There is an old saying that goes, “It’s not the initial cost, it’s the upkeep!”
A fitting saying for many situations and certainly one to consider when investing in home rentals. Preparing a home for rental goes beyond the purchase price. It includes remodels and upgrades that give you the best bang for your buck as setting your optimum rent and attracting great renters who stay. So, whether you just invested in a property or one you’ve had for a while needs an upgrade, choosing the right options is critical.
Before you begin, consider your neighborhood. If you over-improve the rental above the surrounding area, do not expect to charge higher rent. The tenants who are willing to pay it, will not want the neighborhood, and the tenants who choose the neighborhood will expect a rent comparable to the other properties. Tenants choose a community based on typical rent prices and amenities in a particular area. Take time to ‘know’ your neighborhood and make upgrades accordingly.
Upgrades that come with a solid ROI
Outdoors: People like to “come home.” Even when they don’t take time to pinpoint their pleasure, they respond to the welcome they feel when approaching their front door.
- Paint the front door, choose a catchy color that pops out.
- Consider painting window trim as well.
- Frame the doorway with attractive, low maintenance landscaping.
- Add an outdoor light fixture by the door.
- Ensure the walkway and steps are in good repair.
- If you have a garage, paint the overhead door or, in some cases, consider purchasing a new one.
- Consider upgrading your mailbox or house numbers – it can be an inexpensive way to add style.
Inside your rental: There are a multitude of ways to grab a potential tenant’s attention.
- Make the entryway attractive and convenient. Wall hooks for jackets or built-in cubicles for storing school bags, sports equipment, briefcases, handbags are inexpensive winners.
- A fresh coat of paint throughout the rental makes everything feel fresh, clean, and delightfully new.
- Tear up old carpet – replace with vinyl planks. They are relatively easy to install for a do-it-yourselfer, and it gives a spacious feel to even a small home.
- Update the bathroom – this room is a scale tipper in both in getting the rent you need as well as attracting/keeping tenants.
Are the vanity, sink, toilet, and shower in good condition? These are more expensive items to replace, but depending on the condition, the investment is worth considering. On the other hand, if the sink is in decent shape, a fresh coat of paint on the vanity, and new faucets could do the trick.
Update or add to the lighting.
Find ways to increase the storage or make it more efficient.
Tiles? Clean the grout!
- Update the kitchen – another essential space for winning points as a landlord. Include up-to-date, clean, functional appliances – Stove, oven, microwave, fridge, and dishwasher are all a must. Besides irritating your tenant, constant calls for repairs is a waste of your time and money. You do not have to install top of the line, but don’t skimp either. Choose functionality over fancy. Buy open-box options at Lowes, Home Depot, or Spencer's. You can often save up to 50%.
We already covered the vinyl plank floor and freshly painted walls in the entire rental, but once again – think storage. Can you add shelves, a cupboard, create a pantry in a corner? Organizers explicitly designed for kitchens can make a difference.
- Lighting and Storage – No one likes a dark home. Lighting can be an inexpensive way to make a big difference. The same can be said of making the best use of your space. An extra closet in this corner, a few shelves here and there – inside the home or garage are attention grabbers.
Of course, you don’t have to ‘do it all.’ Take time to choose the areas most in need. Consider local trends. Balance long-term investment like appliances when needed against a relatively inexpensive fresh coat of paint. In the end, you will have an attractive rental that draws, and retains ideal tenants.
About Rentals America:
Rentals America is a residential property management company. It is our privilege to help landlords and residents navigate the rental market. Supporting our community is important to our team and each year we volunteer and donate to shelters and food banks through our Rentals America Cares program. If you’d like to learn more about us, please click here.
Questions? Contact us today.