Rental properties are often the hardest to maintain due to poor tenants, time constraints, or many other dilemmas. However, you can still make them look attractive to residents, as well as prospective renters. All it requires is a little effort on your part, and a keen eye for aesthetics. Remember that the cleaner your property looks, the higher the chance of occupancy, and the more money in your pocket. Here’s just a few ways for making your property more appealing.
Image via Flickr by snowangel_1967
When potential customers enter a unit, a practical, yet luxurious kitchen is definitely a selling point. With that in mind, it’s important to make the appearance up-to-date with fashion and practicality. Avoid using stoves, ovens, and refrigerators that look like they’re pre-World War II. Instead, opt for appliances with a sleek outside appearance. You can put in all stainless steel if you want, but if you’re on a budget, pick a color that suits the room. Your renters will take notice.
Slap On a New Coat of Paint
Image via Flickr by Aine D
One of the negatives cited by many renters point to poor paint jobs on the interior or exterior of the house or apartment building. This not only cheapens the look of the apartment, but drive-bys most often disregard the property as below their minimum quality level. When in doubt, always put on a coat of new paint. For the cheapest fix, five gallon buckets of paint are available in cream, white, and off-white for rock bottom prices. However, if you want to charge a bit more, look into different color schemes for various rooms. It won’t cost you that much more, and you can charge more than you would if everything were plain white. If you don’t have time, local painters are often relatively inexpensive and do a great job.
Clean the Floors
Whether you have wood floors, linoleum, or carpet, the flooring needs a thorough cleansing before showing the unit. Previous tenants aren’t the most meticulous when it comes to this aspect, especially if they had pets. Nevertheless, no one wants to see stains, pet hair, and other obscenities on their flooring. If you have carpet, a good cleaning also eliminates any stale or pungent aromas that permeate the apartment or house.
Landscaping & Upkeep
Lots of property owners ignore the landscaping of their own property or write into the lease that it’s the responsibility of the tenant. You shouldn’t do either one of these things. Instead, keep up on annual maintenance of grass, shrubs, flowers, and trees. Although you may require a tenant in a house to cut the lawn, the rest is up to you. However, when renters see blooming flowers, trimmed shrubs, and a lovely lawn, they’re more likely to plop down a premium in rent. Not everyone is a green thumb, so you might consider hiring a lawn care professional.
In the winter months, make sure snow is promptly removed on all of the property sidewalks, walkways, stairs, and entryways. Inside, provide heavy duty mats to collect any dirt and snow before it finds they find their way far into the hallways of your building. Not only do these tasks improve the appearance of your property inside and out, they also protect your residents and visitors. Slipping and sliding on an icy walkway is a bad way to start a rental tour, and a surefire way to receive more resident complaints. Proper snow removal can be a time consuming task, and should be performed promptly when there’s snow or ice—if you or your employees are not capable of handling it, hire a snow removal professional to take care of it all.
The exterior of your rental property is the first thing people see, so it can be a major factor for some when it comes to signing the lease.
Sometimes, it just isn’t possible to get exactly the price you want out of your rental. There are many factors to this. Most of the time, especially if you’ve done massive renovations, you want to recoup the money as soon as possible, which is understandable. However, this method will only leave you hemorrhaging more money. You have to look at many external factors, such as how nice your apartment is in comparison to others in the neighborhood and what other landlords are charging. It’s also important to look at the location, as rentals close to bars, restaurants, and entertainment venues can often fetch a larger monthly rent.
Extra amenities are the difference between a spectacular unit and a ho-hum unit. That’s why it’s important not only to have these perks, but to do them better than any of your competitors. Having off-street parking is a great asset, but not one that’s possible for many properties. If available, parking keeps your renters’ minds at ease, as their car isn’t on the street for potential thieves or hit and runs. Another great perk is on-site laundry. You don’t need to buy the latest high-tech, high-efficiency washer/dryer combo unless you deem it necessary, but it is a nice benefit in rental homes. If you own a multi-unit apartment building, then consider a laundry room in the basement. It gives your tenants added flexibility, and lets them enjoy the comfort of their home while they wait. If you don’t want the hassle, many companies offer coin-operated laundry units for apartment buildings.
Clean the Bathroom
You don’t have to go crazy in the bathroom, but you’ll find that the cleaner the bathroom is, the more likely people are to rent from you. The main catastrophic areas are the toilet and the shower. Clean the toilet thoroughly and make it look brand new, as renters, and most people, are grossed out by a disgusting toilet. In the shower, use any cleaner available to make it sparkle like new. Mildew and grime are the last things that people want to see in a bathroom. You might also consider caulking around the edges of the shower. To add a final touch, throw in a brand new, complimentary shower curtain. You’d be surprised how much this brightens the appearance.
Be Presentable & Professional
The appearance of the rental property is only half of what sells the place. The other half is who presents it and how they carry themselves in both a professional and friendly manner. No one wants to show up to an apartment where the presenter is wearing bib overalls with nothing underneath. In addition, phone conversations, emails, and any other correspondence need to have a professional, friendly, and courteous tone. If you lack any of these qualities, it could cost you time and money. Always take the utmost care in hiring someone to show the apartment, or if you’re showing it yourself, look good and speak well.
Making your property appealing is more a matter of pride and less a matter of money. Remember that fixing up your property isn’t a sunk cost; in fact, it’s much to the contrary, as it increases the value and curb appeal of your place. If you do this, your only problem will be fielding the thousands of calls you get from renters.