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5 Safety Features To Look For In Multifamily Properties

5 Safety Features to Look for in Multifamily Properties

When you maximize your multifamily property loan by embarking on a multifamily investment project, you have to worry about more than just keeping your property safe and protected. You want to ensure the safety of your tenants as much as possible.

Leverage today’s technology to go beyond just adhering to safety regulations; protect your tenants and your property while improving the value and desirability of the units. Here are five to consider:

1. Sprinkler systems that exceed code.

The National Fire Protection Association has outlined provisions for new single-family and duplex homes to include fire sprinklers, but only California, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. require fire sprinklers in new construction. There is no provision for other multi-dwelling units less than four stories high.

The cost to retrofit sprinkler systems in new homes can range from $2 to $7 per square foot, while installing fire sprinklers in new construction typically costs as little as $1.35 per square foot, according to the NFPA. While it may not be a coveted feature, finding a property with fire sprinklers can increase your peace-of-mind. The presence of fire sprinklers may also reduce your insurance costs.

2. Security and fire alarms connected to local police stations and firehouses.

Of course, you want your security and fire alarms connected to yours and your tenant’s smartphones so you’re both alerted in the event of an emergency. But consider paying the monthly fee for remote monitoring, which also alerts police or firefighters if there is a break-in or fire.

As with fire sprinklers, the investment can reduce your insurance costs and increase your peace-of-mind, especially if you don’t live in the same city as the property.

3. Smart doorbells that protect your tenants and your property.

A relatively low-cost investment at under $200, plus a monthly monitoring fee for the app, smart doorbells can alert you and your tenants about everything from break-ins and vandalism to package theft.

4. Water sensors to alert you to flooding.

No longer just the domain of luxury estates, smart water sensors that trigger an app when they get wet can help you minimize the damage of flooding. A worthwhile investment in areas prone to hurricanes or floods, and in any MDU with a basement, water sensors protect your investment from one of the top five property risks, and the most costly hazard to property owners.

5. Storm-proof doors, windows, and roofing.

Homes in a storm zone, especially along the coasts, may benefit from doors, windows, and even roofing that is rated to withstand hurricane- or tornado-force winds. Buildings in Southern Florida constructed after Hurricane Andrew may already have these protections in place, but that leaves plenty of the state and many other storm-prone areas of the country—still vulnerable.

Before you invest in a property, find out what building code standards were followed and determine if it’s worthwhile to invest in upgrades—especially if the windows, doors, and roofing need to be replaced as part of the rehab project, anyway.

A Rehab Loan Can Help You Pay for Safety Features

The fire and safety requirements of two- to four-unit MDUs is nowhere near as strict as code for high-rise apartment buildings. But you may not be able to count on your tenants to look after your property as if it were their own. Seeking properties with safety features in place, or retrofitting to include these features, can help save time, headaches, and lost revenue down the line if the apartment is unhabitable due to damage.

5arch’s multifamily property loans can allow you to roll these costs into the mortgage, reducing your out-of-pocket expenses while protecting your investment.

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