The impact of the pandemic will likely be seen for years to come, but one effect we saw in 2021 was a boom in the housing market. Low-interest rates encouraged first-time home buyers, but materials shortages meant the housing supply couldn’t keep up with demand. Home prices rose, giving sellers the upper hand.
But not everyone is jumping at the chance to buy a new home. Changes in the employment landscape mean people who want to spread out can’t necessarily meet the higher down payments required. Where do they go instead? They spill over into the rental market, seeking apartments and other multifamily housing.
Market forecasters are predicting the increase in housing prices to continue in 2022, though not as steeply as this past year’s. Supply and distribution issues continue to impact the market and aren’t likely to cease anytime soon. If you aren’t already invested in rental properties, now might be a good time to start. If you have rentals in your portfolio, consider boosting amenities and making other improvements.
Higher Prices, Fewer Vacancies
Rentals are an opportunity, and with demand high, modern amenities both command higher prices and have fewer vacancies. If you want to appeal to millennial renters and older Gen Z, you’re going to have to modernize. Sure, upgrading the dryers in your laundry room is a good first step, but it’s not nearly enough.
What does the new generation of renters want? Above all else, they want technology. That applies to apartment amenities. Think high-speed internet, smart thermostats, energy-efficient appliances, and IoT-enabled living. If you can’t get a cell phone signal from your apartment building, you’ll be dead in the water.
Gen Z-ers also pay a lot of attention to online reviews and ratings. Nearly a third of Gen Z renters in a recent survey said that reviews weigh heavily into their apartment selection process. The best way to get those stellar reviews is to make your rentals Instagram and TikTok ready. It also doesn’t hurt to incorporate online payment and maintenance systems into your service.
We’re also seeing a continuation of remote work opportunities. That means more people at home, working and schooling. Incorporating desk and office space into your renovations is a smart move. Because self-employed workers can claim more tax breaks if they have dedicated office space, they’ll be on the lookout for nooks and spare rooms.
Ready and Winning
Though property values are elevated due to demand, premium prices can be commanded by the most ready-to-rent properties. That means getting started sooner rather than later, particularly in neighborhoods with a higher post-grad population. Thankfully, a lot of options exist for financing redevelopment and remodeling endeavors.
To get going early on remodeling, you need cash now, not three months from now. Hard money loans put power in your hands much faster than traditional real estate loans. Since you’re securing the loan based on assets you already have, you don’t need to jump through all of the credit history hoops you might be used to.
Use the equity in the property being renovated or another property to get a lump sum. Then, put that to work getting your units ready for new renters. Although an upgraded leasing office is a nice way to greet potential tenants, what’s really going to impress are selfie-worthy interiors – great lighting, contemporary colors and fashionable hardware. Once your new look has gone viral, use the increased income to pay down the loan.
In most cases, it seems like you have to have money to make money. If you’re not having luck with lenders because you either haven’t been in business long or don’t have the right credit, don’t give up on your upgrades. The Small Business Administration will typically help out when you want to get your hands on new real estate or construct renovations.
Some unique qualifications have to be met before you can get SBA-backed funding. For starters, nonprofits need not apply. There are plenty of resources available for nonprofits, and any good broker will be able to point them out. Since the SBA is a federal entity, they only support businesses that are owned and operated in the United States. Be sure to check out the other rules and restrictions before you apply.
Line of Credit
If you aren’t ready for a complete redo but still want to perk up your property, a line of credit is a great option. Once open, you can use your account for fresh wallpaper, new ceiling fans, poolside furniture, and whatever else you need. It’s also handy for hiring personnel to get the work completed.
Flip It and Forget It
You don’t have to hold property once you’ve renovated it to see a profit. Hard-money-funded redevelopment can positively impact a hold strategy for the reasons above. They can impact a sell strategy as well. A value add can shorten the time to sale and let you sell at an increased price.
If you’re thinking of cashing in on the housing market spillovers, you’re not the only one. But many investors don’t have the patience it takes to remodel. They want to take over rent-ready real estate right away. Therefore, the same market that’s going to bring new renters will also bring new investors. Once you’ve used a hard money loan to redevelop, you don’t have to rely on rental payments to help you pay it off. You’ll get more for selling the property after you’ve boosted its curb appeal. Then, you can pay down the loan and move on to the next project.
Upgrading amenities, redeveloping aging real estate, and updating floor plans will boost your investments whether you want to hold or sell. Use the tools available through your broker to fund improvements and do it soon. As more and more people decide to hit the rental market, competition will ramp up. The winners will be those who can offer more and better amenities faster.