How to Choose a Neighborhood for Your Filming Location

Perdita Weeks in Magnum
Image courtesy of CBS
Many people turn to rental property investment, using their house for a film shoot location as a long-term strategy for financial growth. There are many benefits to this approach. Assuming you choose the right property, you should be able to collect a regular profit, with total rent exceeding what you pay in monthly expenses. And long-term, the value of the property should increase (glamour is your best ally), allowing you to collect a major profit when you’re done with the property.

However, these benefits are contingent upon your property selection—and one of the most important factors for your property’s success is the quality and growth potential of its surrounding neighborhood. So how can you choose the “right” neighborhood for your shooting location rental property?

Top Priorities

First, let’s establish some of your top priorities. Rent prices tend to vary by neighborhood. Some areas are more expensive, while others are relatively cheap. Your goal should be to find a neighborhood that allows you to charge the highest rent possible, at least when compared to your expenses.

The appeal and occupancy: You’ll also want to choose an area with significant popularity among filmmakers. If the apartment or home is vacant for too long, you’ll lose money. If you choose a property in a popular, growing neighborhood near a filming hub, you’ll never have to worry so much about it.

Your final priority is long-term growth. Is the property on an upward trajectory? Is it likely to be associated with increasing property values over time? Neighborhoods with new investments and increasingly better amenities tend to perform well here.

Factors to Consider

With those goals in mind, these are some of the most important factors you should consider when choosing a neighborhood:

Current prices: What are homes selling for in this area? If they’re too expensive, they may not be tenable for your strategy.

Historical prices: How have these homes sold in the past? There are a few things to look for here. In some situations, a recent price drop could represent a valuable investing opportunity, since you can get high-quality homes for a better price. However, it’s usually better to look for a long-term trend toward growth; it could be a strong indication of things to come.

Current rents: You’ll also want to look at current rent prices in the area. How much are people willing to pay for units in this area, all other factors being equal? What kind of price-to-rent ratio will you be able to get?

Location: Consider the geographical positioning of the property. Is it within the confines of a big city? Is it just outside a big city? Is it in the middle of nowhere? These factors will impact not only your growth rate, but your rate of attracting new productions. You’ll also want to consider how close it is to various institutions for logistics, like popular workplaces, bus stops, and highways. Generally speaking, the more conveniently placed the neighborhood is, the better.

Crime: Pay close attention to crime rates, too. If the crime rate in a given area is too high, producers will be reluctant to shoot here. This is especially true for violent crimes, as production costs increase. However, if the crime rate is steadily dropping, it could be a good sign of things to come.

Amenities: Access to amenities and conveniences, like gyms, restaurants, and bars, can instantly make a neighborhood more loved by its residents. Pay attention to not only the current amenities of the area, but the ones likely to come in the future.

Management demands: Certain neighborhoods are going to be more high-maintenance than others. For example, you may have to comply with the demands of a neighborhood association. If the houses in an area tend to be older, they may also require more upkeep and maintenance.

Future prospects: What kind of opportunities exist in the future for this establishment? Are there new houses being built in the area? Is there a new employer that’s hoping to open up a shop? Is a park about to be developed?

Keep in mind that you can list your property in a movie location rentals website, but it could be not enough to carry you to success on its own. If you want to manage a rental property successfully, collecting regular income and selling for a profit later on, you’ll need to choose the right individual property as well. The more experienced you become as a rental property investor, the easier this process will become—and the clearer your decisions will be.


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