• Shanna Vataj

Multi-family listing - Presentation matters!


As a realtor and a team manager, I often see photos that I would not proud of. Many of these photos are of multi-family residences. I have more hands-on experience than many other realtors when it comes to investment properties (thanks to the family business) and I know better than most that it is very hard to get a tenant to listen and cooperate when you have told them you’re selling the building. That is not to say that a landlord shouldn’t notify and work with their tenants to make the property look the best that I possibly can. If you are a realtor and you go into an apartment and you see stuff everywhere, garbage, laundry, beds unmade, toilet kids up, and overall unkempt spaces - come back another day. That is just unnecessary for your photo and you have to be able to explain to your seller that you cannot take a photo and present the home like this. It’s a reflection on you, on the landlord, and on the brokerage you represent. At that point, you’re better off getting floorplans and not having interior photos of their apartments.

The excuse of “oh it’s a multi-family residence” only goes so far. Clutter, ok I get it. They’re outgrowing the space they live in. There are pictures around the internet with open garbage cans, toilet seats up, dogs, and children in the photo and none of that is ok or professional. We as landlords and agents have to start treating our investments as a business!

As a landlord looking at a potential investment property I am making a to-do list of things that need to be done in the first year, the first five years, and the next 10 years. if that list is ever-growing with no “regular maintenance” threshold, I’m not I’m going to pursue it or I am going to take that off of my purchase price. If I know that I need to spend $9000 in landscaping and maintenance in this property in the first three years, that is a huge amount of money to take off of my profits and that’s maintenance that the previous owner didn’t do. Regular maintenance increases value. Keeping your investment property's interior and exterior common areas neat and tidy and updated is one of the most important aspects of selling your property or of maintaining a higher rent value.

As a multi-family owner investor, you are battling and competing with high and apartments especially in the areas of mid-Westchester NY and Fairfield County CT. Investing in Stamford, CT? You have the Avalon and other mid-city residences, Harbor Point, and the mega-residential buildings there and you have a ton of different properties that you are competing with. To compete with their rent prices you need to keep your property in top condition and that means that you have to have a regiment and routine. The basics - bi-weekly cleaning, regular landscaping, and regular property maintenance. You or a property manager should be at your property at least once a week making to-do lists and making sure that your property is in sellable condition at all times. Use technology to get and keep you organized.

Some of you agents reading this may be saying “well if I say something to my seller they’re gonna walk away from me” and my experiences based response is always going to be “if you don’t say something to your seller, you’re losing them money because people will offer less for a property that looks unkempt or even just walk away from it because they’re saying “I don’t want these tenants that can’t take care of themselves and abuse the property” or “they’re going to be troublesome tenants since they didn’t cooperate with the owner and I don’t want that as a first-time/repeat investor”. In reality, it wasn't the tenants, it was expectations and lack of follow-thru from the landlord. It’s your job as a realtor to make this property look the best that it possibly can and that includes giving your seller a list of to-do‘s before you can start marketing it. Your job as a realtor starts long before that contract is signed this is the risk that we take as realtors but this is a job we need to do. Use programs like Canva & Lightroom to make the listing photos pop and create location & income graphics. Every property has a number that works for two interested parties (seller & buyer) to meet at. It’s our job to get the most amount of people looking at the property and narrow that funnel down to that perfect buyer.

Photo © Chet Gordon/Times Herald-Record

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