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Monthly Archives: December 2015
Mesa Trash Pick Up Schedule
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Phoenix Trash Pick Up Schedule
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Tempe Trash Pick Up Schedule
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Chandler Trash Pick Up Schedule
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Gilbert Trash Pick Up Schedule
Starting Monday January 4, 2016, Town of Gilbert implements a new trash pick up schedule.
Weekly Mortgage Interest Rate Report December 17, 2015
|“As was almost-universally expected, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) of the Federal Reserve elected this week to raise short-term interest rates for the first time since 2006. We take the Fed at its word that monetary tightening in 2016 will be gradual, and we expect only a modest increase in longer-term rates. Mortgage rates will tick higher but remain at historically low levels in 2016. Home sales will remain strong, but refinance activity should cool somewhat.”|
|– Sean Becketti, chief economist, Freddie Mac|
How to cosmetically renovate your investment property
Is one of your properties a little worse for wear? A cosmetic renovation could add hundreds of thousands to its value, and significantly broaden your prospective tenant pool.
What is involved in a cosmetic renovation? Cosmetic renovations, in contrast to structural renovations, are changes to the visual appearance of a property. To differentiate between a structural and cosmetic renovation, it is important to first understand what a structural renovation entails. As a general rule of thumb, anything that requires moving or adding load-bearing walls, including adding a storey or an additional room, is considered a structural renovation. A cosmetic renovation, on the other hand, is any other renovation that changes the physical appearance of a property.
A cosmetic renovation could involve:
- New flooring
- Replacing light fixtures
- Replacing door handles
- Replacing cabinet handles
- Adding a splashback to the kitchen sink
- New blinds
- A facade refresh with new paint
- New plants in the garden or new fencing
- Replacing bathroom tiles
- Change of colour scheme
- New window fittings
In addition to these small updates to the appearance of the property, cosmetic renovations can also involve much larger-scale projects, such as:
- Ripping out the kitchen to replace it with new cabinets, bench tops and appliances
- Ripping out the vanity in the bathroom
- Replacing an old combined bath tub and shower with a more easily accessible shower
- Pulling down a non-load-bearing wall to open up spaces; for instance the walls of an enclosed kitchen
If ever there is a time you decide to pull down a wall, always consult a professional builder or architect to ensure it has no load-bearing responsibility.
Why cosmetically renovate? A cosmetic renovation is an effective way to spend a budgeted amount of funds on work that will improve the physical appearance of a property. Even the smallest cosmetic renovations can greatly affect the feel of a home, attracting a wider pool of tenants.
In addition to provoking an increase in interest in your property on the rental market, cosmetic renovations keep your property well maintained and looked after. Tenants tend to have more respect for properties that are well presented. It also means that when it does come time for resale, your property will achieve a higher sale price, as a renovation will add value to the property.
Cosmetic renovations on your bathroom and kitchen The condition of a property’s kitchen and bathroom are the biggest indicators of a property’s age, which is why it is essential to keep these rooms updated.
Depending on the state of the rooms, you could get by with just a few small cosmetic refreshes. In the bathroom, for example, that could mean a new faucet and showerhead, a fresh coat of paint, or a new toilet seat.
In some cases a few additional and more substantial things could need replacing, like cracked or outdated tiles or basins. Where it’s necessary, and funds permit, a complete rip-out of the bathroom or kitchen could be the way to go. A brand-new, modern kitchen or bathroom can add a huge amount of value to your property.
When making the decision to renovate a bathroom or kitchen, there are a number of things to consider.
- Does the whole bathroom need a rebuild?
- Could I get away with keeping the vanity and simply replacing doors or handles?
- Do I need a whole new toilet, or would a seat replacement be sufficient?
- Does it have a timeless and bright/clean colour scheme?
- Is the shower easily accessible for people with limited mobility? A separate tub and shower is generally a more practical idea
- Is there enough storage space?
- Does the whole kitchen need a rebuild?
- Could I get away with keeping the existing cabinetry and simply replacing doors or handles?
- Is the space functional? Is there enough bench space?
- Is there enough storage space?
- Are the stove elements in decent condition or do they need to be replaced?
- Does the kitchen have a neutral, fresh colour scheme that would appeal to a majority of renters?
- Are the appliances functioning property?
Which areas suit cosmetic renovations? Cosmetically renovating property can have a completely varied outcome depending on the area in which the property is located.
Firstly, if you are renovating a property in an affluent area, it is necessary to spend the extra money on high-quality finishes, as the tenants looking in these areas seek a high-quality feel and will pay extra to ensure they get it.
Secondly, if you are renovating in a less expensive area, there are places where you can cut corners, so to speak, while still achieving an attractive result. In direct contrast to renovating in a more expensive area, tenants looking to rent in a less expensive area don’t typically have a flexible budget, and therefore won’t have the luxury of being able to pay extra for designer finishes.
In addition to this, properties located within popular lifestyle hubs are generally more expensive, in terms of rent, than their sister suburbs. It is important to keep this in mind when renovating, as people are already paying extra to secure a property within the hub, thus won’t necessarily have a lot extra to play with.
Suburbs just outside of a central hub are more affordable to begin with, thus could be more likely to benefit from a cosmetic renovation as they will still be within an affordable budget with a rent increase.
Property investors who are cosmetically renovating their properties need to make sure they carefully consider their target demographic and current prices in the suburb. There’s no point increasing the value of the property to a point where no one living in the area can afford to rent it.
Cosmetic renovating tips
- Consider flat-pack options for things like cabinetry
- Shop around for appliances and consider factory seconds or even near-new second hand
- If you are renovating a property in a less expensive area, consider buying no-name brands of appliances – stainless steel appliances will look good despite the missing badge
- Look for discounted designer stock, as opposed to full-priced, cheap stock
- Set a strict budget and don’t overspend on things that won’t increase the potential value of the property
- If you are renovating a property in a high-end area, don’t cut corners. The tenant pool in these areas are looking for quality finishes, and won’t be fooled by budget renovations
- Choose your tradespeople wisely – ask for recommendations rather than simply finding someone on a directory
- Time is money, so stick to a strict schedule so you aren’t losing incoming rent
- Do a lot of research before you start any sort of renovation – and have a thorough plan to work with
Fed Makes Long-Awaited Move; End of an Era, Signal of Confidence
- The U.S. economy passed a major psychological threshold as the Federal Reserve closed the door on the extraordinary measures put in place to combat the financial crisis. With the quarter-point increase of its overnight lending rate, the Fed signaled that the economy has finally returned to normal operating levels. Though some sectors still face headwinds, broader economic measures including employment, retail sales and even home prices have largely returned to healthy performance standards. The Fed’s policy-setting committee reiterated that it will maintain a gradual pace of rate increases, aligning actions with key indicators such as labor market conditions, inflation and international developments.
- While short-term lending will be influenced by the Fed’s move, long-term interest rates will face little upward pressure in the immediate future. As 2016 progresses, the cost of long-term debt could see upward pressure, but this will be influenced as much by domestic and international confidence as by the central bank’s actions.
- The move by the Federal Reserve will likely benefit commercial real estate investors, more because of the message it conveys than the influence of the rate change itself. By raising the rate for the first time since 2006, the Fed
has finally expressed its confidence in economic growth, potentially opening the door to increased consumption and business investment. These positive trends would benefit all commercial real estate sectors as household formations escalate and increased discretionary income supports demand for housing, retail goods and business services.
- The tempo and sustainability of economic growth that swayed the central bank represent a decidedly positive development for the office sector, and industrial properties will also benefit from this trend. Additional hiring will generate new office space demand and put downward pressure on vacancy. Also, incremental demand may also emerge in interest-rate-sensitive financial services businesses, contributing to a projected decrease in the U.S. vacancy rate next year. In the industrial sector, a more robust pace of economic growth stemming from higher consumption will stimulate additional space demand from retailers. However, the rate increase will likely also strengthen the dollar, restraining U.S. companies with significant export business.
- A solid pace of household creation accompanies an economic expansion and will generate new demand for apartments in the near term. U.S. apartment vacancy will fall this year to 4.2 percent and will rise nominally in 2016 as elevated completions narrowly outpace net absorption. Also, the Fed’s benchmark rate most directly affects consumer borrowing for items that include residential mortgages. Any additional tightening in monetary policy that suppresses single-family homebuying and maintains a low rate of homeownership will provide a supplemental lift for the multifamily sector.
Above are credit of Marcus & Millichap. The information contained herein was obtained from sources deemed reliable. Every effort was made to obtain complete and accurate information; however, no representation, warranty or guarantee to the accuracy, express or implied, is made.
Weekly Mortgage Interest Rate Report December 10, 2015