Owning and leasing a rental home can be a great way to bring in extra income every month, but it also requires vigilance, patience, and frequent minor (and sometimes major) expenses, repairs, and updates. As the owner of the home, you’re responsible for making sure it’s up to date across the board and appealing to potential renters. Turning a rental home into hot property can require some expensive upfront purchases, but the increase in monthly income almost always pays off in the long run—if you make the right upgrades, that is.
To maximize your income potential with your rental home, check out Blindster’s tips below:
- Allocate most of your renovation money to the kitchen and bathrooms.
The kitchen is the gathering point of the modern home, and it’s becoming more and more important for both home buyers and renters to have a kitchen where they’re equally comfortable preparing meals and enjoying time with friends and family. A kitchen with outdated appliances can seriously reduce a rental home’s value, as can a kitchen that is closed off from the rest of the home due to narrow doorways or walls separating it from the dining room or living room. A new refrigerator, oven, and dishwasher instantly modernizes even the most retro kitchen, regardless of the surrounding décor and design.
With bathrooms, concentrate on making the space as bright and open as possible. Modern features aren’t as much of a necessity as they are in the kitchen, but sinks, toilets, tubs, and showers that are clearly two, three, or even four decades old and hopelessly out of style should be replaced. Check the flooring in the bathrooms and consider replacing it with new tile if it appears faded or stained. For an inexpensive bathroom upgrade, install a new showerhead. It’s an easy replacement that costs less than $100, but it can make a big impression on potential renters.
- Replace fixtures throughout the home.
Knobs and handles, whether they’re on your doors, sinks, cabinets, showers, tubs, or anywhere else will eventually start to lose their luster and shine. Replacing these fixtures is inexpensive, but can make a big difference in a room’s overall appearance. While you’re at it, take the time to fix any broken locks or door hinges that stick or won’t stay closed. Finally, replace outlet and light switch covers—especially if they’re outdated and clearly a relic of a decade and a design philosophy from long, long ago.
- Install window coverings that maximize each room’s appeal.
The types of window coverings you install in your rental home play a major role in the overall ambiance and atmosphere of each room. If you’re looking to save money, installing basic blinds or shades to give potential renters the ability to control light flow into the home is a much better and more appealing option than forcing them to purchase large curtains or their own window treatments to cover up large, exposed windows. But to really maximize your rental home’s income potential, take the time to pick window coverings that are the right fit and right design for each room.
If your home has a home office or a nursery, consider installing blackout shades to give potential residents the option of blocking out all outside light—a vital function for anyone with small children or anyone who works from home. For bedrooms, top-down/bottom-up shades are perfect, as they combine the ability to protect privacy with the ability to let in ample amounts of natural light at the same time. Sunrooms, laundry rooms, and guest bedrooms are ideal spots to install sheer shades, which can significantly brighten a room and eliminate the need for artificial lighting during the day.
- Make the laundry area accessible and inviting.
If your rental home doesn’t have hookups for a washer and dryer, getting those installed and made accessible should be one of your top priorities. Not being able to do laundry at home is a deal breaker for many potential renters. But even if your home is laundry-capable, it’s important to make the area inviting. If your connections are located in a damp, dark, and musty corner of the basement, consider getting them rerouted to another part of the home, such as a large closet or even a spare bedroom.
- Paint your home—inside and out.
A few cans of paint and some great color choices can turn an ordinary rental home into a must-see stop for potential renters. Over time, paint loses its luster and brightness and begins to take on a dingy appearance on the outside of a home. Next to landscaping, nothing improves a home’s curb appeal like a fresh coat of paint.
Paint can have a transformative effect on the inside of a home as well. To stay on the safe side, paint the bedrooms, living room, and dining room neutral colors. Excessively bright or bold colors may be off-putting to many potential renters—especially in rooms that get a lot of use on a daily basis.
- Install new carpeting and replace damaged or outdated flooring.
Dingy, stained, and musty old carpet serves as a constant reminder to renters that someone else lived in the home before they moved in. Installing new carpet not only brightens up the appearance of a home and makes it more comfortable, but it also helps potential renters feel like they’re moving into a home with a fresh slate. It’s worthwhile to also replace severely outdated tile, linoleum, and vinyl floors in kitchens and bathrooms, especially if their color scheme or pattern just isn’t compatible with modern décor and furnishings.
- Overhaul the landscaping, but keep it simple and easily maintained.
Most potential renters won’t be thrilled by the prospect of moving into a home with a lawn that requires 20 hours of upkeep every week, but well-designed and attractive landscaping can seriously boost your home’s curb appeal and make it stand out from others on the rental market. Remove any dead plants and weeds from your lawn or garden before scheduling showings, and fix any potential safety issues in your outdoor area, such as loose steps, broken gate hinges, and broken pieces of concrete before allowing anyone to tour the property or sign a lease.