January 22nd, 2019
If you’re looking to make some changes to your property to capitalise on its potential and turn that fixer upper into big bucks, there are some areas you should be looking at first to make the most out of your investment.
There are both major and minor renovations that will pay off and add value to your rental home or condo.
You can decide to go big or just cosmetic here, but paying attention to and improving certain areas in the home can have an impact on who you attract as tenants, how those tenants feel about your property, and how much rent you can charge based on the market in your area.
How about some updated curb appeal to make a lasting first impression?
If you’re new to landscaping or gardening, hit up your local garden centre and see if they offer any free design services with the purchase of some new planters or walkway bricks, for example.
Putting the right colour on your front door or front window frames makes your house stand out from the pack, but the wrong colour could have potential renters a little apprehensive.
Any overgrown shrubbery should be pruned and kept at bay, especially at your doorway. Stagger the height of your plants and include varying colours for some drama as they bloom.
Decide on a focal point if you can. Emphasized walkways or fountains can add some major value to your property from an outside-looking-in perspective.
If you’re the owner of an older home or condo, you can invest in a minor bathroom upgrade which can update as much or as little as you want.
If you want to go big and re-do the entire bathroom, you could replace the tub, surrounding tile, floor, toilet, sink plus vanity and fixture areas.
You can reglaze a tub for $300 or $400 if it’s too large to fit out of the door. Add some sparkle and a new finish to that old tub!
Minor improvements that make a good impression include cleaning the walls, removing any old wallpaper, applying fresh paint or a new spray on texture.
If your kitchen needs a simple cosmetic update, you’ll be able to liven things up for about $15,000 according to HGTV. Modernized kitchens will have prospective tenants gushing over the backsplash and picturing themselves prepping for Thanksgiving with the folks.
$15,000 can get up to 30 feet of your cabinets and drawers re-faced, a new oven, cooktop, sink, fixtures, laminate countertops and some flooring. Sanding and painting existing cabinets will cost much less than total replacement, and look to the windows for some easy ways to add colour with new paint, drapes or molding.
If you have an extra den, office or attic space, you can charge more rent by adding a bedroom to the rental offering.
You’re going to want to insulate the attic if it hasn’t been used as a bedroom previously. In Ontario, temperatures must be kept at 21 Celsius or higher in the winter. Insulating will also lower utility bills, keep the home energy efficient and all your tenants happy.
Further, if you’re renting out an entire house, unused (and finished) basement spaces can be a great extra bedroom for roommates. Ensure there is enough head room and the carpets and flooring have been cleaned. You can cover concrete floors with an affordable (and easy to install!) modular subfloor and add a carpet to keep things warm.
If you’re renting out your condo property, a den can easily be converted into a bedroom and put right back if the new tenants don’t need it. The best you can do is extend the option to viewers of the unit and let them make the decision.
It should be noted that listing a traditional “1-bedroom + den” as a “2-bedroom” unit can be pretty misleading for people looking for a proper 2-bedroom + den. Condo dens are designed to be small living spaces or offices, and they rarely include closets or windows.
Make sure to check your agreement with the condo board if you’re looking to take down any walls.
Have anyone viewing your place picture all the fun they can have in your property’s backyard, on the patio, or balcony.
Having a defined patio area, with some included outdoor furniture could woo tenants with pets, families, or the penchant to entertain.
Have some nice lighting, mature plants, a direct entryway and stable, reinforced stairs. The last thing you need is a liability claim against your property.
These value-adding ideas are just the tip of the iceberg. If you'd really like to invest and watch the payoff continue into the next decade or two, you could gut the whole house if you're really gut-sy. The areas of focus, however, should be on the kitchens, bathrooms, unfinished spaces, flooring and landscaping.