5 Simple Ways to Improve Your Rental Properties
Guest post by Glenn Peskett, Founder - Saxton Blades
Landlords want to be able to maximise their rental incomes as much as possible. In order to be able to justify charging certain levels, properties need to be maintained to a level that the tenant feels represents market value for the rent they are paying. Otherwise, there is a risk that the tenant will find a rental property elsewhere and the landlord will lose rental income while they try to find another tenant.
In this article, I will outline five simple things that landlords can do to increase the perceived value of their rental properties. By doing these things, you will also improve the properties, meaning that your tenants will be more satisfied with the spaces they are occupying too.
- Display things!
If there aren’t already some up, particularly in the living room and the bedrooms, make putting up some shelves a priority. As well as providing a form of storage, giving your tenants somewhere to put their books, DVDs, photos and the like also allows them to display part of themselves. This, in turn, also helps to add character and life to a room too.
Furthermore, by having places to display personal items, it also allows the tenant(s) the opportunity to make the place they live in feel more like a home, thereby increasing their satisfaction with their surroundings.
It’s really not difficult to put up a shelf, and either the individual component parts or a shelving kit can be picked up easily and cheaply at most hardware or DIY stores.
- Fix minor issues
Little things being wrong with a property can adversely affect the perceived value of a property, as well as a tenant’s enjoyment and satisfaction with where they live. An inability or a perceived lack of willingness to fix minor things can also lead to you getting a bad reputation as a landlord too. Given the connected world we now live in, where every opinion is now voiced on social media or online forums and prospective tenants can find out all about you via a quick Google search, it is now very easy for that bad reputation to spread as well. In turn, this could possibly make it harder for you to find tenants.
It makes sense then to fix any minor problems, whether it’s a cupboard door or a wobbly table leg, as soon as you can, and certainly before you ever show any prospective new tenants around as they might see little things like that as a potential deal-breaker or as a sign that you won’t be responsive if something was to break down the line.
- Give your tenants storage
Much like with shelving, tenants having places to put their belongings is very important. Not only does it help the property to look tidier, it also frees up space for the residents to use in other ways. On this point, a tidy property that is easy to keep tidy because there are plenty of places to store things away is also a nicer place for your tenants to live in as well.
It really isn’t that difficult to put a simple cabinet together or put together a spice rack for the kitchen too and, while both would require some time and effort, in the end you’ll have improved your rental property and picked up a new skill you can use to improve any other rental properties you may have in the future.
- Freshen up
Rooms like the kitchen and bathroom can dirty very easily, with muck accumulating on the fixtures and fittings. Therefore, you should make a point of cleaning the build-up of grease on kitchen cupboard doors regularly and apply a new coat of varnish to help keep the kitchen looking fresh and new. In a similar vein, you should also polish any wood flooring in the property about once a year too. You’d be amazed at how much better this makes the place look.
Again, both are very simple tasks too. All they really require is some effort and, if you want to save yourself some time, the expense of hiring a floor buffer.
- Make the exterior more welcoming
Finally, the outside of a property is just as important as indoors too. While the interior is what the tenants will be living in on a daily basis, it’s the exterior that they and their friends and family will see first.
Therefore, make sure it makes a good first impression - put a new coat of RONSEAL on the fences and window sills, clean out the gutters, oil the hinges on the gate, make sure the lawn gets cut regularly if the property has one and get rid of any weeds.
Furthermore, doing such things also helps to increase the so-called ‘curb appeal’ of a property to passers-by. Therefore, if you ever look to sell the property, you’ll have already gone a long way to improving its’ saleability and getting an optimum price.
I hope I’ve demonstrated above that simple things really do make a lot of difference to a property and don’t take a lot of time to do either. All of the above will also help to make the property a nicer place to live in, making it more likely that your tenants will want to extend their rental agreements and keep living there. In turn, happy tenants mean that you have to look for new tenants less often as well. If your tenant(s) does decide to move out, it should also be easier to find new ones as when prospective new tenants come around the view the property, they’ll find a warm and inviting property where everything works, everything looks good and which they can make their own. Ultimately, you also want to be able to increase the profitability of your property portfolio too, and none of what I have described about would be financially costly either.
The above points don’t just apply to your existing property portfolio either. They also apply to any new properties you might invest in. I never fail to be amazed to the bargains that can be had at property auctions, for example. All that needs to be done with some of them is the above, along with a fresh coat of paint here and there and the property would look much better, far more inviting and would be a great pleasure to live in.
The Property Voice Insight from Richard Brown
Some really good and yet very simple suggestions here from Glenn. I am very big on fixing issues in my properties...large or small. It sets the right tone for how I expect my tenants to look after the property themselves if I am seen to take care of it for them as well.
The tips to improve the appearance, both internally and externally, are also valid suggestions. It doesn't take much to freshen up the look of a rental property and a simple coat of paint or varnish, clean carpets and walls can go a long way towards making a tenant value a property more highly than a less well looked after equivalent.
Personally, I am not sure about the shelving or cabinets. It depends on the room layouts and the tenants own furniture, however, I do agree that the more you can get a tenant to make a property a home, the more likely they are to stay.
In addition to these tips, I also undertake a light refresh of my properties every 3-5 years, depending on the usage. Paintwork dulls and gathers scuffs with normal usage, so a lick of paint every now and again has the same effect as the 'curb appeal' point made by Glenn.
Aside from that, having the same attitude ourselves as that we would like to see from our tenants is also paramount. Be responsive, reasonable and caring and more than likely, that's what you will get back in return too!