3 Renovation Tips to Make Property Management Easier [Video!]

by | BiggerPockets.com

Hey there, BP! When renovating a rental property, managing costs and getting it done quickly should be at the top of your list. But don’t forget about your costs in maintaining the property long term once it’s a rental! In today’s video, I talk about ways you can smartly renovate your rental with the goal of keeping property management easy and affordable.

Related: Rental Renovations: Which Maximize Rates & Lower Vacancy – and Which Don’t?

1. Paint

The first example we’ll look at is the paint (and paint colors) you’re using in your rental properties. Instead of using a different color for each property that you manage, always use the same color. This way when a tenant moves out, or you need to go in and touch up the walls, you’re not left wondering, “What color did I use for that unit?”; “Where did I store the paint cans for that unit?” By implementing this system, you’ll never have to wonder what color, or where it’s at. It’ll all be the same, no matter which of your units needs attention.

2. Locks

The next item that we’ll look at is your locking systems. Every time a tenant moves out, you need to change the locks for security and safety. Changing locks can be expensive if you are using a locksmith, and you’ll end up with the telltale sign a landlord: a huge wad of keys! There are technologies out there that help keep this cost at a minimum, but you need to address it during the renovation phase to get the best bang for your buck. We use a great technology that allows us to change out the core of the lock without changing the whole assembly. We also have one master key to open up everything in our portfolio. Watch the video to learn more!

Related: 12 Rental Property Improvements You Can Make for Under $500

3. Flooring

The last tip is to have durable flooring. This means selecting a material like hardwood or vinyl tile and avoiding materials like carpet. You want to have floors that will be able to withstand a lot of wear and tear. Giving your floors treatments like polyurethane will help them last over the longer term. If you decide to put in carpet, keep it to the bedrooms.

The goal is to make it simple and repeatable. By making these small adjustments, you’ll be able to save money and time over the lifetime of the unit. In addition to systematizing your process, you make it easier when it’s time to turn over the unit from one tenant to another.

Check out the video to learn more!

For those of you who have completed renovations on rentals and have some tips to keep long-term costs down, share them in the comments section! 

About Author

Matt Faircloth

In 2005, Matt founded The DeRosa Group along with his wife, Elizabeth. At the time, the two person company owned and managed two assets – a single family home and a duplex. Over the last nine years, they have grown the company to a 12 person team owning and managing over five million dollars in residential and commercial assets throughout the central NJ and Philadelphia area. One of DeRosa’s mantras is “to make money while making a difference.”

26 Comments

  1. Jerry W.

    I started using combination locks on my rentals. The advantage is that they are programmable and so I can change them after each tenant. I let the tenant pick the code numbers they want, and I can program a master code for myself in the lock as well. I write their code on their lease in my file. I do use the same paint for most of my rentals, but have begun using a new paint that is much cheaper than my old one, so I do have 2 main paint colors now.

  2. Brent Kostner

    Thanks so much for posting this. Ive been painting with the least expensive paint I could find, like mistinted stuff at home depot, but when a tenant leaves and we don’t know the color, it means repainting. Love systematizing it! And thanks for introducing me to landlord locks! I really appreciate you taking the time to give away your knowledge.

  3. Terri Dyer

    I learned the hard way about the paint. I use to let tenant’s paint and I would pick out just the right color for each room in the house. Wow, what a lot of work. Once we got to 5 rentals I realized that was not a good use of time or money and things needed to be simplified!

    Another idea on the door locks is to do the programmable key pad locks. Then you just change the code each time you get a new tenant. But I do like your idea about having 1 universal key for all your units.

    Another way to simplify and cut costs is to install curtains. I don’t just like leaving it up to the tenant because then you get nail holes everywhere, blanket, and aluminum foil curtains. But mini blinds are always getting broken and a pain to clean! So we install a cheap/simple rod and cheap light blocking curtains. That way when a tenant moves out all you have to do is throw the curtains in the wash if they are dirty and you are done!

  4. Jerome Kaidor

    Some years ago, I had a carpeted common-use staircase in the front hallway of my building. The carpet had deteriorated to the point of being a trip hazard. I wound up stripping it, removing all the treads and risers, and installing new oak ones. Came out nice. That was 10 years ago, and the oak has aged gracefully.

    I did it myself. Hauled my nice Bosch miter saw out there, got special drill bits to countersink the oak. Finishing it was a challenge. I needed to put multiple coats of stain and sealer. And I needed to guarantee that tenants would not walk on it. In spite of caution tape, they had already walked on the bare wood. So I built a temporary wall at each end of the stairway.

  5. Shawn Johnson

    Great article Matt!

    I’ll add a couple more from my experiences. Replace thermostats to user friendly ones. I hate getting the call that the furnace won’t turn on only to find they don’t know how to use the thermostat. Next, removing garbage disposals. My company manages a lot of homes and we get the request regularly that the disposal is clogged. Over use or misunderstanding on how to use it is the most common cause of failure.

  6. Marc Silsbe

    Here’s my tip, I use the same color as suggested (Benjamin Moore Decorator White). I use Home Depot paint and color match it to save money, but I also paint the baseboards and trim the same color. I have a decorator friend that gave me that tip.

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