How to Maximize Rental Income Through Kitchen and Bath Renovations
The Importance of Kitchen and Bath Renovations to Rental Income
Kitchen and bath renovations are important for maximizing rental income. Neglect them and the rental property may sit empty for months at a time, or you may not be able to command as high a rent as you would like.
On the other hand, you can spend so much on improvements, including a kitchen remodel and bath renovation, that the expense significantly cuts into your gross rental income. Or you can spend a fair amount of money on a kitchen makeover and bathroom upgrades and have a rental property sit vacant anyway because you’ve neglected some essential element that would make it appealing to a potential renter.
With all that in mind, here are some tips to help you approach a kitchen makeover, a bath renovation, and maintaining and improving a rental property in general.
Kitchen and Bath Renovations Tip #1: Keep Your Perspective
You presumably won’t want to be a slumlord, but you don’t want to break the bank fixing up a rental property, either. That being the case, it’s important to maintain the proper attitude.
Remember that the rental property is not your home. In all likelihood, it’s not even the center’s permanent home, and renters probably won’t treat it with the same care and respect they would if they owned the place.
So when you address a kitchen makeover or bathroom upgrades, you’re not shooting for perfection. You’re shooting for good enough. You want the rental property to be livable, comfortable, and inviting.
Kitchen and Bath Renovations Tip #2: To Maximize Rental Income, First Impressions Are Important.
“Inviting” means that when prospective tenants come to see the rental property, they can imagine themselves living a pleasant life there. That visit is your sole opportunity to persuade them of that.
The first thing a potential renter will see is the front yard (assuming the property has one.) You should mow and edge the grass, mulch bushes, and flowerbeds to ensure they look healthy, cut back overgrown bushes and trees, so visitors can see the full size of the garden (if there is one), and if there’s a nice view, perhaps of a lake or mountains, make the most of it. Don’t let anything block the view. Finally, check gate hinges, remove any loose concrete, and steady any loose walking stones.
The interior is even more important than the exterior. Make sure you clean it after every turnover. If you aren’t sure you have the motivation, energy, or expertise to do a proper job of it, hire a professional cleaning service.
Paint the walls every five years. Light-colored paint brightens up a room and makes it look new.
Replace any fixtures that need it. Here are some of the fixtures that ought to be replaced:
- Lighting that predates 1990
- Mini-blinds with missing slat
- Cabinet hardware that’s lost its finish
- Sticky door handles
- Toilets that run constantly
- Tubs or faucets that drip
In addition to making it easier to rent the property, these upgrades and repairs will reduce after-the-fact maintenance.
Open the curtains or blinds and turn on the lights. Consider buying more lamps if it still looks dark inside.
If it looks empty and abandoned, you can rent furniture to make it seem more like home.
If it seems small and cramped inside, you may want to take down a wall to open things up.
Nothing impresses potential tenants more (for good or ill) than the kitchen and bathroom. Nobody wants to try to attend to his personal hygiene in a bathroom that’s moldy or dingy, and no one wants to cook in an outdated kitchen. If, in your judgment, the rental property truly is in need of significant upgrades, a kitchen makeover and bath renovation is the obvious place to start. Compared to other renovations, they’ll produce a higher return on your investment if you eventually sell the property, too.
Kitchen and Bath Renovations Tip #3: To Maximize Rental Income, Repair Before Replacing
“Good enough” means that repair is often a better option than replacing. Some landlords replace carpet routinely every seven years or so. But a professional cleaning can often restore an old carpet’s appearance. It’s sometimes possible to clean fingerprints and scuff marks off a wall and avoid the necessity of repainting it. Ceilings rarely need repainting, unless the previous renters were heavy smokers or extravagantly messy when cooking.
Kitchen and Bathroom Renovations Tip #4: The Inventory and Condition Checklist
Finally, when the new tenants move in, give them a checklist that will help them find and draw your attention to any remaining problems with the property. You can then make the repairs and indicate the date of any particular repair on the document.