Upgrade these feature to make your property more attractive to tenants by Katy Peterson
With a strong economy, more and more property owners are deciding to rent out their homes, condos, and apartments. As a result, there’s more competition than ever for high-quality, long-term tenants. Prospective renters now use online listings to directly compare your property against others nearby on factors such as monthly rent, upgrades, and amenities.
To make your rental property more attractive to renters, you’ll need to take care of essential maintenance, make upgrades to the bathrooms and kitchen, and then work on putting the property in the best possible light.
Take care of the essentials first
You might be ready to pick up that sledgehammer and open up some interior walls, but a better place to start is by thinking through the essentials first. After all, tenants don’t need an upgraded kitchen in the same way they need a roof that doesn’t leak, a heater that works in the winter, and safe electrical outlets. In other words, you want to address any maintenance and upkeep needs before you move onto the fun stuff.
Think about these projects as addressing potential “deal breakers” for renters. Dealbreakers are anything that could strongly dissuade a prospective renter from working with you, or give a current renter grounds to vacate the property and void the lease. No matter how attractive the rest of the rental is, deal breakers are going to cause you significant headaches and put you in the red at the end of the year.
As alluded to earlier, the property’s HVAC systems are important. In many states and municipalities, working heating and cooling systems are mandated by law. If the property’s furnace or air conditioner is minutes away from breaking down, it might be prudent to invest in a new system before spending on any other upgrades. To get an assessment of where your HVAC systems currently stand, call a locally trusted heating and cooling company in your area for a seasonal tune-up and inspection.
Once you’ve taken care of the necessities, you can move onto making attractive upgrades to the place.
Upgrade the kitchen and bathrooms
If you’re going to upgrade any part of your rental property, focus on the kitchen and bathrooms first. Just as is the case in single-family homes, kitchen and bathroom remodels generally have the best return-on-investment and are the most sought-after upgrades by prospective renters.
For the kitchen, invest in high-quality materials without feeling the need to make the space luxurious. Renters, just like homeowners, often value good-looking practicality over luxury. We recommend looking at granite or quartz countertops: in addition to being very popular with renters, these types of counters are relatively durable and long-lasting. Replacing or refacing cabinets to match may also be a good idea. Kitchen upgrades such as replacing the sink or adding a backsplash are relatively inexpensive additions that you might as well do while putting in new cabinets or countertops.
In the bathroom, keep what works. Most property owners don’t replace the toilet, tub, or shower—although they often will put new tile, glass, and fixtures in the latter. For the bathroom vanity, keep it where it is in the bathroom, but consider putting new countertops and sinks in this space. If your budget is limited, just upgrading the lighting, faucets, fixtures, and other accessories throughout the bathroom can make a big difference.
Make the small improvements count
If you’ve had to replace the furnace or water heater, your remodeling budget may be relatively limited. However, there are still things you can do to make the property stand out from others on the market. Here are a few inexpensive things to consider:
Make the property smarter: You can install a programmable thermostat, add a security system, and upgrade the door locks to electronic locks for under $1,000. Many prospective renters will appreciate the built-in convenience these upgrades offer. Plus, a smart thermostat helps them save money on their utility bills while reducing the wear-and-tear on the property’s HVAC systems. That’s a win-win for everyone.
Light it up: Put your property in the best possible light by replacing old, yellow lights with bright, energy-efficient ones. In the kitchen, consider hanging pendant lighting over the island for a modern look. Under-cabinet lights can highlight the best features of the property, especially if you invested in new countertops. In the living room, make sure there are enough ceiling and fanlights to keep the space well-light and inviting.
A good first impression makes all the difference
One final tip: consider hiring a professional photographer to take pictures and video of your upgraded property. Since most prospective renters are finding and viewing the rental online, this makes for the best possible first impression, and can really help “sell” good renters on your property as a long-term place to stay.
So much of what people think about your apartment, condo, or house is influenced by what they see of it in the first five minutes. By putting your best foot forward and ensuring that all “dealbreakers” have been properly handled, you’ll put yourself in a great position to find a high-quality, long-term renter.