
While at it, ensure all fire extinguishers are in working order. Your tenants should be able to easily access extinguishers near stoves, fireplaces, or other fire-susceptible areas.
3. Seal Windows and Other Leakage Points
From windows and doors to outlets and light switches, air leakage points can cause heat loss in a home. Check for air leaks or drafts around windows and doors. Replace cracked or worn caulking or weatherstripping. Gaps around electrical outlets and switches can be sealed with caulk and aerosol foam.
4. Prepare Exterior Pipes
Frozen pipes will burst and cause flooding — a costly but preventable headache. Pipes in unheated areas, such as the garage or basement, should be insulated. Drain your outdoor sprinkler system, disconnect garden hoses and close and cover all outdoor faucets.
5. Schedule Electrical and Heating System Tune-Ups
Before the winter chill sets in, electrical and heating system tune-ups are critical items on your winter home maintenance checklist. A licensed electrician can check and repair issues with power flow, sparking, and worn or damaged wires.
A reputable HVAC technician can inspect your heating system, replace filters and make any needed tune-ups. For example, you should have a gas heating system cleaned every three years, and a boiler system cleaned every year.
6. Flush and Insulate Hot Water Tank
Sediment builds up over time in a hot water tank. Flushing the tank should be a regular part of winter preparation. After flushing, you can keep the water heater warm by placing an insulated blanket around it. This step can help lower your energy bills during the cold weather.
7. Inspect Roof and Gutters
A damaged roof can cause serious problems during the winter months. Melting snow can leak into walls and cause structural damage to the building. A professional roofing contractor can inspect your roof and repair damaged shingles or other issues. You should also ensure gutters are cleaned to allow drainage and protect the roof from damage.
The general contracting professionals at RH Blanchard can help you complete your winter home maintenance checklist. Get in touch today for a free quote.Read More
The most widely recognized green building certification system in the world, LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Read the following overview of the LEED-certified building process and learn why it’s important for sustainability.
Green Building Concept
The green building concept acknowledges that buildings can have positive and negative effects on human occupants as well as the natural environment. It covers all building project phases, including planning, design, construction, demolition, and operations. Based on timeless design principles of economy, utility, durability, and comfort, green building considers the following factors:
- Energy and water use
- Indoor environmental quality
- Building materials
- Site and location impact on the community
Using green building principles, project teams can work toward meeting LEED certification requirements.
LEED Project Rating Systems
Before a leed-certified building project begins, the project team must choose a relevant LEED rating system based on the scope of the project. Rating systems include:
- LEED Building Design and Construction
- LEED for Interior Design and Construction
- LEED for Operations and Management
Each rating system can be adapted to a specific type of project, such as schools, warehouses, and multifamily residential. Once the project team confirms that the project meets the requirements and prerequisites for the chosen rating system, it’s time to develop a certification strategy.
LEED Building Certification Strategy
Next, the project team decides what certification credits to pursue. The team will probably develop two certification strategies:
- Ideal case — the project meets all desired credit requirements for LEED certification.
- Minimum care — the project meets requirements for 40 points, which is the minimum requirement for certification.
Resources are available to help project teams develop certification strategies, including
- LEED Scorecard — Helps teams develop environmental and financial goals for their project.
- LEED Credit Library — Provides information on documentation and other strategies for obtaining credits.
- United States Green Building Council (USGBC) People Directory — Helps teams find general contracting professionals and other experts for their projects.
- USGBC Project Directory — Provides insights into similar LEED building certification projects.
How LEED-Certified Buildings Help Sustainability
Green building and LEED certification can help project teams and communities reach sustainability goals. In fact, LEED certification incorporates the three pillars of sustainability:
LEED buildings have a positive impact on all three pillars. For example, green buildings are designed to have cleaner indoor air, which has a beneficial effect on people’s well-being. LEED-certified buildings often use alternative energy, such as solar or biomass power, which has a positive effect on the environment. By 2030, green buildings are expected to divert up to 540 million tons of waste from landfills.
Finally, green buildings contribute to prosperity in many ways and can be a valuable option for investment property owners. Examples include reducing energy use by 30 to 60 percent and increasing home sale prices by as much as 9 percent. Research shows that existing green homes sell for up to 30 percent more than conventional homes.
Are you ready to begin the LEED-certified building process for your Boston-area investment property? Contact the experienced general contracting team at RH Blanchard for a free quote.Read More
Passive income is money you can make with little day-to-day involvement. It takes time to plan and set up the initial process but eventually you can create a continuous stream of income. Some examples of passive income are real estate income, such as buying rental properties, creating a money-making blog, or investing in dividend-producing stocks.
Building a passive income is a wonderful way to fund your retirement. You can hedge it against a job loss or insufficient retirement income. Creating passive income via rental property requires precision planning and advice from trusted professionals. You must do due diligence and detailed research about these three things before moving ahead.(more…) Read More
Several of Boston’s centuries-old properties still stand today and are suitable as private investment residences, though they may require building rehabilitation. Each of these five properties has a unique historical significance.Read More
Before the winter weather becomes “oh so frightful” (and the fire so delightful), it’s a great time for landlords to look at their current preparedness for the winter weather that is headed their way in a matter of a few short weeks. Before the first significant snowfalls fall, it’s a great time to stop and ensure that the rental properties you have are ready to keep the tenants residing inside safe, warm, and healthy throughout the frigid months ahead.
The following are 10 steps that you can take to make sure that your rentals are winter-ready before the significant snowfalls and cold temperatures of winter actually hit the greater New England Area. (more…)Read More
Finding and keeping top-quality tenants is not an easy task for any landlord. These are the landlord’s “dream” tenants. The ones that pay their rent on time, follow the rules and are not a “noise complaint” for neighbors. They are the ones that make the landlord’s life and job much easier.
However, it’s no secret that not every tenant is a “dream” tenant. When a landlord finds these tenants that are among the cream-of-the-crop, keeping them is the next important step. (more…)Read More
Fall redecoration season is slowly falling upon us like autumn leaves themselves. The 2018 fall interior design seasons will be dominated by color optimization, vintage accessories, and furniture that looks like it wouldn’t be out of place at an 80’s business meeting. However, though seemingly focused on the designs of old, the current fall decor trends offer a unique opportunity for self-expression through utilization of classic effects, accessories, and furniture. Below we’ll take a look at the top ten interior trends to expect this fall:Read More
Boston is known as one of the oldest cities in the United States, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t up-and-coming neighborhoods that have people clamoring to find their perfect home and move on in. While virtually all of the locals know about living in Fenway or Back Bay, many are looking for a new living experience that fits their unique lifestyle. Whether you are in the market for a retirement community, a great place to raise a family, or just buy your first home, Boston offers something for everyone.Read More
Houseplants are a great way to add warmth and texture to any apartment, but there’s a lot more to be said for the wisdom of adding indoor plants than just the fact that they make good design sense. Houseplants actually offer health benefits that are particularly beneficial to those living in a city environment where, thanks to traffic and industry, pollution levels tend to be on the high side of the spectrum.Read More