Time is money. For every day your rental property sits on the market, you are losing potential rental income. Whether your property has been on the market for months or for minutes, there are steps you can take to make your property more appealing to potential tenants.
Here are five tips on how to makeover your property so that it will be more desirable to the masses.
1. Curb Appeal
Start on the outside. While you may have focused all of your energy on sprucing up the inside of the apartment, if you can’t get people through the door, your efforts are all for naught. First impressions are lasting impressions. If the exterior of your building is not up to par, more often than not, a tenant will have already written the property off, whether or not they even venture inside.
Here are some inexpensive ways to increase your curb appeal:
- Remove any weeds, trash or debris.
- Make sure the lawn and shrubbery are well manicured.
- If you have a porch or outdoor area, add a few flowers and plants to create a more inviting, lived-in feel. Make sure to keep them alive, because dead plants are worse than no plants.
- Remove any chipped paint, broken banisters or torn window screens.
- Make sure the mailbox, light fixtures and address numbers are in good condition.
-If not, purchase new ones at the local hardware store, or simply buy a can of outdoor spray paint to quickly breathe new life into them.
- Have a designated area (preferably out of sight) with the proper receptacles for all garbage and recycling.
For about $25, a can of paint has the ability to completely transform a space. A fresh coat of paint can revive tired walls, brighten dim hallways and highlight architectural features such as built-in bookcases or high ceilings.
In a rental, your best bet is to go with a satin or semi-gloss paint. While it may be slightly more expensive now, it will save you money in the long run. With satin or semi-gloss, crayon marks, scuff marks and even grease can easily be wiped off, as opposed to flat paint, where you usually have to paint over the stains to remove them. Don’t forget to paint any trim you may have. You don’t want your sparkling clean walls to be accented by dirty, chipped molding.
If you are painting outdoor railings, siding, shutters, etc., make sure to choose a suitable exterior paint, as it will be formulated to handle harsh weather conditions. Properly preparing the exterior surface to be painted is a crucial step if you want long-lasting, quality results.
3. Neutral, Neutral, Neutral!!!
You want your property to appeal to the masses. Even though you may think a hot pink bathroom is spunky or that lime green kitchen cabinets lend a cool modern twist, the majority of people don’t. Stick to neutral paint colors such as tan, beige and cream. You can always offer the tenant the option to paint the apartment to their taste upon move in, as long as they paint it back to a neutral color when they move out.
The neutral theme extends to tiles, hardwood floors, carpeting, light fixtures and cabinets. Picking neutral, timeless design will save you money in the long run, as you will not have to spend money to constantly update to the most current trend. According to design guru, Nate Berkus, examples of timeless finishes include shaker style kitchen cabinets, stainless steel appliances, pedestal sinks in the bathroom, white subway tile backsplashes, carrera marble and slate tile floors.
4. Kitchens and Bathrooms Sell Properties
No one is saying you have to go out and completely remodel your kitchen or bathroom. The first way to attack either of these rooms is to CLEAN!!! Mop the floors, polish all appliances, scrub cabinets inside and out, clean the tub, toilet and all hardware, and make sure the grout gets a good scrubbing. Mirrors and reflective surfaces should be free from filth and finger prints.
While you are cleaning, don’t forget to look up! Remove dust, cobwebs and grease from fans and light fixtures. Also, be sure the fixtures have all working light bulbs. You will want to highlight the amount of light the apartment receives, so leaving light fixtures with partially working light bulbs is a no-no.
After you have cleaned the rooms from top to bottom, you can judge if any additional measures need to be taken. Purchasing new knobs and handles for cabinets is an inexpensive way to makeover your room. If you have the money, matching appliances are always more desirable, particularly stainless steel. A cheaper option than replacing an entire appliance is to purchase a stainless steel cover which can go right over the front of your existing appliance. You can also purchase touch up paint to fix scratches on white or black appliances.
There is a new product created by Rust-Oleum, which can instantly transform kitchen cabinets and laminate countertops. It is a very affordable way to make a major change.
In addition, if a bathroom sink and tub do not match, hardware stores sell epoxy paint, which can give an old pink sink, or rusted white tub, a brand new lease on life. These DIY kits are far from goof proof, so you may want to hire a professional such as Permaglaze or Miracle Method to do the refinishing for you.
5. Know Your Competition So You Can Accentuate the Positives of Your Property
An easy way to makeover your property is to simply emphasize its positives.
Check out local newspapers, real estate office and even sites like Craigslist.com. Look for properties that are similar in location, price and specs (number of bathrooms, bedrooms, square footage, etc.) to yours. If a rival property is emphasizing a gut renovated kitchen, and yours is 10 years old, steer clear of competing with their kitchen. Instead, your selling point should be the floor to ceiling windows that bathe the apartment in sunlight. Have a balcony or backyard patio for summer barbeques? Sell that. Proximity to public transportation equals a quicker commute.
The point is, every property has something special. You just have to understand what makes your property unique and desirable and then let the rest of the world know about it! Sell what your property has; don’t focus on what it may be lacking.
By following these five makeover tips, you will have potential tenants knocking down your door in no time!