As investors it is important to keep your rental properties appealing to tenants. Here is a valuable list of improvements that you can make to your properties that will ensure they are not only more appealing to prospective tenants, but also in many instances increase their value and your rental income.
1. Have the inside professionally cleaned. Getting those marks off the walls, and out of the carpet, really improves the property. It needs to smell good too, but if it smells of air freshener, people will wonder why. Remove the source of any bad smell.
2. Paint the walls, ceiling, skirting boards, etc. if they are looking tatty. Put up new wallpaper if it is peeling or torn.
3. Update window coverings, particularly in living areas. Try toning them with the wall colour, and make curtain rails extend beyond the window so curtains can be opened fully to let sun in.
4. Do all the repairs – big and small. If it is seen to be broken, it is devalued, and raises questions about the quality of the property and the quality of the landlord. Tenants are your customers, consider their needs.
5. Consider replacing anything that is touched e.g. door handles, light-switches and cupboard handles – test them for how they feel as well as how they look before you buy.
6. Change the light fittings – shedding some light on the property can improve things, and attractive fittings even more so.
7. Floor coverings make a huge proportion of the visual effect. Consider replacing worn out carpet, refinishing floor boards, renewing lino if a good clean does not do the job.
8. Install a burglary alarm or other security devices. Occupants want to feel safe, and know their things are too. Good locks on doors and windows are highly recommended.
9. Is there ways to open up rooms to make them bigger? A pokey kitchen could be opened up to the dining room by removing non-structural walls, and likewise, the lounge may benefit from removing the connecting hall wall to open it up. Seek a builder’s opinion and help.
10. New kitchen cupboards, and bathroom vanity, can cost less than you fear if you are willing to do some construction yourself – see the flat-pack options at hardware stores.
11. A new shower curtain can make the difference in a bathroom. Choose something tasteful, and choose a washable fabric, not plastic, so it feels better as well as looks good. It lasts longer too.
12. Write an appealing, but truthful, advert. Do not oversell it as you will just have disappointed prospective tenants walking away, and possibly put off those who would love it.
13. Be professional with your dealing. If tenants see things are being attended to quickly, they will feel they are getting value for money, and treat you and the property better than a resentful tenant would.
14. Plan your changes to minimise the time it takes, and not have people tripping over each other, nor waiting for the previous stage to be complete. The less time it is empty, the more rent you can get during the year.
15. Make the changes appropriate for the market you are aiming for. A mansion in a slum will not rent for as much as it costs you, and will not attract the kind of tenants you want, so do not over-do it.