Western Washington is known for its relatively mild weather, but we do have seasons. An outdoor living space that’s enjoyable to use during our Pacific Northwest summers may not be the most practical choice in the winter months. The solution? An outdoor living space that can flex with the seasons. My personal favorite is an outdoor living room with a partially covered patio or deck, an outdoor fireplace and an outdoor kitchen/grill area. Add a little drama with large sliding glass doors or bi-fold walls that open to your outdoor living room from the inside. By creating an outdoor living room that can be used year round, you essentially double your capacity for entertaining.
The best way to maximize your return on investment is to add outdoor amenities that are easy to maintain and usable rear round. Adding a swimming pool may sound like an attractive idea right about now, but pools aren’t as practical in the Pacific Northwest as some people might hope. Most potential buyers think pools will involve more work than pleasure. That’s exactly what you do NOT want with an outdoor space. When clients ask me for suggestions for outdoor upgrades that will add value, three things come to mind.
1. Functionality. Make sure the improvements you have in mind will actually increase your usable space.
2. Lighting. Put some thought into lighting for your outdoor living space and your landscaping. I can’t overstate the importance of outdoor lighting. It can add a completely new element to the mix, transforming an average outdoor landscape into a work of art.
3. Water features. A well executed water feature can add more impact to your landscaping than you might think. It doesn’t necessarily need to be an elaborate waterfall. An attractive plug and play fountain can do the trick.
Knocking out a few small weekend projects before putting your house on the market can have a big impact on your sale price at a relatively small cost.
1. Garden bed clean up. Weed the beds, prune the plants, shape the hedges and add some black mulch to give your garden beds a fresh, well-maintained look and create a nice, sharp contrast to your house and your lawn.
2. Lawns. Hopefully you’ve been fertilizing your lawn on a regular basis. It’s a practice that’s often overlooked, but you’ll be thankful if you did it. Either way, make sure your grass is mowed and edged.
3. Staining. If you have a fence or deck that’s been crying out for a face lift, spend a day or two and give it a quick pressure wash and a fresh coat of stain. Stain will make a HUGE difference.
If you’re thinking about putting your house on the market and you’d like some additional guidance from me, please don’t hesitate to give me a call. I’m here to help.
Miles Eaton is a top-producing Realtor with Windermere Professional Partners, specializing in residential real estate in Tacoma, Gig Harbor, University Place and Lakewood.
Miles Eaton: (253) 355-5862
Jeff and I recently bought a duplex in North Tacoma that we’re pretty excited about. We weighed the pros and cons of purchasing in the current market and ultimately decided that the property met our needs, both for the short term and the long. In light of our recent purchase, I thought it might be a good time to share some thoughts and observations about investing in real estate in Tacoma’s North End.
According to a recent report from Redfin, Tacoma has the hottest housing market in the nation. That doesn’t come as a complete surprise to brokers in the know. Tacoma has a lot to offer potential residents in terms of amenities and culture, but a big part of the city’s appeal has to do with affordability. You just get more for your housing dollar in Tacoma than you do in neighboring Seattle.
Not surprisingly, rents are on the rise in Tacoma. Between April of last year and April of this year, rents in Tacoma rose about 10%. Developers have been building new apartment buildings, but not enough to outpace demand. That means rents are likely to continue rising for the foreseeable future, making a strong argument for investing in rental properties in Tacoma.
Investing in real estate is a great long term strategy for accruing wealth but, like any type of investment, it does involve risk. That’s why it’s important to educate yourself before becoming a landlord.
With the emergence of marketing platforms like VRBO and Airbnb, short term rentals have become a very popular way for homeowners to generate income. Short term rentals may offer a greater return on your investment than a traditional rental property, but it feels like the short term rental market in Tacoma is becoming saturated. Jeff and I were initially thinking about using our new duplex units as short term rentals but are now leaning towards a more traditional long term rental approach.
If you have questions about investing in Tacoma real estate, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I’m here to help.
Mark Pinto is a top-producing Realtor with Windermere Professional Partners, specializing in residential real estate in Tacoma, Gig Harbor, University Place and Lakewood.
Mark Pinto: (253) 318-0923
The demand for rental homes in Tacoma’s North End is high, with landlords charging as much as $1800-$2000 per month for a nice three bedroom house in a desirable location like Proctor or the Stadium District.
Many homeowners were able to secure extremely low interest rates by refinancing when the market was low, which prompts some to consider holding on to their primary residence as a rental property when purchasing their next home. Residential real estate in Tacoma’s North End is certainly a great investment. With the economy stabilizing and job growth expanding in our area, some are predicting as much as a 20% gain in market values over the next 3 years.
So whether it’s a property that you purchase specifically as a rental or a primary residence that you’ve decided to convert into a rental, it’s important to ask yourself a few questions before deciding to become a landlord.
5 Questions to Ask Yourself BEFORE Renting Your Home
1. Do you know how to screen potential tenants? Credit-worthiness? Employment and rental history? You can find out more about tenant screening at Bigger Pockets.
2. Will you allow pets? Cats? Dogs? Large? Small? Allowing pets will obviously increase your potential applicant pool, but pets can take a toll on a house which might cost you more than it’s worth in the long run.
3. If your house is located near the University of Puget Sound, will you rent to students? You may be able to earn more income if you rent by the room, but you can also expect more wear and tear on the property.
4. Have you talked to your insurance company to find out if there will be an increase in your premium if you convert to a landlord’s policy? You can find out options from our preferred insurance agent Jerry Hallman at Farmers.
5. Have you spoken with your accountant about the potential tax implications associated with owning and/or selling an investment property? Capital gains taxes are easier to avoid when selling a primary residence than they are when selling a rental property.
Another route to consider would be purchasing a property for use as a short term rental. The startup and maintenance costs (furnishings, utilities, supplies etc.) may be greater and the property will require more hands on attention, but the earning potential of a daily, weekly or monthly rental will be higher. There are a number of sites available for marketing a short term rental, including www.airbnb.com, www.homeaway.com and www.vrbo.com. Lastly, if you’re reluctant to deal with the active management of a rental property, you can always enlist the assistance of a property management company. Locally we recommend Parkwood Property Management and McNally Property Management . If you’re interested in purchasing an investment property, let us know. We’d be happy to help you navigate the waters.