Benefits and Challenges of Multifamily Property Management
Multifamily Properties may be the answer to the affordability issue that the nation currently faces. As we look forward to the post-2020 future, we will continue to see its effects on labor, wages, rent costs and the housing market.
This all affects how effective an investment your property is. Multifamily property management has a unique and quite variable set of benefits and challenges that you should be aware of whether you are renting out a duplex or are looking to build a high-rise apartment!
Getting into the Market
The Challenge: Entering the multifamily housing market is becoming a feat unto itself. There’s plenty of capital chasing after limited deals, so the competition is thick! For the same reason that many millennials aren’t able to afford their dream home, you may be facing a challenge in finding an existing property to invest in, or a lot to buy: bigger developers have seen the market trends and are moving in. Not only are single-family homes being purchased, which puts it out of reach for the average homebuyer, but developers are doing everything they can to meet the housing demand.
The Benefit: It’s not impossible to get into the market as an investor. You aren’t competing with homebuyers, and a single loan is much simpler to take on for multiple passive-income-producing units. Of course, the reason developers are focusing on multifamily is because it’s a great investment! Over the long run, multifamily housing remains steady even through economic downturns because people need affordable housing.
Buying to Hold (Rather than Sell)
The Challenge: In the past, the trend in housing as an investment was more “buy, lease, sell”: Buy a property, lease it out to recoup refurbishment costs, then sell the updated property at a net gain. However, more and more, you’re going to want to focus on the long-haul and hold the property.
The Benefit: Multifamily housing is a dependable source of income that has seen an increase in the length of residency. Increased multifamily tenancy has come as the result of the increased competition for single-family residences, the need for affordable housing, and the desire of some to build credit or save for a permanent home. In any case, steady management of multifamily properties is a guaranteed income for an investor!
Appealing to Multiple Generations
The Challenge: We’ve discussed before that there has been an increased focus on the generations that make up the largest portion of the rental population: Millennials and Gen Z. Not only is affordability at the top of the list, but environmentally sounds practices, convenience and location also dominate the rental desires of these generations who are willing to sacrifice space for walkability. However, Empty Nesters are a significant part of the growing rental population, and their needs are different. Empty Nesters generally have more disposable income and appreciate more space. So while you may be crunching the numbers on one-and-two bedrooms with reduced square footage to maximize profitability, you may be cornering yourself out of the Empty Nester market that prefers three or more bedrooms in a multifamily setting.
The Benefit: Remember that as a multifamily manager, you are not catering to an age range – you are catering to a lifestyle that renters want. Most people want peace, quiet, and a place to live their lives privately, wherever that may be. Implementing a variety of floorplans means that you can capture business whether it’s an extroverted Gen Z who likes to bike to the city or a retired grandparent who wants to keep a guest room open just in case they get a visitor. You are in no way limited with your plans moving forward, as the demand on each end of the spectrum is so high!
Short Term Rentals
The Challenge: Airbnb has disrupted the home buying and rental markets in a very short amount of time. Single-family homes have been removed from the market and turned into short-term rental properties that drive up home prices in areas that homebuyers were previously able to afford. However; the screening process for short-term renters is often unregulated and the lack of a thorough screening can put your property, and other tenants, at increased risk.
The Benefits: Multifamily units as short-term rentals caters to the here-and-gone crowd without alienating the local population. Some property managers create properties for the sole purpose of short-term rentals, while others at least keep them separated from the long-term lease-holders. The demand isn’t quite there in many areas for this to be considered absolutely steady income, but it is a great way to attain a resident while marketing for long-term leases.
The Challenge: Residential real estate in most major metropolitan areas are primarily zoned for single-family housing. Multifamily buildings and complexes have consistently faced suppression as affordable housing has been mischaracterized as “low-rent”.
The Benefit: Some places are revisiting that strategy in order to combat the affordability crisis. In fact, you aren’t only seeing apartments in urban areas anymore – they’re going suburban! As the ever-increasing need for housing continues in the competitive housing and rental markets, multifamily is the practical solution for many cities. Not only is zoning adapting to the changing climate, but with the latest economic crisis on top of the continuing economic issues the average renter faces, there is the probability that legislation that introduces rent control will be more prevalent. Coastal markets are likely to see these efforts long before the Texas housing market, especially in the Dallas / Fort Worth markets! But adaptability is key, and information is king!
Looking at multifamily property management, it can be easy to miss the forest for the trees. There is a huge breadth of opportunities for success with multifamily properties, and it’s one of the most versatile investments in real estate. Frontline Property Management has the experts and supporting staff you need, whether you’re building new or buying in – we want to help!
Contact us today to discuss your future in multifamily investment and property management!