A vacant residential unit you can rent out is a great way of making additional income. Residential properties are on an upward swing right now, and more importantly, present a relatively risk-free investment. However, whether you’re renting your apartment via a long term rental agreement or through the Airbnb platform, you can always make changes to your property that make for the better guest/tenant experience or give you a just ground for a rent increase.
Invest in a bathroom makeover
At mentioning a bathroom makeover, most people imagine the owner knocking everything down and rebuilding it anew because they didn’t like the color. The bathroom is one of the rooms that potential tenants are going to be the most interested in; unfortunately, in many rental units, it’s also the most neglected area. There are people who will skip on the property if the bathroom is dated or outright disgusting, and, on the other hand, there are property owners who hesitate to rent the apartment because they feel the bathroom isn’t presentable enough. A bathroom makeover doesn’t have to break the bank – all you need is to buy a paint that you can apply directly over tiles, clean away old paint flakes and traces of mold, buy a new shower curtain, fix the vanity unit, and replace faucets and showerheads.
Purchase new appliances
While most renters will have their own electronic entertainment sets, and perhaps even a range, most of them don’t own a washing machine and a dryer. If you can provide them with an in-house laundry with a washing machine and a dryer, you’ll be able to earn some points and even get an excuse to raise the rent a little bit. If you don’t have an extra room you can repurpose as laundry, you can install both the machines in the kitchen cupboards. Speaking of machines in cupboards, a dishwasher in the kitchen will increase the appeal of your rental property and make it more attractive for potential tenants. A new dishwasher won’t empty your bank account, and it definitely pays off in the end.
Furnish a home office
With more and more people telecommuting or simply working from home, refurbishing a spare bedroom into a home office might be just the amenity your rental needs to attract more desirable tenants – young professionals who value the effort you’ve put into renovating and equipping the rental property they call home. While you can always find salvaged office furniture in classifieds, you should also check out what online vendors like Winc have to offer. Home offices are among the most popular renovation projects since apart from upgrading the property for tenants, they also increase the total value of the apartment if you decide to sell it one day.
Update the flooring
If your rental still has the outdated wall-to-wall carpet it was furnished with on day one, it’s time for a change. A small residential unit can be re-carpeted in no time, but you should definitely consider other options as well. Modular carpet tiles are a great choice for rentals, as individual tiles can be easily replaced in case they get damaged or discolored. While hardwood floors are best reserved for commercial properties where professional presentation is of great significance, your next tenants might find polished concrete or vinyl exceptionally practical, especially if they have pets. Both options are surprisingly durable and resistant to foot traffic. On the green side, linoleum and cork are great options if you want to appeal to the tenants’ preference for sustainable materials. While providing much softer footing than wood laminate or concrete, both of these have natural hypoallergenic properties.
Install an AC
A reverse cycle air conditioner is a great way of justifying the rent increase for an apartment. Ideal for all climate types, apart from cooling, reverse cycle units can be successfully used for heating as well. While the price of a new reverse cycle air conditioner might be a bit steep, you can always find a second-hand unit and have it professionally installed. Just make sure that the external unit isn’t located in an awkward place, as potential tenants might find that as a downside – along the back side of the house or in the balcony corner would be great.
Whether you’re a professional real estate investor or simply renting your vacant apartment, a rent increase would be a welcome bonus to your budget. Apart from regular and preventive maintenance, rental properties need upgrading from time to time, if not for a rent increase, then simply to keep them on par with the competition.
This article has been contributed by Tracey Clayton.