If you have been in the property rental business for any amount of time, you know how important it is to maximize your time and effort between tenants.
As a property owner, you want to minimize the time without a tenant paying rent. However, you want to take advantage of the time you have to make repairs and upgrades to increase your property value—a fine balancing act, indeed.
What you choose to do will depend greatly on what you need to do versus want to do. You also need to account for the amount of time you’re willing to wait before your new tenant moves in.
Here are some suggestions to maximize your property value.
Check-in with Your Current Tenants
Once you know your current tenants will not renew their lease, check in with them to see what might need to be fixed.
As you communicate, let them know your expectations about the property's condition when they move out. We recommend providing them with a move-out checklist. This will help ensure they remember everything that they are required to do. It will also help them know exactly what they need to do to get their security deposit back.
You should also provide them with important dates to add to their calendar. This should include the final inspection date.
As part of your check-in, ask them to let you know if anything needs to be repaired or replaced. Knowing this ahead of time can help you to plan ahead. You could even offer a pre-move-out inspection. This would allow you to personally inspect the property for signs of damage. Since not all tenants are aware of everything you might look for, this can help you to identify even the littlest of issues that you might need to address before the next tenant.
Consider the Curb Appeal
As the housing market attests, first impressions matter for any type of property. Increasing the curb appeal can increase the rent and attract the right kind of tenants.
If you are able to inspect the inside of the property before the old tenants move out, you can easily check out the front of the property. You can drive by and notice anything that needs to be fixed or identify any upgrades you might want to do. Even minor improvements can make a world of difference in curb appeal.
Here are some possibilities to consider:
- Paint - Does the property need a new coat of paint?
- Shutters - Do they need to be repaired or replaced? Would new paint help?
- Front door - Does it need to be replaced? Should you repaint it?
- Landscaping - Does the grass need to be moved? Do bushes or trees need to be trimmed? Are there any other landscaping needs that could enhance the curb appeal?
- Lighting - Is the outside lighting sufficient?
- Walkways - Do you need to add or replace pavers or bricks? Are there cracks in the concrete that need to be repaired?
- Privacy - Is more needed? Could hedges or fencing increase privacy?
- Miscellaneous - Do you need to replace the address numbers or mailbox?
Creating a list of needs and wants can help you to prioritize. Focus on the needs first. These should be the items that are absolutely necessary before your new tenants move in. Then, you can decide if there are any wants that you can also get done based on time and money.
Schedule Regular Maintenance in Advance
As you prepare for old tenants to move out and new ones to move in, plan any regular maintenance that you need to get done. This will help keep your property in prime condition.
Some of these may be things you do every year. Others may be items that are only done as needed. If you know they need to be done, make sure you have time scheduled on your calendar to complete them if you’re doing the work. Book your favorite contractors ahead of time if you plan to outsource so they are available when you need them.
Here are some of the things to consider as part of your regular maintenance:
- Service the air conditioner
- Clean the flooring (e.g., carpets or tile grout)
- Paint the walls
- Clean the gutters
- Put new batteries in the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
- Reseal the windows
- Replace the air filters
- Recaulk the tub and sinks
- Flush the hot water heater
- Check for plumbing leaks
Make Minor Improvements
In addition to regular maintenance, you may want to consider making minor improvements to your property.
These are little things that can help upgrade the space and give your property a fresh look. They should take a little time and money to complete. They can also be done by you or your favorite handyperson.
Here are suggestions for minor improvements that can freshen up your property:
- Swap out the kitchen or bathroom hardware
- Change out the light switches and outlets
- Update the plumbing fixtures
- Upgrade the lighting fixtures
- Create more storage
- Update the door knobs
- Replace the blinds
- Get a low-flush toilet
- Remove popcorn ceilings
If any of these items in your property are over ten years old or you don’t ever remember replacing them, consider upgrading. Old fixtures and hardware date the property. Yellowing light switches and outlets make tenants feel like they are living in an old and possibly rundown space.
Since they are minor, you should easily be able to make the improvements in a short period of time between tenants. Plan ahead if you know you want to do any of these things. Pre-purchase the materials, so they are on hand when the space is empty and ready for you. If needed, schedule your plumber or electrician.
Making these minor changes will bring the look of your property into the current decade. Tenants are likely to pay more rent for an updated space.
Schedule Remodeling In Advance
If you are interested in increasing your property value substantially, you may want to consider remodeling the space.
Keep in mind that remodeling will take more time and money. Know exactly what you want to do and plan ahead accordingly. Buy the materials, schedule the contractors, and be ready to go at the soonest available moment. This will ensure you stay on track to be finished before your next tenants move in.
The two areas that significantly impact the value of any property are the kitchen and bathrooms. Remember that you don’t need to completely gut the space to remodel it. You can work with what you already have and reuse existing materials when possible. Then, you only need to buy new items when something cannot be refurbished.
When remodeling, we recommend avoiding trendy to avoid going out of style too quickly. Stick with classic ideas. Tenants can then add their own flair as they decorate their space.
Consider these remodeling suggestions to increase your property value.
Remodeling an entire kitchen can be costly. It is important to decide where you want to spend your money and where you can reuse materials.
Rather than replacing the kitchen cabinets, you can reuse them if they’re still in good condition. After being sanded, you can stain or paint them. This will make them look brand new. Then, add new hardware for the finishing touch.
If you do not need to spend money on new kitchen appliances, consider spending it on new countertops. Marble or granite countertops can upscale any kitchen and are equally durable. If new countertops are not an option, you can have the existing countertops refinished to look new.
Other things you can add to remodel the kitchen space include a backsplash, new plumbing fixtures, and new lighting. You can also take a look at the existing cupboards and closets to see if additional shelving can be added to create more storage space.
Like the kitchen, the bathrooms can be expensive to completely remodel. However, you can reuse much of what is already there and give it a facelift.
For the cabinets, you can reuse the existing cabinets and paint them. If you’re interested in a new look, you can take an old dresser and upcycle it by adding a coat of paint and sink.
Another remodeling option is to convert the bathtub into a walk-in shower in the master bathroom. You can refinish the bathtub if you want to keep the existing look. This is an inexpensive way to make it look new again.
As with the kitchen, additional little touches can go a long way. Updating the hardware, shelving, lights, mirrors, towel rods, fixtures, and storage can further enhance the space.
Cleaning or replacing the carpet will continue to be an expense as you change tenants. Consider replacing the carpet throughout the space.
As a property owner, you want to have low maintenance and durable flooring. But, it should also be appealing to tenants. Options to consider are vinyl, tile, laminate, or hardware flooring. You can find many great choices that look stylish without breaking the bank. Additionally, they don’t need to be replaced after each tenant.
Here are a few additional items to consider when looking at your property and its value. If you do not already have these extra features, they are excellent amenities for tenants.
- Fenced-in yard for pets and children
- Outdoor living space
- Air conditioner
- In-unit washer and dryer
As a property owner, you will want to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to improving your property. Prioritize where you want to spend your time and money. As you make improvements, adjust your rent accordingly.
If you have questions about improving your rental property or are interested in working with a property management company, contact Rooftop Rentals. We work with property owners throughout the Southeast Idaho and Boise areas. Let us help you to protect your investment while you maximize your profits.