Access Property Management Group, LLC • Grand Rapids, MI (616) 301-9450

Remodeling Tips to Increase Rental Income on Your Property – Management Education in Kalamazoo

When you’re preparing a house for the rental market, there are a couple of things you can do that are inexpensive but will have a lot of value for renters. Doing so will help you increase your rental income because with just a few remodeling details, you can charge more monthly rent. Today, we’re in a house in Kalamazoo that I am rehabbing in preparation to rent out. (more…)

Private Placement Real Estate Investing: Just What is This?

       Private funding of real estate deals has been BLOWING UP this year. You just have to scan the headlines to see the words “private equity” and “private funding” everywhere.  This article from NREI.com is titled “Opportunistic Real Estate Funds Hit Cyclical Record”. Another article says, “Private Equity Racks Up Checkered Record in Retail Buyouts”. If you read through our local news like Grand Rapids Business Journal, you will see a lot of movement in our local apartment market as well. Over the next few blogs, we will be defining private placement, asking why to invest using this vehicle and discussing what to look out for before investing in a deal.
       Before we get into defining private placement, we must inform you that we are not attorneys or accountants. This blog is here for your information and is not intended to be legal or tax advice.
What is a Private Placement?
       A private placement is a private offering where investors put money in a deal that is presented by a sponsor. Accredited and/or non accredited investor’s funds are compiled together to invest in larger deals. It should not be mistaken as a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT). Although the term Private Placement can be used in a variety of investments, for this blog series, we will discuss Real Estate only, so the investment vehicle could be multifamily, office, retail, resort property, group of single family homes, etc. In the next blog we will discuss the benefits of private placement over other real estate investment vehicles.
Keywords:
       These are terms that are often used when describing and discussing a private placement. Many of these terms are interchangeable between other types of investments, but it’s important to understand what they mean when pertaining to private placement in real estate.
      • Sponsor: Also called a promotor or syndicator. This is the entrepreneur or team putting together the investment.
      • Executive Summary: Also called a Prospectus. This is the initial Marketing tool presented to prospective investors about a deal. It describes who the players are, what the deal is, the yield, the market, etc. It’s important to note that this is not a legal document. It doesn’t contain the full set of risk disclosures, but it still must avoid anti fraud provisions (misrepresentation, “pie in the sky”). This introduces the deal without providing every detail about it.
      • Private Placement Memorandum: First of all, this is NOT an exciting marketing document. With this document, you can tell if they hired the right attorney because it will be boring, detailed, and contain disclosures and legal wording that is required by federal securities law. It tells all the ways you could lose your money. It is important to read and understand this document, but don’t waste your time with it unless you liked the Executive summary and want to move forward.
      • Accredited Investor: This is defined by federal securities laws. Seen by the government as a less risky investor. They are considered more sophisticated, seasoned investor. They have a net worth of over 1 million excluding the value of their primary residence. OR they have income of at least $200,000 each year for 2 years and will make the same amount this year. You can also include a spouse in this amount and the number jumps to $300,000 year.
      • Non-Accredited Investor: Seen as a higher risk investor because the investment is most likely a higher percentage of their income. They could be more problematic in a deal because they are less sophisticated and less practiced.

Stay tuned for our next blog on the benefits of investing in Private Placements!

What is Going on In the Real Estate Market?? Rents Up, Homeownership Down, Inventory Low?

What is going on in the real estate markets? Every day there seem to be headlines about the housing market. The trends both nationally and locally are at historic numbers that we haven’t seen in a long time. Let’s look as some recurring headlines and stats from the real estate market:
  • Rental rates are rising
  • Homeownership is dropping
  • Home sales inventory is at a historic low
  • Fewer people can afford to own
Rental Rates Are Rising
According to an article in The New York Times, the national vacancy ratio is the lowest it has been in 20 years. This and other factors caused national rental rates to rise 3.2 percent last year. Locally, Access Property Management has seen an increase in rental rates also. Like in any market, some neighborhoods rise while others fall, but in general, we have seen 5-10 percent increases in rent rates. Some areas increased as much as 15 percent!
Homeownership is Dropping
In the same article from the New York Times, it states that homeownership has been falling for the past 8 years, reaching 63.7 percent this year. Another article in the Wall Street Journal forecasts this rate to continue to drop to 61.2 percent in 2030, below the lowest since records began in 1965.
Homes Sales Inventory is at Historic Low
In Grand Rapids, our current housing supply is at 2.3 months. A healthy market that is moving along smoothly has 6 months of supply. In this news article from WZZM 13, GRAR Executive director, Julie Rietberg, says that when inventory is that low, you have double digit appreciation in the market. Ask any realtor in the area and you will hear about multiple offer situations, offers above asking price, and impatient buyers. The article states, “The average price for a home sale around Grand Rapids was $176,020 for the first six months of this – that’s up 9.6 percent from the same period last year.”
Fewer People Can Afford to Own
What is attributing to less people being able to own a home? According to the Wall Street Journal, a few reasons are tougher mortgage qualifications rules, higher rent to income ratio, slow wage growth, and student debt. When will our economy be able to overcome these factors to increase homeownership rate again? That’s where the experts are on opposite ends of the spectrum. What do you think?

Don’t you Wish your Property Manager Did This? EDUCATE!

Have you ever talked with a “professional” and knew more about their profession than they did?  Just this week I spoke with a customer service representative at the post office and found myself educating THEM on a new service the post office has out! Frustrating!

Here are a couple things we do to make sure we keep and maintain our status as experts:

  • Continuing Education: For most property managers, this means the 6 hours a year that are required to have a real estate license. Besides those hours, we attend seminars, read books, listen to podcasts, go to conferences, join organizations, watch webinars, and learn from people. Here are just a few of the recent topics we have explored: Marketing to tenants, leasing and lease renewals, foreign investors, taxes and investment properties, laws relating to investment properties, team building, leadership.
  • Professional Designations and organizations: We seek out the designations that provide our company with the greatest credibility and give us the most “bang for our buck”. What’s the point in getting a few letters behind your name if they don’t actually bring in value to our clients?
  • Constant Improvement: In our company, we NEVER accept the answer “because that’s how it’s always been done”. We are constantly looking to improve our communication, procedures, software systems, and team. We bring in outside experts to assess our processes because a fresh look can bring a new perspective. When are are hit with a problem, we huddle as a team and find the best solution. This will be our culture forever, we will not settle and let the world pass us by.
  • Client Education: In order for us to work at our best potential, we need educated clients. We spend countless time improving our communications to our clients. The more they know, the better decisions they can make. We work with first time investors that have a multitude of questions, to seasoned investors that bring us the problems that they aren’t able to solve. We are ready to be a partner with you through it all.

Property Management Tips: Smart Kitchen Remodels for Rentals

Kitchen Remodel for Property Rentals

Updated kitchens and bathrooms are hot commodities in today’s home construction and renovation business, with kitchens being the more expensive to redo. At Access Property Management Group in Grand Rapids we see that the challenge facing investment owners is how to walk the line between a kitchen that looks great and functions properly, but doesn’t cost so much that it hurts the bottom line.

 

When renovating kitchens, rental property owners are competing not just with all the other kitchens out there, but with kitchens consumers see on television. Cable channels are full of before-and-after rehab shows that feature knockout kitchens. We’re talking granite, cement, or stone countertops, wood or tile flooring, elaborate backsplashes, beautiful cabinets, and appliances that appear to be top of the line. The operative word here is “appear.”

 

Buying high-end appliances and appointments is completely unnecessary from a rental standpoint. But buying cheap isn’t a good idea either, as cheap materials tend to break down easily and result in needless repair and replacement costs. An investor is better off buying sturdy, middle-cost faucets, faux granite countertops, and vinyl wood or affordable tile flooring. Manufacturers are all too aware that most consumers cannot afford high-end products, and they are producing durable “look alike” goods at reasonable prices.

 

Rental properties need to look great in order to compete with other homes on the market, but at the same time they need to be able to stand up to a lot of wear and tear. A smart renovation plan achieves the right look at the right cost.

 

At Access PM Group we take these needs into consideration and strive to offer the best advice out there to help you, the owner, reach your bottom line and your residents, happy with the design.