Replacement windows, increase rentability and profit?

6 Replies

Hi All,

I have one unit that still has the old style single pane windows with storm windows. I'm wondering if there is a noticeable return on rents to upgrade to replacement windows. Tenant pays the heat.


I don't think you can get more rent with newer windows. There are a lot of factors that go into whether you can get more/less rent. Windows are not one I typically factor into my pricing strategy - and windows are one of the last things I'll rehab.......

Even when I do replace the windows, I typically do it in the bedrooms only and maybe in other areas if they're reall y bad.

I operate on the opposite end of the spectrum from Mr. H. above. 

If I acquire a property, and it has single pane windows, upgrading them to vinyl, dual pane windows is one of the first projects I complete. I also blow insulation into the attic with every house I acquire (if it needs it).

I live in a cold climate, with substantial winters. Insulating my properties well has several benefits:

1) The main one: These upgrades keep my heater from running as often as it would have if I left the old windows/insulation in place. You ever live in a drafty house? It feels like the heater runs non-stop in the winter. Not a fan of this. Also, considering this is a big CapEx, I'd prefer to ease its job as much as possible.

2) Shows my tenants I think about, and care about, them and their month to month expenses. My tenants all like the upgraded windows and the subsequent decrease in their utility bills. I market the upgraded windows in all of my rental ads.

3) Immediately adds a nicer feel to the home. Homes rent very quickly (5 days on average). If I ever had to sell the house, nice new windows go a long way, IMO.

4) Replacing the windows is not difficult based on my skills and the tools I have at my disposal. This is not the case for everyone. I also get to upgrade all of the trim to smart trim, which helps with curb appeal. 

I may stand alone in this regard, but I really enjoy the rewards of upgrading windows from old, ugly, aluminum framed single pane to nice vinyl dual pane windows.

If you are already doing siding work, now is the time. I dont know what the R value of single panes with storms but if your storm are good and caulked in, I doubt you get much added R value with double panes vs a wall at R13. R2-3 to R5? May be worth it in Mass. Glass is for light and you pay for it in reduced R. I will say that if your tenants open the storms and leave them open (when they shut the windows) the storm frame may catch water and rot the sill, so make sure there are unobstructed weep holes. Attic insulation gives by far the best return on energy upgrades.

Replacing windows is money out with zero return if tenants are paying for utilities.

If you can buy the windows when on sale, say at HD, and install yourself you may want it for personal reasons, pride of ownership, other wise no point in wasting the money on a property if you are not having issues in finding tenants.

Thanks for the responses all. I've had other units with single panes in the past and I think that is probably the last thing on a tenants mind when touring. I certainly possess the skills to replace, just wondering if the $2k in materials is worth it. Sounds like not

Not where I live. A good set of storm windows and original old windows is virtually identical - if not more efficient - than a new set of windows. There's typically more dead air space with old windows & storms than there is with a new set of windows. I do make sure all of my houses that have old windows have storms on them. The storms protect the windows from further damage besides providing the insulation factor. I have found that most tenants never even open the windows, new or old. Everyone here uses HVAC all the time. Even my neighbors, in my nice neighborhood, act this way. We are the weirdos of the block with open windows. 

EDIT: Wow, I posted this yesterday and it never showed up until today. How odd. 

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