When you’re buying a rental home that needs some remodeling work, what should be your focus? This is an important subject area. As a property manager, I have remodeled close to 1,000 rental properties over the last 12 years. Today, I’m sharing some pointers.
Mechanicals are Essential
Think about your mechanicals. This includes electrical, plumbing, HVAC, roof, gutters, and drainage. Anything that isn’t cosmetically driven can be considered a mechanical. If you were going to live in the property yourself, you might be proactive with your maintenance. However, in a rental environment, your tenant won’t pay attention to that leak behind the washer and dryer. But, it could cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars down the road.
Preventative Maintenance Keeps Costs Down
We do detailed mechanical inspections. There’s a checklist for every item, with special attention paid to water and power or the potential for outside water protrusion points. It’s important to check these in detail. Having a document that allows you to walk through these areas will help you stay ahead of your repair costs. A repair after the fact will cost more. If your hot water heater is a six year unit and you’re 10 years in, replace it now. Don’t wait until there’s a problem that causes additional damage. With the HVAC system, get a good maintenance and cleaning contract in place.
Make sure appliances are maintained. Clean the coils on the fridge. It needs proper air flow. Your gutters need to be tacked properly and have the right slope angle. You don’t want them to overflow and cause rot. These little things can be big deals down the road. A basic electrical check allows plugs to have proper ground. Don’t wait until there’s a fire; spend time on these things now.
Making Cosmetic Repairs
Cosmetic repairs will attract the best tenants. You don’t want to have trashy overgrown trees or landscaping that’s overwhelming. Prospective tenants want to see your home. You need a nicely painted front door and trim. Pressure wash the home if it needs a good cleaning. If your backyard is all dirt, plant some basic seed. If grass is sprouting, it will make a big difference to your home’s appearance.
Inside, stains on the carpet are unacceptable. We recommend you put in luxury plank vinyl in high traffic areas. Leave carpet for the bedrooms. Your floors will last longer and look incredible. And, good tenants are looking for these things. Use granite in the kitchen if you can afford it. This makes an impact that’s worth thousands in rent over the years. It attracts the best tenants.
When I remodel, I am looking at the details like a homeowner. Tenants want the same things that you want in your home. Don’t attract tenants that you don’t want. View the rental home from the perspective of a quality tenant who will live in it. The more money you put into areas that matter, such as the kitchen, the bathroom, and the flooring – the better tenant you’ll get. Don’t leave spotted painted walls unless you want a tenant who is okay with that.