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Remodeling Your Rental Property

March 6th, 2011

Remodeling Your Rental Property


Home remodeling is a wonderful way to transform your house into your dream home. But, many people in the Raleigh, NC are don’t just own a primary residence – they also own rental properties to bring in extra income. With three major universities within a short commute (NC State in Raleigh, the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill & Duke in Durham) and the Research Triangle Park consistently bringing in business executives who need both short and long term residences, there is a steady market for rental properties. So how can owners upgrade these living spaces to entice buyers while not breaking the bank? There are a number of low-maintenance remodeling upgrades that landlords can capitalize on to maximize their rental income and bring the most to their revenue-generating properties.

Basic Remodeling: Simple Face Lifts

If you’re the (maybe not-so-proud) owner of an outdated rental property and want to upgrade the space to add more to your pocketbook without breaking the bank, a handful of simple remodeling facelifts are your best bet. Outdated locksets and hardware can be upgraded from gold or polished brass to a more contemporary finish like satin nickel or stainless steel for around $50 / door. Lighting fixtures can also be updating, helping by not only bringing a fresh new look to an area but also by increasing the light within a room and brightening the areas. Of course, patching walls and adding fresh paint is the quickest and least expensive way to change the look of a space, but don’t stop there when it comes to your walls. Having new mouldings installed is both inexpensive and quick, and can completely change the feel of a room – chair moulding especially. With these quick, easy and inexpensive remodeling face lifts, you’ll find your rental property has a fresher and more contemporary feel, which is key to snagging renters on a long term basis.

Intermediate Remodeling: Leave the Bones

Chances are your rental property is in OK shape, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t use a little boost to help it rent more quickly and for more cash. Having kitchen and bathroom cabinetry refinished or repainted will instantly give your property a fresh feel, and finishing off the space with upgraded appliances will make it feel like your space has undergone a full-scale kitchen remodeling project. (Although it seems like appliance replacement is a pricey upgrade, many home remodeling contractors can offer discounts on appliances through their vendor partnerships with appliance suppliers. Remember, upgraded appliances don’t have to be stainless steel finish, though many suppliers offer promotions that include free upgrades to stainless steel finishes. These promotions vary with season and location, so ask your home remodeler for details.)

Included in kitchen remodeling and carrying into bathroom remodeling, upgrading floors from laminates or vinyl products to ceramic tile is both non-invasive to your pocketbook and a “selling” feature when it comes to finding tenants. Ceramic tile products have come a long way in the last 10 years, and are now more durable and inexpensive than ever. While you may be tempted to shop around at your local home improvement store, don’t overlook the advantages of using a home remodeling contractor to help you manage this meticulous project alongside your others. Their tile vendors will undoubtedly offer a much bigger selection of products at a comparable or lower price than home improvement stores, and will likely include design consultation and support as part of the purchase experience. Lastly, a home remodeling contractor will bring experience and expertise to your remodeling project, and that’s invaluable when it comes to the intricate task of laying tile.

The look and feel of both the kitchen and bathrooms can also be inexpensively upgraded by switching out the countertops to a high-definition laminate. Though perhaps not something you’d include as part of a kitchen remodeling project or bathroom remodeling project in your own home, rentals are the perfect opportunity to utilize these durable and attractive pieces. While Corian or granite countertops are nice, if you’re pinching pennies you’ll want to save these home remodeling upgrades for your own home; however, the recently released “High Definition” laminate tops offer the look and feel of granite at a fraction of the price and with equal or better durability.

Full Renovations: I Need to Gut It

There are just some rentals that aren’t worth trying to salvage, and if you own one of these properties you don’t have to fear the impact it will have on your wallet. Full scale home remodeling can still be managed with a reasonable budget, and targeting specific purposes unique to rental properties will stretch your dollar even further. Especially if you live in the same building as your rental unit, a common motivation for remodeling a rental property is to improve energy efficiency. You’ll save on energy bills as a co-resident or landlord if you’re in charge of paying them, and even if you aren’t you’ll attract a new section of the marketing if you capitalize on energy-efficient remodeling projects.

Insulation is a key part of energy-efficient remodeling, and when it comes to rentals you’ll be able to boast the advantage of sound-proofed units as a selling feature as well. Though you’ll have to rip into the walls to access it, this creates a great opportunity to refresh your rental through new sheetrock, paint and mouldings in tandem. Windows also seem to be neglected in rental properties, as many of them are old and have significant leakage compounded by single panes without UV-protective glass. Window replacement can be pricey up front, but by using a Progress Energy Prequalified Remodeling Contractor, your remodeling project will qualify you for additional rebates for replacing your widows with energy-efficient models. Insulation also comes with a cash-back incentive through the Progress Energy HEIP program, but you must use a prequalified home remodeling contractor to take advantage. To see if your home remodeling contractor is a participant in this program, click here.

Whether your rental property needs a full on renovation or just a small-scale remodel, there are countless opportunities to strategically and purposefully upgrade these properties without breaking the bank. Doing so will result in extra cash in your pocket, so its worth exploring the opportunities with your home remodeling contractor if you’re a landlord looking to increase your income.

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