granite counters

What Are The Best Upgrades For A Rental Property?

Upgrading a rental property can be a double-edged sword. Upgrades can cut into your margin of profit, but run-down properties won’t attract the renters you need for your property. Fortunately, some upgrades can make a huge visual impact without breaking the bank.

Simple upgrades that cost almost nothing can transform a property in amazing ways. You don’t need a huge budget to make your rental property more attractive to prospective tenants. Let’s look at some inexpensive upgrades that can make your property irresistible.

 

Paint Upgrades Everything

A fresh coat of paint makes anything look better, so if you’re looking for a way to increase curb appeal on your rental property, a paint job just may be the facelift it needs.

This doesn’t mean that you have to spend hours and hours applying gallons and gallons of paint. You don’t necessarily need to change the color of the house, although that may be desirable. Just a thin, fresh coat of the existing color can be enough to make the place look brand new.

Paint doesn’t weather well, especially in certain climates where mildew is persistent. Over time, paint chips and flakes, and before you know it, the house looks like it has a mild case of leprosy. Taking the time to repaint or even just touch up these areas can make a huge difference.

Don’t forget to touch up the trim, too. In many cases, the trim is what makes the house appealing. Painting the trim in a contrasting color to the main color can make the house “pop.”

fresh paint

A Pressure Wash Outside Is Good Advertisement

It’s phenomenal what a good wash job can do to a house. Especially if your climate is damp and humid, mildew is a constant pest. In these areas, houses need to be washed down at least once a year.

This is not difficult. A 2:1 mixture of Simple Green and bleach in a two-gallon garden sprayer works well to remove the exterior’s mildew and creosote. Just:

  • Spray on evenly to cover the entire surface from the top of the wall to the foundation
  • Let sit for about five minutes
  • Rinse off with a garden hose

If mildew is especially bad, the process may need to be repeated.

For walkways, a pressure washer will make them look new again. These little touches increase curb appeal and make prospective tenants take a second look at your rental property.

 

Cabinet Doors Can Spice Up a Kitchen

The inside of the house is just as important as the exterior. One of the easiest yet most effective upgrades is cabinet doors. With many hands touching them many times a day, cabinet doors turn black from skin oils that contact them constantly.

Add to that the grease that coats everything in the kitchen when foods are fried, and you have some yucky, sticky doors on your cabinets. You can make the kitchen more attractive by either replacing or repainting the cabinet doors.

Of course, repainting is going to be labor-intensive. You’ll have to strip off the old paint, sand off the layers of grease and grime, and repaint. If you have the budget for it, it’s probably easier to just hang new cabinet doors.

Your hardware or home improvement store will usually carry them for a reasonably low price. They are easy to install and won’t take more than an afternoon of your time.  For larger projects or if you are short on time and skills, consider hiring a quality kitchen contractor, they can save you much needed time so you can get your rental on the market quickly.

kitchen cabinets

Washer And/or Dryer Will Delight Your Tenants

The fact is laundromats are expensive. For families with several children, the laundry load is unbelievable. Your prospective tenants will be most impressed by having a washing machine in-house. You can usually find a good used washing machine for less than $200.

It doesn’t need to be fancy; just a simple machine will do. But whoever is responsible for doing the laundry for the household will surely appreciate your foresight and thoughtfulness.

You can always increase the rent by a few dollars per month to cover the machine’s cost and the extra water usage. Or that could be included in the deposit.

 

New Floors Change the Atmosphere

Of all the structures in a house, floors get the most abuse, so they likely need the most attention when you’re thinking about upgrades. Most property owners agree that carpet in rent houses is not a good idea.

Unfortunately, renters often take no great pains to maintain the property in mint condition and sometimes they’re downright destructive. So, you don’t want to sink upwards of a thousand dollars into carpet that will need to be replaced between tenants.

Linoleum is hardly a better choice since it is easily scuffed and torn by dragging furniture.

Hardwood is best since it can be sanded and revarnished to look like new. It will last for decades, making your investment a durable one. And if your budget or schedule doesn’t permit a full revarnishing, you can cover the floor with stick-on tiles to give it a fresh, brand new look.

There are many patterns available to give your floor anything from a retro to a futuristic aura.

hardwood flooring conytractors Mountain View

New Fixtures Make the House Look Younger

Your rental property must keep up with the times in terms of appearance and fixtures. Millennials do not want to live in a house that is still furnished from the 1960s.

No, you don’t have to install Alexa in every room, but it can increase appeal if you update:

  • Light fixtures
  • Faucets
  • Built-in seating

Just making the fixtures reflect modern times can take a few years off the appearance of the house. This doesn’t have to be painfully expensive. Modern light fixtures are relatively cheap, but the quality of the light is better than ever.

Kitchen and bathroom faucets cost next to nothing, but they can add a contemporary flair to the room. You probably don’t want to go over the top with whimsical or unusual. Just something simple and modern that will work well with whatever theme your tenants choose for that room.

 

Landscaping Makes It Look Like Home

Making your rental property look like a home is a key factor in attracting tenants. Of course, you don’t want to spend hundreds on rose gardens and fancy topiaries. But you can make simple upgrades like:

  • A flagstone border along the walkway
  • A birdbath inside a small flower bed
  • Flower beds along the front of the house

These things can make a positive impression on the people who consider renting your property. It says that you care about more than just filling your pockets; you want your renters to have an attractive place to come home to.

large walkway renovation Mountain View
Wide Walkways

New Doors Make a Difference

Doors often get overlooked when upgrades are being made, but one of the best and least expensive upgrades you can make is replacing doors that have seen better days.

Exterior doors take a beating from the weather and, if they’re wooden, they’ll need to be replaced every few years. Metal doors last longer but still may need a fresh coat of paint every two to three years.

Interior doors fare a bit better, but from time to time, they need some love, too. They react to oily hands exactly as cabinet doors do, and since most rent house interiors are painted in white or neutral colors, doors are likely to show black areas around knobs.

They also may get:

  • Scratched
  • Dented
  • Holes
  • Chipped edges

This can discourage prospective tenants from renting your property. If you won’t fix small things like a door, how can they depend on you to fix big things like a water leak?

Attention to detail gives you a reputation for reliability, which increases a prospective tenant’s trust in you.

 

New Counter Tops Add Pizzazz

Countertops see it all, hold it all, and often they are in pretty sad shape by the time a tenant’s lease is up. Scratched or broken Formica on countertops is not what prospective renters want to see.

The current trend in countertops is toward granite, but other options are durable if that is a stretch for your budget.

For example, stained concrete will last for ages through all kinds of abuse. Ceramic tile is another alternative that is cost-effective and can be installed by a non-professional.

home additions Bay Area CA

Insulated Windows Lower Energy Costs

Windows are an essential part of any house’s external appearance. One way to increase curb appeal is to upgrade your rental property’s windows. The old-fashioned paned windows are just so last century!

They are also inefficient at conserving energy. You had just as well have an open hole in the wall if your windows are outdated; they allow more heat and cool air to escape than any other place in the house.

Upgrading to insulated windows will not only make the house look more modern; they will hold in the heat and cool better, too. New windows properly set and calked can lower energy bills for your tenants. This can only be good for your prospects.

 

Storage Is Always a Great Upgrade

A common fault of humans is the tendency to accumulate “stuff.” And a common need among members of the species is a place to store all their “stuff.” An upgrade that will cost almost nothing but will overjoy your tenants is the addition of storage space.

That doesn’t mean that you have to add an attic or basement or build an extra closet, although you could do that and would be a great idea with a room addition project. Storage can be added in the form of:

  • Wall hooks
  • Floating shelves
  • Corner shelving
  • Overhead tracks for plastic bins
  • An extra rod in the closet

There are plenty of ways to add storage without getting into a major building program. Your renters will most definitely appreciate the extra space.

 

Repair or Replace a Damaged Roof

It could be said that a house is only as good as its roof. No matter how nice the exterior looks or how conveniently the interior is laid out, it is worth nothing if you have a leaky roof.  Repairing a leaky roof is sometimes an easy fix requiring little more than a few roofing tacks and a calking gun.

Other times you may need to replace the entire roof or portions of it. If you want to command top dollar in rental fees, this is a problem you must rectify. No one will shell out half of their monthly income for a house that doesn’t keep out the rain.

Replacing a roof is rather expensive, especially if you can’t do the work yourself. But in the end, it will cost you more to just let it go. In this case, routine maintenance and regular examination of your rental house roofs can help you identify and correct minor problems before they become significant problems.

After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

 

Energy Efficient Appliances Help Your Renters Save Money

Energy-saving appliances translate into lower utility bills for your tenants. This can only benefit you since they won’t need to choose between paying rent and paying the electric bill. A simple upgrade to your rental property is replacing worn-out appliances with new energy-efficient appliances.

This can include:

  • A water-saving washing machine
  • An energy-efficient air conditioning unit
  • An energy-saving refrigerator
  • An energy-efficient water heater

Your renters will appreciate not only up-to-date appliances, but appliances that help them save money by using less energy.

 

A Security System Makes Your Renters More Comfortable

Even renters want to feel that their possessions are protected, so investing in a simple basic security system can increase a prospective tenant’s trust in the neighborhood’s safety. No, you don’t need to shell out megabucks for a state-of-the-art security system, but a few minor changes can improve the way a prospective tenant perceives the level of security.

Some simple security measures include:

  • Deadbolt locks on all external doors
  • Motion-activated lighting in dark areas
  • Inexpensive security cameras at the back of the house

These things indicate that you understand their need to feel secure, and you make an effort to help them feel safe on your property.

 

Smart Door Locks Save You Time

Door locks are usually rekeyed between tenants, but now landlords are going a step further and installing smart locks. These locks can reconfigure the unlocking pattern in mere seconds. This saves you the trouble of needing to change door locks or get new keys made.

Just push a few buttons, and the lock is automatically rekeyed. Keyless entry is gaining popularity since it protects against unauthorized entry. A skeleton key can be used to open a traditional lock, but a keyless entry is harder to breach.

This will add to your tenant’s sense of safety and spare you a good deal of trouble.

couch with curtains

New Blinds and Curtains Add Curb Appeal

It’s nothing short of amazing what blinds and curtains can do to a place. And usually, blinds are the first thing in a house that gets broken. Curtains are typically installed by the tenants and taken with them when they move out.

Bare windows are not attractive from the road. They make a place look empty and unwelcoming. Replacing blinds and hanging inexpensive curtains between tenants can increase curb appeal. Just simple white valances will help to make the place look homey and inviting.

It will take you all of an hour to add these minor upgrades, but they can reward you with a steady stream of tenants that provide you continuous income.

 

Fixing What’s Broken Brings You the Best Tenants

There are renters, and there are good renters. Which one you get depends in large part on the condition of your rental property. If the place looks like a trash heap, trashy people are all that are going to be interested in living there.

To catch the good renters, the place needs to be well-kept. So, between tenants, go through the house and fix whatever is broken. This doesn’t always have to be expensive. Drywall patch kits can mend sheetrock holes in a jiffy.

Burned-out light bulbs can be replaced for pennies on the dollar. Broken doors or door facings can be replaced for little or no money with minimal time invested. Switch faceplates and outlet covers cost almost nothing and can be changed by someone with no experience or fix-it know-how.

Simple upgrades like these show that you value your tenants and provide a good home.

 

Reglazing the Tub Renews the Bathroom

Tubs get old and rusty over time. Nobody wants to bathe in a rusty, yucky tub. One simple upgrade to a rental property is to simply reglaze the tub. This is a relatively simple procedure that requires only a little patience and common sense.

While you’re at it, why not replace the faucet and showerhead? These fixtures are prone to calcium build-up and corrosion. Replacing them will make the bathroom look cleaner and newer.

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Spring Cleaning Costs Nothing

Sometimes tenants leave the place less than pristine when they move. A dirty place is an unattractive place. The best upgrade you can make to a rental property is to clean it up. And we mean deep clean:

  • Scrub floors
  • Shampoo carpets
  • Clean under cabinets
  • Wash walls
  • Scrub baseboards
  • Sweep ceilings and corners
  • Wash inside of cabinets and drawers
  • Clean closets
  • Wash windowsills
  • Wash glasses and mirrors
  • Scrub fixtures

Having the place sparkling clean will make it much more attractive to the people who consider it. Moving is a big enough deal on its own. Nobody wants to have to clean the house before they can move into it.

Upgrades Abound

There are loads of simple, inexpensive upgrades that can be made to a rental property with hardly any cost at all. All these upgrades will make your rental property more inviting to prospective tenants, which will keep cash flowing into your pocket.

The impact on your bottom line will be minimal, while your renter’s satisfaction will soar through the roof!  If you want to learn more about how Element Home Remodeling can quickly turn your rental into a high income generating property, contact us today, we serve the entire Bay Area.

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