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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 Doing so lets you buy fixer-uppers, foreclosures, and outdated estate properties.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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What’s the Difference Between General Contractors and Subcontractors?

May 6th, 2021 |

There is dilemma in every construction project on whether to hire a general contractor or a subcontractor. They both help in resource coordination and communication, both of which are vital to a project’s success. Yet, there are differences in the roles that they play in a project. Here are some insights to help you understand the difference between general contractors and subcontractors, so you can make an informed decision for your project.

Who is a General Contractor?

A general contractor, also known as a prime contractor or an Original Contractor, is a group, corporation, or individual who conducts work under a contract and has a direct agreement with the home or property owner. In most construction contracts, we refer to them as the contractor. A contractor will employ subcontractors to complete particular subtasks and hire suppliers to provide building materials.

Who is a Subcontractor?

A subcontractor is a company or a person who provides services that do not have a direct contract with the home or property owner. 

Carpenters, plumbers, and electricians are typical subcontractors on residential construction projects. They are frequently self-employed or small business owners who specialize in a specific construction niche. In construction, they are called “subs”.

They contribute to the overall project by doing a portion of the work. As a result, subs also help reduce project risks by bringing onboard skills that the general contractor may lack.

Difference Between General Contractors and Subcontractors

  • General contractors are employed directly by the property owner. As for subcontractors, another party may hire them instead of the property owner. 
  • The prime contractor often employs subcontractors, but a subcontractor may also hire another subcontractor.
  • A general contractor’s main job is to find and have the requisite coordination and supervision tasks to ensure that the project progresses according to budget and schedule. A subcontractor’s job is to execute the smaller goals for the larger scale design.
  • General contractors handle day-to-day oversight; organize suppliers and subcontractors, while subcontractors’ job is more narrowly oriented since they are professionals qualified in a particular trade such as roofing and plumbing.
  • Because of their experience, subcontractors are consistently good at product and service delivery, so they know what products they need and where to get them, which helps general contractors minimize risks and lower project costs.

The construction industry is becoming more specialized with time. Back then, a single contractor would handle a wide range of tasks and manage the whole project from start to finish. Today, these contractors are more likely to employ someone to do specialized work for them, and this is where subcontractors come in. Feel free to contact us at R.H. Blanchard for more support from our experts.

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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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Galley Kitchen Remodel: Should We Open It Up?

March 24th, 2021 |

When moving to a home, many people love to have the opportunity to take something old and make it new again. Home style and home design consistently change to accommodate our needs and tastes. Many old homes face the same problem, too many walls, and too many rooms. Boston is full of old spaces that weren’t designed to accommodate the needs and tastes of our ever-evolving style. 

An extremely common feature of some older homes and apartments is the galley kitchen. Originally designed to fit the limited spaces of trains and boats, the galley kitchen eventually made its way into our homes and is something that can divide people depending on their personal preference. 

Efficient or Crowded?

Although galley kitchens may not fit into the modern, open-concept homes, they do have their upside. They are meant to be an efficient use of space in homes that have limited square footage due to their narrow footprint. Because of their narrow footprint, a galley kitchen is ideal for serious cooks, they allow any chef to have everything in close proximity and allows them to be more efficient in the kitchen. They are also meant to be unseen, so definitely a plus for any messy cooks out there. 

The small space can have a downside as well. Galley kitchens are not meant to entertain, if you want your kitchen to be a place for people to hang out, a galley kitchen is not for you. They are also tough for anybody who cooks with other people, the small space can quickly become crowded and difficult to maneuver with others in the kitchen with you. 

Should You Invest in a Galley Kitchen Remodel?

So, should you open up your galley kitchen? That depends! Do you like to entertain people in your kitchen? Do you want your kitchen to be a great space for your friends and family to hang out? Then yes! Opening up your galley kitchen can be a great way to open up your house and make your kitchen a top destination for your family or friends. 

One major consideration is the size of your overall house and living space. If you were to knock down a wall and open up your galley kitchen would it open up your kitchen the way you intend? Or would it make your whole house feel like a kitchen? Keep in mind that if you typically have a messier kitchen, that will now be on display to anybody in your home. 

It’s estimated that a galley kitchen remodel can typically run $17k to $21k on average. A few factors to consider before opening up your galley kitchen includes:

  • Is the wall you want to remove a load-bearing wall? If so your project could be much more expensive, and you could have to incorporate a large beam in your kitchen. 
  • Look into other ways to make your galley appear more spacious, such as removing top cabinets. 
  • If you are ready to get an estimate on your galley kitchen remodel or just want to get some additional information, contact R.H. Blanchard today!
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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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4 Home Electrical Improvements You Need to Invest In

February 25th, 2021 |

Home electrical improvements may not be as glamorous as other home improvement projects. However, electrical upgrades are essential. They can increase your property’s value as well as save money on taxes and return on investment. For example, home electrical improvements usually increase your basis for tax purposes. As you make plans to update your property’s electrical system, here are specific upgrades to consider.

Upgrade the Electrical Panel

Since Boston’s housing stock is among the oldest in the nation, older electrical panels are commonplace. The main problem with them they weren’t designed to handle the tremendous electrical load of modern lifestyles. If your property has an electrical panel rated 100-amps or 60-amps, it’s time for a new panel that can support the multitude of appliances and electronics most households have today. Other signs you may need to upgrade your electrical panel include:

  • Dimming or flickering lights
  • Rust or other signs the panel has been wet
  • Scorched areas on the panel
  • Circuit breakers trip regularly

Install More Dedicated Circuits

In an older home, the most recent home electrical improvements may have been completed before changes in the National Electrical Code increased the number of dedicated circuits homes need. The code specifies which appliances and fixtures require dedicated circuits. Your professional contractor will be familiar with the code and can determine whether your property needs additional dedicated circuits.

Upgrade Outlets

Replacing outlets that are showing signs of damage is a must. An optional yet inexpensive way to add value to a property is to install USB outlets. They eliminate the need for adapters because electronics like smartphones and tablets can be recharged by plugging them directly into the USB outlet. Another budget-friendly upgrade is to replace traditional outlets in the bathroom and kitchen with safer GFCI outlets

Make Strategic Lighting Improvements

Upgrading the lighting in the bathroom and kitchen frequently enhances the property’s value, functionality, and aesthetics. Properties that have a single light source in these rooms aren’t competitive in today’s marketplace. In addition to ambient lighting in the kitchen, task lighting for the sink and food prep areas are necessary to meet tenant or buyer expectations. For the bathroom, it’s becoming customary to have lighting on both sides of the mirror instead of a single light above it. Your professional contractor can suggest additional lighting upgrades for these rooms based on your property’s layout.

Contact R.H. Blanchard Contract & Design when you’re ready to make home electrical improvements for your property.

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Top 5 Non-Slip Bathroom Floor Tiles

February 11th, 2021 |

Even though most homeowners prioritize decor and aesthetics when remodeling their homes, bathroom renovations call for safety first. According to a CDC report, approximately more than 230,000 people slip and fall in the bathroom every year, resulting in unintentional injuries that require a lifetime of medical treatments. These figures show the importance of prioritizing safety measures in the bathroom and using hazard-free flooring options such as non-slip bathroom floor tiles. This article will give you 5 non-slip bathroom floor tiles that you can consider when upgrading your bathroom to enhance safety without compromising on your aesthetic preferences.

Ceramic or Porcelain Flooring

Ceramic or porcelain tiles are popularly used in bathrooms because they are affordable, aesthetic, and durable. They are also easy to install and maintain, making them ideal for small and big bathrooms. If you choose ceramic or porcelain tiles, you should go for the non-slip textured options that offer a good grip and more protection against accidents.

Natural Stone

Despite its high cost, natural stone is one of the top non-slip bathroom flooring options you can invest in. Its beautiful touch can elevate the look of your bathroom and its durability is unquestionable. The sandblast and stone combination give this textured stone enough grip, enhancing your bathroom’s safety. Your high investment in the natural stone flooring will not be in vain because installing it increases the value of your home.

Non-Slip Vinyl

As a flooring material, vinyl is known for its affordable, wide array of aesthetic finishes. This option is suitable for the bathroom because it is durable, easy to clean, and rarely stains. Most vinyl tiles are also waterproof and are unlikely to absorb water. Its textured surface and in-built padding make for a great non-slip bathroom floor. You must ensure that your vinyl is properly installed to prevent water from seeping through the seams and causing mold issues.

Linoleum

Often confused for vinyl, linoleum is the perfect bathroom flooring option for anyone looking into biodegradable and environmentally friendly material. Linoleum bathroom tiles are usually produced from linseed oil mixed with ground limestone, jute, or cork powder. Resin solutions are also used to incorporate the non-slip, anti-skid feature on the linoleum tiles. This flooring material is also ideal for your bathroom because it is water-resistant and easy to maintain.

Rubber Flooring

Rubber is an ideal material for non-slip bathroom flooring because it is soft and padded for maximum protection in case of an accident. Nonetheless, rubber flooring is quite expensive hence very few homeowners choose it.

The Best Non-Slip Bathroom Flooring Options

Ultimately, choosing the right material for your bathroom floor can prevent falls and accidents. There is never a perfect non-slip bathroom material and accidents can still happen after you have installed the above flooring. However, you can create an accident-proof bathroom by placing anti-slip mats on your bathroom floor to protect yourself and your loved ones. Contact R.H. Blanchard to get a bathroom remodeling contractor in Boston.

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What Is the Average Cost of a Bathroom Remodel in Massachusetts

January 21st, 2021 |

Bathroom remodeling is one of the home improvement projects that need a balance between cost and value. A luxurious project costs more than an average one. Other factors, such as the size of the project, determine the average cost of remodeling too. If you are researching the average cost of a bathroom remodel in Massachusetts, here are some estimates that would guide you.

Average Cost of a Bathroom Remodel in Massachusetts 

Two main factors are likely to determine the cost of your bathroom renovation project in Massachusetts:

  • Quality of materials
  • Size of your project (small, medium, or big)

A bathroom remodeling project can cost you any amount between $5,000 and $30,000. The average cost for remodeling most home bathrooms can go up to $20,000.  Some projects can cost around $15,000, especially if the bathroom is smaller in size.

Cost Based on Quality of Materials

According to Remodeling Magazine, the average cost of DIY bathroom renovation projects was about $6,000 in 2020 for a small bathroom. If you decide to use high-quality materials for a luxurious bathroom, the cost will go up to around $20,000. This estimate considers the possibility that you have hired a remodeling expert for a small bathroom.

Size of Your Bathroom Remodel Project

You may choose to do a complete make-over of your bathroom or renovate a few things. Smaller tasks that include replacements will cost a lower amount, while significant tasks will require more cash. Here are some estimates according to Remodeling Calculator:

  • Relatively smaller installations like a bathtub, shower assembly and sink plumbing can cost around $380, $230, and $70, respectively.
  • Installing a toilet or a shower door curtain costs between $370 and $390 on the higher side
  • Other installations have varying costs – this includes tile flooring which can average about $450-500, wall tiling which can run you around $1100 on average, and sink installation which can cost from $400-600 or beyond, depending on what materials you use.

As you research the average cost of a bathroom remodeling in Massachusetts, consider all factors plan prudently. Contact us now to inquire about our contracting services for your next project in Massachusetts.

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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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