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5 Features of a Profitable Rental Property

Are you considering investing in a rental property? Owning a rental property can help you diversify your investments and provide an extra layer of financial security. Whether it’s a nest egg for your family or your retirement plans, investing in a rental property can help you achieve your financial dreams. 

Like other investments, real estate is not without its risks. The attraction in investing in real estate is its simplicity. Owning property is straightforward and tangible. When we see our neighbours’ homes soar in appraisal every year, we want to invest in our future, too. But investing in a rental property has many possible pitfalls if you don’t do your research. We’ve compiled the five top features of a profitable rental property to help you get started. 

Choose a Tenant-Friendly Location

You’ll need to make sure that your investment property is in an area where tenants will rent. Make sure the average rents, rental listings and vacancy rates match your goals first. Statistics Canada provides data on vacancy rates by metropolitan area in British Columbia and Canada, which you can check out by year. You can also visit StatCan to compare dwelling characteristics in different regions, like basement suites, duplexes or condos. 

A Livable Neighbourhood

You’ll need to look at a few factors when considering the neighbourhood. Researching the area will give you valuable information about your potential tenants. If you buy a property near a university, you’re likely to get students. The neighbourhood will affect the vacancy rates and the potential tenants you’ll attract in the future. The second most crucial factor is schools. If your property is near a school, young families may be more attracted to a long-term rental in the area. Start by visiting the neighbourhood, yourself. If you’re out of town, there are other ways to research the neighbourhood online. Start by checking if the area has any community Facebook groups. Use Google Earth to ‘visit’ the neighbourhood virtually, or check if the neighbourhood has a local newspaper online. 

Think of the Future

A rental property is a long-term investment, so you’ll need to make sure the neighbourhood has potential for the future, too. Take a drive through the neighbourhood and take an inventory of all the facilities. Community centres, libraries and parks are indicators of an established neighbourhood. You want to see if the area allows potential tenants to live, work, and play in the area. Are there restaurants, shops or malls for people to get what they need? Where do people work in the area? You’ll want to look out for commercial buildings and signs of future development. If you find residential or commercial construction, the area is expanding, and developers expect the population to increase. 

Make Sure Property Taxes Don’t Weigh You Down

Checking the property taxes of an area is a straightforward way to determine your cost-versus-profit potential. You will need to decide for yourself what amount you feel comfortable paying. In this case, consider your financial situation in the case of a recession or period of tenant vacancy. If you originally planned to use the rental charges to pay for property taxes, how long are you willing to foot the bill when your property is empty? Visit the BC Assessment website to check out property assessments in the area, which will give you an idea of the taxes you’d have to pay. 

Make Security a Priority

At the end of the day, no one wants to live in an area with a high crime rate. Local police stations may share crime rate information with you if you visit and ask. You can also check out Statistic Canada’s Canadian Crime Tracker to give you an idea of the rate. When reviewing data on crime rates, one thing to look for is to check if the crime is rising or falling in the area. It will tell you whether the area is receiving community intervention or support and if brighter days are ahead for the neighbourhood. 

Now that you know the tip five features of a profitable rental property, you can begin to consider whether you’re ready to take the next step. Investing in a rental property is a significant consideration, so take your time. And if the idea of renting out your property is overwhelming, we’ve got you covered. Ronin Property Management will screen quality tenants so you can relax. Check out some of our listings here.

The Best Guest-Friendly Upgrades to Increase Your Rental Value

It’s the start of a new month. You’re transitioning between tenants, or you’re looking to rent your property for the first time. You’ve been dabbling with the idea of renovating, but you aren’t sure where to start. The good news: even small changes can reap big rewards when you make upgrades to your property. Guest-friendly changes ensure your tenants’ comfort and make your property more attractive in the rental arena.

Want to increase the value of your rental property? Read on for upgrades that make the most significant difference and don’t break the bank. 

Paint

A fresh coat of paint is a helpful tool for showing off the best feature of the interior: light. The more light there is indoors, the bigger it feels and the more attractive the space. Use whites, eggshells and light hues to keep the area feeling open and clean. The pros say that a quality paint job can last seven years where there isn’t too much wear and tear. 

Flooring

Floors are one of the first things people notice when they walk in, and they can increase the value of your home in a cinch. While carpets aren’t obsolete, you can likely guess why flooring is such a crowd-pleaser. Like a coat of paint, sleek flooring creates more space and is popular for its easy maintenance. Laminate, vinyl, and hardwood floors won’t hold onto odours like carpet can. Plus, flooring makes for a more inviting space if your rental is pet friendly. Nowadays, there are a variety of floor options that won’t get scuffed up by four-legged friends. 

Minor Upgrades, Big Difference

When it comes to refreshing the look of your property, small changes can make a big difference. If you’re looking to modernize a space in an older building, there are plenty of tweaks that can help. You can update knobs and handles throughout the home for a consistent look. But you can also target the small features that can date your interior if left unchanged for too long. If your electric outlet covers are a greenish hue, they’re probably from the 1980s. Switching them for a crisp white cover is a quick fix. Vent covers and toilet seats are also quick swaps that will update a room. Don’t forget to take a look at the blinds or window coverings, if you include them. Consider replacing blinds that are twisted or broken. If you need a style note on blinds: a larger width of blind gives a modern and elevated look. 

Storage

Storage is one of the ultimate priorities for renters. Depending on your space, you might consider adding storage options. If your options are limited, even hooks inside an entryway closet are a great addition. Organizing units fit closets of any shape or size and are easy to install. In the kitchen, you can add extra shelving to tall cupboards. (Or better yet, removable shelving as a convenient option). Finally, make corner cupboards more accessible by adding a spinning shelf like a lazy Susan. 

Quick Fix Fixtures

You wouldn’t believe how much new fixtures can revive the look of a bathroom. The faucet, cupboard and drawer pulls, towel racks, hooks, and even the doorknob are all fair game. And this way, you can avoid a complete bathroom renovation, which can rack up your reno bill quickly. Updating fixtures can take decades off the look of your bathroom (even if the rest of the bathroom isn’t exactly brand new). 

Style Notes on Fixtures: 

If you’re replacing faucets in the bathroom or kitchen, try to avoid fad styles. These will age quickly, and you’ll run into the same problem of needing to update in a few years. On that note: yellow gold is a little risky, so proceed with caution unless it’s the only choice to match your décor. As far as finishes go, you can’t go wrong with metals – polished chrome, brushed nickel and brass. If you’re looking to be a bit more on-trend, matte black fixtures are stylish in a way that will last. Be careful of plastic on or around fixtures. They can crack more easily and be subject to yellowing from usage. 

To play it safe, swing your style towards either end of classic or modern. You can recognize traditional fixtures by details like flat cross handles or if you spot the word Venetian in the description. Modern designs will have sleek and minimalist lines. These serve double duty since they’re also easy to clean. Finally, consider a waterfall faucet for a bit of effortless glamour if you’d like to stand out. 

You might want to give your rental a complete makeover, or you may simply need a few tweaks. Start with these changes if you’re looking to impress your potential tenants and increase your rental value. If you need inspiration, take a look at our current rentals.

Exploring Vancouver’s Yaletown Neighbourhood

With the summer sun shining, it’s still the perfect time to enjoy Vancouver’s bustling downtown outdoors. We’re not talking about hiking and kayaking, although you’re never far away from either option in the city. If you prefer happy hour over picnics and breezy sea strolling to mountain climbing, Yaletown is the neighbourhood for you. 

Nestled next to the West End and across the water from False Creek, Yaletown was once an industrial area full of railyards and warehouses. Now, the neighbourhood is home to a wonderful mix of restaurants, unique retail shops and loft-style residences. Yaletown’s distinct look of brick, cobblestone and overhanging canopies make it a neighbourhood to explore over and over. Check out the spots below to start your tour of Yaletown. 

Patio Time

You know you’ve hit Yaletown if you find yourself on one-way cobblestone streets lined with covered patios. Perfect for the summer or any time of year, Yaletown boasts the most restaurant patios in any Vancouver neighbourhood. And you won’t have a shortage of choices when it comes to cuisine. Check out Nuba’s authentic Lebanese to try Najib’s special, the addictive crispy cauliflower tossed in lemon and served with tahini. Meanwhile, OEB Breakfast Company has you covered for breakfast, serving up signature breakfast poutines and summer cocktails with charming names like the Aperol of my Eye Spritz and I Get my Spritzes Down in Georgia. You don’t need to go exotic to enjoy a fantastic meal, either. Brix & Mortar dining and wine bar sits in a 1912 heritage brick house, serves up exquisite Canadian fare, and takes advantage of the Pacific Northwest’s tasty seafood. 

Bring Your Pet

Yaletown beats out Vancouver’s other neighbourhoods in another arena, too, for being the most pet-friendly district in town. Whether you’re visiting or moving in, a large number of the area’s hotels and condominiums allow your furry friend to come along for the stay. Cooper’s Park has an off-leash dog area just under the Cambie Street bridge. And you can check out one of Yaletown’s many eclectic puppy boutiques to spoil your pet, like Homer Street’s Barking Babies. Yaletown loves pets so much it hosts the West Coast’s largest pet festival, Pet-a-Palooza. The free street festival brings in nearly 20,000 guests on Hamilton Street and shows up again this year on Sunday, September 12th, from 11:00 to 4:00. 

Walk, Jog or Bike the Seawall

Every part of Vancouver’s iconic seawall has its perks, and you’ll quickly see why so many people choose Yaletown to be their home in the city. With the most high-rise buildings concentrated in the area, more Vancouverites get a view of the gorgeous waterfront. The seawall and bike path is part of Vancouver’s seawall, which happens to be the world’s longest uninterrupted waterfront path. Here, you’ll catch a view of boats moored at its many docks, and you can end up at either Science World or English Bay, depending on the direction. If biking or jogging isn’t on your to-do list, you can stroll the seawall to get to even more restaurants with patios overlooking the water. Or take a break in the open space of David Lam or George Wainborn Park. 

Check Out Unique Boutiques

Shopping in Yaletown is a day-long affair, punctuated by stops at nearby cafés to recharge. Whether it’s home décor, fashion or speciality items, the neighbourhood is full of shops to stroll into. Wine enthusiasts can check out Swirl Wine Store on Mainland Street to peruse over 750 varieties of B.C. wines. And don’t forget that Yaletown is also known for its speciality foods and merchants. Pacific Boulevard’s La Bottega Di Mangia just opened this summer, where you can find speciality Italian pantry foods to enjoy at home, raid the delicatessen, or indulge in fresh-baked focaccia Napoli-style, the owner’s hometown. Once you’ve had your fill of shopping, finish the day roaming the Contemporary Art Gallery, where admission is free.  

There’s a good reason that so many visitors and Vancouverites enjoy the trendy streets of Yaletown. No one season outshines another to explore the neighbourhood, either. Vancouver is no stranger to rain, and many of Yaletown’s covered patios are heated so that you can enjoy them year-round. If you’re curious about making Yaletown your new home, check out some of our listings to see if we have any suites available in the stylish neighbourhood. 

Read These Important Tips If You’re a First Time Rental Property Owner

So, you pulled the trigger and invested in a property. It’s ready to rent out and you’re looking forward to the extra income. Renting out your property means you’ll have a few things to juggle from now on. You’ll be the first point of contact for maintenance and repairs, and you’ll take on a new role as a landlord. Before you jump in, don’t forget these important tips to start off on the right foot.

Know Your Laws

The details of laws may differ if your rental property is a detached home, townhouse or condo. If you’re renting out a condo, you’ll need to inform yourself of your Strata’s rules and regulations. B.C.’s Strata Property Act is a good place to start. You may also want to brush up on what’s needed to submit your taxes on your rental income. Is your property owned personally, in a partnership, or in a corporation? If the property is only under your name, it will be taxed based on your personal income. Don’t forget that you must submit your income for the year you receive it. So, if you collected rent for January in December, you’d have to submit it as income on the previous year’s tax return.

Understand Your Landlord-Tenant Relationship

You can use the free tenancy agreement form the B.C. government provides, or you can create your own. All rental agreements need to follow B.C.’s Residential Tenancy Act. It’s your responsibility to give your tenant a copy of the signed rental agreement within three weeks of signing. You have a right to screen potential tenants, but you need to know what’s allowed and what isn’t. For example, you can request a criminal background check, but you cannot require it as a condition of tenancy. You can ask for references and proof of income or employment to establish that your tenant can pay rent. When in doubt, put it in writing. That includes rent receipts, damage and pet deposits, and cleaning checklists. You want to hope for the best, but prepare yourself for bumps in the road. So, it’s not a bad idea to inform yourself on the process of evicting a tenant in B.C. and the process required to do so.

Make a Plan B

Problems don’t always pop up on schedule. A toilet leak can occur while you’re at work, picking up the kids from school or on vacation too far away from home to help. When you factor in that emergency home repairs average $1400, the damage can add up quickly. Do yourself a favour and make a plan for when you’re needed at your property. Try defining what the most urgent emergency would need (like a water tank leak or significant water damage) and who you’d need on site right away. Keep contact information with you for quick access, and have a backup contractor or service company in case. For extra preparedness, define what the next level of home repair would be. Not an emergency that requires immediate attention, but something that can be fixed within a few days. Jot down the steps needed on your phone, so you can carry on with peace of mind.

If You’re Overwhelmed, Ask for Help

There’s a lot of excitement to renting your property. Some of us take to the task of home repairs or keeping their tenant informed like a fish to water. For the rest of us, the list of considerations as a property owner might feel like a headache on top of our already busy lives. If you could use a hand with your new property, consider hiring a property manager to help. They’re skilled at taking tasks off your plate. They can screen potential tenants, and be the first line of contact to them. They’ll also use the best tips and tricks to make your rental look its best when it’s up for rent, take photos and post your listings. Property managers tend to have a more extensive reach for potential tenants, too. They can take care of the details when your rental agreement is up, like the final walk-through, and returning security cheques. By freeing up your time, you’ll have more options. If your property is in a popular location, you could try out a short-term rental model like AirBnB. In the Lower Mainland, you can check out our property management services to see how we can help.

How to Take the Best Photos of Your Rental Property

 

What makes your rental property great may be obvious to you, but you need show its best assets to potential renters. Vancouver and Toronto boast the most homeowners with an additional home for rent. In 2018, B.C was home to 268,660 British Columbians multi-property owners. With so many landlords out there, you need your property to stand out. Here are the tips and tricks used by real estate photographers to make properties stand out.

Equipment & Set Up

If you’ve already purchased yourself a DSLR camera, it will be put to good use. These cameras are easy to use for beginners and provide extra features for the photographer at heart. You can find many affordable options for DSLR cameras if it is something you want to invest in. The truth is, in many cases a phone camera will do well, too. The newest smartphones have quality cameras and extra apps and features are just a YouTube video away for beginners. Whatever you’re using, you can use the grid option to help you ensure your pictures are straight and level. Although it isn’t necessary, a tripod can help you if you find it easier to work with. But most importantly, you’re going to want to take the biggest possible shot of each room. This usually means taking the picture from the corner of a room to include as much of it as possible in the snap.

Small Staging Makes a Big Difference

You don’t have to be an interior designer to create a space that renters can see themselves in. While making sure the interior is clean and tidy is the first step, a few additional tweaks can upgrade the look of your property. When tidying our own homes, we often consider, say, the kitchen clean even with dishes drying in the rack. Keeping your sinks empty and your counters home to only a few appliances will help potential buyers see how much space they will actually have. Clear the tv or appliance cords that create a messy bundle and find a way to hide them. Often, you can even use removable tape to stick them to the back of the tv stand or shelving unit. Adding decorative pillows to a couch or bed. Add something extra to your surfaces, your coffee or dining room tables or shelves. Books, a vase of flowers or a plant will add warmth so your renter can see themselves enjoying your space.

Light & Bright

Proper lighting is going to highlight the features of your property. You’re going to want to turn on all the lights in the home and take your pictures during the day. If you can, pick bright days with lots of sunlight. If you find yourself with many overcast or dark days like we can regularly see in BC, try this tip. If your photos have major shadows because of the gloomy weather, simply use any lamp to point directly towards the shadows to offset them. (Just make sure you keep the lamp out of your shot!). Be mindful of whether you have white or yellow-toned lighting in the home so your photos don’t all turn out yellow. If you still aren’t happy with the darkness, this is where various lighting presets or apps can be used to edit your photos.

Point Out What’s Special

What makes your rental condo or home unique? Have vintage archways, hardwood floors you want to show off? Does your property boast tons of storage space? Saving a few snaps for the unique features of your place pays off because it provides renters with information that sets you apart from the competition. It allows renters to start planning their potential living space within your walls. When taking photos of features in the home, you can get a bit closer to snap your photo. Go low instead of snapping a photo from above for a professional look.

Don’t Forget the Outside

Often forgotten, photos of the exterior are a great addition. Renters want to get a sense of the place as a whole, and exterior photos can actually help them get a better sense of spacing. If your property has a parking space or street parking, make sure to include a photo. Additional amenities like courtyards or rooftop decks if your condo has it work too. Always include photos of the exterior of your apartment building or home, too. The best time to take these photos are in the summer. Early evening time will create lighting that isn’t too harsh and creates a golden glow. Waiting until the summer will be worth it because you’ll be able to reuse your exterior photos over and over again.

With these tips, your rental property will look great. And if you’re looking for inspiration, take a look at our rental listings.

3 Day Trips to Enjoy Spring in Vancouver Safely This Year

The sun is out, and it’s waking us all from our winter slumber. Netflix may be asking if you’re still watching, but the weather is inviting you to come out of hibernation. It’s time to get outdoors and enjoy all that Vancouver has to offer safely this spring.

Everyone is feeling the weight of the pandemic. Restrictions aren’t always predictable, and rules can change. Keep these two tips in mind as our day trip ideas get you energized for spring.

Outdoors Trumps Indoors

With the odds of contracting Covid-19 twenty times lower outdoors than indoors, it’s a no brainer to keep activities outside. Pack essentials like camping chairs, extra shoes and hand sanitizer to make the outdoors more comfortable.

Crowd Control

With everyone outside, many popular hotspots in Vancouver can still be crowded. You can avoid crowds with a few tweaks to your day. Opt for earlier times in the day for your visit, try for a weekday if you’re able, or simply trek a few extra steps to keep your distance. With no shortage of landmarks or gorgeous vistas, there’s room for everyone to enjoy Vancouver safely.

When you keep yourself and others safe, you can breathe a sigh of relief. Let your guard down enough to enjoy your surroundings, because it’s time to get that vacation feeling back. Whether Vancouver is steps away or a short car ride away, here are three day trips to take advantage of all the city has to offer.

Day Trip 1: The Day in Bloom

Spend a day devoted to smelling the roses. There’s nothing like the smell of fresh flowers to get you excited for spring. And Vancouver isn’t without options. Visit the classic VanDusen Botanical Garden by reservation, and you can swing by the Bloedel Conservatory, too. If you’re downtown, head to Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden for a tranquil oasis in the heart of the city. Turn your garden visit into a full day at Stanley Park, which has you covered for flowers and extra fun. The park is home to six gardens, and if you haven’t visited yet, you’re in for a treat. The classic Stanley Park Rose garden has over 3500 rose bushes. Meanwhile, the Shakespeare Garden is an underrated haven. At this arboretum, you can stroll to find trees mentioned in the Bard’s works. With plaques of Shakespeare as your guide, you’ll feel like you’ve been whisked away to the English countryside.

Day Trip 2: For the Active Heart

In a place like Vancouver, there is no shortage of outdoor activities to keep you healthy, happy, and safe. Make like a tourist and cycle around the seawall, the world’s longest uninterrupted waterfront path. Don’t have a bike? Renting a mountain, cruiser or tandem bicycle is no problem with various rental options around the city. Step outside the city and you can behold the breathtaking site of North Vancouver’s multiple suspension bridge parks. Visit the famous Capilano Suspension Bridge Park to cross seven suspended bridges over 110 feet of beautiful BC forest. Or check out a mini (and free!) version of the park at Lynn Canyon Park.

Day Trip 3: Play it Safe

For those who miss exploring a new city, here’s something for you. Explore Vancouver in a Covid-conscious way and see it in a new light. Vancouver Mysteries offers outdoor games to play in small groups with guides at a distance. Or grab your contactless game kit to play with the people in your bubble. You can even accept your secret mission to save the city or solve a detective challenge. If you’re more of a listener than a player, you’ll love a walking tour from Forbidden Vancouver. The 100% outdoor, socially distanced tour will fascinate you with stories of Vancouver’s secret past of dark crime and scandal.

After a long day, retire to a cozy spot. To recreate a vacation away, consider a staycation at a hotel or rental pad. Vacation rentals can provide an extra touch of comfort these days with private entrances and entire homes to yourself. If you’re looking for a longer-term rental, we’ve got you covered. Check out Ronin’s listings here, and happy exploring!