Fourth Quarter Rental Vacancy Statistics
At the end of January I posted the SW Idaho NARPM Vacancy report to our BLOG page.
The report confirmed the experience we encountered in our office. Rental activity slowed in the last quarter of 2016. Of course, a slowdown of activity at the end of the year is a seasonal norm. So we look to vacancies in the first quarter to give us a true indication of a trend. It’s too early yet to get a feel for how the rental market will perform in 2017, but it is interesting to take a look at the data to help us understand current rental rates and market trends. The NARPM report states quarterly vacancy percentages and compares vacancies from the prior month. These percentages give us a good indicator, however inconsistencies in the number of reporting management companies and therefore the number of rental units that are being compared quarter-to-quarter can effect the accuracy of the analysis. I prefer to take a closer look at the rents. Since this data is based upon advertised rents of vacant properties at the time of reporting they are a good indicator of market demand.
Rents for one bedroom through three bedroom units of multi-family rentals were down from the prior quarter in Ada County. However, by comparison, in Canyon County this same category showed an increase in rent for the two and three bedroom units with only a small decline of avg. $14/mo. for the one bedrooms.
In the single family arena the trend continued with fairly substantial reductions in rent prices in Ada County ranging from a decline of avg. $69/mo. for a 2-bedroom house to a $228/mo. reduction in the 4-bedroom category. Whereas in Canyon County the 3-bedroom and 4-bedroom homes showed a healthy increase in rent, avg. $114/mo for the 4-bedroom and 2-bedrooms experienced a small decline of avg. $25/mo.
So overall, Canyon County rentals faired better than Ada County. Why this would be is speculative. It could be that there is a smaller rental pool in Canyon County, especially in the MF category. Or it could be that tenants are feeling a financial squeeze in Ada County and are moving further out to cut their budget and in doing so are pushing prices up, thereby defeating their original intention.
It will be interesting to see how the first quarter 2017 numbers come in.
5 Top Tips For Painting Rentals
Many people have questions about paint for their rental properties. One of the hardest decisions to make when preparing a home to rent is how far to go with painting. Many property owners tend to look at a rental with the same attitude they do their own home. This can be costly and frustrating for them later.
Here are Camcor’s top five tips for rental owners:
- Although you may love a color in the home you live in, it is always best to use a neutral color in your rentals, and if you have more than one property use the same color for all of them. This makes it very simple to touch up, and avoids the necessity to repaint a whole wall or room. When it is necessary to paint more than simple touch ups, one coat will usually cover, which saves time and materials resulting in saved money! If you use multiple colors not only will it be more expensive and harder to touch up, but it can make a space feel smaller, and a prospective renter may not like the color. As far as the exterior goes, as with the interior, it is a good idea to stay neutral for many of the same reasons. However, curb appeal is as important for a rental as it is to sell a house, so get advice from a professional painter on current popular color palettes. If you do go with a darker color, use it as the accent color for the fascia or gingerbread. When you find a color you like we recommend you inquire to see if it is available as a premixed product. Premixed colors will usually hold their color longer without fading. Dark colors suffer the most from oxidation, (fading), from the sun.
- Use a low-sheen paint. The higher the sheen the more flaws and defects will show. Lower sheens will also touch up better because they will not dull down as fast as higher sheens. They also tend to have a softer look. However, we usually recommend staying away from Flat sheen because they are difficult to wash.
- Be careful when filling holes. Many people fill holes using a putty knife and this will leave a square flat spot if not sanded and cleaned off completely. So many times we see square patches that have been painted over and now are difficult to fix. We use filler putty to just fill in the hole and it will disappear with the paint coat.
- Make sure drywall and trim that is exposed to potential water damage is well sealed. For example, around sinks, bathtubs and toilets. Many renters are not as diligent in avoiding water damage so problem areas may not be reported until damage is quite extensive. When you have a change in tenants make sure these areas are sealed and painted.
- One of the biggest issues we see on exteriors is where sprinklers cause water damage to the façade. Make sure the sprinklers aren’t hitting the house. Keep the bottom siding boards well coated with paint, and seams or joints well sealed to help prevent water penetration to prevent deterioration.
We are very pleased to share with you that RMA made it through one of the most severe winters in recent history with few maintenance emergencies. However, as we begin our early spring driveby of properties we will be looking for any residual exterior damage the heavy snow and severe, extended freezing temperatures may have caused.
After this rough winter your gutter downspouts will likely be clogged with debris. They may also be pulled away from the building causing water to find the path of least resistance, which could be behind your siding or into cracks in your stucco. Contact Pam@rentalsinboise if you would like to have us schedule a gutter maintenance service for you.
Needing Your Response, Please!
A couple of weeks ago you received an email from Spencer, our property manager, requesting your response to our list of suggested maintenance items. Please be sure to complete this form and return it to Spencer indicating your request or decline for the different inspections/services noted on the list.
If you have returned your list to Spencer you will have received a confirmation from Spencer that your requested items are being scheduled.
Our tenant newsletter continues to gain readership. With open rates of well over one third of our tenant population we are pleased with the trajectory of this program. With every newsletter we encourage feedback from our tenants. This allows us to gauge how we are perceived by our tenant community. Here are some communications we received following distribution of the February tenant newsletter:
My husband and I have been RMA tenants for almost a year now and you’ve been great to work with. Thanks for the monthly newsletter with tips and coupons :). Thanks,
Cheryl & Robert Detwiler
FYI- love maintenance with this management company, always prompt and professional!
I find the newsletter helpful and visually appealing. I love how prompt and professional Pam is.
Hello RMA, I do like the content of the newsletter. I also really liked the write up about Troy Richmond. What a great story of overcoming adversity. Just loved it.
Spencer is just a great guy. I have always appreciated conversation with him.
Thanks for everything!
This newsletter is intended as a resource and communication platform for you. If there is a topic, relevant to the management of your investment property, that you would like me to write on, please let me know!