In addition to taking care of required maintenance, smart landlords are always looking for ways to upgrade their rental properties. Why? When you upgrade your property, you’re increasing your rental value and putting yourself in a better position to attract a higher quality tenant.
Here are a few upgrades you should consider doing this year. I’ve ranked them in the order I believe will do you the most good.
Up Your Curb Appeal
What’s the first thing people see when they look at your rental? How it looks from the outside. Good landscaping is one of the keys to maximizing curb appeal.
Is your property’s yard easy to maintain? If you have a lawn, trees, and shrubs, either the tenant is doing the yard work, or you’re paying to get it done by a pro. Either way, you might want to consider an alternative.
Consider investing in a yard with a lower maintenance profile. The initial costs of setting up your new yard will have to be absorbed, but balance that against the expense and hassle of maintaining the yard in its current condition.
New paint, roofing, and gutters are required on every home over time. Of course, you need to keep your costs down, but be aware that if your rental property’s curb appeal is low, good tenants may choose not to stay when their lease expires, and you may not be able to increase (or even maintain) current rent prices.
Consistency is the key to flooring. Over time, in many rental properties, each room of the house gets covered with a different type of flooring. The result is that your investment property’s interior looks patchwork, old, and not well maintained.
Here’s a good idea – install laminate floor coverings in the kitchen, dining room, and hallways and carpeting in the bedrooms only.
Periodically upgrading flooring is essential too. Even if your rental property has consistent flooring, if it’s worn out and ragged, the value of your real estate investment is diminished.
We’ve already covered the need to repaint the exterior of your rental home to enhance curb appeal, but the interior spaces need a fresh coat of paint from time to time too. The good news – this is generally one of the most cost-effective upgrades available to a landlord.
Avoid the bad habit of excessively touching up problem spots on the walls. Over time, they make walls look “splotchy” and your rental shabby. You’ve got some flexibility here. You can do the painting yourself, hire a painting contractor, or even have your tenants do the work.
One tip – choose neutral colors, rather than painting everything white. Grays and beiges add color and character to a room and are appealing to most people’s tastes.
I can hear you saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” There’s some truth in that maxim, but it is also true that one of the first things either buyers or prospective tenants look for in a residential rental property is the kitchen. If your kitchen looks like it could be a set on That 70s Show, it’s time to upgrade.
A good rule of thumb is that kitchen appliances need to be replaced no less than once every ten to fifteen years. Yes, many of us have a twenty-year-old fridge in the garage keeping our soft drinks cold, but if the fridge in your rental is pushing twenty, it’s time for it to go the way of all things.
A tip on buying new appliances – avoid the no brand name appliance sales at the big hardware chains. Stick with proven brands that offer solid service contracts. If a stove made by a company you’ve never heard of is on sale for half price, there’s a reason.
Repaint Or Replace Old Cabinetry
Finally, old cabinetry is an eyesore. Sometimes, refinishing or repainting old cabinets will do the trick. However, if the cabinets are damaged or simply warped from age, new cabinetry investment makes sense. This, of course, applies to the kitchen most of all, but throughout your house it’s a good idea to replace aged cabinets that are beyond repair.
Upgrading your rental property protects your investment. You would not consider canceling your home insurance, right? You purchase homeowner’s insurance to ensure that the equity you’ve worked so hard to build in your home won’t be diminished or destroyed. Upgrades should be viewed in this light too.
A residential real estate property can produce good returns for you not only for ten or twenty years but even longer. The investment you make keeping your property up to date is always money well spent.
If you have a residential property or properties in Westchester County that you are interested in renting, now is the time to put them on the market. At Sterling Property Solutions, we have a team in place that can answer all your questions and address any challenges.
If you are already a landlord and no longer have the time or desire to handle rental property management on your own, we can help. Maybe your current property management company is not giving you the top tier service you deserve. If so, reach out. We are there for you.
Please give me a ring at 914-355-3277 or send me an email at Linda@Sterlingpsi.com.