West Coast Equity Group


Forcing Equity in Older Whatcom County Apartment Buildings (While Saving the Environment)

All real estate investors want to force equity, and you don’t have to be a developer to cash in on some great forced equity opportunities here. Investors seeking pre-existing, cash flowing apartment buildings can also force some substantial equity in seventies and eighties constuction.

It’s the classic model: buy an older building which is being poorly managed, with below-market rents. Typically it will sell for a higher cap rate because of these problems. Make some interior improvements, and get the rents up to market rate as the units turn over. Any smart investor will do this, but this equity takes time. (more…)

Should you Hire a Property Manager?

A few of my apartment building clients have chosen to manage their properties themselves. After all, property management isn’t rocket science, and it’s not hard to keep you building full in a market like Whatcom County where in most areas we have sub 1% vacancy rates. Just post the occasional vacancy on Craigs List, screen tenants carefully, and turnover units quickly. Definitely doable, and part-time for most people. Even fully employed people can manage it and pocket the 5-9% per month it would have cost to hire a property manager. In many cases however, property managers do a better job keeping rents at market rate and making sure rents come in on time, especially if they’re incentivized to do so. (more…)

Multi-Family Tax Exemption Program Target Area Being Modified by the City of Bellingham

Bellingham multi-family abatement mapThe multi-family tax abatement program target area in the City of Bellingham’s downtown core will soon be slightly modified by City Council. The City Center Targeted Area map is being amended to align with the revised Downtown Bellingham Plan boundary.

The multi-family tax exemption program makes 8 and 12-year property tax abatements available to property owners that redevelop multi-family housing in Urban Village zones within the City of Bellingham city limits. The tax exemptions apply only to new residential improvements and the owner continues to pay taxes on the value of the land, any pre-existing units that have not be redeveloped, and any non-residential improvements made to the property. The exemption is in addition to any exemptions received for historical preservation, and if the property is on the historical register, it must preserve all parts of the building deemed historic in order to qualify for the multi-family tax abatement program. (more…)