Searching for simple and affordable ways to maintain the condition of your property while increasing cash flow? You’ve come to the right place. It’s a no-brainer that ultimately every real estate investor is hoping to increase their property’s value—including both short-term monthly rent and long-term property value. While waiting for fluctuations in the housing market can take years, the right upgrades and renovations can boost your rental property’s value almost immediately.
While renovation possibilities can be limitless, keep in mind that rental property renovations aren’t about your personal preference but rather about what will attract tenants and justify a higher monthly rent. Therefore, investors must be strategic and invest in inexpensive upgrades that will give them the most bang for their buck. Not all renovations are made equal—these 14 upgrades will likely attract tenants and increase both rent and your investment property’s value without breaking the bank.
1. Start with Necessary Repairs
If you’re spending money to renovate your rental property, there’s no sense in adding upgrades without fixing the things that need repairs first. While minor repairs may seem insignificant upon first glance, they can make or break a renter’s experience. Look out for things like leaky faucets or running toilets, and fix or replace them before making your way down this list.
2. Add a Fresh Coat of Paint
Painting can arguably offer you the highest return on your investment. A fresh coat of paint is not only low cost but also a pretty quick fix that can make any home look newer, cleaner and more appealing. Remember, you want the paint to appeal to a variety of potential tenants, so opt for a classic, neutral tone that will make your rental property look bigger and brighter. Think: white, off-white or grey. Plus, tenants can make these neutral shades their own without needing to repaint.
3. Upgrade Flooring
Truth be told, carpet has become a universal turn off—not only is it not durable but it also stains easily, regularly shows signs of wearing and needs to be replaced often. It’s difficult to maintain for both tenants and landlords.
Hardwood floors, on the other hand, can make a unit look much more modern and expensive while being easier to clean and maintain. If you don’t want to shell out for hardwood floors, laminate flooring is an inexpensive option that emulates a similar style.
Alternatively, you can also replace the flooring in certain key areas instead of the entire home to save costs while boosting property value.
4. Update Fixtures
The state and style of your fixtures can tell a lot about your property, including its age and quality. Give your rental a modern upgrade by swapping out dull, outdated fixtures with more modern and sleek options—this includes everything from handles to sinks and faucets. Keep in mind that stainless steel and shiny chromes are expected, while something like brushed nickel looks more refined and will likely impress possible renters. Just make sure your choice of fixtures play well with your paint choice and other home decor.
5. Add Modern Light Fixtures
All it takes is some simple rewiring and a few hours to replace your light fixtures with a more modern look and feel. Lights are an easy way to add style to the unit and get the attention of potential renters. Choose the right light fixtures that complement your paint and decor, and your property is sure to stand out from the rest.
Don’t forget to pay attention to the lighting as well—the ideal lighting should be bright but also fitting for the room it’s in. For example, brighter light may be more suitable for the kitchen than the bedrooms.
6. Replace Cabinets & Doors
Don’t ignore the most obvious fixes—installing new doors and cabinets or touching up existing ones can improve the appeal of the rental property for fairly cheap. They don’t have to be worn out to be replaced. Freshly painted, high-quality cabinets, hinges and knobs can completely transform the look of the home at a low cost. If you don’t want to replace them entirely, consider a fresh coat of paint to freshen them up.
7. Install a Security System
Regardless of the neighborhood, security is a concern for all potential tenants. As a real estate investor, installing even a basic security system may not only ease tenants’ concerns about safety but also allow you to monitor your property more easily. In terms of security, also consider updating locks and deadbolts as appropriate.
8. Crank up the Curb Appeal
First impressions are everything, even when it comes to rental properties. The outside of the home is the first thing prospective tenants will see either in pictures or during in-person tours. Ensure you make a good first impression or little else will matter. Start with a pressure wash to remove dirt and grime, and then move on to landscaping.
You’ll be surprised how far a few plants and flowers can go. If possible, do it yourself or hire a landscaper to landscape trees, plant some flowers, clear away any debris and give your rental property a welcoming first impression.
9. Focus on the Kitchen & Bathrooms
Backsplashes are reasonably priced and can completely renew the look of a home. Just make sure to choose backsplashes with a classic, timeless look instead of opting for trendy colors and styles. This way, they will last longer and you won’t have to replace them as often.
New countertops are also worth the investment, as they can easily improve the look of any kitchen or bathroom. Depending on your budget, decide from granite, quartz or even acrylic/polyester composites—anything that’s both durable and appealing.
10. Offer a Washer/Dryer
A washer and dryer combo is a highly desired amenity. This is often a priority for renters and can help make their decision easier when comparing multiple homes. Offer a convenience renters are willing to pay more for and in turn, you can charge tenants a competitive rental rate each month.
11. Get Smart
Smart technology is now topping the list of features buyers and renters prefer. This could easily set your property apart from others while accounting for a higher monthly rent. While there are many options, think about features like smart thermostats, smoke detectors, door locks and more that are reasonably priced.
12. Boost Storage Space
Storage space can make it or break it when renters are selecting a home to live in. Adding more storage space is much simpler than you may think—adding extra shelving, utilizing closet organizers or incorporating extra hooks can go a long way.
13. Upgrade your Appliances
Make sure you’re taking a good look at the condition of existing appliances. While they may get the job done, newer appliances will make a great impression to prospective tenants or buyers and increase your property’s value.
14. Change Window Coverings
Similar to fixtures, curtains and shutters can also significantly date your unit. Even if they aren’t broken or damaged, new window coverings can update the aesthetic of your property, giving it a higher-quality, more expensive look and feel.
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