I recently purchased some units that have been and will continue to be rented out to college students. I am currently in the process of repainting some units and doing some other minor repairs between tenants. Some of the windows currently have blinds. Some are broken and some are missing. Personally I feel like blinds break so easily. Any suggestions for a more durable window fixture? I was considering putting up curtain rods with some inexpensive white curtains. I thought they would be harder to break and easy to bleach and wash between tenants. What do you think? Or maybe new blinds are the best option after all?? I am also looking for suggestions for durable flooring and paint.
Ahhh, tenant proofing! I'm a huge fan of this @Dana Swoveland .
Stick with blinds. The cheapest ones at whichever big box store is closest to you and charge them each time you need to replace one if they're damaged. I've used more upscale blinds and at the day they just cost more. Put them in properly so that the blinds don't look like an afterthought. That's most important. Understand that there are items that you can't control that will wear out like blinds. What I do is have a list of each size window for each room and the appropriate blind size so that if they do damage it I just look at my info and go pick it up. And I charge them for it.
As for flooring the most durable that looks great is porcelain tile in my opinion. However your choices will be determined based upon your market that you serve. Perhaps resilient flooring will be your best option (fancy name for vinyl) which can look just like wood planks. They've come a long way and are easy to install. They also do look great I'll admit.
When it comes to paint @Brandon Turner has done much testing in this area and he will tell you that just buy the cheapest you can find because anyone you use will take two coats to put up. My suggestion is to also stick to factory pre-mixed colors (never ever custom mix) and always write down in your lease the color that you put up so that your tenants can do touch ups and not have to ask you what the colors are.
+1 for the blinds. Very cheap easy to replace. Charge back the tenant.
As for flooring:
In living spaces I refinish old hardwood or I will use laminate flooring. I haven't used the vinyl plank but I have heard good things about it. I continue to use laminate because I get a huge discount buying in bulk that I won't get for the vinyl.
Bathrooms and kitchens- ceramic tile on the whole it is cheaper than porcelain
basements- ceramic tile or VCT on very uneven floors or paint
I suggest berber carpet (easy to clean), hardwood, and linoleum to my landlords. As far as paint any neutral flat tends to hide imperfections well and appeal to more potential renters. Vertical blinds are inexpensive and easy to install while horizontal look better but are pricier.
I have to argue with the comments about using the cheapest paint and getting stock colors. I use Behr interior paint with primer. It costs a touch more, but covers in one coat. Paint every single wall in every single unit the exact same color. Leave a small amount in a plastic jar for the tenants to touch up, or just touch it up yourself between renters. I bought cheap paint once, and it cost half as much as the Behr, but I ended up using 5 coats to get coverage. Not worth my time.
Also, I would stay away from laminate flooring. My experience is that when it gets wet (and if you are renting to college kids, it WILL get wet) it expands and separates. Unfixable, you have to replace it all. Go with vinyl sheets, like linoleum. Good luck!
1. Plastic blinds from Lowes/Home Depot. For regular size windows these tend to run under $5 each. Expect to replace them regularly.
2. If you insist on curtains, get white ones from Dollar General, General Dollar, Family Dollar, etc. etc. etc.. They run $10 a pair.
3. Paint..Behr (Home Depot) or Valspar (Lowes). Decide on one color for ALL your rentals (I use Navaho White). Neutral and easy to repaint. By the way, Lowes now makes a great high hide primer.
4. Flooring - Allure (Home Depot). Many landlords love this stuff. Easy to work with. We prefer the type with the "glue" on the edges, not the click product. Much tougher than laminate.
5. I have also painted and polyurethaned older hardwood floors. In older homes (with high baseboards) painting these floors black and putting three coats of polyurethane on them, then painting the baseboards bright white is quite stunning although doing the polyurethane in three coats can be a pain in a low spot.
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