what renovations make the most sense for your rentals

16 Replies

I have a duplex built in the 50's I noticed that a similar duplex down the street was for sale and upon viewing the pictures I noticed it had a washer dryer hook up stuck in the utility closet
the owner moved the hot water heater to the left and and expanded the space
I decided to do something similar in my units

I actually used one of the hall closets there are two in the unit one near the kitchen and one outside the bedrooms

I decided to use the one nearest the kitchen and ran plumbing and electrical to the closet widened the opening to accept a stack washer and dryer and installed vent holes and duct work to remove the lint.
from the dryer

of all the things I did in my unit
from tiling to new lighting and laminate flooring over carpet

prospective tenants seem to appreciate the washer dryer hook up the most
I think a close second is the laminate flooring but I wont know until it is all down and I have my first looks.

this is probably old news to you veterans out there about converting a closet into a washer dryer room

but I am a newbie and just happened to stumble upon this idea when I saw my neighbors house otherwise I may never had had the inclination to do it.

Kitchen & bathroom upgrades are usually the items you would want to upgrade if selling the property. For tenants - many do not respect or take care of the property so you make it as damage proof as you can for as little out of pocket expenses possible. For some of the worst tenants, you sometimes find yourself considering steel plate & cement construction to prevent them from tearing up the place.

How much did it cost to add the washer dryer to the closet? I'm debating doing that to one of my rentals right now.

Laundry (hook-up at a minimum, but many want the appliances also) is one of those items that I always put in for SFR - tenants there expect that. I include appliances where they are already present, and wherever the access for moving in appliances is a serious challenge (for example, I have one unit where we had to remove the door and the door stop molding to get the machines through the opening).

great job! this is what every landlord needs to monitor...what is the competion doing? and @ Steve Babiak makes a great point - what does the tenant expect.

For me, it's having laundry in the unit. I added a W/D combo into a unit that had none and it more than quickly paid for itself. The old tenants had to go to a laundromat, so it was priced accordingly.

But definitely look at what the comps are and what they are getting for rent. That will let you know if it's worth the time and money.

@Ed L. @ed lee
I got it done very reasonably
because of an arrangement with my contractor

but what was purchased was about 60.00 worth of pvc fittings and pipe
you need a drain pipe and supply lines
you need the washer dryer hookup boxes
and a roll of electrical wire that handles 220 current
we had to get 2 30 amp breakers one for each unit
and dry wall and mud to repair what we ripped out
and finally vent tubing
I cant say exactly what all this cost but somewhere in the neighborhood of 350 but remember I was doing two units

the labor was priced at 160 a day and it took three days to complete.
so just under 900 to do both units

We always try to choose renovations that make it easier on us in the future, time-wise and maintenance-wise in addition to what is expected for the area. Like right now the exterior trim needs some work on our oldest property, and we're planning on vinyl instead to save time and maintenance down the road. And we always factor in if any improvement will actually bring higher rents enough to justify it. If not, we stick to the basics.

Originally posted by Scott W.:
i recently epoxy painted the garage floor. came out really nice. cost me about $100 in materials. we'll see if anybody even cares.

Not much risk for $100 and can't hurt unless it looks worse than plain concrete over time.

@Scott W. What product did you use for the garage floor? I have a garage floor in an upcoming rehab (for resale) that I think would benefit from some kind of refreshing. Is it an easy DIY kind of project?

@ K. Marie Poe Super easy! Rustoleom...it comes in a kit with a DVD.

You just gotta make sure the floor is squeaky clean (the cleaning will take the longest time). Buy a broom sized squeege to get out all the water & dirt/oil.

After you've painted an area, you throw down the speckles (reminds me of confetti) & it looks sharp.

It took me about 3 hours to do the project. Make sure you tape the drywall before you start painting.

For a flip, it's a definite eye catcher to a prospective buyer. $ well spent.

For those who are planning on the DIY garage floor here's a tip: If something gets onto that floor while you are working, you can have a not-so-nice result, and you can't really walk on the wet floor to remove that something. But get some golf shoes with spikes on the soles, and you can walk on that wet paint without causing much harm.

Seems like renovations are based on rental market demand and price of rent.

I had one cheap college rental I lived in. Not pretty, but cheap and comparable to others in town-- I was happy with it for the price. The carpet was the cheapest indoor/outdoor carpet imaginable. Appliances and kitchen cabinets were twice as old as me. No central A/C. No washer/dryer and no connections (property too old to support it). Very old hot water heater. Basic and old bath. Bath didn't drain well. Old or original drafty windows. It had a plastic glued-on shower wall. Vinyl stick on tile in bath and kitchen.

Cheapest materials that could stand up to a little bit of collegiate life. It was cheap, and I couldn't have been happier. (Other than occasionally being grossed out that the bathtub didn't drain.)

I think upgrading the college rental too much and raising rent wouldn't have worked as well. College kids wouldn't take good enough care of high-end finishings. And, I wasn't looking for granite countertops in college- I wanted cheap rent, good location.

I once lived in a pricier high-rise apartment.

Rent was very nearly obscene for what it was. City view. Not that many square feet. I expected a lot for that kind of cash.

It had new white wall paint. Real tile small kitchen (not glued in vinyl like the cheap college place). Newer white kitchen appliances. No washer/dryer in apartment, only in basement. Newer, not new carpet. Tiled shower. Fairly newer vanity, but basic-- no granite or premium finishing. New windows.

Nothing particularly show-y in the city apartment, but had a decent city view, and nearby apartments were also expensive.

Demand in both areas was high. Probably higher demand in the college rental just because it was cheap, very near campus, and there are always students needing to move in. Most college rentals around there were equally old/cheaply finished. I didn't blink at the rather hideous looks of it. It was acceptably clean. The city apartment I didn't like as much just because of price. The high price made me expect too much at the time. Apartments filled reasonably fast in the city place, but probably not as fast as in the cheap college place. Parking was another few hundred a month at the city place... that made me a bit unhappy. I was paying for a small apartment what people in the far suburbs pay for a house. I would have rather had a bit older (but clean) interiors and less rent. Or, more show-y finishings.

Some of the pricier house rentals around here in the suburbs command at least a few grand a month rent, and have granite kitchens/bath, stone tile floors, new carpet or hardwood. I would be nervous putting that kind of stuff in a rental house. But, they seem to get high-end tenants. It seems to take them a good while to rent them out. Months. Usually they get people who just moved here and aren't ready to buy yet, or professionals who know their jobs will transfer them to another city in a year or two.

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