How to generate additional income from my 10 unit property?

13 Replies

I have a property in southern Maryland with 10 single family homes (around 950 sqft each, most 3/1) on 5 acres. It's my own little community as its in a pretty rural area. The homes are roughly in a circle with a small common area in the middle with a large shed. 

I still have a few months of heavy rehab until they are all complete, probably a month until the first is ready. Aside from the base rental rate, how can I generate more income?

A few ideas I've had:

- Meter and charge for water. It's well and septic, with a central system with two wells. 

- Charge for internet. I talked to Comcast about the bulk/community plans, but it's only for 75+ units. I think I could do a business internet plan and setup a wireless system to provide accounts to everyone (I used to work in IT so this wouldn't be hard for me). Maybe this is against some rules though? Also not sure if there is a way to get cheap TV service and then charge tenants for it.

- Have a small dumpster on site and charge an additional trash fee. Have the risk of other people coming around to dump trash though. 

- Get some vending machines for the covered area by the shed (there's a small covered seating area already there). I plan to put a couple picnic tables and maybe grills out there anyway, so a drink machine in particular may be helpful. There are some small stores pretty close (within a mile).

- I thought about providing lawn care for free since the yards are small and there's community areas, but maybe I should just try to offer lawn care for a cheap fee?

- There's a state park and marina really close by (easy bicycle distance), I may talk to the marina about giving a discount to tenants and giving me a few bucks or something.

- Make some storage space in the shed (or build another shed) and offer storage for a fee. Maybe good since the homes are fairly small. 

- The homes are all on 2 acres, with the other 3 acres behind wooded. Maybe something with hunting on those acres? Anything else to generate income from the extra land?

My first thought with your Comcast idea - look into what's called a "Video Multiple Dwelling Unit" or VMDU whether it be from Comcast or another video service provider (like AT&T).  It could be an option.  I would also look into a laundromat type area - didn't see that as not being an option in your description.

Depending on how rural it is, could you also offer camp sites for snowbirds?

(720) 598-0793

You mentioned rural area. What kind of tenants are you going to be able and/or want to attract? You would need to be careful offering hunting so close to the homes, unless you kept it to archery??? (I wouldn't want that liability.)

I think you're putting the cart before the horse. In other words, you could spend money on storage units and then learn your tenants don't care about storage. Even worse, you may find that you can't even find tenants!

Get the units renovated and filled first. Prove that your property is a solid investment. Then - and only then - should you focus on ways to maximize the return.

Originally posted by @Lily R. :

You mentioned rural area. What kind of tenants are you going to be able and/or want to attract? You would need to be careful offering hunting so close to the homes, unless you kept it to archery??? (I wouldn't want that liability.)

 Good point, I probably don't have enough land to allow this, though it does slope back pretty far for the wooded acres.

Originally posted by @Nathan G. :

I think you're putting the cart before the horse. In other words, you could spend money on storage units and then learn your tenants don't care about storage. Even worse, you may find that you can't even find tenants!

Get the units renovated and filled first. Prove that your property is a solid investment. Then - and only then - should you focus on ways to maximize the return.

 Not planning to spend much on this stuff, but some of it (like water meters and internet) would be a lot easier to put in during the rehab portion of the project. Storage space would be in the existing shed, just a minor extra for a couple people. As I'm not working on it 24/7, I like to brainstorm on other ideas to generate more income of the property.

3 acres is much too small to allow hunting.  My house is on 80 mostly wooded acres in the Mark Twain National Forest, & we would never allow more than 3 or 4 people to hunt on our land. Usually we only give permission to 1 or 2.

Consider coin operated laundry machines.

Gail

I would take care of the lawn care since there will be common areas and market the property to tenants as lawn care is included. This could be an incentive for tenants to select one of your units instead of the competition.

I would be careful about allowing tenants to rent space in the same shed unless you have separate locked lockers or separate sheds. There could be allegations of theft against neighbors if anything goes missing. Since there are shared areas this could be toxic.

If the units do not have washers and dryers then coin operated laundry machines could be a great option to make money. Also separate water meters would be a way to pass on the cost of water to the tenants.

I considered coin laundry, but thought since these are single family homes and people would have to walk outside to the laundry place that would be too annoying. I have a decent space in each house for laundry, so was planning to make sure they were plumbed, though I never provide washer and dryer.

i like the lawn service 

Someone mentioned the possibility of folks stealing from a community storage area.  I've seen community type storage where the storage area was broken up to look sort of like dog kennels so everyone's stuff was secured in it's own cage.  (The renter supplied the lock.)

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