co-livingBrian Harkin, New York Times

Co-Living: The Newest, Oldest Housing Fad

By Devin Valdez

There’s a new trend hitting the real estate world by storm. Its core idea is to have strangers move in together, live together in their own rooms and share communal spaces…

Sound familiar? That’s because it is. The idea of “Co-Living,” as the fad has been named, is really nothing new. It’s simply another, fancier, way of saying “living with roommates.” For decades people have been finding roommates to occupy empty rooms in their homes or apartments and to help share with the cost of rent.

This old school concept has become a fad because now apartment developers are running with the idea of “co-living” and building complexes to habitat such social living styles.

How it Works: Living quarters in these complexes will have a communal area for all tenants (usually 3 people in one unit) , and separate bedrooms and bathrooms for each tenant. Instead of leasing an entire apartment or studio, tenants will each lease out a bedroom and bathroom of their own and share communal living spaces, such as the kitchen and living room. Many developers will have the communal areas already fully furnished, and will have cleaning services for these living areas.

Developers in Chicago, New York and Miami have already began building these co-living units in apartment buildings, and have seen a positive desire for the units. Homes or townhouses in San Francisco and Oakland, have taken on the same concept as these apartments, as well.

What’s New: As I continue to say, co-living is an old thought, just with new twists. One of the biggest twist is the emphasis on community. Co-living units will work to put you together with like-minded people, and encourages an atmosphere to hang out, and make new friends. And in the instance that you get paired with someone you can’t get along with, there are ways to move to a different unit in the building.

“People have been renting and living with strangers for a long time. The Craigslist model is established, and it’s something that people, especially younger generation of people are very used to dealing with. I think what we’re trying to do to be effective is to mitigate the negative aspects of that,” explains Noah Gottlieb, principal at Property Markets Group (PMG), an apartment developer company in New York, Miami and Chicago.

Some negatives that are trying to be eliminated are the chores of cleaning and decorating. Communal areas developed by PMG will be fully furnished and will have a cleaning service that takes care of the mess you and your roommates make. This eliminates the fight over whose turn to take out the trash it is. Another negative, and probably one of the best parts of the co-living situation, is that rooms are leased, individually, so no one is responsible for their roommates if one isn’t paying their rent. This eliminates the need for an awkward conversation when one of your roommates is late on their rent money.

The Benefits: One of the biggest and most attractive benefits of co-living is the ability to afford to live on your own, so to speak. Co-living enables you to move out of your parent’s home and into your own place, without having to be literally alone. And on the even brighter side, co-living offers rents per room which are much lower than what you would typically pay for an entire apartment unit.

Co-living has seen the biggest demand in major cities like San Francisco and New York, where rents are on a ridiculous rise.

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Make Your Property More Attractive for Homebuyers

Ensure a Good First Impression

Homebuyers make up their minds about a property in the first few minutes. Make sure your home makes that vital first impression. New paint does wonders. Make sure the front yard is flawless with manicured lawns and attractive foliage. Add a hanging basket or some flower pots at the door. The front door is also critical, make sure the hardware is presentable.

Make them Feel Welcome

Don’t forget buying a home is in many ways an emotional decision, so it’s important to give buyers that warm and fuzzy feeling! Keep the temperature in the home at a comfortable level. Light some candles in the bathrooms and make sure it smells nice and clean. Have fresh flowers around the house.

But don’t make it too personal

Make them feel welcome, but don’t go too far. Too much personality, for example in the form of personal possessions and family photos makes it hard for buyers to visualize living in the space.

Clear out the Clutter

Make sure your property is clutter-free for all your viewings. This will make your home look and feel bigger, and the buyers will be able to imagine how they could make the space their own. Make sure that there is a clean, logical flow through the home by getting rid of all excess furniture. Less is more.

Improve Lighting

This is another way to make your home seem more spacious. Open all your curtains and flood the space with natural light. Make sure the darker rooms are also lit. Invest in some light fixtures and fittings, and place them strategically to illuminate even the gloomiest of areas.

Decorate to Sell That House

Slap on a fresh coat of paint in a neutral color to give it that blank canvas look but do not be too sterile. Have some contrast in the trim as well as the ceiling. Neutral colors make properties appear lighter and brighter, so take advantage of this inexpensive and easy option. You may also add color with decorative window coverings, rugs, and towels.

Clean Up Your Act

Your home should be spotless. Make sure the beds are made and the countertops are free of clutter. The dishes should be put away and nothing should be scattered on the floor. Don’t forget to tidy your garden too: Cut the shrubs back, sweep the patio, and wipe down the backyard furniture.

Those Minor Repairs You Put Off

It is easy to forget things such as broken doorknobs, cracked tiles, holes in walls and damaged but buyers will notice them first thing as they are walking around your home.

Maximize Your Space

The golden rule of selling is to make your space look and feel bigger and better than what your competitors have to offer. We’ve already mentioned that lighting your home, both naturally and artificially, can maximize your assets, but getting rid of bulky furniture can also be a great way of making the most of what you have. Large pieces of furniture make a space feel smaller, so put these items into storage and dress your home with more compact pieces.

Don’t Forget Your Floors

Make the investment of improving and investing in those floors. Worn carpets and damaged vinyl floors need to be replaced, and wooden floors especially should undergo some maintenance. This is not chap by any means, but the prospect of selling your home for the best possible price will likely outweigh the cost.

Remove Pets During Showings

You do not need to remind the potential buyer that the previous owner kept pets.

Try to remove your pets from your home when you are showing the home. Having a pet in the house or yard can create complications for your agent while trying to show the house, and puts your pet at risk of accidentally getting out during the showing. There are also liability issues to deal with as well. They may react differently to stranger and it may cause them stress. All pet-related damage should be repaired prior to showing the home. Make sure to also remove all odors and stains. New visitors will notice smells when they come to view the house. This is not something you want to happen. Have your carpet and floors professionally cleaned or replaced. Pick up any messes in the backyard and have any sod replaced and other damage repaired.

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