Having a quality rental property is not enough to attract tenants. In hot markets good rentals may be a dime a dozen. You need to come up with ways to have your property stand out from the crowd. Instead of massive upgrades throughout the property you are better off making subtle, but impactful, changes.
Updating the kitchen may be great for your primary residence but doesn’t provide a great return on a rental property. There are several everyday items that will instantly attract attention and help you find quality long term tenants. Little things like painting the walls and changing the dishwasher may seem obvious, but many landlords opt to keep things status quo. When they have trouble finding tenants they can’t seem to figure out why. If your current lease is coming to an end and you need to find tenants keep these five important items in mind.
- Freshen Up The Walls: You should make it a habit to paint the walls in the main rooms of your property every lease. Sure, you can probably get away with keeping them as is for an extra year, but why would you? Painting a living room or hallway is something that any landlord should be capable of doing themselves. You don’t need to be a professional painter to paint a straightforward room. If there are multiple windows or edges you should then consider hiring a professional. The difference between a living room with hand marks everywhere and one looking fresh and new is immense. The living room walls are always one of the first items that a new tenant notices. If the first impression is poor, the rest of the property may not matter.
- Update Appliances: As a landlord you should always be looking for ways to update your property. There are a few schools of thought with updating the appliances. One theory is to by slightly used items at a reduced price and let your tenants run them until they stop working. The other is to buy new and hope to have them for many years. A better idea is to take advantage of seasonal sales and scratch and dent items every time you visit your big box retailer. You would be surprised at just how steep of a discount you can find if you do a little negotiating. Even if you don’t necessarily need a dishwasher or a stove if you can get a stainless-steel model for a 50% discount, you can find a place to store it when you do. Think of how nice a new dishwasher looks as opposed to a ten-year-old rundown model. You won’t see an increase in rent because of it, but you will fill vacancies quicker and your tenants will be much more likely to stay for an additional lease.
- Front Railing/Door: There are several exterior items that stand out like a sore thumb. Perhaps the two most obvious are the front railing and front door. These are two items that you probably haven’t given much thought to in recent years. You know that they are looking beat up, but they are far down on your to-do list. The reality is that these two items can make or break the curb appeal. If the front railing is still in good shape it may just need a fresh coat of paint. Removing the rust and giving it a high gloss shine can instantly transform the look. A front door is a little more labor intensive, and expensive, but can give you at least ten years of useful life. The ROI on your front door is one of the highest of any home improvement you can make. You need to make room in your budget once a decade for a new front door.
- Re-Stain Deck: Most household updates require nothing more than a little time and effort. Such is the case with painting the deck. The reality is that the heavy lifting is done the first time you stain it. Getting inside all the little poles and crevices is a real pain. However, once they are done every subsequent stain is simply a touch up if you are using the same color. It will take you longer to shake the paint can and set up than to roll the brush over the deck. Just like painting the walls, this is something you need to do every year. Peeling paint on a deck just looks bad and is a simple fix. Sanding the deck and hitting it with a brush shouldn’t take you more than an idea, depending on the size of your deck.
- Power Wash House. The final rental property touch up you should consider is power washing the property. Like almost everything else on this list, when is the last time you power washed the house? If it has been more than a few years you need to get on it asap. You can get away with renting a washer for a few hours instead of buying one. You need to be careful with it, but using it isn’t exactly rocket science. You will see an instant and noticeable difference in the areas that are power washed. It can make the property look fresh and new and improve the curb appeal.
Owning a rental property requires constant attention. All the items you put on the back burner over the years eventually need to get done. When you are looking to fill a vacancy, it is a good time to start doing them.