L Bee Says: I am the Zillow blogger of the week! I used Zillow a good bit back when I was hunting for my first home, and I am excited to be featured. Below is a post by Diana Fishlock for those of you who, like me, have rental property income. Cheers!
A good tenant is worth a bit of pampering. Reward dependable, low-maintenance renters by improving property features before they ask. A kitchen upgrade can make a rental space feel larger, homier and more stylish. A dingy, dirty kitchen with chipped countertops, mismatched appliances and ancient lighting won’t inspire tenants to cook or make them want to stay.
Here are suggestions for upgrades in rental property kitchens.
The Basic Kitchen Upgrades to Keep Tenants Renting and Happy
A deep cleaning brings out a kitchen’s charm, with or without further improvements. Scrub appliances inside and out. Wash down the ceiling and walls, baseboards and window jambs. Dust ceiling fan blades and light fixtures. Wipe cabinets and drawer fronts. Vacuum behind movable appliances.
Paint is a low-cost miracle worker, transforming old kitchens into fresh and bright workspaces. A few hours of work give the whole kitchen a facelift.
Start by painting the ceiling white. Invest in a roller extension pole to save time and some serious neck pain. Give tenants color options for the walls. Maybe they’ve always dreamed of a pale blue or yellow kitchen. Depending on the kitchen, it might make sense to also paint the cabinets, the baseboards or the floor.
- Be leery of colors that look dated or are difficult to match like 1970s avocado.
- Avoid cheap paint that won’t cover well or last.
Numerous low-cost, easy-to-install laminate countertops are available these days in a wide variety of colors and textures. Like paint, new countertops can dramatically change the look of the whole room.
Bring measurements and photographs of the existing countertop when visiting the kitchen center or big box store. Thorough advanced measurements save owners multiple drives home to check overhangs and other details.
See the cautions listed under paint.
Pull off a big change by swapping out kitchen hardware. New cabinet and drawer pulls can perk up a tired kitchen. Get input from the tenants on their favorite finishes or offer a price range and let them choose. Either way, keep a close eye on the bottom line. A $1 difference between hardware options adds up quickly when there are lots of cupboards or drawers.
Look for drawer handles and hinges the same size as the existing hardware to save hours of patching and drilling.
Pull out that boring, rectangle fluorescent ceiling light and add some personality with a new fixture.
Pendant lights, track lighting and chandeliers are offered in many styles and price ranges. Look for easy to install models to complement the apartment’s existing style. Echoing metal finishes already in the cabinet hardware or colors on the walls can pull the whole room together.
Upgrade kitchen appliances before something breaks down and tenants become inconvenienced. Clean, matching appliances give kitchens an upscale, sophisticated feel that tenants appreciate.
Look for energy-efficient, medium-grade appliances rather than paying for all the bells and whistles. Buying all the pieces at once can ensure a cohesive look. Making large purchases also give landlords bargaining power with salesmen.
Becoming a property manager of a single room, home or multi-family property requires a major investment. Owners must calculate the costs of the mortgages, taxes, insurance and maintenance while fielding all the concerns of their tenants and aiming to profit. Making a slightly larger investment to keep properties in great working condition appeals to new renters, but also keeps current tenants satisfied.
Remember, with any of these updates, avoid trendy or obscure colors. Even the most stalwart tenants move on, and landlords don’t want to spend money on something that may alienate potential renters next month or year. Keep styles neutral yet stylish.
P.S. More about buying your first home