Investor Central

Welcome to the premier resource for Las Vegas investors looking to generate wealth through real estate. Whether you already own a property and need management help or you need assistance to get started, you have found the right place.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

How to makeover your investment property kitchen for $500

There is nothing like looking at a design magazine or reading an inspiring article to get you excited about renovating your kitchen, but on a tight budget your options might feel limited. With so many resources available and enough elbow grease, you would be surprised how easily you can transform your kitchen.

Here are some simple ways to update your investment property kitchen without breaking the bank: 

It goes without saying that paint can truly transform a room. Thankfully it is also a very cost effective way to update an otherwise ugly space. The avocado green walls may have suited your grandma, but it's contributing nothing but retro vibes to your kitchen right now. Aim to choose warm neutral tones as these colors give a welcoming impression, but also are more appealing to potential buyers.

Deep Clean
Nothing sends people running faster than a filthy kitchen. This might seem like an obvious step, but a sparkly clean space is one of the most inexpensive ways you can maintain the value of your investment property. Once your kitchen has gone through a deep clean, it will peel back layers of grime that accumulates through the years revealing some things you may have never noticed before. If the grout was once stained but cleaned up nicely, you might be able to skip replacing it. A clean start will help you determine the areas that truly need updating and other areas that you can save.

Update Accessories
One extremely minimal way to update your kitchen is simply to change out a few prominent kitchen accessories. This includes a new:
  • Spoon rest
  • Hand towels
  • Fruit bowl
  • Wine rack
  • Colorful floor mat
  • Decorative shelving
  • Pretty utensil container

Another way to freshen up the kitchen on a dime, is to display fresh fruit like lemons or oranges in a large apothecary jars or place a vase full of fresh flowers on your kitchen counter. Sometimes a pop of color can add so much warmth. Lisa Canning, a Toronto-based interior stylist adds, “ Swapping kitchen accessories in and out, such as dishtowels and counter-worthy accessories, is another simple and effective way to change the color and feel of a kitchen with minimal cost.”

Get Creative
Anyone on a shoestring budget knows you have to think outside of the box when it comes to decorating. A wonderful way to save while updating, is to re-purpose old items. Laura Gaskill of Houzz suggests, “ Work in rustic elements. Farmhouse accents instantly add warmth and character to a bland kitchen. Replace the kitchen or pantry door with a sliding barn door, hang copper pots from a ceiling rack or bring in a timeworn antique wooden stool.” Try visiting your local thrift store to see if you can find some statement pieces with rustic appeal. Glass mason jars also add a creative solution to storing grains, cereal, and spices, while still looking pretty on display.

Add a Chalkboard
Chalkboard walls bring a fresh, functional addition to your kitchen. Since, the kitchen is the hub of the home, having a feature that is so easy to add and remove is a great budget-friendly investment. Chalkboards are great for displaying your menu, sharing note-worthy quotes, and entertaining children. There are several approaches you could take:
  • Feature one cupboard as a 'grocery list' zone
  • Use your chalkboard as an accent wall
  • Frame it beside your dining table
  • Hang a few inside your pantry
  • Distinguish a space like your herb station or coffee bar

With enough creativity, the possibilities are endless and easy to paint over if you grow tired of it.

Revamp the Hardware
Changing the drawer pulls on your kitchen cabinets can give them an instantly modern new look. While focusing on cost effective ways to update the kitchen, you should consider spray painting the old pulls. shares some real-life design advice, “Why, oh why, did it take me so long to spray paint my kitchen cabinet knobs (or “pulls” for the decorators out there)? It took all of thirty minutes and makes such an amazing difference. Seriously, if you have those infamous 80's and 90's 'in your face, gold brass knobs' take a minute and update them. You'll add a fresh, perfect punch to your kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom...wherever you have outdated hardware (and trust me, my whole house is full of it).

Install a Back-splash
A lovely back-splash can give your kitchen a quick updated look. Don't think just because you have a small budget to work with that your options are completely limited. Here are some out-of-the-box ideas for finding a fresh back-splash:
  • Peg board
  • Vintage postcards or maps
  • Salvaged wood
  • Home-made mosaic

Add a Kitchen Island
You might not be able to go out and add the kitchen island of your dreams, but there are plenty of alternative use items that function as beautiful islands. Consider converting an old table, vanity, or desk into a statement piece for your kitchen. Check out your local thrift-store and see what funky pieces you can find. Add a fresh coat of paint, install some new hardware and your once bare kitchen will dazzle. You can add cup hooks or shelving to one end for extra storage and a few barstools around the edge to provide additional seating. Kitchen Designer Nadia Hursky shares,“Have a large open-plan space with a kitchen island if possible. Buyers often want to multitask in the kitchen. They want to cook, and have their kids to their homework and socialize in it.”

Factor in the Splurge
Chances are, there is one thing about your outdated kitchen that significantly bothers you the most. This is an area worth spending on, however there are ways to cut corners and get the most bang for your buck. Narrow down the major problem areas of your kitchen and work your budget backwards, taking into account what update will yield the best investment down the road.

Shawn & Kyle Cunningham
Cunningham Group at RE/MAX Advantage
(702) 823-0855 Shawn
(702) 823-0840 Kyle

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Property Manager's Perspective: Rent Prices in Las Vegas Today

We have been receiving a lot of questions lately on local rents so I wanted to try to address the subject more broadly to all property owners in the Las Vegas area.

I know that you may have been reading about increasing rents in certain areas of the country. The most common place I hear referenced is California (particularly northern California and the Los Angeles metro area). While it is true that both rent and resale prices in those areas are skyrocketing right now, it is important to know that Las Vegas (and Nevada) bears very little similarity to our larger neighbor. Our market tracks much closer to parts of Arizona and markets in Texas than it does California. Our income bases are more similar to those markets and our property values are more comparable. The cost of living here is vastly lower than California and you can buy an entry level single family home in a good area of town for $175,000 - $300,000 range in Las Vegas which would be impossible in many parts of California. The low cost of living, affordable home prices, lack of state income taxes, and low regulation make our market very attractive to own real estate for investment purposes. Much like Arizona and parts of Texas.

From 2008 - 2012, we did not see much of an increase in rent prices in Las Vegas because of the recession and collapsed real estate market across the country. In the past year, we have started to see increasing rents in certain locations. Particularly the high-end locations. That trend is showing in 2015 as well. Certain locations will go up more than others.

We are always examining properties at lease renewals to determine if we feel there is room for an increase. Rent increases happen over a longer period of time in residential real estate. Raising rent every year is not advisable. If you raise rent every year on a good tenant, that is just going to lead to vacancies. I only advise raising rent on a good tenant if the market forces indicate we can get that increased rent on the open market and the home is updated and a desirable product. This is important because we do not want a tenant looking at comparable homes in your neighborhood(s) and finding cheaper options to rent. A small difference they may overlook if they love the home. A big difference will get a tenant thinking about all their options. We’ve had tenants vacate over increases as small as $25 per month. Even when owners withdraw the increase request, the tenant may have already settled on the idea of moving (prompted by the increase). The resulting cost of vacancy, marketing, utilities, far far outweighs the potential increase.

We weigh all these factors when we email our property owners on upcoming expiring leases. I’m sure most property owners and managers would agree that the biggest factor affecting your returns on a rental property is vacancy. An occupied property should always be our top priority. And that's our first mindset. It is my philosophical approach to being a landlord (and its the same approach I’ve taken with my own personal rental properties).

Kyle Cunningham
Cunningham Group at RE/MAX Advantage
(702) 823-0855 Shawn
(702) 823-0840 Kyle

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Vegas Investor Insiders: Pardee New Construction / Great Location

A "look-in" on today's featured property... Join the Insiders List to get rent-ready properties on a regular basis!

Address: 9618 Aberdeen Ridge, Las Vegas, NV 
  • MLS # Not in MLS
  • Sq Ft: 2,311sf (apprx)
  • Beds/Bath/Garage: 4-bedroom/3 baths/2-car garage
  • Year: New Construction
  • List Price: $303,775
  • Projected Rent: $1,700
  • HOA Dues: $66/month
  • Renovation: Brand new Pardee home. Will need window coverings and backyard landscaping
  • Notes: Brand new home.  Located in desirable southwest Las Vegas, near Rhodes Ranch and Mountain's Edge, prestigious Bishop Gorman High School, Wet N Wild, as well as under 2 miles from the new IKEA store under construction. See link for list of options the builder put into this home. This one will sell fairly quickly. 
  • Purchase price recommend: Builder offering a 3% incentive towards buyer's closing costs with Pardee's preferred lender.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Here's what's driving up house prices

Great informative article from CNN Money about rising home prices:

It's been a long and uneven road to revival for the housing market. But things have been heating up for the last few years.

Home prices took off in 2012 and went on a tear in 2013. And while the double-digit growth has slowed somewhat, prices are still heading higher.

In February, prices rose 4.2% from the year prior, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Index.

And some local markets are on fire, with bidding wars and offers above asking price becoming common. In San Francisco, 74% of homes listed earlier this year, sold within two months of hitting the market, a recent Trulia report showed. The median asking price of the City by the Bay was $1,099,000. Several other areas in California, along with Seattle and Salt Lake City are experiencing similar real estate booms, the report found.

Home prices in Denver and Dallas have exceeded the levels hit during the housing boom, according to S&P/Case-Shiller.

If prices continue to outpace inflation and income in these areas, that can eventually become a problem.

"Price increases -- even in the most desirable places -- can't continue to outstrip income growth forever," said Keith Gumbinger, vice president of "At some point, no one will be able to afford a home."

Here's what's driving prices higher:

Homeowners aren't selling: Current homeowners list their home to either trade up or downsize, opening up inventory for first-time buyers to come in. One can't happen without the other.

"The whole train has to move at the same time," said Gumbinger.

But current homeowners aren't flooding the market with "For Sale" signs. Some are worried they won't be able to find a new house or they're still waiting to recoup their home's value lost in the crash.

"Homeowners who would be considering selling could still be underwater or still in too low of an equity position," said Gumbinger.

Existing home sales have increased for seven consecutive months, but David Crowe, chief economist at the National Association of Home Builders, said it's not enough. "Without additional inventory on the existing side, the first-time homebuyer is boxed out."

Builders aren't building: Builders have been cautious during the recovery, since they need to know homeowners will upgrade to the houses they build, said Crowe.

According to Crowe, a normal housing market has 1.6 million new single and multi-family homes built annually. Last year, the market hit a million, but single-family homes made up just 700,000, when it's typically a little more than a million.

Lenders still aren't lending: Strict lending practices have made it harder for buyers to secure a mortgage since the bubble burst in 2008. And while banks have loosened up a little recently, lending is still significantly tighter than it was before the housing crash.

That's not necessarily a bad thing, but Crowe thinks standards are still a little too tight. "Underwriting standards have been tightened up beyond what is necessary," said Crowe. "It's an overreaction to clearly loose standards in the middle of the [last] decade."

Tight inventory and rising prices can be potential warning signs of a bubble forming, but experts say it's too early to tell.

"It's not obvious yet," said economist Robert Shiller, who helped create the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, on a potential bubble.

If there is one, it's a different type of bubble than the one in 2008. While supply and demand helped inflate that bubble, the demand was enhanced by loose mortgage lending practices that sometimes pushed buyers to take out loans they couldn't afford.

"That bubble was fostered by a finance-related push," explained Gumbinger.

Today's rising prices are fueled by actual market forces, backed up by real money. "You don't see all those things that would create unsustainable demand," he said. "It's a better qualified marketplace."

Any potential bubbles at this point would be limited to specific markets, he added. "There are marketplaces that are beholden to certain industries and if those change, that could mean local changes to that market. At the end of the day, all real estate is local."

Shawn & Kyle Cunningham
Cunningham Group at RE/MAX Advantage
(702) 823-0855 Shawn
(702) 823-0840 Kyle