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Understanding local rental rates in your Boston neighborhood is extremely important to your success as a landlord and real estate investor. There are three basic stages to any investor’s career, which are the buying, holding and selling stages. In each phase your knowledge about the current rental market will determine if you come out on top or not.

To give you an example, let’s assume we’re considering at a rental condo in Boston’s Beacon Hill.  When you’re evaluating whether or not the property is a good deal, an obvious factor is the potential rental income the property can generate. You must understand the Beacon Hill market, the tenant base and the length of time or DOM (days of market) of your average rental. It’s also a good idea to understand what your tenant base is looking for in a rental. Is the area dominated by families, single professionals, students or is it and older community? This knowledge will help you determine the types of finishes and improvements you’ll need if any.

There are many investors who’ve had tremendous success in the rental business and have been able to hold onto properties for a number of years. When these landlords eventually go to sell, they’re in a less than perfect position despite their past success. The reason for this is that they’ve failed to keep up with current rental rates in their markets. Often, landlords with long-term tenants will keep rents low despite the steady increase in values throughout the neighborhood. These landlords do this in fear of disturbing “a good thing”. They have a great tenant who’s been paying rent consistently and they fear of increasing rents would possibly disrupt that consistent flow of income. While this is a valid concern, what most investors don’t realize in that they are devaluing the property. The easiest way to put this into perspective is to pretend you’re a potential buyer and you’re considering two identical rental condos. The condos are identical in every way and they are both coming with the existing tenant base. If condo A has rental income of $1700, while condo B has rent income of $3200 (current market rate), most potential buyers are going to value condo B higher despite the fact that it’s identical to unit A. If we assume our Beacon Hill Investor owned unit A, s he would have to take a lower sales prices than her competitor selling unit B, not to mention all the additional rental income she didn’t collect over the years.

The best way to combat this potential scenario is to consistently monitor your local rental rates. Have your real estate agent send you regular reports like the one attached below. The report will tell you what apartments have rented, how long they’ve been on the market, and the average price  those rentals have rented for.

The example report is for a landlord in the Beacon Hill area. She has a 2 bedroom unit with 850 square feet. The report shows activity in the area for the last 3 months.

Beacon Hill 2 Bedroom Market Report

Would you like a FREE rental and sales market report for your area? Simply email Contact@MandrellCo.com with your criteria and we can have it out to you within 24 hours! You can also call us at 617-297-8641.