Recent data shows that more US households are headed by renters now than at any point since at least 1965. That’s huge news for landlords who want to take advantage of an increased number of opportunities.
And yet, predictions show that single-family rental demand may be showing signs of slowing down. If demand does decrease, it’s imperative for landlords to prioritize property improvements in order to attract and keep tenants.
Ideally, you want to make tenant decisions as easy as possible. You might do this by providing an online rental application, being available for tours, and answering questions promptly before the lease is signed. But if you aren’t focused on ways to improve the property itself, you could be leaving money on the table or making it harder to actually find tenants at all. As such, you might want to consider these three remodeling jobs.
Aesthetically pleasing kitchen renovations
Despite the fact that Americans spend a little over $3,000 in the average year on dining out, having a great kitchen is still a major priority. It’s a major selling point for both buyers and renters, illustrated by the fact that 30 percent of Americans spent anywhere from $25,000 to $50,000 on kitchen renovations in 2016.
You don’t have to spend a lot on kitchen remodeling in your rental property. However, it’s important to note that many prevalent activities in American households are centered around the kitchen. By remodeling this room, you can set your property apart and wow potential tenants from the start.
If the kitchen is truly outdated, a total gut job may be required. But you may also impress potential renters by refacing the cabinets, installing new countertops, picking out newer appliances, improving the lighting, switching out the hardware, and giving the room a fresh coat of paint. You might be surprised by just how big a difference these minimal changes can make.
Functional bathroom upgrades
Another key area for both buyers and renters is the bathroom. In 2016, approximately 23 percent of homeowners planned to take on this type of remodeling job. While these renovations can certainly improve the function of the entire property, they can set you back a pretty penny if you have to replace or move plumbing elements. Unless it’s a necessary expense, it’s typically best to stick to the original layout. Adding an extra bathroom won’t typically offer a great ROI either, so focus on making feasible yet affordable improvements in the bathroom that currently exists.
Updating the bathroom may involve restaining old cabinets, adding a new vanity and sink, upgrading light fixtures, installing a new fan, replacing the toilet (or at least the toilet seat), installing new tiles around the bathtub, adding a new mirror, or replacing the hardware. If you do need to invest in a new tub, sink, or toilet, focus on water-efficiency and opt for lower-cost options that don’t compromise on value.
Small touches that make a big difference
The curb appeal of your rental property matters a lot, of course. If the landscaping is unattractive, the front door looks uninviting, or the exterior of the property has seen better days, you should focus on the outside before you even think about the inside. But if that’s all in good shape, you should zero in on the basic elements that can make all the difference.
Flooring, for example, can be a big deal for tenants. Hardwood floors (or laminate lookalike options) tend to be most desirable, but they’re also a bigger financial investment when you consider maintenance. If the property already has carpeting and hardwoods aren’t in the budget, look into getting it replaced with something durable, neutral, and attractive.
New paint, new windows, new light fixtures, extra storage, and other cosmetic fixes can go a long way too. Even if the property isn’t all that old, these changes make it feel fresh and inviting to potential tenants. Zero in on materials and colors that stand the test of time and are relatively affordable. Opting for luxury features won’t likely pay off unless your property is located in an area that appeals to high-end renters.
If you want to be a successful landlord, you need to ensure that the property is well-maintained and has universal appeal. Highlighting these kinds of renovations can very easily take a rental home from drab to fab and help you make more money in the process.