Monday, April 4, 2016

Eight Factors to Consider While Investing in Commercial Real Estate

The demand for commercial real estate (including standalone shops, retail and office space and warehouses) has increased by nearly seven percent over the last two years. This is because an increasing number of people are investing in commercial real estate in order to supplement their incomes.

If you are considering investing in commercial real estate, factor in the following:
1.       Commercial real estate is usually 10 to 12% more expensive compared to residential real estate and the resale value is 7 to 10% higher.
2.       Rentals are 3 to 5% higher compared to a residential property. Security deposits are higher as well, and range between one and two years, as opposed to six months for residential real estate.
3.       The return on investment (ROI) for commercial real estate ranges between 6 and 12%and is considerably higher than that of residential real estate which ranges between 2 and 4%.
4.       Rental agreements for commercial real estate usually last for anywhere between 3 and 10 years. This ensures a steady cash flow for owners, and minimizes the need to look for a new tenant every few years, which can be the case with residential real estate.
5.       Amenities that attract tenants interested in renting retail and office space include round-the-clock security, ample water supply, back-up generators, reserved parking and elevators, as well as effective fire and security alarm systems.
6.       Once vacant, it takes longer to find a suitable tenant for a commercial real estate compared to residential real estate. As a result, commercial real estate tends to remain vacant for a longer period of time. Furthermore, if a commercial real estate remains vacant for more than six months, the value decreases by three to five percent.
7.       Areas attracting the most investment include multistory buildings located on the outskirts of city and as well as coastal areas.

8.       Prices of commercial real estate (including plots, standalone shops, and office and retail space) are expected to increase by 10 to 20% this year and rentals by 15 to 20%.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Five factors to consider before investing in startups UK

Investing in startups UK has increased by an estimated 50% in the last five years. This is because an increasing number of startups investors are purchasing low-cost properties to rent out, which have a relatively high return on investment (ROI) ranging between 20 and 25%.


If you are thinking for investing in startups UK, factor in the following:
1.       Popular investment hotspots include Birmingham, Glasgow, London, Manchester and Liverpool.
2.       The value of residential property (including apartments and houses) increases by 12 to 20% per year, while that of commercial property (including retail and office space) increases by 9 to 16%.
3.       The average rental yield of residential and commercial property ranges between 7 and 11% of total value of the property.
4.       Foreigners are allowed to purchase residential and commercial property in the UK even if they do not reside there. However, foreigners who do not have a residence permit cannot qualify for a mortgage.
5.       While invest in startups UK, sales transactions can be handled by Solicitors / lawyers in the UK even if investors are not physically present there. This is the most popular way of purchasing property there for foreigners.

The purchase price ranges for investing in startups UK in the field of property are:

Plots
·         Available residential plot sizes include: 500, 1,200 and 2,000 square feet.
Ø  Purchase price range: $ 200 – 600 per square foot.
·         Available commercial plot sizes include: 100, 500 and 1,000 square feet.
Ø  Purchase price range: $ 400 – 1,300 per square foot.

Apartments
·         Available sizes include: 500, 700 and 1,500 square feet.
Ø  Purchase price range: $ 300 – 700 per square foot.

Houses
·         Plot sizes include: 700, 1,200 and 2,000 square feet.
Ø  Purchase price range: $ 300 – 800 per square foot.

Rental and Office Space
·         Available sizes include: 100, 500 and 1,000 square feet.

Ø  Purchase price range: $ 500 – $ 1,400 per square foot.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Three Ways To Make a Functional Room in Your Home

A trend emerging among homeowners is to have a “functional room” within their houses or apartments. These spaces usually serve as laundry rooms, studies or storerooms. Their presence increases property value by an estimated five to seven percent and rentals by two to three percent. 

The return on investment (ROI) ranges between six to eight percent per year.

If you are planning to incorporate a functional room into your home, following are the three factors you should consider:
1.      Space. The minimum size of a functional room should be at least 50 square feet and should ideally have a door that serves as an entry / exit point into the apartment or house. The easiest thing to do is to convert a spare room into a functional one. If you do not have a spare room, consider converting a terrace or balcony into one- if space allows. The option works well for both apartments and houses. In the case of a house, the area below a staircase can work equally well if it I spacious enough.
Construction / renovation cost - $ 1500 – 2000.
2.      The basics. Matte tiles in dark colors such as dark green, steel grey and terracotta are easy to maintain and give a natural feel to the space. In the case of a laundry room, include a sink and counter space; the latter can be used as an ironing board or as a workstation in the case of a study. Shelves are a must-have for functional rooms as they can be used for a variety of purposes.
Cost – tiles: $ 150 – 180 per sq ft; sink / wash basin: $ 2000 – 3000
3.      Lighting. In addition to spotlights, consider using skylights or glass bricks in place of walls to allow natural light. Louvers are another option, these can be substituted for windows or even be fitted within doors that serves as entrances.
4.      Cost – spotlights: $ 50 – 80 (each); glass bricks: $ 20 – 35 per brick; skylights: $ 200 to 250; louvers: $ 150 to 200 per sq ft.

Dame Zaha Hadid Wins The Riba Gold Medal

International women's day (March 8) is a good time to acknowledge the achievements of notable women from around the world. One such woman is renowned architect Dame Zaha Hadid, who became the first woman to be awarded the Royal institute of British Architects (RIBA) Gold Medal, the UK's highest honor architect's last month. Although two other women - Ray Kaiser Eames and Patricia Hopkins - have been previously honored, they were presented the medal in tandem with their husbands.

The RIBA medal is awarded annually by the Royal Institute of Brisitish Architects of behalf of the British monarch in recognition of an individual's or group's contribution to international architecture. It is given for a distingushed body of work rather than for just one building. 
In Hadid's case, this body of work includes the Heydar Aliyev Centre in Baku, the Aquatics Centre constructed for the 2012 London Olympics, the Maxxi Museum in Rome, the Serpentine Sackler Gallery in London, the Riverside Museum at Glassgow's Museum of Transport and the Guangzhou Opera house in China. The RIBA medal is not Hadid's first award; other prestigious accolades include the Pritzker prize (she was the first woman to win it in 2004) and the sterling prize for Architecture in 2010 and 2011).
One of the defining aspects of Hadid's work is that her buildings are distinctively neo-futuristic, characterized by powerful curving forms, elongated structures, multiple perspective points and fragmented geometry which are said to evoke the chaos of modern life.

Although Hadid is arguably the most famous woman architect in the world today, there are others with notable achievements. There is Amanda Levete who won the sterling prize in 1999 for designing the media Centre at Lord's Cricket Ground; Angela Brady who won the Irish post/AIB Bank Award for personal achievement in Architecture for a lifetime of designing houses, schools and medical centers across the UK; and Alison Brooks, who set up Alison Brooks Architects, the only UK practice to have won the RIBA award for architecture.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Six Things to Consider When Setting Up A Spa in Your Home

An increasing number of people are setting up spas in their homes. Although the cost of materials and installation are relatively high, their presence increases properly value by nearly 10 to 12%, and rentals by 15 to 20%.
If you are thinking about setting up a spa in your home, you should consider following six steps:
Size. The size of a spa to accommodate a spa (consisting of a Jacuzzi, Sauna and steam room) should range between 180 to 250 square feet.
Jacuzzi's. You can either install a ready made portable whirlpool of have one custom made, according to your taste in terms if size, shape and materials used.
Cost: Ready made - $ 10,000; customized $ 250 - 500 per square feet.
Saunas. the primary components of a sauna include a stove (heater) that provides dry heat, as well as wooden paneling for the floor and the walls. Remember, a sauna must have a window to allow ventilation when it is not in use.
Cost: $ 2,000 - 4,500.
Steam Rooms. A shower cubicle can be converted into a steam room by installing steam injectors and seating. Avoid false ceilings, as there are prone to mold and fungi due to humidity.
Cost: $ 500 - 700.
Lighting. Dimmer equipped spotlights and string lights work best. Popular colors include blue, orange, red and warm white.
Cost: $ 80 - 150 per light.
Tiles. Miniature mosaic patterns in tones such as green, brown and blue are ideal;they should be waterproof to ensure safety and reduced maintenance costs.
Cost: $ 120 - 350 per square feet. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Designing Football Sports Stadium

Architects and engineers involved in the design and construction of football stadiums should factor in the following to maximize design efficiency without compromising on the spectator experience.

Location. Select a location that is easily accessible via the city’s major thoroughfares.

Size. Football stadiums are usually constructed on plots ranging between 10 and 15 acres given that provision for ample parking space has to be made as well.  The capacity of a football stadium usually ranges between 30,000 and 50,000 spectators.

Design. During construction, ensure that the football orientation factors in the angle of sunlight with respect to the pitch because while designers want to avoid shadows on the field or the sun’s glare for spectators, they also need to ensure sufficient sunlight for viewing and playing.

Pitch. Playing fields usually measure 105 x 68 meters or 125 x 85 meters. Ground maintenance teams should ensure that the pitch is smooth, with adequate watering and drainage systems. In countries, where temperatures are high, alternatives such as artificial turfs are ideal because they do not require sunlight and the football stadium can therefore be covered.

Safety. The year 2014 makes the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster in which 96 people lost their lives due to a lack of safety measures. Since then, the concerned authorities recommended stricter safety and security regulations, and builders therefore need to make sure that the prescribed number of safety exits are in place with clear pathways, and that an adequate number of surveillance and first aid centers are located within the premises.


Features. Among other considerations, designers should account for VIP lounges, cafeterias, restrooms, parking lots, flood lights and announcement systems. The number of these amenities varies according to the football stadium’s capacity.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Advantages and Disadvantages of Pre-Fabricated Construction

Although pre-fabricated construction has been deployed for centuries around the world, only now it is gaining traction tremendously.
In a nutshell pre-fabricated construction is the practice of manufacturing the components of a structure (such as walls, floors and roofs) at a factory, and the transporting them to the construction site where they are assembled to create a couple structure after the foundation has been built onsite.

In this way pre-fabricated construction distinguishes itself from the more conventional practice of transporting raw materials (such as cement and steel bars) to the construction site where they are mixed with other materials and / or modified.

Pre-fabricated construction is ideal for sites where storage area is limited, due to size of the plot or because of a lack of open space around the construction site , and can be utilized for building houses, hospitals, offices and factories.

The Advantages of pre-fabricated construction include:

  • ·       For the most part it is cheaper than traditional construction, as labor costs and construction time are substantially lower.
  • ·       Components are manufactured at a factory, so the need for form work shuttering and scaffolding is greatly reduced onsite. This ensures strict quality control and easier manageability.
  • ·       Wastage of material is reduced due to better quality of control; pilferage is also reduced as it is more likely to occur at an open construction site.

The disadvantages of pre-fabricated construction include:
  • ·       Greater expertise is required to make sure that the components are fixed perfectly; otherwise air leaks can occur inside the structure which can result in a host of issues such as water seepage and increased heat. Similarly heavy duty cranes are required to handle and assemble the components require expertise.
  • ·       If building components are manufactured far away from the construction site, transportation costs can sometimes be higher.


Ultimately, pre-fabricated construction is quicker and more cost effective compared to traditional construction. And with rising construction costs, it is something that developer should consider utilizing.