Landlord Tip: Remember, It's a Rental!
For the property owner looking to rent out a home, there are some very important do's and don'ts. One of the most important, is to NEVER fix up a rental house, to the level that you would fix up your own house! I've seen many landlords make this mistake, and end up regretting it when they later learn that the tenant they chose, ruined all of the expensive renovations that were put into the house. With 20 years experience renovating rental property, believe me when I tell you, your tenant will not take better care of your $20,000 worth of renovations, then they will take care of your $10,000 worth of renovations. Because of this, you are better off, in the long run, minimizing renovations to the level that is clean and comfortable, without being overly costly and expensive. Keep the repairs and fix-up in perspective. As you begin to renovate, or prepare the rental home to be occupied by a tenant, always keep in mind that your rental house is not your personal residence. This is sometimes a very difficult thing to keep in mind, and it can be easy to sort of lose the handle on this, but it's important for your bottom line that you manage your tastes as you renovate and prep a house for rent.
Your property is the life line of your business, but be mindful and conservative as you do renovations. You do not need to have the latest granite countertops, the latest technological contraptions in electrical lighting, and the highest grade flooring/carpet. It is never necessary to fix up your rental property with the same grade of materials that you would uses to fix up your own home. That decorative storm door you put on your own home should not be the same decorative high grade storm door you put on your rental home. You aren't living in your rental home, so just be conservative and mindful of keeping your expenses down.
Be practical when working on and renovating rental property. I’m not saying skimp and go cheap on every endeavor. I’m saying be smart with the money. If it makes financial sense to upgrade the flooring from carpet to a durable, more expensive, high grade wood floor, then, by all means, do so. It may pay for itself overtime and eliminate having to change out cheap carpet every few years. However, don’t get the highest grade of carpet when the middle grade of carpet will work just fine.Keep in mind that the bottom line in business is managing expenditures. Most times, medium grade carpet, medium grade paint, low to medium grade blinds and window coverings, regular laminate formica countertops, low grade ceilings fans, and low grade doorknobs, locks, and light fixtures, all work just fine. Also, use good quality pre-owned appliances (i.e. stoves and refrigerators). I rarely put brand new appliances in a rental property, unless the costs are the same, or similar, to a quality used product. Quality used appliances work well, look just fine, and do the job. The bottom line is to use common sense and understand that it's a rental.
Fix up your property so that it is clean, presentable, and attractive to a tenant, but don’t fix it up with the bells and whistles that you may consider for your own personal residence. Remember, it’s a rental home, and not your personal residence. Be smart, practical, and wise with your choices and grades of materials.