When renting out a rental property, there are a lot of things that you have to consider, from picking the right tenants to when to raise the rent. But before you even get to those things, you have to figure out the best moves to make in terms of renovation. After all, you will have a hard time scoring high quality tenants if your rental property is super outdated, which means you will have an even harder time getting it rented if your chosen rent price doesn’t match the quality of the unit. But figuring out what to renovate can be tough, so here are the best renovations that you can make to your rental property to get the most bang for your buck.
Does the Interior Need a New Layout?
Newer homes are all about open floor plans, so if your property features a very closed off layout, you may want to knock some walls down. For instance, if the kitchen and dining room are sequestered into two rooms, maybe knock the wall down that separates them to create more of a flow. Take it a step further and remove the wall that separates those two spaces from the living area. If you don’t want to completely remove the wall, you can also widen doorways to create entryways. Are the bedrooms super small? You can either add a master bedroom and bathroom or combine two rooms into one and lower the bedroom count of the house (although the former idea is the better bet).
Time to Check the Floors Out
While you are creating and consolidating rooms, make sure to check out the flooring situation. If the property boasts old carpet, get rid of it. You can either replace the carpet in the whole house or go with a hard wood option (either real wood or synthetic). For the kitchen and bathrooms, consider a porcelain tiled floor that will give a classic vibe and be easy to clean.
Update the Kitchen and Bathrooms
When renting your first property, it’s crucial that you understand what your ideal tenants are looking for. If there are two spaces in a home that need to be able to compete on the market, it is the kitchen and the bathrooms. Prospective tenants want up-to-date appliances that function perfectly, are safe and offer a more eco-friendly way of living. Upgrade the countertops and appliances and make sure there is enough space to move around. For the kitchen, see if there might be room for an island counter and for the bathroom, consider installing a standalone claw foot bathtub and a walk-in shower. While these renovations might cost you a little more to implement (though some of them just look like they will), they will allow you to raise the asking price of the property – especially if you go above and beyond in terms of making the home environmentally friendly.
Don’t Forget the Exterior
Sure, you made the home’s interior look amazing, but if you forget to make the home’s exterior match, no one is going to want to look inside. Remember, first impressions matter. Renovating a home’s exterior will bring some necessary curb appeal to your rental property, so consider repainting the entire home and fix up the driveway. Putting some effort into the landscape to bring some life into the plants will also go a long way. However, you don’t want to get too carried away with the landscaping if it will be the tenant’s responsibility to care for it, so go with easy-to-care-for, native plants that won’t die if they aren’t watered every day.
Remember, You Don’t Have to Like It
Lastly, when you are deliberating what to do with the renovations, you must remember that this property isn’t for you. You aren’t the prospective buyer and while you obviously want to like the finished product, you shouldn’t let your own personal tastes dictate what the rental property looks like in the end. You want to be following what the real estate market is telling you. If you see more people are gravitating towards open floorplans and subway tiled floors, try to give them that. It doesn’t really matter if you hate open floor plans and can’t stand tiled floors. You need to be flexible if you want to grab the best tenants possible, so go with the flow and listen to the market.
This blog post was written by Adam Pepka. Adam is a real estate doyen and finance guru currently residing in Tucson, Arizona. His real estate investments in several states keep him constantly on the go, and his passion for writing has found him penning pieces with unique insights on everything from landlording issues to investment advice.