Prevent Frozen Pipes

It’s that time of year again, where temperatures drop, cold weather is the norm and the weather can be frigid and severe.  Along with this season, pipes in our homes can become frozen and cause potential problems for homeowners and tenants.  While most believe that frozen pipes can only threaten to harm those in colder weather climates this is certainly not the case.  In fact those that live in warmer weather have a higher risk of frozen pipes.  Why?  Those of us that live in warmer weather year round don’t have the insulation needed to protect against frigid weather in our pipes. With the lack of this insulation pipes are subjected to colder temperatures which can lead to the freezing of your homes pipes. What are some precautionary measures that can be taken to help ensure your pipes don’t freeze this Winter season?  We have compiled a list of 5 different things you can do to help prevent freezing.

 

 

  • Keep The Heater On-  If you or your tenants will be away from your property for long periods of time make sure to leave the Heater on to at least above 50 degrees fahrenheit.  Although you may see a bit of a rise in your electric bill from consistently having the heat on, you are saving yourself money and property damage by preventing a frozen pipe to burst.  The water damage alone far outweighs that little extra you may see on your utility bill!
  • Keep Interior Doors & Cupboards Open-  Pipes are often times found hidden within a cupboard.  By leaving the doors ajar as well as all other interior doors within your home, you are enabling the heat to better circulate throughout the house leaving even temperatures throughout.  The little heat that will enter the open cupboards is also just enough to keep the pipes from freezing!
  • Leave a Drip In The Faucet- While it is usually a no no to leave the faucet dripping, in the winter months a little drip can go a long way.  Pipes burst because of the pressure that builds up between the pipes and the faucet.  By leaving a little drip going it allows air and water to flow freely which in turn protects against pipes from freezing and ultimately bursting.  
  • Heating Tape- Although heating tape can be dangerous it can also aid in helping pipes from freezing.  Generally there are 2 types of heating tape.  One that senses when something needs heat and turns on and off by itself.  Then we have the heating tape that needs to be plugged in manually and turned off when enough heat has been provided.  Heating tape is only recommended for easily accessible pipes.
  • Sealing Any Cracks On Exterior/Interior Walls- Sealing any cracks that are near pipes with caulking can help immensely when preventing frozen or bursting pipes.  If holes and cracks are patched on both interior and exterior walls the cold air is thus kept outside and the warm air is then kept inside.  It’s a win win situation!

 

It’s always a good idea to be aware of different measures you can take in and around your home to help prevent home maintenance problems and issues.  We wish everyone a frozen pipe free Winter!!!

The Value Of Adding A Gazebo To Your Backyard

A lot of times when homeowners look to add appeal and value to their backyards, they will seek to build patios, pools, and other more expensive features.  While these are definitely great features and lovely to have, they are often pricey and don’t add very much value to the overall cost of your home.  One fantastic addition that can be added to your backyard however is a Gazebo!!! They are even DIY friendly and easy to build.  Not only are they great for appearance sake but they also can help protect against weather elements such as, that stifling summer heat, down-pours of rain, and even light snow.  They also increase the value of your home should you choose to sell it in the future.  In fact gazebos increase their value by more than 50% of their cost to build.  They create an intimate area to have dinner with loved ones, but also offer an option for other entertaining in your backyard.  Add some string lights around the gazebo or on different trees in your yard and you have created the perfect ambiance.

 So what are some great tips for those who would like to build a DIY gazebo?  First it is important that you have the right tools and supplies when attempting to build your own gazebo and a little bit or construction experience.  If you don’t feel that your are up to speed on build your own gazebo from the ground up, there are gazebo kits available as well as pre fabricated gazebos you need only install in your backyard.  

However once you have gotten the basics out of the way there are some other things to consider as well.  After all what type or gazebo do you envision for your backyard?   For example there is the Raised Floor gazebo that boasts a floor raised up from the ground, which enables the builder to add a built in ice chest or cooler into the floor to keep drinks and snacks cold and ready for guests to enjoy.  It also means that you could sleep in the gazebo if desired because you will be up off the ground.  Next we have the rail free gazebo.  This is more of a roof supported by pillars and creates a covered picnic area those seen in parks etc.  Install or add a picnic table underneath and you are ready for bbq’s protected from the summer heat.  Or perhaps you want to build a gazebo with built in benches so that you can walk in and enjoy!

  Any route you take is great when it comes to installing or building a gazebo in your backyard!  The fact that it also adds value to the selling price of your home doesn’t hurt either!

 

Add A Hot Tub To Your Vacation Rental Property

Vacation rental owners are often seeking ways to increase their bookings and the amount they are asking per booking. Many of these VR owners will ask me what vacation rental renovations result in the highest ROI, how can I increase the demand for my vacation rental and so on. My answers differ from market to market, because in some of these locations these renovations matter more than others, and it also all depends on the type of clientele you are trying to attract. In regards to the latter, many VR owners will try to make additions to their home that will attract their desired tenant, which may be a family, couple, young adults and so on. This is an important thing to keep in mind being that certain amenities will attract certain guests. If your goal is to attract a family then a pool is a great addition, for couples, a balcony or renovated master bathroom might be your best bet. One thing we noticed however is that their is one particular addition that seems to attract almost all renters and increase your booking regardless of location…a hot tub.

Hot tubs seem to be a hit for all types of renters, whether they be a couple, family, or group of friends. They allow guests an oppertunity to socialize and relax and also give them that vacation feeling. Being that most people do not have a hot tub at home, lounging in a hot tub while staying at your VR will create the ultimate vacation experience. Not to mention that VR’s with a hot tub tend to book 20% more than those without. If you are having trouble renting your property during off seasons or wanting to ask for more during peak season then a hot tub is a great way to go. In fact most VR owners make their money back on the hot tub in just a couple years because of increased bookings.

Rick at Patio Splash Hot Tubs & Spas in Northern Colorado and Wyoming has supplied many of the Colorado vacation rental properties with hot tubs and says that is a growing trend among VR owners in that region.

Hot tubs have become a staple for Vacation Rental owners in Colorado -Rick Smith

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In fact he has noticed that most Vacation Rental owners will switch out their hot tub every three years to keep up with the newest models and ensure they maintain the demand for their property in more premium destinations like Vail, where renters are more particular. However he mentioned that many VR owners don’t bother to upgrade their hot tubs and have no trouble regularly renting out their properties.

One thing we thought was interesting was that he said many of these property owners noticed an increase in positive reviews after installing a hot tub. It seems as though hot tubs improved the quality of the stay so much that they felt more inclined to leave a positive review.

In regions like Colorado during the winter a hot tub can be a deal breaker for many guests who will not even bother to consider a property without one. Although that is not always the case, it does put you in a better position to compete for higher paying guests who put a hot tub as a requirement.

What about summer rental properties

Hot tubs are not just for ski destination vacation rentals. Hot tubs are still in demand for guests staying in more tropical locations or staying during off seasons. Hot tubs don’t just warm you up, they are also therapeutic and relaxing. All though there are instances where adding a pool to your VR will offer a better ROI. Depending on space, budget, and location, mot often a hot tub may be the best investment you ever make in your vacation rental.

7 Tips For Choosing A Great Property Manager For Your Vacation Rental

how-to-hire-property-managersYou’ve decided to turn you property into a vacation rental and make little income. We you potentially didn’t realize was the time it takes to manage your property and everything else you have going on in life. This is especially true if your are not located near your property, but out of state or even a day’s drive away.

You try and figure out how to make everything work effectively and to protect you, your property and your guests, as well as get good reviews and manage all that’s going on. That’s when you think…property manager to the rescue!

But how do you know what to look for, and how do you choose the right person or management group to oversee your property?

The intent of this article is to provide you with information and tips on what to look for when hiring someone to manage your property.

  1. How busy are they? How many properties do they manage? While you do not want someone that is to busy to really take care of your needs, you also do not want someone that has no experience or is managing zero properties. While this doesn’t necessarily mean that they won’t be good, you are taking a risk. You also need to ask what time they will dedicate to your property each week. The minimum time will be around 3-4 hours.
  2. Cost. How much will they charge you? While there are other important things to seek out first, pricing is very important and can help you to gauge all that they will do. They may be killer at making listings appear attractive, or have a great secret on keeping properties full year round. This may reflect in their rates and pricing. So digging into this early on can lead you to many of the questions you should ask on their services. Expect to pay anywhere from 10-25% of the nightly rate.
  3. Communication. Necessity! They must be good communicators with both you and your guests. Their level of communication is what will spark good or bad experiences and reviews for all of those involved. Your guest are staying at your property and may need assistance during off hours. How will this be handled?
  4. Cleaning. What are they doing to ensure property cleanliness? Do they have a checklist to show you? Are they hiring independent contractors to clean or do they have a staff? Get the details on the cleaning, as this is part of your guests experience.
  5.  What is their USP (unique selling point)? Will they offer area recommendations for your guests? Will they assist you in communicating ways to . improve your listing and make the experience better for everyone involved….you, guests, and their team? DO they help get you great reviews? DO they do a “little extra” and what is that? Dig in on what sets them apart from others.
  6. Processes. Get down and dirty on what there processes are. If they are great communicators, they will already provide you with this information. Understanding the entire process from being found to renting, to communicating with guests, to policies, understanding their process is essential! If they do not have one, then we suggest moving on to find a better fit. Processes are the meat of business.
  7. Referrals. Do they have references or referrals that they can share? This helps solidify the information you’ve requested and that they’ve provided.

Bringing on someone to manage your vacation rental, whether it a AirBnB, VRBO, or a Craigslist Rental, can be a great way to free up your time, as well as make sure that things run smoothly and your property stays booked. Just make sure to do your homework and ask a few important questions.

To happy renting and great property managers!!

 

 

Adding or Remodeling Your Arizona Pool? Discover a Few Important Tips to Help You on Your Journey.

The summer is nearing an end and soon the winter visitors will be bouncing back into the beautiful desert of Arizona. Whether you are thinking about turning your property into a vacation rental or simply thinking to turn it into your own winter oasis, let’s explore some of what you can do and the value you can add…..with a pool!

Whether you want to spruce up and redo an exciting pool, or you have the space in your backyard to add a pool or spa, fall is one of the best times in Arizona to embark on the pool journey.

Mark, with Pool Remodel Phoenix (www.poolremodelphoenix.org), a local Arizona pool builder, offers a few tips and things to consider when adding or redoing your pool.

To begin with, it is important to decide why you want to add or redo a pool.

Is it your primary residence that you are looking to enhance?

If so, Is it more for kids or adult leisure?

Do you want to increase the value of your property for resale purposes?

Are you looking to add value to a property that you plan to list on as a vacation rental?

Once those questions are addressed, you will have a better idea of what is available and what you would like according to your goals and budget.

5 tips to consider when adding a pool or giving your existing pool a facelift.

  • Keep it Cool! Arizona summers are HOT.  If you’ve lived in Arizona during a summer, you understand what hot means. In order to enjoy even getting into the pool, the decking around the pool. Kool deck, actually invented by a Tucson company, offers a great way to lower the surface temperatures of the existing ground, as well as withstand the intense Arizona sun. Opting for light colors, no matter what type of pool surface you opt for is also key.
  • Consider Safety– Water on a surface, especially specific ones like sleek surfaces, can get very slippery and create a surface that is not safe to walk on. Certain materials and surface textures offer a slip resistant space that brings a peace of mind, especially for children and the elderly. Whether you do it yourself or work with a professional contractor, there are several options and styles to choose from.

 

  1. Overlays- If you are resurfacing your pool area, overlays offer a cost effective way to change the look of existing concrete. There are several colors, materials, and overlay options to choose from. Overlays are quite a bit cheaper than complete re-dos, and are aesthetically pleasing.
  2. Durability- Wear and tear happens, from humans, chemicals and the environment. Opting for durability can and will save you money in the future. Pavers are a great example. They can withstand heat and elements, as well as easily be replaced without having to redo the whole deck or pool area. They also offer a more slip resistant surface.

Improving or adding to your property is always exciting. You are rewarded with a space to relax, enjoy and entertain, or a great return on investment. It is important that you explore your options to most out of your space and your dollar. If you are a do it yourselfer, read, ask questions, and research! If you contact a professional pool company, they offer samples, 3D renderings, as well as past work to give you an idea and visuals of the possibilities. Remodeling a pool or adding a new pool to your backyard is available for many different budgets, so have fun exploring!  

 

Make Your Property A Vacation Rental

So I’m sure you’ve heard about Airbnb and VRBO, and other vacation rental platforms out there. Maybe you’ve even thought to rent your home out to tourists and visitors to make a little extra cash.

Not a bad idea really. Choosing to list your home could be for a variety of reasons- you have a second property that is not fully being utilized, your kids have moved out and on to college and their rooms sit empty, you want to travel part of the year and not commit to renting your home out full time,  you have a great basement that would be an excellent source of revenue, or you live in a very desirable vacation location and are willing to find other accommodations for yourself to make a little money while someone else sleeps in your bed. It makes sense!

Now you’ve decided to rent your home or a room of your home out daily, weekly or even monthly.  How do you go about doing it to maximize the amount of money you make, but minimize the amount of money you spend?

Well today we offer a few home renovation tips and insights to get your home ready to list on your preferred vacation rental website.

You are basically creating a space for travelers and visitors to sleep and enjoy. When it comes down to it a little cosmetic makeover and furniture that will maximize the look and space of your property.

Furniture – Do away with old, outdated furniture, unless a good professional cleaning will do the trick. Opt for furniture and decor that accommodates the number of people able to comfortably stay, as well as an for an additional visit from a friend or two. Keep it classy, but simple.

Paint – A fresh coat of paint can dramatically increase the value of you space.

Outdoor Fun – If you have a yard or any area outdoors, include a barbeque and a couple of outdoor activities, such as corn hole, horseshoes, a mini basketball hoop (if you allow kids, this is great). Have a couple of chairs and flowers to make it feel warm. Very inexpensive way to up the value by having things to entertain you at the property.

Basement Remodel – You have an unused, possibly unfurnished basement that needs a little love and is a prime candidate for Airbnb……well get in reno mode. Basement renovations will not only add an additional space to generate income, but provide a higher sales value of your home should you sell it in the future.

Kitchen or Bathroom Remodel –  Kitchen and bathroom remodels are probably the two rooms that can bring you the largest return on investment. They can also be the two rooms that contribute to your loss on investment in not remodeling smartly. If these two rooms are extremely outdated and worn looking, renting or selling can make it a bit difficult. Keep in mind that simple renovations, such as paint, new sinks, new toilet and new hardware (faucets or knobs) can make a big difference without a big cost!

Landscape – Your property may be great but the landscaping is trashy and needs a little love. Many people choose rentals based on the outdoor area, especially if it is in a prime weather location. Keep it simple, but put a little love into the outdoors.

These are just a inexpensive ways to help you get more out of renting your home out as a vacation rental. Keep in mind what others are charging in your area and any features that are unique to your property. If you live by a beach, keep a little snorkel gear and chairs on hand at the property. This little touches and amenities will go a long way!

 

Five Tips for a smooth and hassle-free home addition.

Have you decided to add a new room to your home? That is a good idea since it will not only create more usable space in your home but also raise the value of your home. You need to remember that home addition may be tricky to plan. You therefore need to make informed decisions during the whole process to avoid getting into a mess. If you have no clue of what is expected of you during the process, you don’t need to worry since you’re at the right place. Here are some to help you prepare and achieve a home addition project efficiently.

Create a detailed budget

Proper planning is important when doing a home addition project. We both know that planning cuts across every project we undertake. When you get it right in the planning process, your project is more likely to be a success. Your plan should have the needs and priorities which you can easily achieve. Be sure to have a budget in mind for your home addition project. Since home additions are highly customizable, it may not be easy to give the exact cost. The cost is dependent on the size and needs of the project. Your budget should be flexible enough to cater for any additional costs that may not be avoidable during the process.

Hire the right professionals

A home addition project has different parts that require different professionals. Depending on the size of your addition, you may need an architect, a roofer, a painter, an electrician, a plumber, an HVAC Technician just to mention a few. Don’t make a mistake of doing it yourself. Professional expertise is very important when dealing with major home improvement projects. You will, therefore, definitely need different expertise during the process. Verify the reputation of the company you wish to work with and ensure they are both licensed and insured. Ensure you hire qualified professional for you to get quality service in return. Remember cheaper doesn’t always mean quality work.

Discuss your expectations

Your home should be exactly the way you envisioned your interior décor to look like after the home addition process. A reputable contractor will always have a concern about your expectations and help you turn them into reality. The contractor should also inform you of the starting date, the duration that the project will take and when workers will be in your home. This will help you prepare adequately for the construction.

Prepare the rest of your home

You should expect the mess that comes with a home addition. Depending on the size and type of home addition, much of your home and landscaping is likely to be affected by the construction. You should, therefore, remove valuable items and furniture from the construction area prior to the construction. Moreover, you also need to prepare for some disruption and noise.

Follow the progress

Once the project has started, you should be in touch with the construction manager so as to know the progress of the project. Let your concerns be known if anything is being done and it violates your agreement. Ensure you understand everything that is happening in your home.