Choosing to renovate a rental property is a big decision. On the one hand, it could help you to let your property for a higher price, but if your property is standing empty it can be difficult to justify spending money on something that isn’t earning you any income. If you’re wrestling with the renovation conundrum, read on to find out what you should consider before you start, and how to make small improvements that will give you a big return.
When to renovate
Usually landlords just tidy up their properties between tenancies (e.g. clean the carpets, put a lick of paint on the walls), but you might want to consider carrying out more thorough renovations if you’re having any of the following problems. First, if your property is in a poor state of repair. There’s only so long you can keep cleaning a threadbare carpet until it just needs replacing, and you might find that new furnishings and appliances will eventually pay for themselves. Second, if you have to carry out significant alterations anyway. For instance, if the boiler needs replacing, why not take the opportunity to update the radiators while you’re at it? Third, if you’re struggling to find tenants. Perhaps your property is being overlooked because it lacks some important features, because it no longer suits your local rental market (e.g. a family home in an area now dominated by young professionals), or because other properties in the area are more appealing. Sometimes carrying out renovations can give your property the boost it needs to get noticed.
Of course, before you carry out any major renovations, it’s important to check the numbers. Calculate exactly what you are planning to spend and how long it will take, and then add in a generous contingency in case anything goes wrong. Then check this against your income and make sure that you can afford to carry out the work; you don’t want to run out of funds halfway through and have to finish it off in a hurry! If you’re still struggling to decide, consider the savings you could make from carrying out the renovations. Do you constantly have to call out plumbers to fix the boiler? A new heating system will cost more to begin with but could save you money down the line. With careful budgeting, you will be able to see whether the work will be worth it in the long run.
How to renovate
For landlords looking to renovate on a budget, there are some alterations you can make that will really help your property to shine, without breaking the bank. You can freshen up the exterior of any home by cutting back trees and hedges, and painting window and door frames. New curtains or blinds also give an instant lift to any room, and they can be purchased for very reasonable prices. Make potential tenants feel more welcome by removing any stored stuff that no longer needs to be there (e.g. in garages and attics), and if there’s space you could even add some built-in storage; this helps tenants to imagine moving in right away, without having to provide their own wardrobes and cupboards. If you have a bigger budget, consider swapping linoleum for tiles (they will look nicer and last longer), fitting extra windows and skylights to increase the natural light, and adding attractive features such as a dishwasher, security alarm system or outdoor lighting. All of these things can help your property to stand out from the crowd.
If you’re really looking to save on costs, you might consider doing some of the work yourself. Of course, this should be avoided with anything potentially dangerous, such as plumbing or wiring, and you should check before you install any new feature (e.g. windows and doors) whether your warranty is only valid if they’re fitted by a professional. But those factors aside, if you have the skills to do a good job yourself, this can be a great way to lower the cost of your renovations. Ultimately, any upgrades you have the time and budget for will make your property more appealing on the rental market.
Do you have a property to let in Bristol? Contact Gough Quarters today for assistance.