Advice on kitchen for rental

17 Replies

Hello,

Long time lurker first time poster, I’ve learned a lot on this site and decided to post to get some ideas from you all. I got my first duplex and I need to remodel the kitchen on the first floor. The rents in this area for a high end unit can be $1350-1500; most comparables have granite and stainless appliances. Any advice will be welcome.

Thanks

What exactly do you have in mind or are you thinking of a couple different options?  Are you concerned about price or quality?

Originally posted by @Bryan C. :

What exactly do you have in mind or are you thinking of a couple different options?  Are you concerned about price or quality?

 Should I just reface cabinets, replace countertops or go major and remove island (move plumbing) replace all cabinets redistribute appliances? Looking for any ideas...

What's your budget?  

If the cabinets are cheap, I'd rip them all out, probably move over the plumbing, and possibly tear down a wall - kind of hard to tell from the pictures, but if that wall with the interior door opens to a living room, then it can go.  The layout looks funky as-is.  An overview layout drawing might be more useful.    

You don't need to go high-end on the cabinets, but if they're old and cheap anyway then it's probably worth it just to replace.  If they're nice solid wood & your budget is tight then new paint + counters + appliances + faucet & sink is probably fine.  

What are you leaning towards? 

Originally posted by @Michell P. :

What's your budget?  

If the cabinets are cheap, I'd rip them all out, probably move over the plumbing, and possibly tear down a wall - kind of hard to tell from the pictures, but if that wall with the interior door opens to a living room, then it can go.  The layout looks funky as-is.  An overview layout drawing might be more useful.    

You don't need to go high-end on the cabinets, but if they're old and cheap anyway then it's probably worth it just to replace.  If they're nice solid wood & your budget is tight then new paint + counters + appliances + faucet & sink is probably fine.  

What are you leaning towards? 

 Hi Michell,

The cabinets are solid wood but old, the boxes look good but not the fronts. I agree with the layout but the only way to move it is to redo the whole kitchen, not sure if is worth it? The difference seems to be about 4-5K one versis the other. Here is the current layout: the open door is the pantry and there is no way to open any walls.

One more of the current layout, sink and DW are in the island:

Is there a separate dining room? I think you should just paint the cabinets and add some moulding to the top, replace the counters, leave the sink and DW where it is. Personally, I'd get rid of the cabinet in the corner by the door, it looks awkward and out of place, which would allow you to make the extension off the back side of the island a little bigger to accommodate more stools. 

Originally posted by @Camilo Cornejo :

 Hi Michell,

The cabinets are solid wood but old, the boxes look good but not the fronts. I agree with the layout but the only way to move it is to redo the whole kitchen, not sure if is worth it? The difference seems to be about 4-5K one versis the other. Here is the current layout: the open door is the pantry and there is no way to open any walls.

How much is your unit currently renting for?  I'm not familiar with your market, but usually unless there is low inventory in the area, a kitchen that awkward is going to have a  hard time deserving rent of $1,500.  So consider how much fixing up just the kitchen will raise your rent by.  $100?  $500?  I'd multiply that by 24 (2 years) and use that as my budget.  

If you're currently renting for $700 and want to get up to $1,500, you're probably going to have to make an investment.  Otherwise, go with the other poster's advice.  Can you move over the pantry door to take advantage of the wall space better?  If you could add 8" - 12" storage to that wall + increase the size of the island countertop, that might work.  

You might want to tour some of those $1,500 rentals and see what renters are expecting in that price range before you decide? 

Originally posted by @Ashly B. :

Is there a separate dining room? I think you should just paint the cabinets and add some moulding to the top, replace the counters, leave the sink and DW where it is. Personally, I'd get rid of the cabinet in the corner by the door, it looks awkward and out of place, which would allow you to make the extension off the back side of the island a little bigger to accommodate more stools. 

 Hi Ashly,

Thanks for the ideas. There is a separate dining room but not adjacent to the kitchen. Do you think is enoug counter/storage space to remove the other section?

Originally posted by @Michell P. :
Originally posted by @Camilo Cornejo:

 Hi Michell,

The cabinets are solid wood but old, the boxes look good but not the fronts. I agree with the layout but the only way to move it is to redo the whole kitchen, not sure if is worth it? The difference seems to be about 4-5K one versis the other. Here is the current layout: the open door is the pantry and there is no way to open any walls.

How much is your unit currently renting for?  I'm not familiar with your market, but usually unless there is low inventory in the area, a kitchen that awkward is going to have a  hard time deserving rent of $1,500.  So consider how much fixing up just the kitchen will raise your rent by.  $100?  $500?  I'd multiply that by 24 (2 years) and use that as my budget.  

If you're currently renting for $700 and want to get up to $1,500, you're probably going to have to make an investment.  Otherwise, go with the other poster's advice.  Can you move over the pantry door to take advantage of the wall space better?  If you could add 8" - 12" storage to that wall + increase the size of the island countertop, that might work.  

You might want to tour some of those $1,500 rentals and see what renters are expecting in that price range before you decide? 

 As is $900, we are planning a full bath remodel and kitchen upgrade. With both upgrades will rent at $1,300-1,450. All units at the high end have fully renovated kitches. Thanks for the feedback!

Originally posted by @Camilo Cornejo :
Originally posted by @Ashly Baugh:

Is there a separate dining room? I think you should just paint the cabinets and add some moulding to the top, replace the counters, leave the sink and DW where it is. Personally, I'd get rid of the cabinet in the corner by the door, it looks awkward and out of place, which would allow you to make the extension off the back side of the island a little bigger to accommodate more stools. 

 Hi Ashly,

Thanks for the ideas. There is a separate dining room but not adjacent to the kitchen. Do you think is enoug counter/storage space to remove the other section?

 I think if the counter space is not functional where it is, the existing amount is not relevant but if you were concerned about storage you could always put a cabinet above the fridge and/or get taller uppers

I'm with Ashly on this. The island is fine- you've got the classic "work triangle" between the sink, stove, fridge. That corner cabinet is weird, the room will feel better without it. The taller upper cabinets are more fashionable these days, so I might put those in, but leave the bottoms since they are solid and get them refaced. If the pantry door is a awkward as it is, you could use a bifold door which would make it feel less cramped

Medium team zen logo vJean Bolger, 33 Zen Lane | http://www.solidrealestateadvice.com

Originally posted by @Jean Bolger :

I'm with Ashly on this. The island is fine- you've got the classic "work triangle" between the sink, stove, fridge. That corner cabinet is weird, the room will feel better without it. The taller upper cabinets are more fashionable these days, so I might put those in, but leave the bottoms since they are solid and get them refaced. If the pantry door is a awkward as it is, you could use a bifold door which would make it feel less cramped

 Hi Jean, 

Thanks for the feedback. I agree that the corner cabinet is weird but do you think removing that will leave enough counter and storage space? Will a tall storage in that corner will work/look better?

Hi Camilo ---  I'm cheap but I am also a buy and hold investor so I have lots of experience on making kitchens look good on a budget.  So I will propose something a little different.  Leave the cabinets --  if a potential tenant asks mention that unlike the stuff they sell at home depot etc. these are all hardwood.  Generally the potential tenant won't ask.  They need enough cabinets for storage.  You are providing that.  Spend your money on buying a fancy countertop (if you want high end rental go for the granite or silestone), change your lighting, could do a track system that provides light throughout kitchen (cheapest), or cans with a couple of pendant lights over the island (shouldn't be too expensive but . . . .) and then change your appliances to black or stainless.  These don't have to be high end.  Paint, and if you want to top it off (or hide painting errors) put in some crown moulding.   May want to replace the floor but probably not necessary.  

Potential tenants pay attention to kitchens -- the appliances (if you have room for a double door fridge with a water dispenser -- that is not typically found in a rental and will be memorable), interesting lighting that makes the kitchen bright, and a fancy counter (it doesn't need to be stone, I've purchased the "stone looking" cheap counters at Lowe's and it worked just fine but for my higher end rentals I use real stone.  

Finally, when showing, I would put a couple of chairs up to the island to immediately show that it can be used for eating, talking to the chef, etc.  

Good luck!  

Teresa

If most comps have granite and stainless, then I would go for the same-ish. Get a lower-end granite with a regular edge. SS appliances are sometimes sold as packages that can be more affordable instead of buying piecemeal.

From the pics (can't see the entirety of the kitchen), maybe the range and fridge can be ok to keep, if you want to save some dough. Or if you decide on SS, then sell the existing appliances on Craigslist (every $100 bucks helps!).

Since the cabinets are solid wood, just paint the boxes and fronts. White is always safe. Get good primer. Maybe replace hardware too. If you want to get more fancy, add a crown. 

I had a tight '70's style kitchen & removed the wall to the dining room & built this.

Home Depot cabinets, all granite $1700.

before..

after...

Originally posted by @Pat L. :

I had a tight '70's style kitchen & removed the wall to the dining room & built this.

Home Depot cabinets, all granite $1700.

before..

after...

 Nice! I would love to do that but the apartment has a weird layout the bathroom is between the dining and kitchen and that would be a major rebuilt.