First time poster here and excited to be a part of the BP Community. I'm finally making the jump and purchasing my first investment property in February! It's a 4 bed, 2 bath bi-level home that we're planning on updating and renting out. It's a well built home but needs work cosmetically. I'm wondering if anyone has any recommendations as to what products we should use when we renovate. We'll be doing flooring (I've heard it's best to stay away from carpets with tenants), countertops, paint, baseboards, etc. Looking for materials that are durable, affordable, and will hold up well over time. Any suggestions as we get started with our renovation (or any suggestions for us in general) would greatly be appreciated!
Congratulations! Way to dive in.
I've seen this discussed from time to time, so a site search may prove helpful.
I remember seeing someone discuss bedroom carpet islands. So, not using carpet in hallways but if only in bedrooms it's disconnected from other rooms and relatively easy to replace. Plus you can use remnant/end of roll pieces that are cheaper with turnover.
If the house has hardwoods, I've seen some talking about uncovering those - although some say not to due to wear and tear. It seems more frequently now I see landlords talking about using click and lock vinyl, like Allure or similar. I used a Lowes version in a rehab last year and it was a big selling point - used it in a bathroom. It was expensive, though. But, a small area. I've also seen ceramic tile that mimics . . wood or whatever being discussed. Or, just tile in general due to longevity. If you have a Restore, you may be able to get that cheap and if you catch it coming into the store soon enough, maybe you can snag a bigger lot.
I have a paint color I use that I got as a recommendation off this site. I even started using it in my house. I can't recall the color offhand but it's a greige and I've used it in a few projects and got good results. A suggestion would be picking a color and sticking with it so repainting is easy with turnover. A good classic color is great. Use it throughout and maybe a color in the same family but darker (?) for a bathroom or a bedroom or two.
I've also seen some folks using large tile pieces for countertops. Google it and you'll see. I like that idea and I'm really thinking about it for a lipstick rehab here soon. I've seen some nice closeouts on higher end tile and you may not need much depending on your countertop. I'd have to really price it out to be sure it was saving me a lot.
Not sure if you need cabinets but just an fyi that paint can be a nice boost for tired cabinets. Also, if the boxes are good replacement doors can be had for a good price. I was going to order some online, but called a local cabinet-maker instead. The price he quoted was great if I could allow them to be done between his larger jobs. I was going to get them professionally sprayed - well worth the money if you ask me - I've painted my fair share of cabinets in the day and it's not as easy at it looks to get really good results. There is also a very popular gel stain on Amazon that is awesome. I used it on a bathroom vanity. I just went right over the old stain with a very light sanding and it came out great. For that, I just used a Lowe's gel stain.
In a flip I salvaged the carpet but cut out a square by the front door and used snap together vinyl. Those sort of things, to me, will help extend the life. I've also seen some landlords talking about getting large mats to be used by doors if the flooring is water sensitive. We used the super cheap laminate in an old house and that stuff lasted for 10 years until we sold. It was showing it's age in some areas because my family doesn't take shoes off like they should. But, with mats by the door I was surprised how it lasted. We did not use it in wet areas like kitchens and baths. I've heard Costco can have good prices on better laminate.
Pinterest is chock full of ideas. Good luck to you! A lot of this also depends on the neighborhood and what your competitors are doing.
Try to find out what comparable properties are like. If you're bold, play tenant one weekend and go look a rentals in the same area. If that's too much, at least look at pictures online. You want to be nice, but not excessive. If comparable properties have formica counter tops, you're wasting money with granite. OTOH, sometimes you can get a great deal on something, like granite or nice appliances and that may make it easier to rent.
Realize that you will take damage. Its just part of the deal of being a landlord. No matter what you use for flooring, its something you have to replace periodically. Yeah, carpet is awful in this regard. OTOH, if its expected in the area, you may have to do it, at least in the bedrooms. Go with cheap carpet and a good pad and it will feel very nice.
If you're going to build a portfolio of properties, pick colors and use them in all your properties. That way you have just one can of paint for touching up.
How's everything working out for you? I'm just forming the framework of my investment business, and I'd love to hear what your experience has been so far. Hopefully it has been positive!
Definitely look for a Habitat for Humanity ReStore in your area. You can often find incredible deals on tile and flooring to cover smaller spaces. I was able to redo a fireplace in very fancy tile for under $5.
Thanks for everyone's input. Definitely some good advice and things to consider for the future. Will Westlund, things are going great! Just had potential long-term tenants sign the lease today so we couldn't be happier with how things are going thus far. We're in the process of figuring out a way to purchase property number two now.
@Kevin Sullivan that's great news, I'm encouraged by your success. Thanks for the update!