How to Get More Rent & Shorter Vacancies on the Cheap
More than cosmetics, a spiffy home protects a homeowner’s investment.
Royal Rose Properties has a system for making sure that all of the necessary repairs get done before we try to move a new tenant into your home — but sometimes, doing more than is strictly necessary can be a big benefit to your bottom line. Here are some great examples of cheap ‘extras’ that you can request that will let you bump your rent up by $25 or so — or help you get a tenant moved in that much faster if you keep your rent at market levels.
Don’t Curb Your Appeal
The first set of things to look at are inexpensive ways to enhance your property’s curb appeal. The whole ‘first impressions’ thing is as true of houses as it is of people, and putting a little spit-polish on your house will help that first impression a lot. Consider:
• Getting a new mailbox,
• Having your front door and its immediate surroundings freshly painted,
• Hiring a landscaper to come out and freshen up the bushes in front of the house,
• Getting new address numbers put up, and/or
• Getting new doorknobs and other ‘entrance hardware’ (deadbolt, knocker, etc.).
A Grand Entrance
There’s a second set of “first impressions” that a house makes, though — there’s the appearance of the outside you get as you pull up, but there’s also the impact of opening the front door. You want that first glance inside the house to impress. Consider:
• Having the carpet of the front room cleaned,
• Having the walls of the front room cleaned,
• Replace the trim, particularly the baseboard and around any doorways,
• Putting new door hardware on the closet just inside the front door (if relevant),
• Putting a new door mat just inside the front door, and/or
• Making sure the front room’s window dressing and other decorative or semi-decorative elements are on fleek.
According to just about every survey taken on the matter, the room voted ‘most important’ to rental-hunters is the kitchen. Of course, most advice will tell you to renovate the kitchen, but that’s hardly necessary. All you need to do is make sure the kitchen is functional and clean, and then consider:
• Getting new fixtures put in, especially slightly upgraded ones with features like spray nozzles,
• Getting new drawer pulls and/or cupboard handles installed,
• Paying for slightly brighter light bulbs in the kitchen than the rest of the house (it’s amazing how much bigger and more functional a bright kitchen feels), and/or
• Pay for an aesthetically pleasing backsplash above/around the sink and/or oven.
According to just about every survey taken on the matter, the room voted ‘second most important’ to rental-hunters is the bathroom. It’s similar to the kitchen in some ways, but unique in others. Consider:
• Adding storage: a behind-the-mirror medicine cabinet costs little and adds a lot,
• Replacing the shower curtain,
• Getting new fixtures put in on the sink and/or the tub,
• Getting a nice showerhead put in, and/or
• Replacing the towel racks and/or shower curtain bar with higher-quality versions of same.
The crucial caveat to all of this, of course, is that your house has to actually be clean, functional, and not obviously composed of abused parts. If your kitchen counter has bubbles in the Formica and one edge is raw wood or even “just” badly chipped, pay for a new countertop before you pay for any of these things. Because it’s bad when your house looks old and abused and like no one loves it — but it’s much worse to invest a bunch of money futilely trying to polish a turd.