Commercial Property Management?
Many real estate investors make the wise decision to employ the services of a professional commercial property management company. A professional commercial property management company provides you with a host of services that cover everything from day-to-day operations and tenant issues to facility maintenance and more. These services can allow you to be a real estate investor instead of a landlord or property manager yourself.
Many commercial property management companies specialize in a certain type of commercial real estate. For instance, one management company may specialize in apartment or multi-family properties while another may specialize in multi-tenant office buildings. Some companies specialize in a specific type of service. If you’re in DC, look for a company that specifically provides Washington DC handyman services. This way, you know you’re getting someone who specializes in the service you need. Choosing the right company for your needs is critical to ensuring your investment property is properly maintained and your tenants remain happy.
You may be required to locate and engage the services of a property management company in the early stages of a commercial construction project. In some cases, a commercial lender may require you to engage professional management services as a condition for financing. This is often a financing condition when a property investor is purchasing a large property, has little hands-on management experience or both.
A professional management company may provide on-site assistance for some properties, such as by collecting rents and handling tenant grievances on-site. The company may provide on-site facility maintenance through its own employees or it may contract repair work to a third party. Management services often include all accounting-related services, visual inspection of the property on a regular basis to ensure it is kept in good repair and other such services. These services should be detailed in a management agreement that you sign with the company.
There are numerous commercial property management companies that may assist you with the operations of your commercial investment. Care should be taken to research each company thoroughly. While the management fee of the company is a consideration, keep in mind that a reputable management company will help your property value grow and will help to keep your property fully occupied and producing greater profits for you. Because of this, a reputable, hard-working management company is well worth paying a slightly higher fee for.
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Maryland Building Contractor Makes Use of Recycled Glass
It’s always good to hear about industry developments which take environmental concerns into account. A Maryland building contractor has been making use of recycled glass tiles, a move which benefits both the environment and the customer. These remarkable and beautiful tiles are available in dozens of colors, two finishes and many shapes, making them ideal for use in a variety of places.
Each tile series uses either pre-consumer or post-consumer recycled glass, and sometimes both, removing debris from the waste system in a productive and useful manner. This means that the tiles qualify for several LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) credits, based upon the standards set forth by the US Green Building Council. Clearly, all the credits in the world would make little difference if the end result was undesirable, but that isn’t the case here. These tiles have been successfully used in commercial projects all over the Bay Area.
This also ties in with the movement in historic cities like Washington DC and Baltimore to employ more adaptive reuse developers to reclaim historic structures rather than build completely new buildings that often have less character. Making better use of existing structures and available materials benefits the environment. From moving older industrial buildings to new areas and repurposing them as living structures to salvaging hardwood flooring and everything in between, contractors are on the front lines of ecological awareness.
“These sustainable building materials are an example of how sustainable materials offer all the benefits in integrity and aesthetic appeal that regular building materials offer,” says Tom Gaines, LEED AP at Hencken & Gaines in Baltimore, MD. In commercial applications LEED certification is a real asset.
A building which is LEED certified may qualify for tax credits and grants which aren’t available to more traditionally built structures. In a world where appearing “green” is increasingly important to potential customers, attention to environmental impact goes a long way towards bringing in more business, and many LEED recommended practices can help cut energy and maintenance costs throughout the life of a building.
Even without the financial incentives, many contractors are finding that investors are much more interesting in working with recycled and environmentally friendly materials because they create positive publicity for all involved. The “feel good” factor, while not necessarily definable in numbers which appear on the bottom line, are all part of the big equation in any construction project.
By incorporating recycled glass tiles, as well as other environmentally friendly innovations, these Baltimore commercial contractors are able to tap into a growing market of ecologically savvy consumers.
This post was sponsored by Hencken & Gaines.
Cellulose Insulation: Why Recycled Newspapers are Better than Fiberglass
Homeowners who are considering an upgrade in their home insulation may immediately turn to fiberglass. However, there are several reasons to consider the greener alternative of cellulose insulation.
Insulating Power - All insulating materials are rated by their ability to resist heat transfer. This is a material’s R-value. It is calculated per inch of the insulator in question, and the higher the R-value the better the insulator. Loose-fill cellulose is on par with batted fiberglass. However, the R-value of cellulose is about 35 to 40 percent greater than loose-fill fiberglass. So for a given space, cellulose insulates better than loose fiberglass. Where limited insulation space is available, such as a floored attic crawlspace, cellulose insulation will do a better job and reduce energy used for home heating and cooling.
Personal Safety - Both cellulose and fiberglass insulation require care during installation to ensure personal safety. With cellulose the primary concern is dust, so proper ventilation and dust masks are advised. Once the dust settles though, any personal risk is minimal. On the other hand, fiberglass can pose additional problems. Inhalation can lead to lung irritation, a problem that exists any time the insulation is disturbed. Furthermore, fiberglass can cause small cuts while working with it so long sleeves, gloves and pants are required during installation. Any unnoticed stray fibers, those left on the floor or that settle in your hair, could also lead to cuts after installation is finished. This means that cleanup needs to be immediate and thorough.
Source Material - One of the main advantages for green-conscious buyers is the source material for cellulose insulation. Cellulose is made from old newspapers, and recycled material accounts for approximately 75 percent of the finished product. The remaining 25 percent consists of fire-retardant chemicals that make the resistance to combustion of cellulose comparable to fiberglass. By contrast, fiberglass insulation generally contains about 30 percent recycled materials. Not only that, more energy goes into fiberglass production than cellulose, and fiberglass production and installation can make use of undesirable materials such as HFCs and formaldehyde-based glues.
Proper insulation throughout a home is better for the environment due to its energy savings. However, consider that some forms of insulation, such as cellulose, offer greater insulating power, are safer to install and have a lower impact on the environment.
In honor of Earth Day, do your part to make your home a little “greener” this month. Go with eco-friendly cellulose insulation instead of fiberglass if you are tackling a home insulation project.
Make Your Home’s Exterior Superior
Anyone who is a homeowner knows what he was looking for when he was shopping for it. There were specifics that engaged his interest and inspired his checkbook. There were obviously physical elements that caught his eye, as well as practical features that presented opportunities to support hobbies, work or preferred activities.
With the enjoyment of that ownership also comes the opportunity to creatively upgrade the exterior of that home. The upgrade could either reflect an existing vision of what the home should look like or an extended vision based on a new appreciation of a different style. Options are varied, and each has its distinctive look.
Installing vinyl siding is an obvious option. Vinyl siding is easy to clean, long-lasting, and has great flexibility of design. Vinyl siding is available in a variety of soffit styles, trims and colors. The homeowner can choose a style that is consistent with the structural design or one that creates a look that matches neighboring homes.
There are alternative materials for siding as well, and these can resemble tile or even shingles. Aluminum and cement fiber are the options in addition to the aforementioned vinyl. Relatively inexpensive, maintenance is easy, but durability may depend on the type of weather and environment the home faces.
Brick is another option. Used for hundreds of years, brick is low maintenance and will last for many years without requiring repairs. The sturdiness of brick allows it to withstand rain, heavy winds, and heat, without being affected. Color options are red, brown or yellow, and they can be customized with different patterns.
Wood has also been used for centuries and is especially appealing with a wooden interior. The colors and designs are unlimited and can reflect ultra-modern design, classic early American, or even rustic. The appeal is very popular with people who prefer earth tones that blend into a wooded environment. The charm of wooden shakes and shingles on the exterior is undeniable. It may be quite pricey, however, requiring extensive and expensive treatment to prevent water rot and other forms and sources of deterioration.
The important factors to consider in any exterior renovation are expense, durability, ease of maintenance and visual appeal. Some insurances may be affected by the type and quality of materials used. Some areas may have zoning regulations as well, that disallow certain types of materials. Due diligence in exploring options and availability is highly recommended.
Get the Colorful House You’ve Always Wanted
The home is one of the most important places to a person, or so it has been claimed in the past. Because of this, it only makes sense for a homeowner to want to personalize a house as much as possible. This can be done in many different ways, one of them being giving the exterior a colorful palette.
When it comes to achieving a colorful exterior, many people opt to have their house painted. There are many different colors available on the market, and not just of the usual brown or white variety. If looking for a particular color that does not seem to be available, many paint stores can have a shade created specifically for the customer. Although a good way to make absolutely sure a home is unique in comparison to others surrounding it, painting a house is not a chore that can be finished in an afternoon. The homeowner should either set aside enough time to tackle it, or hire professional painters to do it.
If no one has the time or budget to have the house painted, another suitable option involves colored shutters. Shutters are a much quicker way to add color to the outside of a home, as they are small and only placed in certain areas. Like paint colors, shutters are varied in what is available, and they can suit just about any personality and preference no matter where they live. If the color grows old, the shutters can either be repainted or replaced, making it easier for everybody.
Finally, a homeowner can consider vinyl siding colors for homes.
If they want the whole exterior of the house to be colored, but do not feel like painting, colored vinyl siding is something to keep in mind. Because the siding is already a certain color, there is no need to paint; it simply needs to be installed. Once placed on the home, it can last for a long time provided that it is occasionally washed and monitored. For something that looks expensive but is more on par with a homeowner’s budget, this is something that should be considered.
Remodeling Your Kitchen From an Eco-Friendly Perspective
Are you looking to reduce your carbon footprint and create a more eco-friendly home? Believe it or not, a great place to start is right inside your kitchen. It is estimated that kitchens are behind nearly 40 percent of a home’s total energy consumption. The obvious next questions are what do I do and where do I begin. Within this article, we will discuss some of the areas where you can make improvements revealing a more environmentally friendly kitchen all while reducing your carbon footprint.
An obvious start to an eco-friendly kitchen remodeling project is to get rid of those old and outdated energy sucking machines. Invest in more friendly choices like the extensive line of Energy Star appliances. Initially, the price tag may set you back a little more than the traditional models, but over time, these energy efficient appliances will reduce your yearly energy cost saving you cash. Consider purchasing an induction stove because they use less electricity and heat food faster, saving you time and energy.
Start by working your way from the bottom up. Consider a more natural material for your floor selection. These natural products are much more eco-friendly than many of the popular man made selections. A popular yet stylish choice is Bamboo.
I know you are thinking a countertop is a countertop, right? Believe it or not - no. There are plenty of options available for more eco-friendly countertops. Natural stone selections like granite are an excellent and stylish option because of the reduced amount of vapors that they give off. Other options include concrete and ceramic.
This is a very important selection during a remodel, after all you need something durable enough to be opened and closed thousands of times a month. When you’re considering your cabinet purchase, apply the same concept as your floors. That being said, Bamboo is an excellent choice for your cabinets as well; they are both eco-friendly and extremely durable.
Purchase windows that are labeled Energy Star qualified. Simply put, reducing the amount of both heat and air that seep out through your windows will lower your overall energy usage.
This is not really considered part of a remodel, but it’s one of the most important steps on the path to living a more eco-friendly lifestyle and reducing your carbon footprint.
Kitchen Cabinet Trends That Will Stand the Test of Time
A kitchen remodel is a huge undertaking, but the result can bring years of enjoyment and comfort. An updated kitchen also adds to the value of your home and is very attractive to potential buyers, should you ever want to sell your home. There are a huge range of kitchen cabinets available on the market today, with many options in finish, materials, storage and price. When choosing new cabinets, you may want to consider integrating one or more of these trends that are sure to stand the test of time:
STORAGE - If you’ve been living with an older kitchen, you will be amazed at the storage options that are now available. The efficiency and functionality of your kitchen will be enhanced by adding pull-out trash and recycling stations, roll-out shelves, slide-out pantries and spice storage. It helps to have a clear idea of how you use your kitchen and which options will work best for you. Then do a little exploring and find out which features will make the most of your kitchen storage space.
FURNITURE LOOK - A very popular trend in kitchen cabinets over the past few years has been to integrate furniture pieces into the cabinetry. For example, you may choose cherry cabinets in a tradtional style, then add an island in a painted finish. The addition of decorative feet, corbels and other decorative moldings can give a stock cabinet a unique furniture look that will add style and interest to your space. A custom furniture look can also be achieved by varying the heights and depths of different cabinets, adding textured glass to some door panels, and creating display space with open shelves or plate racks. Any of these options will make your kitchen a reflection of your personality and style and is sure to enhance the feel of your home.
FINISHES - There are so many materials and finishes available in kitchen cabinets today that it can get confusing! One constant is the popularity of cherry for cabinet doors and drawer fronts. Natural cherry with a clear finish is gaining in popularity over dark-stained cherry. Distressed finishes also remain popular and are used to give the kitchen cabinets an aged or worn feel. It’s easy to over-do a distressed finish, though, so you may want to consider one or two pieces in a distressed finish to complement the other cabinets. Using two different finishes and/or colors has been a growing trend in the past few years.
Once your new kitchen cabinets have been chosen and installed, you can begin to enjoy having an efficient and functional kitchen that is a true reflection of your family’s style!
5 Money Saving Tips from 2010
While looking through a couple things, as I tie-up my year, I came across five articles that talk about saving money in home improvement that I thought I’d share with you.
Here’s hoping the economy turns around in 2011 (although we’ll probably still be interested in saving money even if it does).
Cabinets Combine Creativity and Convenience
If your kitchen hasn’t seen a renovation since it got new yellow wallpaper in the 1970s, it might be time for a new look. However, if a whole new remodeling plan isn’t an option, simply adding new kitchen cabinets can be a great way to modernize your space. By installing new kitchen cabinets, you can add style and convenience to one of the most important rooms in your home.
There are numerous styles and varieties of kitchen cabinets available, which makes it easy for you to choose a set that will match your taste. Any type of new cabinets will undoubtedly help to give your kitchen an update, but you can also choose a modernized style for an even fresher look. One of the greatest benefits of new cabinets is that they will also draw attention away from other, outdated components of the room. Depending on the placement of your cabinets, as well as the surrounding elements near them, they can quickly detract attention from old wallpaper or countertops. You may want to consider cabinets in a striking shade of wood, as well as cabinets with glass doors in order to maximize this effect.
A new set of cabinets is also a great way to add convenience to your kitchen. Many older kitchens have poor cabinet designs that make storage difficult or cumbersome, with pots and pans stored across the room from the stove or minimal space for plates and glassware. However, by adding new cabinets to your kitchen, you can choose a type that will be conducive to the type of storage you need. You may also be able to create some flexibility in their arrangement, in order to increase the fluidity of your movements while cooking or preparing meals. Because cabinets also have many options available in shelving, you can actually increase the amount of storage you have while still keeping the cabinets in the same place that your existing ones are located. You’ll enjoy the convenience of flexible storage with updated kitchen cabinets.
When you’re looking for a simple way to give new life to your kitchen without redecorating the entire room, new kitchen cabinets are one of the best ways to redesign the space. Modern-styled cabinets are a great way to improve the look of the room and to create a pleasing aesthetic. New cabinets also offer you better storage and convenience to enjoy every day.
Are You Ready For Winter?
Top 3 Reasons Why Replacement Windows Make Sense For Your Home
Although replacement windows are one of the last things on the minds of many homeowners, they should be in the forefront since protection against the elements is one of the key issues when safeguarding a home. Older homes do have their charm, and when conditions are favorable, they can be looked upon with sentimentality. However, most of these dwellings have serious shortcomings when it comes to retaining heat. It is no longer necessary to completely change the facade of a house, since there are now many different windows styles to choose from.
Although homeowners may be initially hesitant, there at least three great reasons to consider purchasing replacement windows for a home.
1. There are less repair and maintenance costs associated with newer windows when compared to older styles. This is due to age and the actual construction materials that were used in older residences. Sometimes these old wooden windows can lose their shape, causing drafts to make their way into the interior. The hardware is another consideration that tends to wear out over time, causing the constant need for replacement parts to be found and installed. Most of the modern technology that goes into making a window ensures a weatherproof seal that doesn’t require any sort of frequent attention. With reinforced frames and a vinyl coating, these units are available for almost any size and shape of opening in the home.
2. Replacement windows are also better insulated due to the interior components that do not conduct heat readily. They also have high efficient glass that is sealed with an inert gas to prevent air flow. This can also help with the heating and cooling system, since air does not enter or escape through this portal. As an added bonus, they reduce the noise level from outside the residence.
3. There are also new replacement windows that can fit into almost any style home imaginable. It doesn’t matter if this is a Ranch or Victorian, a suitable model can be found. This may be double hung, slider, or bay for example, but all are readily available. They are also being offered with tinted glass to prevent excess sunlight exposure.
Probably the most appealing feature is that these replacement windows are easy for a homeowner to install. With options available both online and at the more traditional brick and mortar store, replacement units are easily located and can provide a quick answer to the battle against old man winter. Many stores also provide an inquiry form where a representative will call back with an installation quote. This makes ordering a set of replacement windows easier than ever.