There’s no denying that becoming a landlord is a great way to earn some passive income. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), there are nearly 44 million occupied rental units in the U.S. That number makes up 36.6 percent of the housing market, and the percent of renters grows significantly each year. By being a landlord, you’re setting yourself up for a steady stream of income, and you’re the boss. Could anything be better?
But you can’t simply buy a rental property and expect to earn top-dollar. Making some simple upgrades, like retiling the bathroom or painting the walls, can help you reach your full earning potential and attract the right kinds of renters. But what sorts of upgrades should you make? You need to look at the research to determine what renters want. Remember, they’re more likely to choose your unit—and pay more for it—if it’s got the amenities they desire, but what tenants want differs from region to region.
Although your mileage may vary depending on where you live and your target renter, here are a few of the overall most desired features that won’t break the landlord’s bank.
Affordable Ways to Upgrade Your Rental Property
- An upgraded bathroom. A bathroom upgrade can push your rental unit into a whole new class, taking it from basic to luxury. Consider learning how to tile using basic tile tools to save cash on labor. New flooring, a new vanity, and a fresh coat of paint can go a long way in making a powder room or master bath feel fresh again. You may also want to consider ditching the outdated tub for a tub-shower combo. While a bathtub is a nice bonus, remember that most people default to the shower and would prefer it over a bathtub.
- New flooring throughout. If you rent out pet- and family-friendly properties, consider refreshing the floors with some luxury vinyl tile or plank. Using a little bit of DIY know-how and a few YouTube videos, you can drastically refresh the aesthetic of the space while adding warmth, durability, and water-resistance to the floors. Choose something lasting, neutral, and timeless, such as vinyl flooring with a wood look, rather than something trendy.
- A fresh coat of paint in every room. Painting is the oldest trick in the landlord’s book, and for good reason. It covers up age, use, and imperfections, creating a fresh, clean slate for potential renters. For best results, stick to an approachable neutral—white or gray—that appeals to a broad audience. While you’re at it, update to new outlet covers and doorknobs and art?
- New kitchen appliances. The last thing a new renter wants to deal with is a broken appliance. Not only should you ensure that all appliances are working properly and are easy to use—this will save you time too—but you should also prioritize appealing features and aesthetics, such as stainless steel.
- Security cameras on the premises. Installing exterior security cameras can help make your renters feel safer while decreasing your liability and providing you with some extra eyes from afar. With that said, remember to pay attention to tenant laws in your region and make sure you aren’t breaking any privacy laws. It should go without saying, but do not install security cameras inside of rental units.
- New hardware on the kitchen cabinets. You don’t have to give your entire kitchen a floor-to-ceiling do-over in order for it to be enticing to renters. Some simple spiff-ups can help give it a fresh, new feel without bogging down your budget. One such upgrade is installing new kitchen drawer pulls and knobs. Choose knobs that are sleek and up-to-date yet versatile enough that they go with many styles so potential renters can envision themselves in the space.
- A laundry room. You can’t deny the convenience of having on-premises laundry, and your renters will appreciate it enough to pay a premium. Make sure you choose reliable, updated laundry equipment, opting for commercial-grade options in multi-unit buildings. Coin-operated, communal machines are a great way to pay for the electricity and maintenance of the units, but in-unit washers and dryers tend to fetch more rent, so consider all your options.
- A carport or garage. In addition to on-premise laundry, tenants are generally willing to pay more for onsite parking, especially if it’s covered. Consider building a secure carport or garage near your units to appeal to tenants looking for safer, more secure parking options.
- In–Room Heating and Cooling. If you rent an old building or house, you may not have the most efficient heating and cooling. Many old buildings and homes are also not equipped with ductwork, which makes central air a challenge. With that said, you can significantly boost your rental potential by installing room-by-room heating and cooling units, such as ductless mini-split air conditioners. These are efficient, convenient heating and cooling devices that are more attractive and secure than standard window units.
- Attractive Landscaping. It may surprise you to learn that renters will pay extra for a little curb appeal, but the truth is that an attractive, welcoming environment is a lot more hospitable to families and long-term renters. So, not only can spiffing up your exterior help you earn more in rent, but it may also help you attract those ideal renters.
- Luxury Upgrades. Want to take your rental property from basic to high-end? Consider installing some luxury features, such as a steam shower, a shared gym, high-end appliances, smart appliances, or even a sauna. Outside, you might consider adding a hot tub or a fire pit. This will easily allow you to market your units as vacation rentals should you decide to shift to short-term renting.
If getting top-dollar for rent is your main objective as a landlord, don’t sink thousands into drastic renovations. You can make a huge impact and earn more from each unit if you make these small yet impactful upgrades before you put your property on the rental market.
11 Easy and Affordable Ways to Upgrade Your Rental Property is a feature post
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