In order to maximize your potential rental income, it is important that your home shows well to tenants browsing for their ideal home. There is a common misconception out there that homes which are “just for rental” don’t need to be maintained to the same standard that an owner would expect. This is often not the case.
While spending 10’s of thousands of dollars on renovations might not be recovered with a higher rental amount, an argument can be made to expend some resources on ensuring the most important parts of the home receive some TLC. At the higher end of the property market, professional rental home staging may also be appropriate.
The kitchen is by far the most important room in the house in terms of “make-or-break” decisions for tenants. It is often the space that receives the heaviest use. The kitchen is often a gathering spot for families and guests. If tenants are embarrassed to have guests see their kitchen, it can be a major deterrent to them renting your home. Flooring should be somewhat modern and at a minimum clean-looking, likewise with the major appliances. Counter space is not always something you can control, but generally, the more the better. Double sinks, garburators and dishwashers are hugely beneficial to some families that do a high volume of meal making.
The bathrooms in the house are similarly important for many. Few are willing to use a bathroom with mouldy caulking around the fixtures, shower heads and taps that barely work, cabinets that are disintegrating, or toilets that look like something from the Victorian age. A bathroom can receive a significant upgrade for a very reasonable expense.
In deciding what to upgrade prior to offering a rental home, you should be considering how long you expect it to be a rental. If it is a long-term plan of yours, then increasing your rental income potential by 20% could make it very worthwhile to expend $15,000-25,000 on upgrades at the outset.
Other Rental Home Staging Considerations
Of course, there are other considerations worthy of attention. Ensuring that the home is clean and without any residual smells from previous occupants is very important. Walls might need a fresh coat of paint, carpets might need to be cleaned and things like door handles and light bulbs should be uniform throughout the home. Yards should be landscaped at a minimum level and any clutter removed that might make spaces look smaller than they really are.
Taking some of these steps will go a long way in staging your home appropriately to attract the best tenants possible. Of course, you should seek the advice of a Rental Property Manager to advise on what makes the most sense to focus on, and whether your expenditures are likely to be recovered.