An empty, vacant property gives you a chance to give it the attention it may need to make it a more profitable rental. Thoroughly cleaning it sets a standard for the next tenants, and making judicious improvements may help you lease it faster, raise the rent a notch, or both. It might seem like a no-brainer, but a few easy upgrades can make all the difference. Here are a few ideas for easy upgrades for rental homes.
Easy Upgrades for Rental Homes
Clean First: Tips for Making Your Rental Sparkle
If you don’t have time to do the cleaning, hire professionals to do the job, and be specific about what you expect.
- Before buying the paint, try cleaning the walls. Locate the worst of the grime and clean with extra-strength solutions or magic sponges. If the soiled areas come clean, you can probably skip painting and just scrub the walls. Even if you need to paint, it will last longer and adhere better if the surface is clean before you start.
- Cleaning windows and their screens increases natural daylight inside and may even freshen the air. Plenty of dust and dirt collects on the tracks inside the window frames that may take some elbow grease to remove, but taking care of this detailing could impact how well the next tenant cares for the property.
- Professional carpet cleaners can clean highly soiled carpeting to help extend its service life. However, if the carpet has holes, rips, heavy matting, or fading, it may be time to replace it. Unless you have a strong preference for carpeting, consider replacing it with hard-surface flooring.As a landlord, hard-surface flooring is a nearly foolproof way to cope with children and pets as tenants, and it will last longer than carpet and show little wear. Hard-surface floors are nearly indestructible, easier to clean and less costly than carpet. Ceramic tile is almost always perceived by consumers as more luxurious than sheet vinyl or tiles, and you may be able to ask for more rent with this simple upgrade.
What to Replace
As you clean, you may discover that the faucets are leaking or show signs of aging. Upgrading these fixtures isn’t expensive, and it helps make the kitchen and bathrooms, the two most important rooms in the home, more appealing. Although it’s time-consuming, painting old, drab cabinets is an inexpensive way to rejuvenate these essential rooms.
Changing out old appliances in the kitchens might return higher rent and cut maintenance costs. Home improvement centers often sell scratch-and-dent appliances or close-out models at discounts.
Making the apartment look like home to prospective tenants can help you rent it more quickly. A couch in the living room, an end table and a lamp may be all you need to vignette the home. If you don’t have storage space, consider renting furniture for a short period.
See also Traits of a Good Landlord
Bring in the Experts
Property management agencies help their clients who own residential rental homes identify the updates that have the most value to potential renters. These professionals see and hear first-hand what’s important to people who are in the rental market in numbers private owners don’t. They can tell you where to put your dollars to see the greatest return, and which you can expense and those you can depreciate.
They’re especially useful if you are miles away from the property or simply too busy to get a sense of renter preferences, do the work, or find capable subcontractors to do the work. Property management companies use trusted contractors whose advice is invaluable when assessing the condition of the property and what to clean, repair, or replace.