kitchen and bathroom rehab - buy&hold

14 Replies

Hi guys, I am looking at a condo that could use some updating in the kitchen, bathroom, and flooring.  The area that I am investing is an upscale area where I can achieve $1,000+ in rent for 1br apartments.  The property that I am looking at is condo that is 800 square feet.

I would like to get some insight on what the best upgrades are for this condo.  I want to get a good rent, but also don't want to spend 30k on all the top quality materials.  I would say if I could keep the renovations under 10k and have it look good, that would be ideal.

My thoughts on upgrades:

laminate flooring
paint cabinets
kitchen island (don't know what to do with this)
new toilet
remodel bathroom somewhat

Any thoughts on what the most effective upgrades are would be beneficial.  Also, what are the best ways to get these upgrades (GC vs. homdepot ect.).  Any guesstimates on what my initial rehab costs would be great as well, thanks!

If it were me I'd do something like the following:

  • Nice laminate flooring throughout. No separate flooring in any area but the bathroom. Will make it seem larger and will hold up better to wear/tear than carpet.
  • I'd likely move the island out 2 ft to the left (assuming there is space, hard to tell given the camera angle) and double the size of it. This would give much more workspace, and you could add an overhang on the end opposite the fridge and fit two stools comfortably for an eating area.
  • New countertop if you can afford it. You could do the main countertop is something more expensive, and then the island in butcher block to save money and add some variety to the finishes. 
  • Replace the $20 globe lights with some nicer fixtures. 
  • Paint cabinets, new handles/pulls. 
  • Plan on repainting walls to match the style/scheme of whatever you choose. Plus I imagine the paint looks dated as is. 
  • Bathroom isn't terrible, but the off-white tub/toilet/sink instantly date it. 

If you give me the dimensions of the kitchen/living room and a rough floorplan drawing I could whip you up a 3d design pretty quickly illustrating what I'm talking about. 

If it were me:

That looks like maybe 11 cabinets plus the island. I would ditch the island and go with new cabinets from home depot. They have American Wood mark cabinets on sale now for 35%off, which puts them in the price range of their cheapest in stock cabinets for a much better cabinet. That will run about 3000. Installing cabinets is not hard.

New corian or cheap granite counters about $1800. Shop around.

Have a plumber replace the tub/shower combo. Price depends on a lot of things. Assume $1200.

Toilet and fairly nice vanity, another $1000.

That leaves plenty for the flooring of your choice, plus matching faucets, hardware, knobs, switch plates etc.

Oh, and it absolutely needs new appliances. Those look fairly recent but cheap.

I would talk to a real estate agent to see what renters are looking for in the area. That way you know exactly what a tenant is looking for. 

@Kyle M.  Some thoughts: I would get a good paint job on the kitchen cabinets and paint them white with some black hardware. Make the island twice as big and leave room to pull up bar stools on the backside. New kitchen flooring. Stainless appliances if you can afford. 

In the bathroom do a tub but tile the surround above the tub. You could do "granite" tiles that look classy but are cheaper than granite slabs. New vanity. possibly new floor in the bathroom as well. New white toilet. 

The cost looks to be more than 10K but should be able to do it for less than 30k. 

P.S- I typed all this then read @Dylan Long  post and he said exactly the same thing basically. I totally agree. 

Given the rent number, that place would be close to center city if I had to guess.  I would suggest you look at the pictures in the "for rent" ads for that neighborhood and see what your competition is offering.  There are some areas in and around Philadelphia where what you have there now is good enough to get it rented; that is why I suggest checking out your competition.   Match what the competition is doing so that you are competitive, and don't overdo it for a rental - overdoing it does not guarantee more rent.

You might find you don't need to do anything further there ...

I always like a fresh look. If it were me, I would do the following:

- Remove the fake soffit above the cabinets - Free
- Get new 36" Cabinets from Partners Home Supply (includes island and crown moulding) $2,000
- New Countertops Granite Includes Undermount Sink - $1,200
- New Appliances - $1,750
- Tile Backsplash - $250
- Tile Floors (In Kitchen) - $300
- New lighting - $150
- New faucet for sink - $75

Total For Kitchen = $5,750

As for the bathroom
- New tub or shower pan - $350
- Tile the walls - $270
- Vanity Cab from Partners Home Supply to match kitchen - $110
- Granite Top for Vanity - $150
- New faucets and shower head w/ diverter and tub spout - $150
- New tile floors - $100
- New toilet - $150

Total Bath = $1,130

Total Renovation = 6,880

** If you're not capable of doing this work on your own, most of it is quite easy. You can hire a handy man for $20 - 25 / hour or a punchout guy from a big time builder for the same rates. These guys should be able to do all that work in less than 5 days (10 hour days). or $1,250 all-in.

Renovation = 6,880 + $1,250 = $8,130

Here is kind of what I'm thinking. Only spent a few minutes on this, so a lot of stuff is off/wonky like lights. I just threw on some colors. Mainly wanted to illustrate the white cabinets, bigger island, and one floor. Finish of floor, counter tops, etc could all be done better to tie in a nice scheme, but just tried to work something up between the gym and dinner.

At Dylan: I like the way you think! Good design! Lots of good comments on here!

Thanks Tom!

OP, if you do buy new cabinets consider adding a full length next to the fridge if there is room. Could add some valuable pantry space that appears to be lacking.

Also consider that right now your kitchen space is defined by the change in floor. With a seamless floor, that space is no longer defined, thus you are able to steal room for the kitchen from what I assume is the living room. IMO most people would gladly lose 1-2 feet from a living room to gain it in a kitchen, assuming the kitchen is cramped to start. 

PS again this is a quick build/render, so there are some obvious issues (such as the overlapping upper cabinets). :) 

"Open concept" seems to be the rage and quite appropriate for a small place. TrafficMaster Allure Ultra vinyl plank click together flooring holds up better than laminate and is 100% waterproof. Works well in kitchen, bath, laundry, mud room, living room, bed room. Easy to install, available at HomeDepot.

Originally posted by @Dylan Long:

Here is kind of what I'm thinking. Only spent a few minutes on this, so a lot of stuff is off/wonky like lights. I just threw on some colors. Mainly wanted to illustrate the white cabinets, bigger island, and one floor. Finish of floor, counter tops, etc could all be done better to tie in a nice scheme, but just tried to work something up between the gym and dinner.

 thanks for the visual, i like the butcher block idea.  Good way to have it look good and cut costs.  This is a nice modern setup!

No problem Kyle. I like the look of butcher block too, and like how it's relatively inexpensive. It does have its downsides, but can be a great way to punch up an interior. 

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