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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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3 Tips for Remodeling Tiny Bathrooms for Resale

November 24th, 2020 |

When remodeling your home for resale, keep in mind that buyers take a close look at the bathrooms when they tour homes. For some, the sheer number of bathrooms in a home is critical. So, if you are remodeling the house to resell it, you might consider adding some small bathrooms. Here are some tips for a tiny bathroom remodel, whether hiring contractors or starting a DIY project.

1. For resale, focus on the visuals

Think: nice tile, nice colors, nice fixtures—and don’t spend a lot on the high-end utilities because most people can’t tell the difference,” points out Cameron Snyder, president, Roomscapes Luxury Design Center. Style over substance is the key here. You are looking to resell the house, and aesthetics matter. Make the bathroom look nice, and people will be pleased despite what you spent on the utilities.

2. Consider your timetable and how quickly you want to flip the house

It costs more to remodel rapidly than it does to take your time, but it may be worth it if you are in a hurry. A quick remodel will probably require a general contractor (GC) to coordinate the project with various subcontractors, and you are paying for the general contractor’s expertise.

It is possible for you to be your own general contractor but interviewing, hiring, supervising, and paying individual professionals is much slower than letting a GC do it. But hiring your own subcontractors will save you money as you do not have to pay for a GC. DIY takes the most time as you are doing most of the work yourself. Decide early in the process if you want to save time or money.

3. Consider interior decorating to save space

Use a corner sink to save space, use large squares or thick stripes on the wall to create the illusion of a larger area, and use a vanity with open shelves to stop vanity doors from blocking the bathroom.

Buyers consider bathrooms essential when buying a house but will often accept smaller bathrooms than fewer larger ones. If you’re interested in a tiny bathroom remodel, contact us at R.H. Blanchard here.

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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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Property Focus: Townhouse Renovation

October 21st, 2020 |

Ready to renovate? Join the plethora of investors who are snapping up Boston townhouses. The sweat equity of a townhouse renovation makes this type of rental property an attractive and affordable option for supplemental income.

Finding the Right Townhouse

When you are looking for a fixer upper, your first priority is price. Taking time to renovate existing housing benefits the community by keeping buildings vibrant and well cared for. Investors are breathing new life into city neighborhoods with renovation schemes.

  • Budget
  • Purpose
  • Location

First it is important to decide on a budget. Think about what your maximum price point is. How much sweat equity (doing jobs yourself) can you feasibly complete? Have an objective third party help you evaluate your home renovation skills. Decide which jobs you can complete at a high level of competence. Hire out jobs that are beyond your capabilities. Once you know what your threshold is, you can start looking for a townhouse.

Secondly, what is your purpose for renovation? Do you plan on renovating the entire home, or just a basement that you intend to rent out? Deciding clearly on your purpose will streamline the renovation.

Purpose will direct where the majority of your renovation budget will go. Investors have many options when it comes to renovation. Whether a property will be entirely for rental, or if it will be both a residence and a rental, are things that must be decided upfront.

Location and primary purpose of the townhouse go together. These are important criteria to consider when deciding which fixer-upper to buy. Once your purpose is clear, location will naturally become more important. Commuters will want a place near work, and short term rentals will be more profitable if they’re near city landmarks and transportation hubs.

Beware of Renovation Pitfalls

First-time investors and renovation veterans alike are susceptible to certain pitfalls. Details like forgetting to account for state and federal taxes on profits if the property is renovated and then sold can affect your budget. If the property is rented, know which category it will fall under when registering with the city of Boston. Contact us for more information on successfully completing a Boston townhouse renovation.

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5 Amazing Galley Kitchen Renovation Ideas

October 8th, 2020 |

Since updating the kitchen is typically one of the best ways to increase return on investment, making a galley kitchen more functional and visually appealing can be a very smart move. A successful galley kitchen renovation usually solves the most common problems with these spaces: inadequate lighting and poor layout. Here are ideas to address those issues.

The Ideal Solution: Remove a Wall

Due to the popularity of open floor plans, creating a visual connection between the kitchen and the rest of the space should appeal to potential tenants or buyers. Removing a wall also eliminates the dark, cavernous feel that often plagues these spaces. If the wall you would like to remove is load-bearing, opening the space may be possible with the use of a support beam.

An Acceptable Alternative: Design a Wall Cutout

A wall cutout also can connect the kitchen to the living or dining area. It may be necessary to skip upper cabinets to make room for the cutout. You can provide storage by installing open shelving on the remaining wall space.

Install Multiple Fixtures for Ambient Lighting

A single fixture for the main lighting will make the space dark and uninviting. Running pendants or recessed lighting the entire length of the kitchen makes the room look larger.

Choose Reflective Surfaces

Light colors and shiny finishes bounce light around the room. Although white walls, cabinets, and appliances accompanied by subway tile backsplashes are a popular way to take advantage of the power of reflective surfaces, they aren’t the only options. Glossy floor tiles or countertops can achieve the same effect.

Avoid Layout Pitfalls

Putting all appliances on one side can be useful. Generally, it makes it easier for more than one person to work in the kitchen at a time. However, care needs to be taken to ensure there’s sufficient clearance to open each appliance. Out of the box solutions like smaller appliances, a wall oven, or a dishwasher drawer may be the best choice.

R.H. Blanchard Contract & Design has years of experience helping real estate investors get an excellent return on their investments. Contact us to turn the vision for your next galley kitchen renovation into reality.2 hours ago

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5 Split Level Remodel Ideas for Your Investment Property

September 24th, 2020 |

A lot of the homes from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s in the Boston area and its suburbs are split-level properties. Upgrading these properties is a challenge with its traditional layout as well as limited and divided spaces between two or three floors. If you have an investment property and are considering remodeling it, these five split level remodel ideas are highly recommended by the experts:

Facade and Front Entry

Strategic landscaping helps to balance the look of the home from the front. Consider constructing raised garden beds to hide the slope of the property.  Add decorative elements like siding, tiles, and stones to enhance its appeal.

To divert the attention from the garage in the front, add an eye-catching front door entry. Painting the home in neutral and earthy colors is a single most strategy to spruce up the exterior of your home.

Adding Spaces Or Open Up Spaces

You can add more space to the entry by extending the front roof. Consider removing the closet in the entryway to another place as another option.  Get rid of some existing walls, arrange furniture and plants strategically for an open and functional feel.

Some split-level homes have multiple small rooms. Merging them can create a more open and bigger space.

If it fits your budget, construct a new garage as a backyard extension and convert the existing garage into a living space with proper permitting and code. With more space in these homes in the backyard, consider building a deck or patio for outdoor entertaining.

Adding Storage

Extra bedroom in the house can be converted into an office space with cabinets for storage.

Small hallways connecting living space to the garage can be made into mudrooms with shelves for storage.

Relocate the closet or coat hanger from the front entry to the top of the stairs to make space in the entryway.

Improve Lighting

Some homes are quite dark with smaller windows. Adding extra LED lighting (energy efficient) will brighten up the space significantly. Skylights are a great way to bring the natural light in. If you are able to add extra windows on the sides, those are awesome investments. 

Improve Air Circulation and Temperature

Even out the temperature in the house by installing furnace fans all around the house and running them at low speed. Having multiple thermostats allows you to control the temperature in the surrounding spaces as needed. Remodeling a split-level rental is difficult, but not impossible. Extensive projects has to be permitted and planned so the functionality is not compromised between the floors.

If your investment home is a split-level structure and needs updating, it is recommended that you consult with the professionals right from planning to execution. Please contact us at R.H. Blanchard for more split level remodel ideas and so we can guide you step by step in this process.

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Are You Ready For a Victorian House Renovation?

September 10th, 2020 |

Victorian architecture, known for its ornate style and rich beauty, is a grand testimony to quality craftsmanship. While other home styles have faded away due to the ravages of time, Victorian home styles are still going strong, although many are in need of a significant amount of tender loving care. For those considering taking on a Victorian house renovation, it’s worth considering whether one has the time, the expertise, and of course the financing, to restore one of these grand beauties to their former glory.

Reasons for Restoration 

When one considers that the alternative to restoring an older home will likely end in it being bulldozed at some point to make way for another home, it suddenly becomes important to take a serious look at all the reasons why restoring one of these homes is definitely a worthwhile project.

Consider the ornate external detailing of a typical Victorian home, the potential of the interior hardwood floors, the grand staircase, all the baseboard, and cove moulding, and it’s difficult to imagine being able to successfully incorporate all this unique character in a replacement home. When properly restored, even older homes can hold their own in terms of safety, comfort, size, and curb appeal when compared to today’s new builds.   

DIY or Hire the Pros?

While many a Victorian home is definitely worth restoring, it is a big project to tackle, especially when care is taken to honor the history and the architecture of these unique homes. Unless the homeowners or investors have professional trade experience, it’s probably best to leave the jobs such as updating the plumbing, electrical, roof and windows, etc. to the pros. 

The average DIY person can probably handle the smaller tasks such as removing wallpaper, refinishing floors, painting, and with some help from carpenters with the skills to create historical pieces, they may be able to replace a staircase tread here and there, along with replacing some worn-out baseboards or cove moulding.

Consider a Design Service

Anyone who decides to take on a Victorian renovation is likely the type of person who appreciates its history. While they want to make the home as comfortable and functional as possible, they also want to honor its unique style. The best way to blend both history and function is to hire a design service that is full of creative ideas, as well as in-depth knowledge of Victorian architecture.

If you are considering a Victorian house renovation, we can help. Please contact us today for more on our project and design services. 

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5 Small Kitchen Remodel Opportunities With Healthy Return on Investment

August 20th, 2020 |

A transformation renovation doesn’t have to mean gutting your kitchen down to the studs. Any of these 5 savvy projects can infuse high style in a small space without the soaring cost of a complete kitchen makeover.

According to the Remodeling 2020 Cost v. Value Report,* minor mid-range kitchen remodeling yielded 77% in value compared to cost. This national study analyzed facelifts to cabinets, countertops, sinks, faucets, flooring and paint. These are 5 of the top trends for a small kitchen remodel:

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