Although recent real estate trends have focused on investing in and gentrifying urban communities across the country, that doesn’t mean there’s less demand for historic properties. In fact, as urban areas undergo revivals, certain properties and buildings may become highly sought after for the very features for which they were once overlooked. These revitalized buildings and districts raise the awareness of and value placed on historic features by tenants and potential renters. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: more money and attention pours into rehabbing old buildings thus more people value that sort of thing. So whether you’re purchasing and remodeling a dilapidated but significant piece of architecture, or simply taking advantage of aspects of your units that have been there the whole time, marketing a historic property can go a long way to make your rentals more attractive.
Learn the history.
You can’t advertise what you don’t know. If you think your current property or a property you’ve had your eye on might have historic value, perform as much research as possible. Don’t just rely on word-of-mouth or what the original owner told you. There are plenty of resources available to you if you’re willing to do some digging. Libraries archive public documents, newspapers, and other publications, and as more and more of them digitize their records, such databases are easier to access than ever. Government offices are treasure-troves that often go untapped by property managers. City hall, the courthouse, and county offices all keep files on property records. And don’t be afraid to make a phone call – you’d be surprised the expertise many of these archivists have when it comes to their data.
Advertise the uniqueness of older buildings.
We’ve talked about preparing for a great rental property showing before at Innago, but there are additional things to consider when marketing a historic unit. New doesn’t always mean better. As construction companies and real estate development firms alike strive to meet their bottom lines, cookie-cutter houses and cheaper construction materials have won out over older designs. Although there surely are benefits to modern construction, plaster walls and handcrafted doorways are hard to come by, and that’s just scratching the surface of what historic houses can boast. Identify what assets your historic property has so you can turn around and let potential tenants know. A hand-carved ionic pillar may go unnoticed or unappreciated until you add context. If you can find the name of the architect that designed the building and share any other notable works they’ve done, even better. It might be expensive, but consider hiring an accredited inspector. It’s a one-time expense, and their expertise in finding true value in a historic property can greatly affect its market value now and well into the future. They can also identify any structural issues or concerns you should look out for.
More research means a more accurate value appraisal.
Appraising historic properties is one of the most difficult tasks in the real estate business. Often, they’re valued at much higher rates than even your fellow neighborhood property managers would expect. The key to finding if you’re sitting on the neighborhood’s crown jewel lies in researching it. Knowing the property inside and out might sound like a laborious, time-consuming, and even expensive process, but it’ll pay off when you discover that you could be charging hundreds of dollars more on monthly rent. Chronicling the history of your porch’s handcrafted railings is sure to light up any prospective tenants eyes, raise the value of your property, and help you market your rental units to a wider and more enthusiastic audience.
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