Rental Newbie: Some Questions on Aesthetics and Furnishings

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I'm looking to buy my first rental property. My target is to find 3/2 (or bigger) homes in B-/B+ neighborhoods. I think I can find some in the $35-$45k range and Craigslist indicates that rent would be in the $700-$900 range.

One thing that I seem to struggle with is in drawing the line between what's suitable for a rental vs what I would personally want. I was hoping to get some other landlords and property owners opinions on some things below to help me better understand the expectations within the rental market.

The general thought that I have had while looking for my first property is to invest initially in hardening the property (no carpet, etc).

I'll share a few scenarios and would love if any one can shed some light on their opinions:

- Property has a bright blue insert bath tub. It's in fine condition (usable, just needs cleaned). Is this something that would impact the appeal of the property to a renter? Or is it something that you just clean and leave since it's functional?

- Walls need repainted. Do you just go with bland neutral colors (eg a coat of primer and grey/tope) or do you do something else?

- Light fixtures are outdated. Is this something worth swapping out or is it the rule of function over fashion?

As you might be able to see, one thing I struggle with is the line between function and fashion (and how valuable fashion is within the rental market). 

I suppose a good example would be -- if you were to buy a property whose interior was straight out of the 70's (heavily outdated but in mint condition), what would you be updating/putting money into before putting it on the rental market?

Yes to paint and light fixtures. They are both relatively cheap and fast fixes with a lot of bang for the buck.  Yes, stick with a neutral color.  Sherwin Williams Repose Gray is popular. Only replace the carpet if it is worn, a horrid color, cannot be cleaned or stinks.  (You will replace carpet on subsequent turnovers.)  Leave the blue bathtub.  Hang a curved shower rod, and a coordinating shower curtain so the tub doesn't stick out like a sore thumb.

Happy renting!

We have been going all in on our remodels because the apartments are in such bad shape. So when we finish we often say to ourselves, "Boy, I could live here." With that being said bang for the buck items:

ceiling fans- I have found that tenants just love them

paint- "Greige"

I put down inexpensive but durable laminate. as well as allure in the bathrooms and kitchens. This is something that I can do myself and you just get better and quicker as you go. The difference is huge- huge.

It is market driven. You will rent a bit less an outdated property. Always paint especially dated colors. Very visible outdated fixtures should be replaced (think dining room chandeliers). Blue tub is okay but consider a surround if the decor is dark. We added a white surround to an olive colored tub in a small bathroom and they don't notice the tub so much. Paint 70's paneling. Remove fourescent lights in the kitchen ceiling. There are plenty of small updates that make a place more appealing. Consider your market and price point.

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