There are dozens of little things you can do to generate interest in your rental property. The most important thing, however, is to keep the property looking fresh at the start of every lease. It is not enough to expect the property’s location to demand top dollar; you must update the property itself. Renters want to live in a property that feels like a home. One of the best ways to meet their needs is by staying on top of updates. Of course, not every property owner has the budget to install new appliances or replace the roof. Fortunately, there are budget conscious improvements that can make a big difference. Sometimes the little things you do can have the greatest impact. Here are some budget-friendly rental property updates any landlord can do:
1. Paint: There is often a big difference in the way a tenant takes care of a rental property and the way you treat your primary residence. This is not to say that all renters are bad, but they rarely treat it like it was their own. The walls, for that matter, are typically neglected by tenants. To that point, you should do your best to keep them looking fresh. Even if you just painted the walls a year or two ago, it is probably time to freshen them up. Aside from the floors, the walls are one of the first items a prospective renter looks at. In most cases, the bedrooms and living area are easy rooms to paint in a rental property. They are usually cookie cutter in nature and don’t need excessive cutting and trimming. Even if they are more complex and you need to pay someone to do it, there are many places to find inexpensive labor. For high traffic areas, you may want to consider a professional, but most landlords are perfectly capable of doing simple paint jobs.
2. Flooring: The condition of the flooring always plays an important role in finding renters. Walk into your rental and make a note of the first thing you notice with the floors. At the very least, you need to have the carpets cleaned. You also may want to consider replacing it with something new. If you have hardwood floors, they can get dirty very easily. Instead of getting them buffed or re-stained, start by giving them a good cleaning. There are many good hardwood floor cleaning products that can make floors look like new. For the price of the product, a mop and a bucket is all you need to make the floors look like new again. The last thing you can consider is updating any area rugs. Even if you found the perfect rug, it can be easily replaced with every lease. If the area rugs are old looking and beat up, they may paint the floors in a bad light.
3. Exterior Updates: Regardless if you are selling or renting a property, first impressions go a long way. One of the keys to making a positive first impression is by updating the exterior. This doesn’t mean replacing the roof or adding new vinyl siding. Those things are great, but very pricey. Instead, focus on smaller items like tree branches, shrubs, the condition of the lawn, weeds in the driveway and the garage. For a few hundred dollars, you may be able to update the lawn and add a few flowers to the front walk. Even something as minor as the length of the grass is a big deal. With winter right around the corner, now is the time to treat your lawn so it looks great by next spring. Dead, dry grass in the front yard may not seem like a big deal, but it leaves renters with a terrible first impression. Improving the exterior is much more about doing the little things then doing a complete overhaul.
4. Kitchens: Unless you have the perfect house there is probably something you can do to improve the kitchen. Instead of installing stainless steel appliances and replacing the floor there are many little things you can do. Adding a backsplash is a nice touch that doesn’t need a handyman to do. Look at the cabinets and see if the handles or knobs need replacing. You can usually get a bag of these for the price of lunch. Installing a new sink may be a bit of a task, so – instead – look at the faucet. If your faucet is more than ten years old, it may be time for a new one. Lastly, look at the kitchen flooring. There are many inexpensive flooring options these days that may be better than what you currently have. These materials can be less expensive than you think, and easy to install.
5. Bathrooms: The bathroom may not make or break a renter’s decision, but an upgraded bathroom can’t hurt. At the very least, you should replace the shower curtain. Most renters will use their own, but this gives the shower a good first impression. From there, look to change up any rugs you have, or what you are doing with the flooring. Finally, look to change any minor accessories in the room. As long as everything coordinates and things are fresh, it will be an improvement.
The most successful landlords are those that make minor upgrades every new lease. You don’t need to make sweeping changes to attract renters. Sometimes it is the little things that make the biggest difference.