To inspect the building exterior, move back at least 50 to 100 feet. Place the building in perspective with the site and with other properties in the neighborhood. Does it fit in? Does the architectural style give the property an appealing uniqueness, or is it a simple rectangular box design with no windows on either side? Have a half dozen other apartment buildings in the neighborhood been built with the same bland design? What improvements can you make to the building that will enhance its appearance and favorably set it off from nearby properties as well as other buildings? The roof. Is it discolored? Are leaves piling up? Are plants growing on the roof or out of the rusty gutters? A roof can influence the exterior aesthetics of a building because it frequently occupies 30 percent or more of what you see when you face a building. Clean it up so that it shows as little wear as possible.
If your remedial efforts can’t improve the appearance of the roof-and you’re planning to quickly flip the property-consider replacing it. As the late real estate expert Bob Bruss pointed out, a new roof probably won’t give you a dollar-for-dollar payback, but it will enhance the property’s marketability. On occasion, such loss leader repairs can work synergistically to create an overall effect that will help your property rent or sell for a higher amount.
Can you imagine ways to enhance the building’s appearance with shutters, flower boxes, dramatic front door(s) and entryways, new or additional windows, fresh paint, a contrasting color for trim, or accenting the design with architectural details? How well does (or could) the property’s exterior distinguish it from other comparably priced rental properties? Do you rate its appeal as great, so-so, or awful? List other possibilities for profi table improvements. Think of features that set your property apart from its competitors. Look for features that wow your target market and passersby. To avoid too many loss leader repairs, hire a professional inspector to detect potential problems with any property you offer to buy. Generally, though, you won’t order an inspection report until after you’ve signed a purchase contract that includes an inspection contingency clause.
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By: Raymond Pedersen