Developers are in high demand!

real estate development
Visionary developers are being courted aggressively by city leaders throughout the country. They are also in high demand by other public officials, including university planners, transit authorities, county officials, school administrators and public hospital leaders. There’s a reason for this new popularity – mixed-use development has become one of the hottest new tools for generating revenue that public officials badly need.

Urban developments are the perfect vehicle for blending together retail, housing, entertainment, parks, health care and cultural facilities to create “communities” that attract people and businesses. This type of project is every municipal leader’s dream because of the benefits that are possible.

New development projects increase property tax and sales tax revenues. They result in economic stimulus that lasts for decades. And, if these projects are collaborative in nature, they also produce new revenue streams for cities. Falls Church, Virginia, analyzed eight mixed-use developments recently and reported that the projects generated $3.8 million in net revenue annually. Gross revenue of $10.6 million per year was generated by the projects when all city tax sources were included.

Benefits that result from mixed-use developments include alternative funding, new jobs, an economic stimulus for the entire area, an enhanced citizen environment and often an expansion of public transit. That’s hard to replicate with other projects.

Government leaders are aggressively pursuing all types of alternative funding and development projects are one of the most attractive options. The many incentives for private-sector investors to provide capital for collaborative joint ventures enhance interest from both public- and private-sector potential partners.

A $20 million mixed-use development in Flint, Michigan, benefited from a $7 million performance-based loan from the Michigan Economic Development Fund. The housing and retail development project includes a four-story building with both retail establishments and townhomes. More than 90 housing units, half of which are designated as affordable housing, are part of the project as well as parking for 100 vehicles. The city will benefit from property tax payments each year and sales tax receipts from the retail establishments. Additionally, developers expect 20 full-time jobs to be created with a large portion of worker wages circulating back into the local economy.

In Fort Worth, the TEXRail commuter rail line slated to open next year is already opening up a myriad of development opportunities along the route. Plans for a $94.2 million mixed-use, multi-family development near the city’s current Texas and Pacific Station have been announced. The development will feature housing, street-level retail and a child care center. A parking garage and hotel are both proposed. The development resulted from a partnership that includes the city, the housing agency and Trinity Metro.

With financial support from the Redevelopment Grant Program of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), a $25 million- $35 million mixed-use redevelopment project in Edina will result in 46 mixed-income apartments with adjoining retail space. The city will match the grant funding through tax increment financing. Redevelopment program leaders describe these grants as a good use of taxpayer funds, noting that the latest $2.16 million in grants attracted $151.8 million in private investment.

City officials in Ann Arbor are evaluating options related to a proposed mixed-use development that would create 100-200 affordable housing units and space for community events and meetings. One option under consideration is a public-private partnership that would include the city, the transportation authority, the district library and the Downtown Development Authority. This proposal would allow the city to retain ownership of part of the property and generate revenue through an annual lease agreement for buildings on the property. Another option would be to allow a private-sector partner to fund the entire project, assume all the risk and make it possible for the city to generate additional tax revenues in the future.

The city of Augusta, Georgia, is investing $14 million in a $94 million residential, office and retail project planned on the city’s riverfront. In Harper Woods, Michigan, city officials are discussing a public-private partnership for a mixed-use development that includes a new city hall and 700 apartments and row houses. A hotel and restaurant may also be included.

Interest in mixed-use development continues to grow. Visionary developers will continue to be in high demand for many years… and not just with cities. The benefits that mixed development projects deliver are attractive to universities, public hospitals, counties, transit authorities and community colleges.

Mary Scott Nabers is president and CEO of Strategic Partnerships Inc., a business development company specializing in government contracting and procurement consulting throughout the U.S. Her recently released book, Inside the Infrastructure Revolution: A Roadmap for Building America, is a handbook for contractors, investors and the public at large seeking to explore how public-private partnerships or joint ventures can help finance their infrastructure projects.

3 Things to Consider Before Investing in a Rental Property

Investing in a Rental Property
Real estate has always been a wise investment. When you want to see your cash grow beyond anything a standard bank account can ever bring, wise investments in rental properties can prove well-worth their weight in gold. The trick is knowing how to find the right property in which to invest—and understanding what’s actually involved with being a landlord—before you find yourself falling down a money pit.

Before you go shopping for your next piece of real estate, here are three things you need to consider:

1. The Condition of the Property

You want to find a property that won’t devour your wallet when it’s time to get it up to code.

Plenty of people find fixer-uppers they can’t live without, and make a lot of profit by flipping these properties into desirable rentals. Before you endeavor in this route, you need to know what exactly is involved with putting it back into livable conditions. If you are new to the business, you need to be getting contractors out to the house once you are under agreement to make sure the roof, siding, foundation, electric, plumbing, etc.. are in good condition. You will also want estimates if anything needs to be replaced or fixed. One of the biggest mistakes novice investors make when purchasing a rental property that is a fixer upper is they do not allocate enough money for the renovations/repair costs.

  • Always get an inspection before you purchase a property. Sometimes it’s best to get two or three professional opinions if you’ll be renting your property.
  • Get estimates for the work before you make a decision.
  • Don’t bite off more than you can chew in the DIY department. Unless you’re a contractor by trade, many renovations will need to be outsourced.

2. Know How Much You Need to Bring In

Do the math before you begin your property search. How much rental income do you need to receive to fulfill your own needs? Factor in:

  • Property taxes
  • HOA fees
  • Maintenance and repair costs
  • Insurance costs
  • Capital Expenditures such as a new roof, siding, HVAC system, water heater, etc..
  • Vacancy
  • Delinquency

As you can see, the price tag can get big pretty quickly. Low-balling your rental price just to get tenants in the door can end up costing you exponentially in the end. On the other hand, if you price your property too high, great renters will simply find somewhere else to live. It’s a balancing act that requires serious consideration.

The 1% Rule is a good rule of thumb to live by. If you invest in, say, a $100,000 property, a 1% rental price would be $1,000 a month. Will that cover everything you need? If not, you might want to re-evaluate your choice of property.

3. The Right Neighborhood

Know what kind of tenants you’re trying to attract from the beginning. That will likely dictate the neighborhood in which you wish to invest. If you’re hoping to rent to families, be sure you know about the local school districts, parks, and family-friendly attractions. If you’re going for people in their 20s and 30s, condos within walking distance to shops and restaurants will be a great draw.

Purchasing the rental property is just the beginning. There are plenty of laws, requirements, and restrictions you must adhere to in order to operate a proper rental property. By hiring a premier property management firm they can help you to understand what it takes to attract high-quality tenants and avoid long term vacancy. When you’re ready, reach out to one – they’re eager to learn how they can help you manage your rental property.

Best Sites and Apps to Find, Rent, Buy Apartments 2018 | Best apartment search sites

top 10 websites apps for finding apartments
Finding that perfect spot, where you come back and unwind after a hard day at work can be a difficult job, especially if you’re not the type of person that can be easily pleased, by any random location.

You have to look through various listings, see if they fit your budget and eventually go check out the place by yourself, just to be sure that everything is ok.

All these things take a lot of time and nerves and we strongly believe that you want to avoid being put in such a situation. In this case, we’re pretty sure that you’re wondering if there is not an easier solution, like doing it online. Well, you said the magic word: “online”.

After doing a bit of research, we’ve come across a few of the best sites and apps (yes, there are dedicated apps for this!) which you can use to find your dream apartment sooner than expected.

Most of these services are free, as the only difference between them is made by their integrated features, like filters, so you can sort out apartments, and many others. But no more chatting and let’s see what we have for you guys!

Apartment List

Available for both Android and iOS, this app can be considered the starting point for any apartment hunter. It presents a huge number of potentially suitable places meeting your criteria.

Also, one of its biggest pluses is the ability to set how much you want to spend, where exactly you would like to live, as well as your commuting route. After providing all this information, just give it a few moments and it will present you all the places matching your criteria.

By far, one of the best places for finding apartments right now!

Ok, time to switch to a website this time, but one that also has its own app, doing exactly the same thing. We’re talking about Realtor Rentals, which allows users to browse by map or photo view, not to mention that it provides specific driving instructions, so you can check all the apartments you want in person, without an agent.

Within the app, you will find options for setting alerts for all the apartments meeting your criteria, just as they come on the market. Basically, with one simple tap, you can get in contact with the leasing agent or even the owner and start your conversation.

Apartment Guide

Moving on, we have another entry on our list with the best sites and apps to find apartments, called – you’ll never guess this – Apartment Guide, available for iOS and Android.

The app provides HD photos, as well as floor plans, so you can check out any potential location even in the tiniest details. Also, the app, no matter on which platform you’re using it, allows you to actually save listings and share them with your friends. No, not on social media, to brag about your future apartment, but to ask for a second impression.

Bonus points for the interface, which makes it really easy to navigate through.

One of the most popular rentals websites makes it to our top as well. offers two methods of checking out properties, through browser or app, which is, by the way, available for Android and iOS.

What we like the most about this option is that you can find all the available times for visiting and, if you come across something you like, book a tour, so you can check out all the details. Additionally, you can check out reviews left by previous residents and narrow down your search according to these.

In the past, it was proven that reviews left by people who actually lived in those apartments had a high impact on the final decision.


If you’re looking for listings from major cities, then this is the app to try. However, it’s not limited to these locations!

Something we really like about it is the fact that, besides any other relevant details about a listing, it includes neighborhood details, like nearby schools and the walk score of the area. These are great to help you get an overall feel of the area around the apartment you’re considering buying or renting.

Finally, let’s not forget about the designated hot listings, which are actually the ones attracting the most interest from the app’s users. We bet that you will find something you like here!

Zillow Rentals

With more than 400,000 available spaces, Zillow Rentals is definitely one of the best sites to find apartments. However, the big number of properties you can choose from is not everything!

The website (or app) offers you the ability to personalize a search using filters such as pet policy, in-unit laundry or even on-site parking. Once you’re done, just save the searches that interest you the most, if you’re not yet decided, so you can check them out whenever you want.

If you’re not convinced on whether you should rent or buy, you can also check out all the homes available for sale in the Zillow network. Because guess what? There are also a lot which you can purchase!


Last but not least, we also have Abodo. Abodo provides a visually streamlined way to search for rentals, using basic requirements, like the rent price, the total number of bedrooms, but also gives you the ability to select non-negotiables, like air-conditioning or pet-friendliness. If you want to check out the details for selected listings, it’s actually very easy, as they open up over the search results, so you can sort them considering the relevancy, price, recency, or even popularity.

Search tip: In map view, listing icons turn grey after you’ve clicked on them, so you won’t end up checking the same listing multiple times.

And we’re done! Hopefully, our selection of the best sites and apps to find apartments will help you come across the perfect spot for you! Obviously, if you know any similar variants, do let us know about them, using the comments section below!