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Maximize Your Curb Appeal

Four Key Tips on Maximizing Your Property’s Curb Appeal

We’ve all heard the maxim, “Never judge a book by its cover,” but if we’re honest with ourselves, we rarely follow that advice. It’s human nature to notice a novel decked out in eye-catching art before a drab or ugly one, and a paperback sporting an unsightly tear inevitably sits on the shelf far longer than the pristine copies surrounding it, unless sold at a steep discount.

If first impressions are key in the aisles of your local Barnes & Noble, they’re even more critical in the rental housing market. Potential tenants like to picture themselves in a home they can look at with pride in the evening after a long day at work, and show off to guests on the weekends. If your property’s exterior is unattractive, those fantasies will be deflated before they even walk through the door, and that disappointment will color their perception of what’s inside. A renter who’s impressed from the very first glance, on the other hand, will often pay a premium to turn their dreams of living in your property into reality.
That’s why curb appeal—the impression your property makes from the sidewalk—is so crucial to attracting the right tenants. Below, you’ll find a few useful tips on keeping your properties looking great outside as well as in.

Photograph your property’s good side

In the digital age, you can’t talk about curb appeal without first discussing what might more accurately be called “screen appeal.” Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, a prospective tenant will get their very first glimpse of their next home while browsing rental listings on a laptop or mobile device, so attractive snaps of your property are a must.

The easiest way to ensure your photos show your property at its best, of course, is to hire a professional, but if you choose to go the DIY route, you can still achieve great-looking results as long as you keep a few key variables in mind. Consider foregoing your iPhone in favor of a high-quality digital camera, and pay close attention to the ways in which weather and time of day affect lighting conditions. In addition, don’t forget to update your pics over the course of the year; those festive Christmas decorations may charm prospective tenants in December, but come July they’ll just be a distraction.

Show your lawn some love

This one may sound like a no-brainer, but there are few sights less appealing to a prospective renter than a lawn full of overgrown or dying grass, or one strewn with weeds. A green and well-kept lawn sends the message that you’re a landlord tenants can count on to tend to the details as well as overseeing the big picture.

Weeding, mowing and raking, however, are only the first steps to a truly impressive front lawn. Once you have the basics down, you can get to work adding the flourishes that will make your lawn unforgettable. You don’t need to undertake an extensive landscaping project—though that’s certainly one way to make a big impression. A simple splash of color in the form of a few well-placed flowers can help ensure your property sticks in renters’ minds long after their initial visit.

Make a grand entrance

No, this isn’t about perfecting the way you stride through your property’s foyer—although if you do so, I’m sure renters will appreciate your style and panache. I’m talking about the front door. No matter what else your tenant notices on the on the way in, they’re guaranteed to get an up-close and personal look at your property’s entrance, which makes it one of the most important areas to focus on when it comes to curb appeal.

You’ll want to keep a close eye on the condition of your hardware, making sure the door’s knob and hinges shine and the lock doesn’t stick. If no amount of polish is going to make your hardware look great, it may be time to invest in a fresh, matched set. Once that’s done, you might decide to redo that peeling paint job in a pleasing accent color, and replace those dated lighting fixtures with something a little more contemporary. Then your gaze might travel up to the house numbers. They’ve gotten a little dull, and that hanging “6” with a screw missing looks enough like a “9” to confuse guests and delivery drivers… You get the idea. Each element of your entrance contributes to a prospective renter’s overall perception of your property, and if you can craft an ensemble that’s not only functional, but stylish and cohesive, you’ll come out well ahead of the competition.

Create the perfect social space

Curb appeal may be all about pleasing the eye, but the area of your property visible from the sidewalk isn’t just something pretty for tenants to glance at before they walk through the front door; it’s also a place to relax and unwind, or enjoy the company of friends, family and neighbors. A few simple touches that evoke imagery of social get-togethers and long, lazy afternoons in the sun can go a long way toward helping renters envision themselves in your property.

Does your property sport a cozy front porch or patio? Make the most of it with the help of some well-chosen patio furniture. Even if not, you can still stir up fantasies of summer fun using little more than a few lawn chairs and a table with a colorful outdoor umbrella. Think of your audience as well; couples looking for a great place to raise children might appreciate a swing hanging from the shade tree out front. With imagination and a little elbow grease, you can craft the ideal social setting for any demographic.

Conclusion

Even the most stunning property needs regular maintenance to stay looking sharp, and once you’ve found the perfect tenants, keeping them requires frequent communication from an attentive management team. That’s where Guardian can help.

Guardian’s experienced staff is fully equipped to handle every aspect of your property’s day-to-day maintenance and management, from tenant relations and rent collection to emergency repairs. To learn more about what Guardian Property Management can do for you, call 651-287-2011 or email info@guardianprop.com.

Guardian Property Top 100 Best Companies to Work

Guardian Property Management Selected by Minnesota Business Magazine as One of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” in MN

Minneapolis, Minnesota – Guardian Property Management is proud to announce that it has been selected as one of Minnesota Business magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” in 2018. This marks Guardian’s second consecutive appearance on the list, following its debut in 2017.

Minnesota Business’s yearly “Best Companies to Work For” awards recognize Minnesota companies that excel in the areas of work environment, employee benefits and overall employee happiness. The “100 Best” are selected based on the results of an anonymous online questionnaire filled out by the employees of each participating company.

“It’s a great honor to receive this award for the second year running,” said Jennifer Spadine, owner of Guardian Property Management, “especially since it is based on feedback from our own exceptional staff. They’re the people who know Guardian better than anyone else, and their hard work and dedication are the driving force behind our success.”

Spadine continued, “The reasons Guardian is a great place to work are best summarized in our five Core Values: Work Accountability and Life Balance; a Culture of Support and Service; a Good, Better, Best Philosophy; Honesty and Integrity; and Laughter and Positive Attitude. Those aren’t just words on a mission statement; they’re concepts that inform everything we do. When all those pieces are in place the result is a positive experience for both employees and clients.”

Guardian Property Management is an established, award-winning property management company that provides extensive leasing services as well as property maintenance and repair throughout the greater Minneapolis and St. Paul metro area, including Albertville, Monticello and St. Cloud. Guardian currently services more than 200 property owners with 750 properties of all sizes, from single-family homes to multi-unit apartment buildings

New Section 8 Discrimination Law in Minneapolis

Minneapolis Prepares to Roll Out Legislation Prohibiting Discrimination Against Section 8 Applicants: What Landlords Need to Know, and How Guardian Property Management Can Help

To paraphrase one of the North Star State’s most famous natives, the times are a-changing in Minneapolis, and the particular changes afoot have key ramifications for local landlords.

In March 2017, the Minneapolis City Council unanimously approved a new ordinance intended to combat discrimination against prospective tenants using Section 8 or other government housing vouchers, following in the footsteps of cities like Seattle, Chicago and Philadelphia. Barring possible delays due to a group of landlords’ ongoing lawsuit against the city, the legislation is slated to go into effect May 1 of this year.

Compliance with the ordinance isn’t simply a matter of opening your application process to voucher-holders. As the plaintiffs in the aforementioned lawsuit have pointed out, renting to Section 8 applicants brings with it a number of requirements that will complicate the jobs of landlords who aren’t intimately familiar with the program. These include extra paperwork and an initial MPHA inspection to ensure the unit meets federal standards, as well as additional inspections on an annual basis.

The challenges associated with the new legislation may seem daunting. Fortunately, Minneapolis landlords don’t need to face them alone. With the help and knowledge Guardian Property Management can provide, you’ll be able to rest easier, knowing that your properties are being run in accordance with the latest regulatory standards.

Guardian’s Experience

Landlords who partner with Guardian will benefit from its Leasing Agents’ years of experience in processing voucher-holding applicants, and a Maintenance Division well equipped to shoulder the responsibility of scheduling MPHA inspections and coordinating repairs, as well as conducting the necessary follow-up.
Moreover, as a member of the Minnesota Multi Housing Association, which closely tracks the housing related activities of the city council, Guardian Property Management was present at every step of the ordinance’s creation. The firsthand knowledge gained as a result will be a powerful asset to property owners seeking to adapt to the changing regulatory climate.

Brief Overview of Section 8

Part of the Housing Act of 1937, Section 8 is a program administered nationally through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that aims to assist low-income households with their rent and utilities. In addition to “project-based” assistance, it provides “tenant-based” assistance in the form of housing vouchers, which cover rent beyond 30% of the tenant’s monthly income. In Minneapolis Section 8 is administered by the Minneapolis Public Housing Agency (MPHA).
Landlord participation in Section 8 is officially regarded by HUD as voluntary. To date, many Minneapolis property owners have opted out of the program by refusing to rent to voucher-holding applicants, often stating their “No Section 8” policies in their apartment listings. After May 1, however, these sorts of policies–whether explicitly stated or not–will have the potential to land property owners in legal hot water. The new law treats the refusal to rent to Section 8 applicants as a civil rights violation and allows voucher-holders who believe they have been discriminated against to seek damages from landlords.

Conclusion

Whether you rent in Minneapolis or in neighboring municipalities that could soon adopt similar regulations, you’ll likely find yourself grappling with the complexities of Section 8 in the near future. Guardian Property Management is uniquely positioned to guide you through the changes ahead and assist with any difficulties that may arise. For more information on how Guardian can serve your needs, call 651-287-2011 or visit www.guardianprop.com.