Owning a rental property these days takes a lot of thought. You, as a landlord, want good, quality people on your property. These types of people stay longer, treat your property well, and are generally a joy to have around. How do you attract these good people to your property?
Upgrading A Property By The Numbers
Landlords should know that eight out of ten of America’s 137 million houses are 20 years old. The other two percent are 50 years old. Add to that the fact that Baby Boomers are choosing to age in place over a retirement home.
AARP reported in 2021 that 77 percent of seniors preferred to age in place. They often do this in rental properties. This means that the home renovation industry has exploded to almost $425 billion (with a “b”) over the last six years.
It’s easy to see the results of these statistics. Just check out the dumpsters in the driveways of your neighbors. They’re making space for multiple family members as well as their senior parents. Landlords are renovating their rental properties to attract quality renters. However, breaking the bank isn’t necessary to accomplish upgrades. Here’s how.
Install Or Refinish Hardwood Floors
While carpet provides a soft area on which the baby or the puppy can play, it’s taken some hits in the last years. Almost impossible-to-get-out dirt, germs, mites, and a host of equally unpleasant things live in carpets. Parents want better and healthier for their families.
Realtor.com tells us that hardwood floors are the most attractive flooring for buyers or renters. The return on investment, they said, is 70 percent to 80 percent. Ninety percent of buyers and renters alike state that they’d pay more for a property with hardwood floors.
Moreover, seniors are working longer because they financially must. Some seniors have had spouses pass on, some have no children, and other seniors can’t afford “senior” living. The landlord that upgrades these floors on which seniors won’t trip and fall has a friend for life.
Accessibility Is The Word
If you sang that headline to the tune of “Grease,” good for you! Accessibility isn’t just about ramps to the front door. It’s about being able to get through that door.
Whether you’re a mother toting groceries into the house, a guy carrying in his new home gym, or a senior in a wheelchair, breaking on through to the other side (thanks, Jim Morrison and the Doors) can be a challenge.
While it can be a tad expensive to take out walls for an open floor plan and to widen doors, the return on the investment will be worth it. You’ll have good, quality tenants that you’ve had professionally vetted through affordable tenant screening services. You’ll also have a property performing well in the real estate comps.
It’s a statistical fact that kitchens and bathrooms sell houses. When they’re for rent, kitchens are the first room potential renters check out. According to the National Association of Home Builders, the least attractive features to potential renters is laminate cabinets, white appliances, and engineered stone countertops.
Do landlords need to replace countertops, appliances, and cabinets? No:
- Rid the cabinets of years of built-up grease and dust. They’ll shine like new.
- If they’re ancient, then slap a coat of paint on them to give them new life.
- Buy new hardware. Cabinet and drawer pull also give energy to tired cabinetry.
- Replace the taps with newer styles.
- If you do opt to replace the countertops, know that they don’t have to be granite or marble. Lots of cooks like butcher blocks or concrete countertops.
- Big box stores sell ready-made strips of tiles to make a backsplash. They make a significant and modern upgrade.
Not every landlord can lay out the funds for a full bathroom renovation. It’s not necessary, to-wit:
- Very small hands as well as older hands sometimes can’t turn the handles on the sink, tub, or shower. Replace them with easy-to-work handles.
- Shower heads are a big deal. Hand-held shower heads and/or rain shower heads are easy to buy at big box stores and not challenging to install.
- Shower curtains, toilet paper holders, shelves, and towel racks are all important facets of an updated bathroom.
- New mirrors and lighting go far toward convincing good tenants they won’t miss anything when they’re preparing for work in the mornings.
There’s no getting around it: windows need replacing every few years, especially in older structures. If your town or city won’t allow you to replace windows in your historic house, then a good contractor can repair the wood frames and re-caulk the glass.
Saving energy is the name of the game and new windows (or well-repaired windows) help. A 70 percent return on investment isn’t bad, either, according to money.com.
Curb appeal is also what landlords consider for their rental properties. After all, you won’t get those good, quality renters if the place looks run-down. Crisp, new windows reflect happy sunlight, gently waving tree branches, and stunning sunsets. This appeals to prospective renters.
Light It Up
Some of us grew up when flush-mounted ceiling lights were a thing. In those days, lamps weren’t big. We had plenty of natural light through all those windows added to our ceiling lights.
Today, however, the only flush-mounted ceiling lights come on ceiling fans. While there’s nothing wrong with that, there’s a reason the kids do their homework at the kitchen table: the light’s better. Moreover, there are too many cool light fixtures available that landlords can’t afford to not add.
Tell Me About It
In order to attract good, quality renters, it’s a good idea to list the upgrades you’ve made in the real estate listing. People who are moving look for specific things such as hardwood floors, rain shower heads, and a pretty backsplash.
If you’re a landlord renovating a rental property, remember that you aren’t required by law to do it all at once. Take your time, and save up your money for the big stuff like appliances or countertops. Get it right, and the equity in your rental property will increase. That’s worth something, and those good, quality renters will see it and rent from you.