The characteristics of a great rental property vary greatly from those of a property that you may buy to live in yourself. The greater the quality and appeal of a property, the higher the rent achievable for it – tenants also tend to treat these properties with greater respect.
Whilst it’s difficult to put a figure on how much small improvements would increase your rental return, keeping your property well-maintained and up-to-date makes it more attractive to tenants, and puts your property ahead in the tight rental market.
It’s important to know which upgrades are going to increase the value of your asset in order to avoid overcapitalising – By considering who your property best suits, you can create the perfect setting to attract the right tenant, in the shortest time: If your property is located in a family-oriented area, then updates to outdoor entertainment areas, additional storage and low maintenance gardens are more likely to be noticed. If your property is within the city area where professionals tend to reside, installing time-saving appliances such as a dishwasher or dryer can better attract this busy and often time-poor demographic.
We’ve listed some simple yet effective ideas below to consider. If you’re not sure where to start with any changes, contact one of our friendly property managers for a personalised on-site appraisal and helpful advice!
Your tenant’s first impression is lasting! What people see first is the outside and you want this to be attractive enough to entice people to look inside: Pruning and cutting shrubs and overgrown plants, ensuring the lawns are maintained, checking that the driveway is tidy, the letterbox clean and in working order, and the front door area clean and inviting really add to the outside value of your investment.
Many tenants are time poor and often appreciate low-maintenance gardens. If the gardens require additional attention, consider hiring a gardener and including the cost in the rent.
Painting can be a very cost-effective way to really overhaul the look and feel of internal spaces. Neutral tones easily match any type of décor making them appealing to everyone, and these days hardware stores generally stock a large range of brands and colours to suit any budget.
New blinds or curtains in white, cream or light brown colours are a good touch, and tenants are then also far less likely to DIY the window coverings.
SPRUCE UP THE BATHROOMS & KITCHEN
Replace frosted shower doors and walls with clear glass, upgrade the lighting fixtures, replace worn or rusted taps with sleek stainless steel ones and scrub up the tile grout. Check for any leaks and if you think waterproofing may be required then it’s definitely worth a second opinion! Once leaks are established they can do a lot of damage, so prevention is definitely key. Your property managers will check these things during their routine inspections, but as mentioned prevention is always best!
If kitchen cabinets need renovating, consider just replacing the front cabinet doors: This can make a great difference for little outlay. Check existing appliances including the oven, dishwasher, incinerator and stove tops to ensure they’re in working order and consider whether they are in need of repair or replacing.
Storage space is always high on the list of requirements for tenants. Consider installing wardrobes into the bedrooms if built-ins aren’t already there, otherwise a backyard shed could be a worthwhile investment. Offer alternative storage such as a cupboard under the stairs, shelving racks in the garage or a cupboard in the laundry area.
AIR CONDITIONING & APPLIANCES
Another tenant must-have is air-conditioning! In Australia’s harsh climate, tenants will pay more for a property with air-conditioning. Sometimes they wont even look at one without it. Split systems are cost-effective and can heat and cool the place quickly.
Adding a dishwasher could earn you an extra $260 in rent a year – almost half the cost of a mid-range machine. It’s an even better return when you consider that the average life of a dishwasher is between nine and 12 years. With stores such as appliancesonline.com.au offering free delivery & installation and very competitive pricing, they’re a quick, easy and cost-effective addition. Top-of-the-line appliances aren’t necessary for rental units: Basic, trustworthy brands in stainless steel or all-white finishes are sufficient.
Changing the flooring can have a drastic impact on the appearance of a room: Replacing worn or dirty carpets or cracked tiles will give the space a clean, well maintained feel.
Choosing the right type of flooring in a rental property is crucial – the function of the room and location of the property are leading factors: Installing the proper flooring in the proper space can help reduce maintenance. Carpet can be appropriate for bedrooms and hallways, and there are many different options available. In the warm Brisbane climate, tiles are a popular choice for living and dining areas, and have the added benefit of being easy to maintain whilst keeping the house cool.
Laminate may also be a good choice – there are a wide variety of laminate flooring looks that can really brighten a room, and is a great low-maintenance, low-cost option.
OUTDOOR ENTERTAINMENT AREA
An outdoor entertaining area is strong bait for tenants of all ages and demographics! Tile a courtyard, extend the veranda or construct a gazebo out the back and not only will you add value to the property, but you’ll also increase your rental returns.
Alternatively, investors on a tight budget can purchase shade-cloth and hang it outdoors to offer an escape from the sun in the summer months. A safe, shady play area will be particularly attractive to the family tenant market.
When renovating rental properties the big question to ask is whether the expenses are capital in nature or a deduction. Please take the time to check this with your accountant or financial advisor before you start the renovations!