There are a lot of great articles on realtor blogs about how to increase your property value.
However, as a landlord, you are working with a much tighter budget. Any improvement that you make needs to — ideally — you can recoup during the next year of rent.
This is one reason why so many rentals are run down.
Here are some professional tips on how to quickly and cheaply improve your properties’ values in the eyes of potential renters.
These tips require very few tools, a minimal amount of time and very little physical product cost.
Professionally Cleaned Carpet
This one might seem like a waste. However, deep cleaning the carpet will not only make your property more attractive, but it will also lengthen your carpet’s lifespan.
More landlords are switching to hardwoods and vinyl plank laminate flooring. These surfaces are easier to clean and don’t require professional equipment to get it restored to like-new conditions.
However, if you have any carpet, then investing in a regular deep cleaning will make all of the difference.
At the very least, a rug doctor rental or buying a used carpet extractor will let you clean the carpets on the cheap.
This is one of those areas where you wonder if it is better to paintless frequently, but with a higher-quality paint, or to paint more frequently with a lower-quality paint.
The answer likely is somewhere in the middle. Zachary Drumm of Tool Tally recommends eSherwin Williams or Benjamin Moore brands of paint. Both sell an excellent, entry-level paint. It will go on better and hold up longer than the cheapest paints sold by places like Walmart and is only marginally more costly.
Buying a large quantity of neutral-colored paint will allow you to recoat the house easily. Your new renters will be impressed with how fresh and clean the house smells with the freshly cleaned carpet and paint.
Patch All Holes
Unless there are huge holes in the sheetrock, this should be a very easy task. Each renter will want to hang things. Most landlords allow holes up to a quarter-inch to be created in the walls.
However, if you leave the holes from the previous renters there, it signals that you don’t care that much about the walls, and the next renters are likely to be even less careful.
A can of spackling and an hour of running through the house will let you easily fill all of the holes that the last renters left in the place.
Now that your house is smelling fresh let’s spruce up the outside.
One surprisingly cheap tip is to have someone pressure wash the outside of your house.
It is a subtle change, but once all of the mildew is removed, the vinyl siding is going to appear much brighter and more attractive.
If you have bushes growing near the house, go ahead and spend some time trimming them back before calling the pressure washing company to make sure that they can get close and clean the house thoroughly.
In many areas, this costs as little as $200 for a 1,000 square foot ranch style house. It’s the type of job that will make a noticeable difference for less than a month’s rent.
This might seem like overkill. Depending on the season, you can find a flat of flowers for extremely affordable prices. Adding a dozen decorative plants to the flower bed will help it look well taken care of.
Alternative, you can go crazy with the black plastic ground coverings and gravel. Keeping flower beds well-covered with plastic and maintained colorful gravel would make sure that you aren’t fighting weeds.
There is always the question of whether or not to clean out the fence rows. Trees and shrubs in the fence rows provide an element of privacy and seclusion in urban life.
However, this seclusion is perfect, attracting crime and trash piles. By cleaning the fence row thoroughly and spraying with herbicide, you ensure a snake-free lawn with ample visibility on your property.
On any driveby, you can see if the renters are beginning to hoard trash piles in the back yard or if someone has kicked in the back door while they are on vacation.
Clearing most fence rows can be done easily with an electric chainsaw. Or, you can hire someone to help you clear it out the first year, and then make sure to re-apply herbicide once a year to stay on top of it.
This is also a great time to rent an edger and clean up the sidewalk and driveway. A beautiful, crisp edge helps to set your property apart as a well-cared-for house.
There is a fine line between adding security systems that your renters might try to steal and providing that added peace of mind for which they are willing to pay more for.
At a minimum, a set of motion-activated security lights are an affordable option that will help deter snoopers who are looking for an easy target.
If you are willing to invest more money – and your neighborhood warrants it – wiring in external lighting in the soffit is a great way to light the house up and deter would-be intruders from targeting your place.
They are going to be much more likely to hit softer targets than they are to hit your well-lit rental.
Get The Best Tenants
The best tenants are ones that will pay a fair price for your property, are willing to take care of it while they are living there, and, hopefully, have a desire to stick around for a few years to keep the turn over low.
The key is the proper presentation. The same property that has a weekend of lawn trimming and a fresh paint job will rent more quickly and for $200 to $400 a month more, depending on your market.
If your place is eye-catching, you will get a higher quality of renter, and the place will fill more quickly.
It’s a win-win for everyone.