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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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How to Earn Passive Real Estate Income

July 23rd, 2020 |

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.

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Property Focus: Apartment Remodeling

July 9th, 2020 |

Whether you’ve taken the leap into real estate investing, or are still shopping for your first Boston-area investment property, you’ve likely come across a listing or two that would be an ideal investment “If only.” If only it had an updated bathroom, if only it had a more efficient kitchen layout, if only it had more natural light…etc.

Luckily, turning an investment property from “almost ideal” to “practically perfect” is possible if you keep these apartment remodeling tips top of mind:

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