Upgrading Your Rental: 5 Landlord-Friendly Ideas

Attracting and retaining renters is one of the most essential things on a landlord’s plate. And often, the things we need to do to attract and retain renters are the same things that keep our property values in check. So, two birds, one stone!

Besides location, the state of the apartment is probably the most important aspect of the rental and can truly allow potential renters to imagine themselves at home. So, even if you have an Atlanta apartment located in a great area, if it’s in a bad state, it’s going to drive the price down. Consider this: when a potential tenant enters a rental property for the first time, they’re probably excited to think about how they’ll decorate, where they’ll put the furniture, and who gets the bedroom with the attached bath, right?

The most surefire way to kill that excitement is to show them an apartment in desperate need of upgrades. When it comes to upgrading your rental property, what’s the best way to get the most bang for your buck? 

Read on! We’ll share a few landlord-friendly ideas, hacks, and tips to help upgrade your rental. The results will keep your current tenants happy, attract new tenants, and command better rental rates (without busting out any walls).

Make a Great First Impression

The first thing that catches a potential renter’s eye and forms their first impression about your property is how well the exterior space around the apartment is kept.

  • A recent study on rental properties reported that “landscaping was the improvement that had the largest positive impact on occupancy.”

Suppose you can’t afford to re-landscape, plant new trees, and lay down pedestrian-friendly sidewalks? In that case, keep the existing trees and shrubs groomed and add decorative touches like flower beds and potted plants. Hanging planters with flowers or ferns are a nice touch too, as the splash of color adds extra appeal.

  • Part of the first impression experience is the front door’s state and how it looks to potential renters.

If the door is scratched up and its’ hardware worn out, it sends the signal that the property isn’t well taken care of. It can also lead potential renters to conclude it isn’t safe, either. If you can’t replace the door entirely, give it a fresh coat of paint and some shiny new hardware.

  • Ensure the windows are clean, the hardware shiny and fresh, and any trim (including/especially shutters) has a fresh coat of paint.

Again, if the shutters are shabby and the windows look worn out, it can give the impression that the apartment just isn’t safe or well cared for. After all, if the windows and shutters aren’t cared for, are the locks secure?

Of course, completely replacing windows is pricey, but replacing a window that needs to be put out to pasture adds value to the property. Besides, poorly insulated windows are drafty. If gas and/or electricity are included as part of the tenant’s lease, replacing them can potentially cut down on costly gas or electric bills and save you money each month. 

  • And don’t forget about the view of window dressings from the street!

If the blinds are uneven, replace them altogether. It’s a relatively inexpensive way to improve the view from the outside (and it goes without saying, the inside, too). Regardless of what kind of window dressings you choose, it helps if it’s obvious that they’re fully operational from the outside and can provide your potential tenants with absolute privacy.

Give it a Deep Clean

Often, renters are surprised at how their spaces are transformed with a really deep clean. Above that, a thorough cleaning of the apartment provides you with a truly blank slate to work with before upgrading the inside.

  • Investing in a cleaning company specializing in deep cleans, especially for rental properties like apartments and Airbnb’s, is often well worth the price.

They’ll pay attention to more minor details often overlooked by novice cleaners.  For example, removing cobwebs from commonly overlooked spaces (closet ceilings and windowsills), scrubbing nooks and crannies in kitchens and bathrooms, and taking a cleaning cloth to the walls and baseboards.

Give the Inside a Fresh Coat of Paint

Now that those walls are clean and the corners de-cobwebbed, it’s time to repaint. It’s almost a no-brainer, but it bears repeating: repainting between tenants is an easy way to keep your rentals fresh and inviting.

You could even consider repainting during a long-term tenant’s occupancy. If it isn’t too much of an inconvenience for them, it’s an excellent investment for keeping good tenants in your rentals and commanding better rent prices.

If a lack of time, money, or both means that a total repaint isn’t in the cards, there are some alternatives. Hallways, kitchens, and bathrooms are three of the most impactful areas you can paint to keep your rental space looking sharp.

Top-to-Bottom Interior Details

When a potential renter walks through the front door, unless you’re renting a furnished space, there’s no furniture to direct their eye. That means their focus lands directly on the ceiling, walls, and floors.

  • Never underestimate the impact the floor can have on a potential renter’s first impression.

Even if the walls are freshly painted, the apartment will look shabby if the floors are dirty, scratched, or damaged. If your rental has carpeting, consider investing in hardwood throughout. Carpets are notorious for getting dingier with every tenant, regardless of how tidy they are. They also trap odors just as well as they trap dirt.

Hardwood is easier to clean, easier to refinish between tenants, and gives the space a much more buttoned-up feel. It may be pricey, but it pays off generously. If you’re in a spot where you can’t replace the floors entirely, begin with spaces like kitchens and bathrooms where cleanliness takes the front seat.

  • Now, look up!

Is the ceiling scratched up and dingy? Give it a fresh coat of paint!

What is the state of your lighting fixtures? If they’re outdated or dirty, either clean them out or switch them out entirely for more updated designs. Switch out bulbs to create appropriate lighting for the room. Kitchens and bathrooms need brighter lighting, while bedrooms and living rooms are best with softer light, etc.

Overhaul the Appliances and Plumbing Fixtures

New, refurbished, or repaired appliances add to a potential renter’s sense of confidence regarding the landlords they choose to rent from. Quality, optimally functioning appliances also contribute to a tenants’ comfort and how at-home they feel in the space.

Similarly, if the kitchen tap drips or there’s no water pressure in the shower, potential tenants will probably look elsewhere. If the faucets, sinks, shower nozzles, and other plumbing hardware seem old and worn out, it gives the impression that the landlords don’t care for their properties.

Final Thoughts

“Wow, I really wish I hadn’t (insert upgrade here); it really wasn’t worth it!” Said no landlord. Ever.

At least no landlord that’s concerned with maintaining properties worthy of commanding profitable rental prices.

When we invest in our rental properties, the return on the investment is unquestionable. Hopefully, we’ve given you some tips on ways to do that without breaking the bank—so go forth and paint that kitchen!

Happy upgrading!

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