Planning Smart Rental Property Upgrades

rental property updates

Image by US Army Africa via Flickr.

Renovating your rental property allows you to attract more residents, boost rents, and keep your inventory current. As you plan for property upgrades, it’s crucial to calculate the risk and reward behind any improvements you plan on making to ensure that your market and demographic will respond positively. Here are some tips to help you figure out how to plan a rental property rehab that will pay off.

Test it out

Instead of upgrading your units all at once, experiment by improving a couple of units at a time. Monitor resident responses to rent increases and satisfaction with the upgrade, and adjust your strategy to align with the feedback. Renovating units in batches helps you save time and money, especially if an upgrade doesn’t give you the returns you expected.

Survey your residents

Having trouble figuring out which upgrades residents want? Use them as a resource. Surveying your residents to find out what changes they would like to see and what they can afford will ensure you’re putting in renovations they’re willing to pay for. Not only that, but you’ll also reduce resident turnover when you take renter needs into account.

Look for small improvements that make a large impact

Not all renovations are worth the money. Installing a swimming pool or flat screen TVs in common areas is expensive and won’t necessarily pay off. Instead, focus on simpler upgrades that are useful to residents, such as common area Wi-Fi, in-unit laundry, community gyms, and USB wall sockets.

Improve curb appeal

Curb appeal is part of your marketing strategy: it attracts prospective renters, gives a memorable first impression, and impacts your residents’ living experience. As such, it’s worth updating and improving. Prevent your property from looking outdated by investing in landscaping, a new paint job, or repairing fencing and walkways. Maintaining a property that has great curb appeal will have a stronger first impression on prospective renters.

In a property rehab it’s your job to make sure the improvements will yield higher rents and resident satisfaction. Talk to your renters and research the local rental market to get a good idea of which renovations are the most desirable and likely to pay off.