Kitchen Upgrades to Keep Tenants Renting

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 lovably, 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.

There’s no need for a large budget to improve a rental property. Landlords can make upgrades to keep tenants happily renting without breaking the bank. Refreshed spaces can also draw new tenants.

Here are suggestions for upgrades in rental property kitchens.

 1. Clean

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.

2. Paint

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.

 

Two cautions:

  • 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.

 

3. Countertops

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.

 

4. Hardware

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.

 

5. Lighting

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.

 

6. Appliances

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.

Title..: Kitchen Upgrades to Keep Tenants Renting
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5 Comments on Kitchen Upgrades to Keep Tenants Renting

  1. Jon @ MoneySmartGuides
    January 23, 2014 at 3:54 pm (6 months ago)

    All good tips. I was going to put granite counter tops in my rental and then thought about how long it would take me to recoup my costs. I ended up keeping the laminate counter tops and just updated the paint along with the rest of the house. It must have worked since I am renting my house out for more than the market rate.

  2. Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life
    January 23, 2014 at 4:18 pm (6 months ago)

    Our landlord bought us a new fridge when I moved into my apartment, and it made the older, outdated kitchen my favorite spot in the place!

  3. Michelle
    January 23, 2014 at 6:21 pm (6 months ago)

    Congratulations on being the Zillow blogger of the week! I’m planning on renting my place out by 2016. I will be doing the following updates: changing the tile in my shower, changing the shower head/handles, changing the bedroom floor to laminate from crappy carpet. I would do this no matter what! Then, I’ll be re-painting the place-same colors just a new fresh coat. Quite honestly properties should be freshened up because they need constant care and I’m not a slum lord.

  4. Mrs. Snarkfinance
    January 23, 2014 at 11:30 pm (6 months ago)

    It’s amazing what a deep clean and new paint job can do to spiffy up a space, especially in the kitchen. I’m always surprised at the greasy film that starts to sneak up on me and cover every surface in the kitchen including the little nook and crannies. I also think lighting is important… and the more natural sunlight the better! Thanks for sharing and congrats on being Zillow’s blogger of the week!

  5. Shane @ Financial Debauchery
    January 24, 2014 at 10:25 am (6 months ago)

    Great tips! Totally agree on keeping the home style neutral. That way, costs are lowered on your end and at the same time, your tenants get more freedom with structuring the interiors to suit their taste.