Rental Home Improvement on a Budget

In today’s rental market, it’s more important than ever to have a property that stands out to prospective tenants. If your property hasn’t been updated in the last few years, it may be time for a couple of home improvement projects to attract high-paying tenants and keep your property current.

Despite what you may think, improvements don’t have to break the bank. In fact, there are many projects in rental properties that you can do yourself or hire out for that can significantly increase return on investment (ROI).

It’s important to note that not all rental property improvements are created equal. There are certain improvements that you should make to your property that can fetch top dollar, while there are others you should stay away from. Check out these low budget, high impact rental property home improvements and some common mistakes to avoid during your renovation.

  • Fresh Paint
  • Add Curb Appeal
  • Upgrade Flooring
  • Upgrade Bathrooms and Kitchens
  • Include Durable Appliances

1. Fresh Paint

Adding a layer of fresh paint to your rental property can be the easiest way to give it a facelift that prospective tenants will notice. Whether it’s normal wear and tear, scuffs, or holes; walls can get beat up quickly. Sure, you can patch holes and paint over small blemishes but that’s only a temporary fix.

To really make your rental stand out and attract high-paying tenants, a fresh paint job is crucial. Using a warm neutral color that appeals to many renters will help them envision living in the space with their furniture.

2. Add Curb Appeal

You only get one chance to make a first impression, and curb appeal is the first impression for prospective tenants. Giving your rental property some much needed curb appeal is easier (and cheaper) than you think. Check out this list of budget friendly curb appeal improvements:

  • Paint the front door an eye-catching color that contrasts the paint on the house
  • Add tall potted plants framing windows and doors in the front of the house
  • Clean up planter beds and plant low maintenance greenery
  • Trim large trees and bushes in the front yard
  • Install lighting in the backyard for tenants to enjoy evenings outside
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3. Upgrade Flooring

Just like paint, flooring can get beaten up quickly. Nothing deters high-paying tenants more than worn carpets, scuffed wood floors, and dirty grout lines! If you want to fetch top dollar, upgraded flooring is one of the best rental property improvements you can make.

Flooring has come a long way over the years and there are some great budget friendly, durable options to choose from. Durable floors are important so you’re not replacing them after every tenant. You’ll want to research the types of flooring available to you like luxury vinyl, engineered hardwood, and porcelain tile to name a few. Whichever flooring you upgrade to, it’s sure to impress potential tenants and increase ROI through higher monthly rent.

4. Upgrade Bathrooms and Kitchens

It’s often said that bathrooms and kitchens will sell your home. Well they will also increase competition for your rental property! Most people don’t want to touch these areas of the home because they are expensive to renovate.

It’s true that you can easily spend tens of thousands of dollars renovating these parts of your rental property, but you don’t have to. Here are some ideas to transform your bathroom and kitchen spaces on a budget:

  • Bathrooms
  • Upgrade fixtures like faucets, towel holders, and toilet paper holder
  • Replace vanity cabinet and countertop
  • Add stylish design with shower curtain, light fixtures, and decorative mirrors
  • Deep clean floor tile and shower/tub for a “like new” look
  • Kitchens
  • Repaint cabinets for a brighter, newer look
  • Upgrade countertops to quartz or granite
  • Change out handles and knobs on cabinetry
  • Add new backsplash for style and pop of color
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These rental property improvements don’t cost much, but they are high impact and prospective tenants will notice these details.

5. Include Durable Appliances

A full suite of appliances installed and ready for use in your rental property will significantly increase the amount of rent you can charge. Most prospective tenants prefer to have appliances included in their rental, and they’re willing to pay for it. By installing a washer and dryer, you could charge anywhere from an extra $25 – $75 in monthly rent!

Like flooring, you want to pick durable options that will last for years.
An added benefit of including appliances in your rental is that you can pick options that match the design of the home. High-paying tenants will appreciate this because the appliances will look like they belong in the home (instead of that beat up $150 refrigerator they had to buy on Craigslist.)

Rental Improvement Mistakes to Avoid

Over Personalizing the Design

When deciding which rental property improvements to make, it’s important to remember that the property isn’t for you. A big mistake made during renovations is personalizing the style of the property too much or making the design too bold.

The goal is to design the property in way that will appeal to the largest pool of renters. Stick to neutral, timeless designs that prospective tenants can add their own personal touches to.

Using High End Finishes

Although tenants will appreciate high-end finishes, they usually cost more than they are worth. The difference you can charge in rent for using Carrara marble instead of quartz in your kitchen is minimal.

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Plus, most tenants don’t take the best care of high-end finishes, resulting in you having to frequently replace them (which is costly.)

Final Thoughts

Making improvements is one of the best ways to increase ROI for your property. If you focus on the right projects, it shouldn’t cost much money to attract high-paying tenants. When listing your rental, call out all the improvements made to the property so prospective tenants can see why your property is better than all the others in the neighborhood.

If this all sounds overwhelming, that’s okay. It can be at times. If you want to make improvements to your rental property but don’t know where to start or don’t want to do the work, consider hiring a rental property management company to do it for you!

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