Feb. o5, 2019

Reduce vacancies in rental investment properties

Investors in rental properties understand that every day their rentals sit on the market unoccupied, they’re losing potential income. If you are a rental property investor with vacancies chipping away at your income stream, below are five budget-friendly steps you can take to improve your rentals property’s appeal to potential tenants:

1. Check out your competition to better understand your market

Look at rental listings on local real estate websites, social media sites, and Craigslist that are similar to yours in location, number of bedrooms, baths, and square footage. Take note of the features your competitors are offering to promote their rental units, such as newly renovated kitchens and baths. If your rental units are older and renovations aren’t in the budget, find another feature of your units to emphasize such as floor-to-ceiling windows that flood the unit with natural light or private patios or balconies attached to each unit.

Accentuate the positives in your rental property listings such as location, proximity to schools, parks, public transportation, and shopping.

2._Appealing kitchens and bathrooms attract renters

If the kitchens and baths in your rental property aren’t new, you can up their appeal without investing in a total reno. Start with a deep clean in the kitchen and all bathrooms—polish appliances, countertops, sinks, tubs, toilets, showers, and hardware till they shine. Replace elements that can’t be scrubbed clean such as toilets, faucets, and grout. Make sure mirrors and windows are free of dirt and fingerprints.

Reduce vacancies

While you’re in the process of deep cleaning, make sure to look up! Get rid of dust, cobwebs, and grease that collects on ceiling fans, vents, and light fixtures. Make sure all light fixtures are working and install long-lasting, energy-efficient lightbulbs in each one. The amount of light available in a rental unit is important, so don’t cut corners on lighting fixtures.

After completing a thorough, deep clean throughout the unit, you’ll be better able to determine if any additional measures should be taken. Pay attention to small details like doorknobs and dirty, broken, mismatched, or old-fashioned cabinet and drawer pulls. Replacing doorknobs and cabinet pulls is an inexpensive and effective way to update a room. If your budget allows, replace old or mismatched appliances with new, matching sets to increase tenant appeal. Stainless steel appliances are most popular, but if you need a less costly alternative, matching black or white appliances can work. Another inexpensive option is to look into purchasing stainless steel covers that fit over the front of existing appliances. Finally, touch up appliance paint can be used to fix scratches on white or black appliances.

New products also exist that can transform old kitchen cabinets and laminate counter-tops affordably.

3._Easy and inexpensive interior and exterior improvements

Painting interior walls is an extremely affordable and effective way to add renewed appeal to a rental unit. A fresh coat of paint is a great way to brighten a rental unit, invigorate dark or gloomy hallways, and showcase unique architectural features like tall ceilings or built-ins.

Use satin or semi-gloss paint to achieve a modern feel that appeals to renters. Additionally, satin or semi-gloss paint makes it easier to wipe away crayon marks, scuff marks, and grease, unlike flat paint. Make sure to paint the trim to maximize the fresh, clean look you’re seeking.

Outdoors, refresh siding, shutters, railings, doors, porches, and other weather-beaten features with a coat of appropriate exterior paint formulated to handle all weather conditions. Prepare surfaces with a good sanding and a proper primer to achieve long-lasting, quality results.

4._Keep it neutral
Cool, neutral colors in shades of light gray, beige, and cream should be used for maximum appeal when it comes to paint colors, carpeting, and window treatments. You can offer potential tenants the option to paint rooms in the apartment to their taste after they sign the lease, with or without the condition that they paint the rooms back to the original neutral color at move-out time.

A neutral theme should also apply to tile, hardwood flooring, cabinets, and light fixtures if you decide to update or replace any of these items. Selecting neutral colors and design elements will save money over the long term since you’ll avoid making constant upgrades each time you need to prepare a unit for new tenants. Some examples of timeless designs include shaker- style cabinets, stainless steel appliances, dual sinks in master bathrooms, Carrera marble or granite countertops, white subway backsplash and shower tile, and slate tile floors.

5._Curb Appeal
Enough cannot be said for the value of curb appeal when it comes to attracting tenants. Your rental property’s outdoor appeal determines whether or not apartment-seekers want to step inside to see more. The property’s exterior makes a strong first impression, so if it’s not inviting you risk losing good potential tenants and all your interior improvement efforts are wasted.

Create a checklist of inexpensive but critical ways to improve your property’s curb appeal:

  • Remove any trash or debris
  • Remove weeds, trim shrubbery, and mow the lawn.
  • If the rental property has a porch or outdoor space, stage it with a few pieces of complimentary outdoor furniture and potted flowers to create an inviting, welcoming vibe that makes tenants feel “at home” when they approach the property. Make sure to tend to potted flowers and keep staging elements clean while the property is listed.
  • Touch up areas with chipped paint, fix or replace broken or loose railings, and replace any torn screens.
  • Make sure exterior light fixures work and provide good lighting for security-minded tenants. Make sure the mailbox and address numbers are in top condition. If not, these elements can be replaced inexpensively with a trip to the local hardware store or a coat of high-gloss outdoor spray paint.
  • Establish a designated area, preferably out-of-sight, to store garbage and recycling receptacles.  

Investing in rental properties can be a lucrative way to create a monthly income stream. Make sure your investment attracts potential tenants by following these five tips to affordably maximize your property’s appeal.

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Reduce vacancies