Let’s face it, you’re in the rental industry to make money and capitalize on your investment, not to shell out dime after dime on renovations and repairs. A rental property should provide you with a steady, monthly revenue without piling up expenses on a regular basis.
So, how do you go about keeping your rental property up to par without spending a fortune?
Here are a few tips to keep your rental property’s renovation costs below budget while still providing an attractive property for tenants.
Understand it is Not Your Home
A rental property should not be held to the same standards as you would hold your own home. You won’t be living there, and that is important to remember. Everyone has their own unique tastes, so just because you like the crystal doorknobs, your future tenant may prefer simple metal knobs. Keep it simple and don’t overdo it.
It is also vital to remember that this home, regardless of how nice, is only a temporary home for whomever signs the lease. Nobody moves into a rental with the intention of staying there forever. Spending a large amount on frivolities will turn out to be a waste of money as a tenant will treat the property as what it is—a temporary home not a forever home.
Repair vs. Replace
While sometimes a full replacement of some home amenities may be required, consider a professional repair first. In many cases, a landlord will be caught off guard by the status of the home after a tenant moves out that they blow through the home replacing the flooring, repainting the whole home, and clearing out all appliances.
This isn’t always necessary. While at first glance an item may seem beyond repair, consulting with a professional can actually save you a lot of cash. In many cases, a professional repairman or cleaner can direct you in a more affordable method. For example, a professional carpet cleaner can often enhance the appearance of even the shabbiest of carpets for a fraction of the cost of re-carpeting the entire house.
When it comes to repairing and renovating a rental, try to focus on the prime points of the property. For a rental, this is usually the kitchen and bathroom—the two most utilized rooms in the home. These are also the two areas of the home most susceptible to mold and water damage, as well as any build-up of any excessive dirt.
Keeping up with the kitchen and bathroom will make a substantial difference in the rental appeal of your property. Nobody wants ugly pink bathroom cabinets from the late 80s and let’s face it, entertaining in a 1970s kitchen probably isn’t going to get any takers. Updating appliances, fixtures, and hardware in these two rooms will be the best way to entice new tenants and keep current tenants happy. That’s not to say that you need to overhaul these rooms every few years, but keep any eye on these areas of the house for any signs of disrepair or outdated designs.
Cleaning Saves Money
In some cases, it is possible to avoid costly repairs by simply maintaining the property. In between tenants, spring for a full house cleaning by hiring a professional service. Doing so will help avoid costly repairs due to neglect. This includes sink fixtures, appliances, ac vents and ducts, and other overlooked areas.
Some small alterations to a property can affect the overall appearance without having to spend a large amount. Changing out tarnished fixtures or hardware in the bathrooms and kitchen, for example, is an easy way to spruce up a room. Replacing miniblinds with missing or broken slats can change the appearance of a room quickly. Swapping out light fixtures that are more than ten years old to keep up with trends can literally brighten a room (as well as lowering the electricity bill).
Get a Property Management Company
Having a property management company on hand will help you spot repairs which need to be done versus any unnecessary projects. They are also able to keep up on repairs, cleaning, and replacing items around the property in real time. In addition to maintaining the property, a management company can help with the tenant selection process, which, in turn, will save you heaps and bounds on repairs and renovations as high caliber tenants tend to treat a property with more respect than lower quality tenants.
The easiest way to save money on repairs and renovations in your rental property is to be a well-informed, hands-on landlord. Keeping up on repairs, replacements, and cleaning will go a long way in saving you money. Nothing costs more than simple neglect.