Rental properties are more than just an investment – they’re a means of ensuring a steady stream of income as well as providing for the future of the homeowner. But this investment or income stream is only effective provided you’ve got either a long-term tenant or you’re able to limit the amount of time your unit sits empty; two things that can be difficult in a renter’s market.
The key to making your rental property stand out (and maintain consistent tenancy) is to make sure that your property adds the kind of value that other units don’t. If you aren’t careful, adding value can come at a significant financial cost, reducing your return on investment. Thankfully, there are options that won’t break the bank – here are eight of them.
1. Spruce Up the Kitchen and Bathroom
If you don’t have the budget to update the kitchen and bathroom as much as you might like, it’s still worth giving these areas a little TLC. That’s because these are two of the areas that tenants pay particularly close attention to when deciding on whether or not they’ll choose to live somewhere.
If your kitchen cupboards (or bathroom vanity) are dated, a fresh coat of paint and new knobs can easily breathe new life into them. Re-grouting the ceramic tiles in the bathroom can eliminate a grimy, dirty look from the room that has the highest ROI associated with it.
Adding a beautiful glass tile backsplash in your kitchen can really help to sell a modern feel to your unit. Best of all, this update can be done on the cheap if you ask your tile supplier to see their discontinued stock.
2. Create the Impression of Demand
While this tip isn’t necessarily about adding value, it is one that can help you land a tenant quickly, and may even help you get a few more bucks for your unit. The next time your unit is vacant, treat it as an open house when creating your ad. Instead of setting individual appointments with prospective renters, set aside a three to four hour viewing period on a Saturday. Nothing inspires people to jump on a property faster as much as perceived competition does – and who knows, you might even benefit from a bidding war!
Some property owners don’t see the value in painting their rental property. To them, using builder’s paint makes the most sense because it’s cheap. Tenants for their part, abhor builder’s paint – it simply doesn’t hold up to everyday life. It’s easy to scuff, requires constant cleaning, and frankly, it just looks terrible. When choosing paint to brighten your space, you can save some money by looking for closeout sales or choosing flat or semi-gloss paints rather than designer high-gloss options. Also, try to look for a paint that includes a primer. While it might cost you a few extra dollars to paint your rental property, it’ll help prospective tenants to more easily see themselves living there.
4. Pay Attention to the Windows
While your average metal blinds will keep the sun at bay, they’re more at home in a college dorm room than they are in a grownup rental property. Install a nice set of cellular shades – not only will they perform the same function as cheap window blinds, they’ll also likely go much better with your tenant’s décor.
5. Break Out the Windex!
Nothing makes tenants like your unit more than new appliances. If your appliances aren’t new, you should try a few tricks to make them look as new as possible. It goes without saying that you should clean the inside of your fridge, microwave, etc. with an all-purpose cleaner, but don’t forget to also clean the outside of the appliance. Nothing brings out an appliance’s shine like a glass cleaner. Don’t forget about the washer and dryer!
6. Make Space
If your rental agreement stipulates that your tenant is responsible for paying utilities, they’ll undoubtedly appreciate the cost savings that a tankless water heater offers over a conventional water heater. In addition to being much more energy efficient, these units also take up only a fraction of the space; a marketable feature that’ll allow you to promote additional storage space and square footage in your rental ad!
7. First Impressions Count
Want to add value to your rental property that literally won’t cost you a cent? Take your role as a landlord seriously. Dress nice, have pens and applications at the ready, as well as garbage schedules, a timetable of maintenance schedules, and even a business card with all of your information. If tenants know that you take your responsibilities seriously, they’ll be much more likely to sign a lease with you over someone else, all things considered.
8. Don’t Forget About the Outside of the Property
If you’re showing your rental unit in the spring or summer, make sure that the grass is nicely manicured and any outdoor communal areas are free of trash and other debris. If showing the property in the winter, clear the driveway, parking areas, and walkways of snow and ice – make it evident that you regularly lay down salt or sand for traction.
Trying to rent out a property in a renter’s market can be tough, but showing potential renters the value of your space can be pretty easy if you take care of the little things and make an effort to give them extra bang for their buck.