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September 22nd, 2014 by Marco Santarelli
When you own income-producing rental property, it’s important to attract renters and keep tenants happy without sinking a small fortune into luxurious upgrades that won’t get you much return on investment. On the other hand, not taking care of your property or offering upgrades will likely cost you more in the long run, as you’ll have a harder time finding and keeping responsible tenants. Luckily, there are some property improvements that are relatively affordable and can increase your rental home value and overall rental income.
The kitchen can be a make-it-or-break-it feature when it comes to finding desirable renters. Revamping your kitchen is a great way to attract and keep tenants, says real estate and finance blog L Bee and the Money Tree. Before you show the property, deep clean the kitchen and replace anything stained, broken or unsightly. Freshly painting cabinets is another cheap way to give your kitchen a facelift, but stick to colors that are easy to match and won’t wear easily. Like paint, new counter-tops can drastically improve the look of your kitchen. You don’t have to choose granite or marble, but high-quality counters will last longer and look great. Lastly, updating appliances or hardware can be a little more costly, but are a major draw for renters. Look for appliance store sales and discounts or even slightly used equipment.
An attractive, well-kept and low-maintenance front and backyard are big selling points for potential renters. Keep your yard clean, lawn cut and plants watered. Remove any eyesores or hazards from your front or backyard, such as removing old tree stumps or wood piles and filling in holes. Some of these jobs can be arduous, but you can rent equipment like saws or a mini excavator to make the job a little easier and more affordable than hiring a landscaping team.
Carpet can be difficult to maintain when you have renters, especially if they have pets or children. On the other hand, hardwood flooring may be nice, but it can be expensive and difficult to repair if damaged. PersonalIncome.org explains that laminate flooring is a good option for landlords because it’s durable, stain resistant and cost effective (typically $1 to $6 per square foot). Another stylish, yet affordable, option is bamboo flooring, which can also last a long time but is not as durable as laminate.
Windows and Doors
Windows contribute between 20 to 25 percent of a home’s energy loss and poorly sealed doors make up 10 to 15 percent, so upgrading to energy-efficient windows and doors will save you and your tenants money on energy and utility costs. Even simply painting your doors and windows can add a fresh look to your property that will make your house stand out and attract better renters.
Adding or upgrading your property’s safety features is beneficial to both potential renters and to you. There are affordable ways to increase the security aspect of your rental property and make tenants feel safer. BobVila.com suggests installing security window shades so it is difficult to see inside the house. Also upgrade doors and locks if they are outdated or loose. Make sure outdoor lights work and are bright. Set them on a timer if you will be away from the property for several days. Keep trees and hedges trimmed so intruders don’t have anywhere to hide.
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