I heard a podcast recently wherein the guest said he finished his rentals so that, basically, his houses were the best on the street and fetched the highest tier rent in their market. The purpose, in short, was to attract better tenants. So I thought to myself that that's a good idea. He didn't go into specifics, but I don't think he means putting granite in a formica neighborhood, but it may mean putting in stainless appliances and foregoing the vinyl for laminate or tile.
A couple months ago I was walking through a unit my buddy was light-rehabbing after tenant move-out. He explained to me that he won't do this and won't do that but will do a couple other things because that's what the tenants expect. They expect that the hardwood floors from almost a hundred years ago will be discolored, scuffed, and a little uneven. He won't refinish them, but he may reseal/topcoat it. You get my point.
Both mind-sets make sense. One part of me wants to finish a unit/house to meet the expectations of the local tenant population, but another part would be willing to spend a little more to attract that quality tenant.
So what do you landlords think? Is it/can it be worth the money to finish better and worth the (i assume) extra time to land a better tenant? After all, If I can't get a good tenant with standard finishes I'm not going to get a good tenant with better finishes, right?
I love this question! Have you walked through any other rental units in the area, or at least stalked them online? In my area I have found that even the smallest things can make a huge impact if done uniformly. My biggest pet peeves when I see other rentals (but also love to see it because it makes mine look marvelous) is there is no continuity in paint, lighting and/or flooring. One room may have wall paper borders and a gold and brown ceiling fan, another has just a single semi-flush mount gold light and light blue walls...you get my point. I usually do full paint in all my new apartments, or ones that I haven't turned yet (because the original tenant is still there from when I purchased the property). I also change all the light fixtures to brushed nickel flush mount lights (Home Depot 2 pack 22 bucks), change all outlets, switches and plate covers to white, replace old and mismatched carpet and put mini-blinds in all windows. Those things along with a good deep clean can really have a huge impact. Now, if you are in a rental situation where there is continuity between all the rooms already and you are looking for the next level of pizzazz, you can update old laminate counter tops with new laminate counter tops, lay vinyl plank flooring in the kitchen and bath, spend a little more on bath and kitchen light fixtures, add a few USB charging outlets, install ceiling fans in bedrooms instead of flush mount fixtures (but remember, more moving parts means more points of failure which can equal more maintenance calls - however if you are getting better tenants and higher rent, maybe that doesn't matter - I personally try to remove points of failure - spray hose from sink, ice maker from freezer, garbage disposal, really anything having to do with water). If you are looking at higher end looking appliances you can always go with stainless steel front appliances, it will save you a bit of money but still give you a more upscale feel. Hope this helps! And drop in and let us all know what you decided to do to make your rentals pop!
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