What to Invest In Before you Rent That House Out

Drew’s Third Law: If you don’t invest enough to bring the property up to the level of the neighborhood, the property will bring you DOWN to the level of the neighborhood.

An abandoned brick house with tall, skinny windows and threateningly bare trees nearby.Many times, when purchasing a rental home at a low price, the home needs a lot of work. For you to get the most out of your investment, you need to plan repairs in such a way so that the home will bring you the biggest return once rented. The best plan is to keep the repair costs low while still making the home look great.

Renters are not as picky as home buyers because in the end it is not their house, so the age of the mechanical system or having every little detail completed does not matter to them.

Ambiance is Not a Detail

That said, there are some ‘little details’ that genuinely matter, because they affect the way the house feels. An applicant may tell themselves, for example, that they don’t care about color — but the color of paint you choose for your rental can make a significant difference in how the house feels.

Dark color gives a space a smaller feel, while white can seem a bit boring. Everyone has different style and personality and it is not possible to know what your tenants would prefer. The safest way to go is to choose lighter shades from an attractive neutral color. The trim can be white to help the color stand out more. Colors like gray, beige, tan or off-white are safe bets.

Another thing to consider when it comes to painting your rental is the quality of the paint. Renters might not take much care of the walls, and this can cause the home to end up with a lot of scuff marks on the wall once the tenants move out. Therefore it is best to avoid matte paint and rather pick a semi-gloss paint which is easy to wipe off, sparing you a whole new paint job when the renter moves out.

The Most Important Areas to Invest In

Kitchens and bathrooms are in many cases the most expensive to replace. In rental properties, this is not necessary unless you are renting for a high price which in that case will give you a quick return. However, it is important to make sure that all the mechanicals are working well. Leaks can cause a lot of damages and unnecessary repairs. Components like cabinets, counters, appliances and the layout can affect the feel of the home, but unless they are broken or very damaged this can be on hold. Stainless steel appliances in the kitchen are usefully a safe bet as they are not that much more expensive and they are usually quite attractive to renters.

Areas You Can (Often) Ignore

Many renters do not care much about the backyard, but the front yard is what they will see first, so it’s your chance to give them a good first impression. Keeping the yard green to show off to the possible renters is a good idea. Adding a sprinkler system that works with a timer will keep the grass green without requiring constant visits.

Older mechanical units do not need replacement unless they do not function correctly. Making sure they are safe to use, though, is important. Hot water heaters, on the other hand, need to be upgraded to avoid rust and floods. When it comes to the roof of the house, even an old, faded looking roof will pass with a renter. If the roof seems damaged or has missing shingles, take care of it! You want to avoid leaks in the house and mold growing on the inside walls. But generally, rentals can keep their old roofs as long as they are functioning properly.

How much you invest in rental repairs depends on the renting price and the renters you are trying to attract. Repairs can take a lot of time and money, so it is best to restore the basics first, then opt for the improvements that are the most likely to let you charge higher rent.

Posted in: 1. Property Owner Blog Posts, Investing Strategy

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