We are closing on a 28 unit property next week in a C to C- area. Our first priorities are to make the outside have a safer appearance for better curb appeal. Initial thoughts are removing trees to give the parking lot a more open appearance, and installing LED lights to light the parking lot up substantially more than it is. Other thoughts are perimeter fencing, and possible surveillance cameras. We are welcoming any additional ideas the BP community has, especially looking for people that already have experience in this situation. Thanks in advance!
Careful with over investing in C areas. Fence and surveillance can get pricey. Fence won’t stop anyone from coming in that wants to.
Nest Cam is a great inexpensive alternative to any type of hardwired system if you’re going to go that route anyways.
Pictures would help me give more advice...
Try to limit exterior to “MUST Repairs” ie. Life safety issues (railings, sidewalk repair etc). Outside of that, paint and Landscaping can go a long way to beautify exterior on the cost effective.
@Jason Cohen Thanks for the response. The big upside to this property, and a major part of our reason for investing in it is that it is within 3 miles of major medical complexes that employee over 10,000 people, and are continuing to expand their reach in the area. It's 5 miles from an $85 million cyber center that is currently under construction, and will also be bringing significant growth to the area. Obviously, this has fueled a good number of investors and flippers to take over what are currently less than desirable areas, and rehab them. This was an off market deal that came to fruition after a "bump into" meeting with a very large investor in our area. We are trying to upgrade the property in ways that tenants can't undo, so your suggestion of landscaping is another thing we had in mind. I'll try to post pictures soon to help give you an idea of what we're working with.
Sounds promising. While a lot can happen within 3 and 5 miles, it’s certainly good news regarding the growth in the area.
Invest minimally into the property until you have a sense that higher dollar renters are willing to relocate there for the right product.
Know your market and beware of diminishing returns is what I’m trying to get at. Best of luck to you!
@Tyler Moore Apart from landscaping, you can look into:
- Implementing RUBS
- Billing tenants for sewer and trash
- Restripe parking lot
- Rebranding and signage
- Siding and exterior paint
- Two-tone paint
Obviously, they should all be in-line with the neighborhood and tenant class which is a good fit for the property/area. Nonetheless, keep an eye out on the future (as you are doing). If the 3-5 mile radius improvements pick up stream, hopefully, you guys should see an improvement in rents and tenant quality.
A fence and camera might have the opposite of the intended effect. It could draw attention that the area may be unsafe and susceptible to future issues. Stick to manicured outside look (i.e., new paint job, clean landscaping, good lighting, etc.).
@Omar Khan Thanks for the feedback.
We are going ahead with re striping the parking lot and rebranding with new signage. We are also building enclosures around each of the three dumpsters for appearance purposes. As we update the units we are pushing to get medical students in the properties. One nice thing about the property is that an additional entry way is at the top of the property, and literally a straight two minute shot to the hospital. The building near that entrance has a combination of tenants we want out, and a few that we will offer relocation to in the other vacant units on the property. I think it will be easier and more cost effective to renovate that entire building at one time, and market all new updated units at the higher price point.
@Christopher Makestas interesting perspective. My original thought was it would give new and existing tenants more peace of mind, and comfort in seeing new ownership come in and address those issues that have been neglected over the past few years. I'll certainly continue to evaluate those options going forward.
I can see the fence idea going either way. I can think of complexes in rough areas where the fence looks like it's necessary, but I can also think of uppity areas where they have a fence/gate and I don't think anything of it. I think the important part is context. Neither will actually keep out someone who wants in, but if the area isn't too crime-heavy, it doesn't matter that it works, just that people think it does.
What's the cashflow? Is it enough to justify some $10/hr security person in a golf cart? 28 units might be a bit small for that, but you could pay that for a while before you end up spending what a fence would. You could also incorporate other jobs for the security person to make them more valuable.
Alternative idea to the fence: You could have a gate, but use large thick bushes as a natural gate around the rest of the property. It would look nice and have a similar effect, but would take a while to cultivate.
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