6 tips for a cooler rental this summer

If you ever wondered how Vancouver really felt about the recent heat dome you need to simply look at the fact that the city’s hotel rooms were booked to full occupancy the last week and the only amenity that guests were interested in was air-conditioning. Now, for those of us that decided that three hundred dollars a night were better spent elsewhere or for those of us that wished we had friends with pools in their backyards here are six tips that will help you finesse the heat this summer and keep your rental cool without breaking the bank.

Tip 1: When one door closes…
Keeping the doors of unused rooms closed will prevent cold air from filling these areas and allow you to maximize your ‘cool’ in the places you spend most of your time. The opposite can be done at times when temperatures are the lowest (usually at night) by letting air flow naturally through your home and in turn creating a pleasant ambient feel throughout your space.

Tip 2: A rebel with a cause
If you are one of those blessed renters with a ceiling fan in your home it may help to know that it needs to be adjusted seasonally. If you set it to run counter clockwise during the summer months and have it at a higher speed then the fan’s airflow will create a breeze effect similar to a wind chill that you will be sure to love (try it and thank us later!)

Tip 3: Goodbye, nosey neighbours!
Let’s face it, South-facing homes are great and you loved reading that in the rental listing…until the summer hit. Did you know that approximately 30% of unwanted heat comes from your windows and utilizing shades or curtains can save you up to 7% on bills and lower indoor temperatures by up to twenty degrees? Now you do! So go ahead and close those blinds to prevent your home from becoming a greenhouse and enjoy a newfound sense of privacy.

Tip 4: May the force be with you
Being mindful about our own body instead of lamenting about the temperature in a home can go a long way towards you keeping your cool this summer. Simple hacks like sipping icy drinks, cold compresses to your wrists and neck and dressing for the summer even when indoors are great, cost effective ways to beat the heat and, more importantly, easy to control and keep consistent.

Tip 5: Fire up that grill so you can chill.
We know you know this but using your oven or stove will make your house hotter during the summer months. We recommend using an outdoor grill instead so if you have had your eye on that Weber then go ahead and bring it home to keep your internal temperatures low and make it a summer of barbeques! Another advantage is that you will now also get more usage from all that expensive patio furniture you picked last summer.

Tip 6: Let’s put this heat to bed
We all know that a hot summer night can make sleeping a pretty unpleasant experience. If there is no A/C in sight or your kids stole your fan, then incorporating a few simple tricks may help keep you well rested. Put an ice pack under your pillow while you sleep or fill a water bottle and put it in the freezer before placing it at the foot of your bed for your feet. Lastly, we know this is a bit strange, but the internet even recommends slightly dampening your sheets and putting them in the freezer for a few minutes before bedtime.

In conclusion, we can all agree the summer is a fantastic time of the year that is welcomed with open arms. Still, with many rentals in Vancouver not having access to air conditioning it can make the season quite challenging when it comes to enjoying your home (and there are only so many misted patios that one can escape to) so our heartfelt hope is that the simple tips we have shared help you beat the heat and have you chilling all summer long.

Building Wealth through Rental Income : Where do you start?

One can only wonder what the world would look like if along with simultaneous equations, high school students were also taught how to build financial freedom. You know, just in case finding ‘x’ did not pan out on the career front. (No offence to the mathletes out there)

Financial coaches, authors, and gurus worldwide speak about creating passive income or building an additional stream of earning, where one needn’t rely on a single pay-check or employment opportunity to live and save for the future. If a global pandemic and the current financial markets have shown us anything it is that we live in a volatile time and security needs to be planned for rather than hoped for, which brings us to the topic of rental wealth.

Generations have spoken about buying land because ‘God wasn’t making any more of it,’ and this logic has survived the test of time. If planned around correctly, real estate is and will continue to be one of the soundest investments a person can make. Although we are not the aforementioned financial gurus we referred to, we definitely know a thing or two about investment real estate and hope to share a few tips that help start you on your journey to building wealth through rental income.

TIP 1: ALL RENTALS ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL
Choosing the right rental opportunity is no easy task and we recommend speaking to a property management professional first so you can better understand the rental market. An experienced rental manager will ensure that you are up to date on rental trends, advise on hot neighbourhoods, share what style of unit moves quickly and even perform assessments that give you an idea about your expected return. All this before you even dip your toes in! At Sycamore Property Management, our professional rental assessments take you through the current market, comparable units and recommended listing strategies so you know exactly what to expect should you decide to list a particular rental.

TIP 2: WHAT MAKES THE WORLD GO ROUND?
Having a clear understanding of your finances is key to any investment decision. Once you have a general idea of the rental market it would make the most sense to speak to your bank or a mortgage professional that can walk you through the process of buying or financing your rental property. Professionals in this field would help you understand what you can spend, the cost of financing and the required return on investment you should aim at for it all to make sense. This conversation would now tie seamlessly into the understanding you already have of the market. Good thing you already spoke to property manager, right?

TIP 3: PAY ATTENTION TO THE BUSES AS THEY GO BY
An experienced realtor is a critical resource and partner on your journey to building rental wealth. Now that you are aware of the choice areas, viable rental types as well as your financial bandwidth it would be time to speak to a real estate agent who is a neighbourhood specialist and can get to work by finding you great deals that fit your criteria and budget. Their due diligence in ensuring that you are protected through the purchase process can go a long way towards the property’s financial health so find yourself a realtor that takes their time and truly understands what you need.

BONUS TIP: GET IN TOUCH WITH SYCAMORE PROPERTY MANAGEMENT
So, it’s happened! You’ve made the leap and are now officially a real estate investor! The logical next step is to protect that investment and maximize your return by letting a professional handle it. When you decide to hire Sycamore, you can rest assured that your investment and your tenants will be taken care of. Our expertise and service level remain unmatched in the industry and is the reason our clients trust us with their rental homes. Connect with us today so we can discuss building and protecting your rental wealth.  

Should you hire a professional property manager?

Managing a successful tenancy is certainly no walk in Stanley Park. A landlord has to wear many hats and often navigate legal, financial and technical scenarios to ensure quiet enjoyment is maintained. In keeping the investment property viable, any doubt or lack of understanding of the above frameworks can be damaging to an investors time, finances and more importantly, their peace of mind.

At Sycamore Property Management, our goal is to offer turn-key rental services that maintain strong tenancies and remove the stress of being a landlord.

Here are 5 reasons why hiring a professional property management team is the best decision for your investment property.

Bespoke fits better
Hands down, the enemy of a rental is a vacancy period. It is far too often that we see excellent properties sitting on the rental market unoccupied because they had the wrong rental listing strategy in place. In addition to location and marketing trends, there are several added elements that a professional property manager would include in their approach to finding exceptional tenants. This expertise, when combined with a custom strategy for your rental, could save you thousands of dollars brought on by an empty property.

Property managers are “show offs.”
A successful property manager requires to be a seasoned rental marketer. Knowing exactly where to list a property to ensure the highest amount of traction is vital. Additionally, a professional property manager will also be able to optimize a rental listing to appeal to the right demographic. Whether it is the use of captivating photography, video walk-throughs or 3D tours, a property management company will ensure that your listing is seen by as many people as possible.

When curiosity doesn’t kill
A bad tenant can be a nightmare that brings on property damage, unwarranted stress and potential lawsuits. An experienced property manager knows what to look for when interviewing and assessing prospective tenants and has had enough experience to spot the red flags. The professional approach is systematic and extensive. Employment, residential and financial history are screened so no stone is left unturned and your rental income is left more secure by placing qualified and reliable tenants in your home. Also, never discount the instinct of a professional who has been doing this for years! We’ve seen (and avoided) it all.

Been there, done that!
At best, the business of being a landlord is unpredictable and untimely. Emergency repairs, an everchanging legal landscape, life changes for tenants and inclement weather are only a few of the time-sensitive matters where if not addressed appropriately can cost you both a substantial amount of time and money. A professional property manager will have contingencies on hand based on their knowledge of the legal framework, familiarity with the rental market and access to industry resources. A wrong decision taken by an inexperienced landlord can prove to be very damaging. Ask anyone you know who has had a bad tenant experience. They are our best promoters!

Staying on top
Hiring a professional property management company will go a long way towards keeping your maintenance costs in line. An experienced manager will decide and prioritize what is needed to be done and their strong relationships with trade partners will keep price and service competitive. A qualified approach to preventative and emergent maintenance will increase overall savings and assist with property value. And don’t worry, you are involved along the way to approve costs so you aren’t surprised by your monthly financial statements.

The rent is due
We have all heard the saying “time is money” but have you ever thought about all the time you could save when you aren’t chasing your own money? A professional property management company would have systems in place that would ensure prompt rent collection each month and provide you with consistent cash-flow. It is clear that we are in uncertain times and rent may be challenging for a tenant on occasion. Even so, you can rest assured that an experienced property manager would have remedies in place to ensure all facets of rent collection were available to you as an owner and that it always remains paid.

In closing, when you make the decision to hire Sycamore Property Management you can rest assured that your investment and your tenants will be well taken care of. Our expertise and service level remains unmatched in the industry and is the reason our clients trust us with their rental homes. Connect with us today so we can discuss building and protecting your rental wealth!

7 Tips to lower your heating bill

Residents in Vancouver are often grateful for experiencing a milder version of the Canadian winter. Even so, an ambient home can prove to be a subjective topic. As we bid farewell to fall and temperatures across the province start to drop, it’s safe to assume that squabbles around the thermostat are to ensue. But what is not so subjective? You guessed it…heating bills!

With the current climate around COVID19, we expect less travel and a lot more time to be spent indoors during this season. Here are some easy to implement tips from the team at Sycamore Property Management that can help reduce and maintain heating costs for both landlords and tenants alike.

When one door closes.
Closing all the doors and windows in the house ensures that heat is trapped in your rooms, which would mean that less energy will be used in maintaining the warmth of your home. Simple steps that can be put into practice at your property are:

– Placing a mat at the bottom of doors to prevent heat from escaping or cold air from entering.
– When starting a conversation with someone, either invite them in or step outside closing the door behind you promptly.
– Use basic weather stripping available at your local hardware store around doors and windows to prevent further heat loss.

Getting fired Up.
A fireplace can add a cozy and inviting feel to any room. However, when lit, they can draw heat from any space right up through the chimney. An easy solution to this is, when your fireplace is operating, turn down your main thermostat and adjust the damper (if applicable) when not in use to slow the rate at which heated air escapes.

The winter wardrobe.
Did you know that setting your thermostat one degree lower can actually cut your energy bill by 3% and setting it 3 degrees lower can save you up to 10%? A cost-effective method of ensuring these savings are possible involves the simple act of putting on a pair of socks, pajamas or even that cable knit your aunt so thoughtfully made for you last Christmas.

Don’t get exhausted.
Bathroom fans and oven hoods are key sources of energy loss during the winter months. Using exhaust fans only when needed and shutting them off as soon as you are done can go a long way to reducing energy bills during those colder months. 

Is your refrigerator running? 
Did you know that the condenser coils at the back or bottom of your fridge are required to be cleaned regularly and can contribute to a higher energy bill? Dirt, food, pet hair, and all that other unwanted stuff that gets lodged under your fridge causes it to work harder to stay cool. A vacuum, coil brush, and some elbow grease are recommended to easily remedy this.

Adjust your temperature.
Ensuring that your thermostat is set to the lowest comfortable temperature across the home and is turned down at least 10 or 15 degrees when you away or asleep can save you a significant amount on your energy bills. A programmable or smart thermostat is recommended to make the process both convenient and efficient.

Out with the old and in with the LED.
Winter is a good time to switch over to LED lighting. They use at least 75% less energy than traditional bulbs and provide you with a massive saving on energy bills during the winter. This applies to all your holiday lights as well.

At Sycamore Property Management, we are always looking for ways to improve the lives of our clients and tenants. We hope that these easy to implement energy tips go a long way towards ensuring your comfort, saving you money and help us all be better friends to the planet. We wish you all a safe and healthy winter.

 

3 Property Management Myths

There are a great deal of misconceptions about being a landlord or even hiring a property management company. Misinformation like this can lead property owners into making poor decisions about there rental and in potentially end up costing ten’s of thousands of dollars. In this post, we hope to demystify some of the common concerns we hear.

MYTH  1 : I THINK ANYONE CAN BE A LANDLORD!

The Role of a landlord is to provide what we in the industry call ‘quiet enjoyment’ of a home. Seems simple enough doesn’t it?? Well, not really; as the Real Estate Council of British Columbia has set stringent rules that govern the array of transactions between a tenant and a landlord. A lack of experience on how to comply could potentially result in significant financial damages.

At Sycamore Property Management you can rest assured knowing that only a Licensed Professional will be entrusted to manage your property, one who, specializes in Rental Property Management and is certified by the Real Estate Counsel of British Columbia ensuring that EVERY DECISION made on your rental is the RIGHT decision and we are here to educate and advise you at every step of the way

MYTH 2 : I WONT GET MY HOME BACK THE WAY IT WAS!

We understand how scary the thought of a damaged home is and we care about protecting your valuable asset. While wear and tear is to be expected when renting out your home; what forms as an excessive amount and who is responsible for it is our job to determine, a job that we do very well.

It starts with placing the right tenant and with our years of combined experience managing basement suites to luxury estates we have proven processes in place such as comprehensive screening processes, preventative maintenance trackers, rigorous inspections and condition reports to ensure you receive your home back in the best condition possible. In the rare event that it is not the case, we will work tirelessly alongside to guide you through the legal avenues available ensuring you get what is owed to you.

MYTH 3 : I WAS TOLD MY PLACE WAS WORTH MUCH MORE!

We advise you to be wary of empty promises to gain your business only to under deliver. Our approach is geared towards listing at the perfect rental rate where you are protected by getting a competitive return while maximizing interest and now giving you ‘choice’ of tenant. Unlike sales, don’t take the first offer!

At Sycamore we promise to give you honest and educated rental assessments with pricing strategies and comparable rentals to elaborate on our working. We don’t tell you… we show you and that’s why our clients keep coming back!

FACT : SYCAMORE IS THE BEST IN THE BUSINESS

Our mission is to combine industry leading property management practices; efficient processes and a level of customer service that highlights trust, transparency and togetherness as so that property owners and tenants remain consulted and engaged throughout their property management lifecycle. Each and every day we strive to be the best that we can be.